#1488: Luke Skywalker – Dark Empire

LUKE SKYWALKER – DARK EMPIRE

STAR WARS: EXPANDED UNIVERSE (KENNER)

“Six years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the galaxy is thrust into turmoil. A reborn evil threatens to enslave the galaxy, and the Republic’s closest friend – Luke Skywalker – may become their greatest enemy. Freed from their detention cell, a group of rebels begin their escape from the Imperial planet Byss. But the sudden appearance of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master, could mean unfortunate news for the Rebels. Has Luke fallen under the spell of the dark side?”

Remember two weeks ago when I was talking about the Star Wars Expanded Universe?  Well, hows about a little more of that?  Yeah, let’s go with that.  It’s another Dark Empire figure!  Wooooo!  This time, it’s Luke Skywalker, in his ‘90s anti-hero phase.  Let’s have a look!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dark Empire Luke Skywalker was another of the four Dark Empire figures in the one and only series of Kenner’s Star Wars: Expanded Universe line.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Like the Clone Emperor, the seventh point of articulation is on his wrist (though this time it was the right one), which was more to allow for the removal of Luke’s hand…which is why my figure is missing his right hand.  Luke had a totally unique sculpt, based on his bad-boy look from the Dark Empire comics.  It’s sort of goofy and definitely dated, but I can’t help but find it endearing.  By this point in time, Kenner had lost the bulky, puffy look of their early ‘90s Star Wars figures, so this guy doesn’t look anywhere near as goofy, at least proportion-wise.  The head was a new mold, showcasing Luke’s extra bouncy hair from Dark Empire, but it has the same facial construction as Kenner’s second-generation PotF2 Luke heads, which had a slightly better Hamill likeness.  It’s a little strange that he’s ended up looking so much younger, but I don’t think it looks terrible at all.  Luke’s paint is pretty solid overall.  I think it’s a bit more pleasing to the eye than the Clone Emperor, and the application is generally pretty clean.  Luke included a lightsaber—red to denote his flirting with the Dark Side during the events of Dark Empire—as well as a blaster pistol.  He also included another of the fold-out 3D display stand things, which was pretty cool.  Reeeeeaaaaally wish I still had one of those.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I think this was the first instance of me eagerly awaiting the release of a Star Wars figure.  I was at the local Another Universe at the mall with my Dad, and I saw this guy on the cover of a Star Wars fan magazine, which had the details on the whole Expanded Universe assortment.  My Dad was nice enough to buy the magazine for me, and I remember dragging that thing all over the place while I eagerly awaited this figure’s release.  As I mentioned in the Clone Emperor review, I found this guy in the Farpoint dealer’s room the year he was released, and he was purchased for me by my Grandmother.  He’s a pretty awesome figure, and still remains one of my favorites.

Advertisements

#1483: Maz Kanata

MAZ KANATA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“The destruction of her castle has forced Maz to become more mobile and take a more hands-on (and blasters-firing) role in the turbulent criminal underworld.  She offers help in the struggle against the first order by pointing the Resistance toward a mysterious new ally.”

Poor Maz Kanata was largely absent from the product for The Force Awakens, which was sort of sad, given how popular and memorable she proved to be.  In the case of proper action figures, her only one was in the smaller line from Hasbro, and she was only available as part of a boxed set, packed with three previously released figures.  A little annoying to say the least.  Fortunately, The Last Jedi’s gone and given her a larger scale figure fairly early on.  Things are looking up for good ol’ Maz!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Maz Kanata was released in the second assortment of The Last Jedi-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures, numbered as figure 49.  At first, I thought she was another straight Force Awakens figure, but her bio at the very least seems to indicate otherwise.  I guess it wouldn’t be that odd for her to keep the same look for both films (it’s not like Yoda changed between Empire and Jedi).  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Amongst those points of articulation are two points for each half of her goggles, which can be rotated upwards, just like we see in the movie.  I was slightly bummed that the smaller figure didn’t have moving goggles, so I’m glad that was remedied here.  Max’s sculpt is all-new to her, and it’s a pretty solid one at that.  The body in particular has a ton of really top-notch detail work, not only getting all the layering and such of her clothing down, but all of the texturing of the fabrics and her skin as well.  My only real complaint is that, comparatively, the head is a bit less detailed and all around softer looking.  It’s still a good piece, of course, but it does seem slightly off compared not just to the body, but also to the other head sculpts the line’s produced recently.    The paint on Maz is decent enough.  Nothing really stand-out or anything, but it’s clean and seems to mostly match up with her on-screen appearance.  I’m still not entirely sold on the metallic gold they used for her skin, but it’s hardly the worst choice ever.  Maz includes a very similar assortment of accessories to that of her smaller figure: a blaster, Luke’s lightsaber, and the box of junk the saber was found in.  The only real difference (apart from level of detail, of course) is that the blaster is now one of the standard Rebel blasters, which I believe may actually be a new piece to the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I found most of Series 2 at Target a few weeks back, I was a little disappointed that Maz was the only one missing from the bunch.  A week or so later, Super Awesome Girlfriend and I were picking up a few pieces of furniture from Ikea and decided to stop by the nearest Target for a few things, and boom, there she was.  And, as luck would have it, Target was even having a sale on Star Wars stuff, so I got her for a discount even!  It was a long wait for this figure, but, like the Leia in this series, she was very much worth it.  I’m happy to finally add her to my collection!

#1476: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (HASBRO)

Obi-Wan Kenobi…now that’s a name I haven’t heard in quite some time…  Or at  least not for about 11 months, since that’s the last time I reviewed an Obi-Wan figure.  A year’s “quite some time,” right?  That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.  Anyway, even 50 years after his demise at the hands of Darth Vader, Kenobi’s still getting new action figures, which seems like a pretty sweet deal if you can get it.  Today, I’m looking at the newest of those figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obi-Wan is one of two refresher case figures in Hasbro’s first series of The Last Jedi figures.  He and Yoda (the other refresher figure) are shipping in refreshment cases of the Teal Wave of Series 1, and they started showing up most places last month.  This Kenobi figure represents the Alec Guinness version of the character from A New Hope, which is certainly my favorite.  The figure is about 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He’s got an all-new sculpt, though parts of it, the head at the very least, appear to come from the same files as the Black Series figure.  In the case of the head, that’s definitely a good thing, since it means he’s on par with the earlier figure in terms of the likeness.  It’s a spot-on Guinness, no doubt.  The rest of the sculpt is pretty solid as well; the robes on the body are pretty similar in design to those of the Jedi Master Luke, right down to the way the articulation cuts through them.  The arms go with a slightly different style than most of the figures in this line.  They’re bent at the elbows and the articulation at the shoulders is cut at a slight angle.  The end result is that if you get the posing right, he can actually hold his lightsaber two-handed, which is a first for a basic series figure, at least for a good long while.  I dig it.  Kenobi’s robe is a separate, soft plastic piece.  The hood’s sculpted to be permanently up, but you can fold it inside out for an approximation of his hood down look.  I don’t mind the hood up, but I certainly won’t be surprised if this mold shows back up with a tweaked robe piece down the line.  The paint work on Obi-Wan is fairly basic, but certainly passable.  The application is all pretty clean, and the colors all match up pretty well with the on-screen look.  Obi-Wan was packed with his lightsaber, and also features the Force Link feature.  When placed up to the reader, you hear him say: “Obi-Wan Kenobi…,” “Run, Luke, Run!,” and there are a bunch of lightsaber sounds.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obi-Wan was a fairly recent purchase.  I got him from Toys R Us, at the same time as the Dark Phoenix two-pack, in fact.  I don’t have a ton of Guinness Kenobis, and I rather liked the look of this one, so I grabbed him.  He’s actually pretty solid, and another fantastic addition to an already awesome line.

#1474: Clone Emperor Palpatine

CLONE EMPEROR PALPATINE

STAR WARS: EXPANDED UNIVERSE (KENNER)

Six years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the galaxy is thrust into turmoil. A reborn evil threatens to enslave the galaxy, and the Republic’s closest friend – Luke Skywalker – may become their greatest enemy. With the power to transfer his consciousness to genetic clones, a younger, stronger Emperor Palpatine is perilously close to gaining total control of the galaxy forever.”

Following the conclusion of the original Star Wars movies, there was no immediate follow up planned.  The prequels were still just a concept, and the sequel trilogy wasn’t even a glimmer in Kathleen Kennedy’s eye.  The next best thing was the Expanded Universe, which fans latched onto pretty quickly.  In the ’90s, in the midst of their re-launched toy line, Kenner created an EU-centered sub-line.  Amongst that line were two figures based on the “Dark Empire” story, which included today’s figure, Clone Emperor Palpatine.

THE FIGURE ITSELF 

Clone Emperor Palpatine was released in Kenner’s one series Star Wars: Expanded Universe line in 1998.  As noted in the intro, this figure hails from “Dark Empire,” a story which sees Palpatine brought back in a series of cloned bodies.  Without the name on the package to go by, you could be forgiven for not recognizing this as Palpatine, since he’s noticeably less wrinkly than he usually is.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall (the EU figures were a little smaller) and he has 7 points of articulation.  Where’s that extra point coming from you ask?  Why, from his left wrist.  And why just the left wrist?  Because it’s actually just a side effect of making the left hand removable.  It was actually pretty common around this period of Kenner’s Star Wars figures, before they realized they could do more with that joint than just detachable limbs.  Now, you may have noticed my Emperor has no left hand.  I lost it.  Silly me.  Palpatine’s sculpt was unique to him.  It showed Kenner’s trend towards much less exaggerated stylings, and honestly feels more like a vintage figure than a lot of his compatriots. His robe is a separate, removable piece, which goes on and off pretty easily, and is a pretty solid sculpt to boot.  The paint work on this guy is about on par with the rest of Kenner’s offerings around the time.  It’s all cleanly applied, and the details are fairly sharp.  It’s not terribly exciting, but there it is. Palpatine was packed with a light saber–blue, so as to leave everyone all confused and shocked.  There was also this cool 3D fold-out playset thing with all of these figures.  I really wish I still had that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I can’t tell you exactly why I got this guy.  I got him from the Farpoint dealer’s room, back when he was new.  He shortly followed my acquisition of Luke from the same series.  I think I just wanted someone to go with him.

#1471: Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader

SCARIF STORMTROOPER SQUAD LEADER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Specialist stormtroopers stationed at the top-secret Imperial military headquarters on Scarif, Shoretroopers patrol the beaches and bunkers of the planetary facility.”

Though the main Star Wars line has moved onto all of the product from this December’s Last Jedi, I’ve still got a few Rogue One products sitting on my shelf waiting to be reviewed.  There was sort of a mass influx of new figures over the summer, and a lot of them had to wait for their slot in the reviewing schedule.  None more so than the Rogue One stuff, which got put on hold so that I could focus on TLJ.  Now that I’ve got a bit of lull, I can finally get back to some of them.  So, after much delay, here’s this Shoretrooper figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader is the fourth and final figure from the Rogue One assortment of the Walmart-exclusive small-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  Of the four, this guy was by far the most difficult to acquire (which is part of why he’s being reviewed four months after the other three), largely due to his status as an army builder.  The name on this guy is a little confusing.  He’s listed as the “Squad Leader,” which is the name generally associated with the more decorated guy from the two-pack with the Moroff.  That name was again used for the more decorated look in the larger Black Series, where the look seen here was listed simply as “Scarif Stormtrooper.”  And when this look showed up in the basic line, it was “Shoretrooper.”  If I had to guess, I’d say Hasbro may have been initially planning to release the guy from the two-pack, but changed their minds after the packaging was underway.  At the end of the day, none of this actually affects the figure, though, so I guess it doesn’t really matter that much.  The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  As with the rest of his assortment, the Shoretrooper’s articulation represents a marked improvement over the Force Awakens offerings from the prior year.  I’d place this guy on par with Cassian in terms of posabilty.  It’s nice that Hasbro put in the effort on these guys, since they’re probably less likely to see new figures going forward.  The sculpt on this guy is totally unique to him; no parts shared with any of his less articulated brethren (though I feel certain we’ll be seeing most of this body again for the Vintage Collection Hovertank Pilot).  It’s definitely solid work, and on par with the larger version of the same design.  The helmet could perhaps be a little sharper, but the detailing on the body is definitely top-notch.  The paint on this guy is definitely solid work.  All of the base work is pretty clean and the colors match what we see on-screen.  Like the larger Shoretroopers, he gets some dirt and grime, to help make his armor look a bit more used.  It’s a nice touch, and really adds a lot to the figure.  The Shoretrooper is packed with a standard E-11 Stormtrooper blaster.  That’s a bit less than the others in this assortment, so he feels a little light, but it’s not terrible.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking for this guy pretty much since they hit back in last December.  He and Cassian were definitely my most wanted, but while I was able to find Cassian back in May, this guy eluded me for several more months.  I ended up finding him at the Walmart across the street from the apartment I was moving out of back in August.  Which, of course, was just in time for Walmart to bring the price on these figure back up to their full $12, rather than the $6 they’d been at all summer.  Oh well.  At least I got him.  Is he the most thrilling figure ever?  Perhaps not.  I’ve gotten every other Hasbro Shoretrooper, so he’s not particularly different or new, nor does he blow me away the way Cassian did.  That being said, he’s still a very good figure, and I’m glad I found one.

#1469: Luke Skywalker – Jedi Master

LUKE SKYWALKER – JEDI MASTER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“After tragedy destroyed his attempt to rebuild the Jedi Knights, Luke Skywalker vanished from the galaxy. Now, the Resistance needs his help to thwart the efforts of the evil First Order.”

FINALLY!!!!!!  I got the freaking Black Series freaking Jedi Master freaking Luke freaking Skywalker!  And it only took me two freaking months to find it!  *deep breath*  Okay, it’s out of my system.  Sorry, it’s been a long journey to getting this guy.  But I have him, so now I’m gonna review him.  I thought about putting him in a nice casserole, but I didn’t really fit the formula.  So, hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to the review we go!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jedi Master Luke Skywalker was released in the first assortment of The Last Jedi-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures.  He’s figure 46, which makes him the second to last figure in the set numerically.  This figure also saw an early release at SDCC this year, in a two-pack alongside Jedi Training Rey.  As far as I can tell, the only difference is the packaging; the actual figures are the same.  Like the smaller Jedi Master Luke, this one is sporting his garb from the end of The Force Awakens, which is certainly a solid design.  The figure stands a little under 6 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  The joints in his legs are obviously a little bit restricted by the lower portion of his robes, but you can still manage some fairly decent poses, and the rest of the joints are thankfully left unrestricted.  Luke’s sculpt is all-new, and does a pretty respectable job of capturing Luke’s look from the two films.  The likeness on this figure is a reasonable approximation of Hamill, though I think I might actually like the smaller figure’s take just a little bit more.  Similarly, I do find myself drawn to the detailing of the smaller figure over this one.  It’s not that this one’s bad at all.  He’s actually quite well-done.  There’s a lot of nice layering and wrinkling to the clothing.  I just find it to be a little softer than the smaller figure, and I’m not a huge fan of that.  I’m also not a huge fan of the generic gripping pose on the hands, especially since he doesn’t include anything to hold.  It just seems to me that some more specific gestures might make for more dynamic posing options.  Also, like the smaller figure, this one had a loop from which to hang a lightsaber hilt, albeit one that’s not included.  I’m still appreciative of the forward thinking on Hasbro’s part, though; it’s not like I don’t have any Skywalker sabers laying around.  The paintwork on Luke is decent enough.  The best of it’s definitely on the head, which has some nice accent work on the hair and beard, as well as some of the cleanest eyes I’ve seen from this line so far.  In terms of extras, Luke’s got his cloak, which is a fabric piece.  It’s not great.  There’s no real way to keep it in place on the figure, so it just really flops off of him a lot.  I can’t see myself using it much.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke, and by extension the rest of the first assortment of Last Jedi Black Series figures, has been quite difficult to find around these parts.  They were practically nonexistent on Force Friday, and they never really showed up after that either.  When I found Series 2, I was pretty much convinced I wasn’t finding Luke.  And then I did find him at an out of the way GameStop, about a week later.  Unfortunately, I’d dropped over $100 on action figures the day before, so I just couldn’t bring myself to buy him.  So, back to the car I went, with the hopes that he’d still be there at a later date.  I mentioned this to my dad, who pretty much immediately turned the car around, said “I didn’t buy anything yesterday” and marched into the GameStop to purchase this figure.  I swear, I try not to always buy stuff, but my family and friends won’t let me escape.  Because they love me or something.  It’s frustrating at times.  I’m happy to finally have this figure, especially after the long wait.  Is he perfect?  No, but he’s still solid, and definitely worth your time if you like this line.

#1464: Elite Praetorian Guard

ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“As the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke was flanked by crimson-clad guardians, loyal protectors encased in ornate armor ready to defend the Supreme Leader from any threat.”

Does that bio sound familiar?  It should, because it’s exactly the same as the one used for the last Elite Praetorian Guard review I did.  I’m not unnecessarily repeating myself,  I assure you.  Hasbro just used the same bio twice, that’s all.  And honestly?  I can’t really blame them.  It seems a little silly to write two distinct yet essentially identical bios for what is undoubtedly a rather minor character when it would be just as easy to use the same one twice.  So kudos to Hasbro and their efficient allocation of resources!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Elite Praetorian Guard is another figure from the second Last Jedi-themed assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s figure 50, which makes him the second figure in the assortment numerically.  As I’ve noted in my last two Praetorian Guard reviews, there are three different helmets for the guards.  The one I’m looking at today is the same one we saw on the smaller Black Series release.  I think it’s safe to say this one’s the lead guard, given he’s the only one currently available in all of the styles.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  There’s actually some pretty clever design work going on with this figure’s articulation.  First of all, we get the ball-jointed shoulder pads, which are a godsend, and always encouraged.  I initially didn’t care for the arms, and found them to be exceedingly limited in posability, but after messing with them a little bit, I discovered that there’s a separate floating piece hovering over the elbow joints.  It takes a little bit of careful work to get it going at first, but once you do, you’ve got an elbow joint that’s just as posable as any other figure’s but without breaking up the segmented design of the armor.  I really dig it.  I definitely prefer the sculpt on this guy to the smaller figure.  Lines are sharper and proportions are more balanced.  I also much prefer the soft plastic robe to the cloth one.  Yes, it’s a little more restricting on the leg articulation, but not horribly so, and it looks way better.  The paintwork on this guy is about the same as the other two guards I’ve looked at.  The design is decidedly basic on the color front, but the variance in finish looks pretty great, and all of the details that are there are clean.  Like the smaller figure, this guy’s one accessory is his spear.  It’s a bit more detailed, of course, and still looks pretty slick.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this guy at the same time as Leia and Poe.  He was a little more of an impulse buy than those two.  I had been contemplating holding out for the slightly more expensive Amazon exclusive Guard, since he’s sporting my favorite of the three helmets, but upon seeing this guy in person, I had a hard time passing him up.  Definitely my favorite Praetorian I’ve gotten so far.

#1463: Captain Poe Dameron

CAPTAIN POE DAMERON

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“It takes defiant courage to stare down the threat of the First Order, and while Captain Poe Dameron is eager to fight, he worries that some of the Resistance leadership don’t have what it takes.”

What’s this?  Another Poe Dameron figure?  On this site?  Gadzooks, what a shock!

Okay, all joking aside, yes, I’m looking at another Poe Dameron figure today.  Now, this is in part because I just really like Poe and therefore want as many figures of him as possible, but it’s also because every single Poe figure released so far has been compromised in some way.  So, let’s see how the latest fares, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Poe Dameron is part of the second assortment of The Last Jedi-themed assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s figure #53, placing him right after Leia, and he’s also the first proper Last Jedi Black Series figure I’ve looked at on the site.  As the rank in the name may have clued you in, this Poe is sporting his brand new jacketed look.  It’s the more obviously different of his two main looks from this film, so it makes sense for this release.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  It’s an all-new sculpt, which I’d definitely say is for the best.  Not only does the design not have much overlap with prior Poe designs, the last two Poes in this scale were also not super great when it came to sculpts.  In particular, Hasbro’s had a lot of trouble nailing down Oscar Isaac’s likeness, especially on the larger figures.  Without a doubt, this figure has the best Isaac sculpt we’ve seen to date.  It’s still not 100% there, but it’s definitely close.  I think the thing that really sells it for me is the nose.  Isaac has a very distinctive nose, and I think this figure really gets that down.  Not to be outshone by the head sculpt, the body’s got some pretty awesome detail work going on.  Gone are the issues with odd spots of softness like we saw with the prior Poes.  Paint on this figure is also a notable improvement on the prior figures, but given just how bad the last two Poes were in that department, it means there’s still a bit of room for improvement.  The basic paint is way cleaner, and the details have a very pleasant tendency to not totally miss the spots where they’re supposed to go.  Hasbro still seems very much perplexed by how to handle Poe’s slight stubble.  It’s still way to dark (at least on my figure; there’s a good degree of variance from figure to figure), but at least it doesn’t look like he just slathered solid grey paint on his face.  It certainly helps the likeness to shine through a little bit better.  Poe is packed with his smaller blaster pistol, which is actually painted all of the correct colors this time.  I wouldn’t have minded a little bit more, but it’s better than nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Poe as the same time as yesterday’s Leia.  As much as I can appreciate the prior figures for what they are, they definitely left a little to be desired.  Early shots of this figure didn’t look much better, but once in-hand photos started showing, I definitely knew I wanted one!  The figure still has a few minor problems, but he’s hands down the best version of Poe to date.

#1462: General Leia Organa

GENERAL LEIA ORGANA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Despite all that she has endured and lost in a lifetime of war, General Leia Organa continues to shine as a beacon of hope for the loyal subjects of the Resistance under her command.”

Perhaps the most glaring omission from all of the Force Awakens product, even more than Luke Skywalker, was General Leia Organa.  Out of all the figures Hasbro released, there was exactly one older Leia, in the 3 3/4-inch Black Series line.  It’s *okay* but not great, and most annoyingly, it’s not sporting her main look from the film.  Two years after the film, we still haven’t gotten the basic Leia in the main line, but they have at least given her a larger-scale Black Series figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

General Leia Organa was released in the second assortment of Black Series figures following the Last Jedi re-launch.  She’s figure 52, meaning Hasbro’s really committed to keeping the numbering going this time around.  Also, she’s actually listed as a general on the packaging this time!  Yay!  She’s also finally wearing her actual military garb, which is definitely the more exciting of her two designs from TFA.  It just seems more true to the character.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall (keeping her consistent with the other Leia figures from the Black Series) and she has 27 points of articulation.  Leia has a brand new sculpt.  There was definitely an upward trend of improvement to these figures starting with the some of the later Rogue One offerings, and it looks like The Last Jedi is starting pretty strong right out of the gate.  This is definitely one of the stronger figures I’ve gotten from the line, and probably the strongest Leia sculpt we’ve gotten to date.  It’s certainly an improvement over the smaller figure.  The head has a pretty decent Carrie Fisher likeness, and the detail work on the clothing and such is pretty great.  The paintwork on Leia is fairly straightforward, but still a notable improvement over earlier offerings.  They’re still doing a lot of molded plastic for the colors, but there’s enough subtle accenting, especially on the face/hair, that she doesn’t look quite as bland and lifeless as the likes of the Tatooine Luke figure.  I do wish that her hair had a little more noticeable grey in it, but she’s doing a little better than the Han figure in that respect.  Leia is packed with a small blaster.  I don’t believe we actually see it in TFA, but it’s a cool design, and calls back to the one she carries at the beginning of A New Hope.  It’s nice to get at least something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a figure I’ve been wanting ever since the Force Awakens figures hit.  I was bummed when she didn’t show up around the time of the movie, and I continued to be bummed with the release of the rather lackluster small-scale figure.  When this figure was shown off at SDCC, I was excited, but a little apprehensive, since The Black Series has been rather scarce around these parts ever since the first assortment of Rogue One.  This was made worse by the fact that I’ve still yet to see most of the first Last Jedi assortment at retail, which left me a little worried about the prospects of finding Leia.  As luck would have it, I came across almost all of the second series while stopping for groceries at a slightly out of the way Target.  Leia is really awesome, and I’m really glad I got her. And, honestly, I’m sort of glad we had to wait, because it means she got added to the line right in the midst of its strongest run of figures to date.

#1460: Luke Skywalker in X-Wing Fighter Pilot Gear

LUKE SKYWALKER in X-WING FIGHTER PILOT GEAR

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

” Growing up on the twin-sun planet of Tatooine, Luke Skywalker had always looked tot he stars. He had been told that his father was a great star pilot, and it was clear that the young Luke had inherited some of his skills. In the arid deserts of the Jundland Wastes, Luke and his best friend Biggs Darklighter, would race their T-16 skyhoppers. Tagging womprats in Beggar’s Canyon or threading the Stone needle, Luke and Biggs were the best of friends, and daring pilots. Unfortunately, they were separated when Biggs went to the Academy, and Luke was forced to stay behind.”

Luke Skywalker figures are a hot commodity these days, due to his almost total absence from the main Star Wars toy lines for the better part of two years.  For a good portion of the franchise’s run, it was hard to go anywhere without tripping over a whole pile of Luke Skywalkers. There were a dozen Lukes in the Power of the Force II line alone, and I’ll be looking  at another one of that particular subset today, with Luke in his X-Wing Fighter Pilot Gear.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke was released in Power of the Force II‘s first year, as a later addition to the assortment.  He was the second Luke in the line, and the second figure of Luke in this particular gear in general.  Despite the claims on the package that this is Luke in his “X-Wing Fighter Pilot Gear,” which is a little bit misleading.  The figure’s actually wearing his cold-weather flight gear that he puts on to pilot his Snowspeeder during the Hoth Battle from Empire.  He does eventually wear it while flying his X-Wing later, but it’s still more commonly viewed as his Snowspeeder gear.  Not that the two designs are that dissimilar, of course.  The figure is about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  The sculpt was unique to this guy at the time of his release, however the body ended up getting re-used later down the line for both Wedge and Dak.  Until around 2010 or so, this was actually the only Hoth flight-suited sculpt Hasbro had on hand.  Just like the rest of these early figure’s, it’s a rather dated sculpt.  He’s got the usual exaggerated proportions, albeit masked a little bit by the more padded nature of the design.  He’s still got the insane bulging muscles, and the crazy thin waist, of course.  On the plus side, the detailing on the costume is pretty decent; the ridges on the arms are pretty cool, and the helmet, while a bit on the tiny side, is quite accurate to the source material.  Said helmet is permanently attached to the head, and missing the visor, but removable helmets were still a ways off at this point, so this isn’t bad.  His face is a slightly different likeness than the other Luke’s from this line.  It’s still a bit off, looking more like Ron Howard than Mark Hammil, but that’s a step in the right direction at least.  The paint work on this figure is on par with the rest of this line’s offerings.  It’s pretty clean overall, apart from a few fuzzy lines on the edge of the vest.  Luke is packed with his lightsaber and a small blaster pistol.  The lightsaber is a lot shorter than the initial Luke saber, but I choose not to judge him for that; Hoth is very cold.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this figure when he was relatively new.  I had gotten the PotF2 X-Wing Fighter as a gift, and didn’t yet have the proper Luke to fly it, so I obviously had to buy this guy.  Along the way, my original was lost, more than likely sold during one of my “purges” over the years.  The one reviewed here is a replacement, picked up at Farpoint a few years back.  He’s hardly the best pilot Luke figure out there, and he certainly shows the line’s flaws quite overtly, but he was my first pilot Luke, and he still holds an important spot in my collection.