#2463: Luke Skywalker – Bespin

LUKE SKYWALKER — BESPIN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Luke battles Darth Vader on a narrow platform in Cloud City and rejects Vader’s urging to turn to the Dark Side and rule the galaxy with him.”

40 years and some change ago, in this galaxy, right here, the second Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back, hit theaters.  As Hasbro likes to use pretty much every five-year milestone as grounds for celebration, that means that this year we’re getting a bunch of throw-back Empire stuff in toy form.  Things kicked off with the Probe Droid, and, following in A New Hope‘s footsteps, there’s also a vintage-style-carded line of Black Series figures.  The first assortment was mostly re-hash, but I’m taking a look at the most unique of the bunch today with another go at Bespin Luke!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker (Bespin) is one of the five figures that makes up the first series of the Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary sub-line of Black Series figures.  The other four, Bespin Han, Hoth Leia, Yoda, and the AT-AT Driver are all straight re-cards of prior releases, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the case with Luke as well.  He’s a lot of re-use, to be fair, with everything below the neck being re-used from the very first Black Series Bespin Luke.  Like that figure, this one stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Black Series articulation hadn’t really gotten to be what it is now in 2014, when this mold first hit, so he’s admittedly a little bit archaic in terms of movement.  The elbows sit a little low on the arms, the range on the hips is quite restricted, and he’s got the up/down joint on both of his wrists, which is a little odd for posing.  All that said, it’s still a pretty nice looking sculpt, so I can’t totally dis the re-use.  He gets an all-new head, which updates him to the more modern style of separate pieces for the face and hair.  The original Bespin head was probably the weakest of the initial Luke head sculpts in terms of a Hamill likeness, so another go at it isn’t the worst.  This new sculpt is…different?  I hesitate to say better, but I also wouldn’t say worse.  In some ways, it’s a better match, but in others it’s more off, and in particular it seems a bit too large proportionally.  The new head is matched by a new paint scheme, which uses the face printing, thereby making him a little more lifelike.  I definitely like that, but I’m not quite as down for how stripped down the paint on his fatigues has become.  The wash on the original was one of the best parts of the figure, but this one loses a lot of that, and the details on the outfit subsequently become easier to miss.  This figure is packed with the same extras as the last version: a lightsaber and a blaster pistol.  They’re as good here as anywhere else.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

A re-issue of this guy’s been pretty much inevitable, given how hard to find the original had become, as well as the original hitting during one of the weakest periods of the line.  There were definitely improvements to be made, and while this figure makes some of them (namely the better paint on the face/hair), it’s really a trade-off.  This should have been an actual improvement, but it’s instead more or less an equivalent product.  It’s a shame, because I was kind of hoping we might get a more deluxe update on this guy, with extra parts to replicate more of the beating he takes during his Bespin duel.  Perhaps such a release could still happen later.

Luke was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2461: Ugnaughts

UGNAUGHTS

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Ugnaughts, the humanoid species found on Bespin’s Cloud City, manned the controls of the freezing chambers where Han Solo was encased in carbonite.”

Okay, right, weekend.  Time for another Power of the Force review.  What am I reviewing this time?  Ugnaughts?  What are the Ugnaughts?  Well, it says right up above, doesn’t it?  That’s pretty convenient isn’t it?  Too many questions, Ethan.  You need to move onto some declaratives.  Right.  Ugnaughts.  Let’s do this.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Ugnaughts were added to the Power of the Force line in 1998, and were our second go at this particular race, following a figure in the vintage line.  They joined Lobot in filling in some of the Bespin crew the year they were released.  Much like the Jawas, Kenner took advantage of the Ugnaughts’ smaller stature to offer up a pair of them, rather than one single.  The two included are distinctly different Ugnaughts, both of them from the film.  The vintage figure actually amalgamated a number of elements from these two, before they were split apart for this release.  Both figures stand 2 1/2 inches tall and each have 4 points of articulation (they’re articulation ceases below the waist).  Both sculpts are completely unique parts-wise, though they do share the same basic pose and build.  They hold up well given the time they were produced, and honestly wouldn’t look too terribly out of place with more modern lines.  Of the two, I think the one with the smock is the slightly better offering, as the separate smock piece adds a little more depth, and his facial features are a little more distinct.  He also pulls ahead a little bit on the paint front, thanks to a few more details, though it’s worth noting that both figures sport decent base level paint work.  Curiously, the red-headed Ugnaught’s skin tone is molded, while the smock Ugnaught is painted.  Not sure why they’re different, but they both look decent enough.  The two Ugnaughts include one single toolbox for them both to share, as well as a freeze frame slide.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Mandalorian is legit the first time I’ve ever cared about an Ugnaught, so I can assure you I didn’t get these two new.  In fact, they were one of those things I didn’t even realize were even in the movie until I was an adult.  They definitely don’t have the same fun factor as, say, the Jawas, but I guess they make for a decent scene filler.  I have spoken.

I got this pair from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2455: Lobot

LOBOT

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“As the cyborg administrative assistant to Cloud City, Lobot made certain that Lando Calrissian and his Rebel companions would safely escape the Imperial occupied city.”

That he sure did.  Yeah, so, it’s, uhh, Lobot.  You know?  Lobot?  The cyborg administrative assistant to Cloud City who made certain that Lando Calrissian and his Rebel companions would safely escape the Imperial occupied city?  Like it says in the bio?  …Yeah, I don’t have a ton to say about Lobot, I guess.  He’s the guy with the funny looking techno earmuffs who dresses like he’s going out to the discotheque.  Seems like he’s pretty fly.  And hey, he’s had a few toys, so how about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lobot was released as part of the basic Power of the Force II line in 1998.  It marked his second figure, following his vintage release.  He’d get one more in 2004, and then that would be it for poor Lobot.  I guess not everyone’s rushing out to get those funky techno earmuffs.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Sculpturally, this figure feels like something of an anomaly for the year he was released.  By 1998, Power of the Force had lost a lot of its early installment weirdness, what with the wonky proportions and the goofy posing and all.  The original likenesses for both Luke and Leia had been dropped in favor of slightly more accurate ones, and in general earlier core figures were getting reworked into slightly less weird monstrosities.  But Lobot?  Well, you’d be forgiven for assuming Lobot was a year one figure.  He’s oddly proportioned, rather light on detailing, and one of the more heavily pre-posed figures to come out of the line (further highlighted by the fact that Lobot never does much other than just stand there, making the usual Star Wars pose kinda perfect for him).  He’s got a disco-esque pose that rivals the original Lando, further pushing that “year one” feel on this guy.  You almost have to wonder if Kenner knew that Lobot was destined to stand right next to that Lando, and rather than doing an updated Lando so that neither would look out of place, they opted to instead make Lobot a proper companion piece.  Alternatively, maybe he was just a leftover sculpt from earlier in the line that took a while to get a proper release.  It could really be either.  Whatever the cause, it’s really darn goofy looking.  I do have to give them some credit on the paint front, though.  He could have been quite bland, but there’s quite a bit of detailing going into the headset, and it actually looks pretty cool.  Lobot is packed with a blaster pistol and data pad, for both sides of the sensible disco cyborg’s life.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first introduction to Lobot as a kid was not via the movies, or even via this figure, but rather via Lego’s Cloud City Car set, which I got as a birthday gift the year it was released.  I had no clue who the heck this guy was, and the internet wasn’t quite the fountain of knowledge that it is today, so I went a little while without knowing anything about him, until I noticed him in one of my rewatches of Empire.  This particular figure was another from the large batch of figures I picked up a couple of falls ago, as I was working towards filling in my PotF collection.  He’s sooooooo goofy, but if I’m honest, after a bunch of “they’re fine figures, but a bit boring”, Lobot’s something of a breath of fresh air.  I mean, at least he’s memorable.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2433: 2-1B Medical Droid

2-1B MEDICAL DROID

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Height: 1.5 Meters
Status: Industrial Automaton Surgical Droid
Classification: GeenTech 2-1B Series
Affiliation: Rebel Alliance
Weapon of Choice: Medical Diagnostic Computer”

Droids make up one hell of a subset of the Star Wars universe, and much like the Stormtroopers, they have lots of specialized models.  Also like the Stormtroopers, they’re a really easy thing for toy companies to make bank on, especially when it’s a droid that got some decent screen time.  Today’s focus, 2-1B, showed up in Empire two separate times, patching Luke up first after his run-in with the Wampa, and again after losing his hand to Vader’s lightsaber.  That’s not a bad spread of appearances, now is it?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

2-1B was added to Kenner’s Power of the Force II line in 1997.  He’s the second figure of 2-1B, following up on the vintage release.  This sculpt would remain in service through The Vintage Collection in 2011, so clearly Hasbro thought it was a fairly worthwhile effort.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  As with many of the droids released in this line, the poseability’s a little bit restricted on this guy.  That said, he can pretty easily move his head and arms, which is just about all you need from him.  The actual sculpt is quite a nice one.  It’s pretty faithful to the film design, which is quite good for a PotF figure.  I really dig the texture work that went into him, and I especially dig the transparent torso with the visible mechanics within it.  Very fun.  His paint work is also pretty solid.  There’s not a ton going on with it, but all of the appropriate colors are there, and the application’s all pretty clean.  2-1B is packed with his handheld Medical Diagnostic Computer, for all your handheld Medical Diagnostic Computing needs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like so many of my Power of the Force figures, this guy was a more recent addition to my collection, added during a PotF buying-spree in the fall of 2018.  As far as this line’s droids go, he’s honestly one of the best, and has the benefit of slotting in pretty alright with the more recent stuff as well.  He’s also one of the cooler, more unique droid designs, and one with some decent screen time, making him one of the best in general.

I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2426: Snowtrooper

SNOWTROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“The ice planet Hoth was the site of the terrible conflict between Rebel and Imperial forces called the Battle of Hoth. Though the alliance resisted the Imperial assault for a short period, they were eventually forced to abandon the Echo Base headquarters as it became overrun with fearsome snowtroopers, the Empire’s elite frozen-weather corps.”

Since its very first entry, the Star Wars universe has dabbled in environment-specific variants of its various troopers.  When Empire Strikes Back brought our heroes and villains to the icy planet of Hoth, it brought with it a whole set of cold-weather gear variants.  That included today’s figure, the Snowtrooper!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Snowtrooper was added to the Power of the Force line in 1997.  This was the Snowtrooper’s second time as an action figure, following his original vintage release.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The Snowtrooper is a far more restricted figure than others in the line in terms of articulation.  The nature of the design means that he doesn’t have a neck joint, and the skirt piece means that the hip joints have reduced mobility as well.  The sculpt itself is a reasonable effort.  By this point, pre-posing and wonky proportions were mostly worked out of the line, and the Snowtrooper is reflective of that.  That said, the actual detailing on the sculpt is a little more on the soft side, so a lot of the details get a little lost.  The line was a bit up and down with the sharpness, so it’s too bad that the Snowtrooper falls more into the down, especially given the quality of the vintage sculpt.  The paintwork on the Snowtrooper is actually more complex than you might expect at first glance, with a good deal of weathering mixed in, in order to prevent it from just being an all-white design with nothing to break it up.  It honestly looks pretty good.  The Snowtrooper included a standard Stormtrooper blaster rifle and his supply pack, making for a pretty nice, fairly film-accurate package.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Snowtrooper was added to my collection during one of my PotF buying sprees, in the fall of 2018.  He was actually added to my collection by Max, so it’s technically his fault, I suppose.  The Snowtrooper isn’t one of the line’s most technically impressive figures by any means, but he’s respectable enough in his own right, I suppose.

#2419: AT-AT Driver

AT-AT DRIVER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Drivers of the dreaded AT-AT walkers, specially trained “ground pilots”, played a vital role during the Empire’s assault on Hoth.”

Didn’t I *just* review an AT-AT Driver?  Oh, wait, that review ran like a month ago, didn’t it?  Well, in my defense, it’s only been like a week and a half from my time, so, there’s that.  Well, with it being the 40th Anniversary of Empire and all, I guess there’s no better time to double down on AT-AT Driver reviews, now is there?  Great, let’s look at another AT-AT driver then, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This AT-AT Driver was actually the second to be released in the Power of the Force line.  The first was included with the AT-AT proper in 1997.  There was, however, only one of them included, despite there being two drivers per AT-AT, and it wasn’t exactly economical to get a second AT-AT just for the driver.  So, this guy got slotted for a standard release…in theory.  In practice, not so much, as the AT-AT Driver became one of the four PotF2 figures who didn’t make it to retail in 1998, and instead had to be offered exclusively through the Star Wars Collector’s Club, which made him a little tricky to get a hold of, until the excess stock was unloaded to Toys R Us, and they were suddenly available for a lot less than retail.  Quite a turbulent release path for a figure that’s not really much new.  Okay, that’s not quite true.  The figure was actually all-new, believe it or not, sharing no pieces with the pack-in figure from the AT-AT.  They had very similar sculpts, of course, but they were just different enough to be different.  The sculpt is pretty typical for this period of the line, being a fair bit bulkier than he should be, and a little lighter on the sculpted details than later figures would be.  All that said, it’s still a pretty nice sculpt, and not anywhere near as ridiculous as the basic Stormtrooper was.  In contrast to the pack-in, this guy has a little bit of pre-posing to him.  It’s rather minor, but there’s a slight shift in his step.  I kinda dig it; it makes him look a little more like a real person.  The paint work on this guy is pretty straight forward.  It’s rather on the basic side, although the head and the console on his chest both get a fair bit of smaller detail work that looks pretty sharp.  The AT-AT Driver included a blaster and a Freeze Frame slide.  Mine just has the blaster, I’m afraid.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In my quest to complete my PotF collection, the Fan Club figures tend to be the ones I don’t run into quite as frequently, for obvious reasons.  I did end up getting this guy loose, however, which worked well enough for me. Obviously, he’s not as impressive as, say, the Black Series figure, but he’s got his own fun little flair to him, and I can definitely dig it.

I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2410: Imperial Probe Droid

IMPERIAL PROBE DROID

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Tenacious hunters, probe droids are armed with powerful blasters.”

Oh my, could it be?  Could it actually be something new on the site?  Yeah, I’m as surprised as all of you.  I was fully expecting the delving into the back catalog to go on a little bit longer…it actually might still, but at the very least, I’ve two new items for today and tomorrow to keep everyone feeling at least a little bit up to date (or as up to date as a review written a month ago can be…I built up quite a buffer you guys).  So, what’s the new thing?  Well, technically something old.  2020 marks the 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and so Hasbro’s kind of re-orienting their various Star Wars lines this year in order to tie in with that a bit.  Some of the vintage-style-cardback figures have slipped out early, but the first real release of the 40th stuff is the next entry in the Black Series deluxe line-up, the Imperial Probe Droid.  As the first thing the audience sees in Empire, I suppose it’s a pretty fitting way of launching things, so let’s get right into it!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Probe Droid is figure D3 in the Black Series line-up, putting him right after the (no longer Best Buy-exclusive) Heavy Infantry Mandalorian.  It marks the Probe Droid’s fourth time in figure form, coming fairly closely to the third, which was released with the Last Jedi stuff in 2017.  On its base, the Droid stands, or floats rather, 8 1/4 inches tall and it has 23 points of articulation.  The smaller Probot was quite well articulated for the line he came from, and this guy does even better, with joints at pretty much all the spots that there are joints on the actual thing.  You’d be surprised how rare an occurrence that is.  In terms of the sculpt, this figure feels very much like an upscaling of the Last Jedi figure, which I suppose makes sense, because it effectively is.  They are adapting the same source material after all.  It’s even more sharply detailed this time, as you would expect for something with this much more canvas to work with.  In general, it’s just a very technically impressive sculpt, and the only way you’re really going to get better is with something on the much more high-end side of things.  And even then, that goes into the question of more details just being more attainable at a larger scale.  While the smaller Probot was light on the paint front, this one is actually pretty involved.  There’s a lot of really nifty little detail work, with all sorts of wear and tear worked in on the body’s main chunk.  It makes him look like a real working robot, and it really sells that signature used styling of the Star Wars universe.  The Probe Droid is a bit hard to accessorize, since it’s not like it uses a lot of stuff.  This guy gets a base to allow for a simulation of its usual hovering.  It’s the one area where I don’t feel this is quite as across the board an improvement on that smaller release, as they’ve opted to go with a more environment based stand, rather than the all clear like the prior figure.  It doesn’t look bad, and the snowy grounds of Hoth are the only time we see the bot in the movie, but it’s a little bit less versatile than I’d like, since I’m not really one for diorama set-ups.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Probe Droid is my first new toy purchase in roughly a month…or at least was when I wrote this review back in April.  I don’t know what antics future Ethan’s gotten up to in the mean time, but I’m sure we’ll all find out together.  While I wasn’t quite as excited as some when the figure was shown off (I was pretty darn happy with that smaller-scale one), I’ve kind of given in on owning most things Black Series these days.  Whatever the case, All Time got them in stock, and I, as previously noted, hadn’t gotten anything new, so, yeah, sign me up for that.  I’m glad I picked him up, because he’s the best Probe Droid out there, and a cool centerpiece to the Empire collection I’m going on only further build during this coming year.

As noted above, the Probe Droid was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2386: AT-AT Driver

AT-AT DRIVER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Empire’s Combat Drivers are trained to handle everything in the Imperial ground arsenal, but AT-AT pilots see themselves as elite, controlling their massive four-footed assault vehicles in combat against Rebel targets.”

Okay, let’s round out this week of Black Series reviews with one more from the backlog.  I’m looking at another member of the Imperial forces, but this time he’s of the more usual faceless nature for these guys.  The Empire Strikes Back‘s Battle of Hoth introduced a lot of new designs, but perhaps its most lasting and impactful was the AT-AT, a weird robot camel contraption which serves as the backbone of the Imperial forces during their run on the Rebel base.  It being Star Wars, the AT-ATs of course got their own dedicated, uniquely designed drivers, one of which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The AT-AT Driver is figure 31 in the Black Series line-up, and hit shelves in the rather sizable late-2016 assortment that also included Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Snowtrooper, Revan, and Sabine.  Initial shipments of this figure erroneously named him the “AT-AT Pilot”, which was apparently a major oversight, and needed a correction, so here we are with this corrected thing.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation. The articulation is okay overall, but the shoulder’s are reduced to little more than cut joints by the design of the shoulder plates, which don’t move out of the way of the joints the way they should.  Despite some surface-level similarities between the two designs, the AT-AT Driver shares no parts with the TIE Pilot, though they do still share quite a similar construction.  The sculpt does a respectable job of replicating the design as we see it on the screen, and the best work is definitely on the helmet, which is a pretty pitch-perfect recreation of the actual thing.  The detailing on this guy’s not quite as crisp as on some figures from the line, but it’s not the worst we’ve seen either.  The paintwork on this guy isn’t super exciting to look at, but there is a fair bit going on there.  The helmet and the chest piece get the most intricate work, and everything is crisp and clean.  Along with changing the name on the box, there was also a running change with the figure inside.  Early shipments had this figure with a flatter sheen on his armored parts, instead of the shinier finish of most of the run.  Mine is a later run figure through and through.  The Driver is packed with a standard E-11 blaster rifle, which we’ve seen dozens of times before.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like yesterday’s figure, this one’s been sitting on a shelf, unopened, for over a year.  Likewise, he was also purchased from Cosmic Comix, during one of their sales.  I’m not sure exactly why I picked him up, but I recall I was choosing between this or the Snowtrooper.  I’ve always liked this design a little more, so here we are.  He’s a nice enough figure.  Not super thrilling, or anything, but a solid recreation of a solid design.

#2382: Lando Calrissian

LANDO CALRISSIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Once a smooth-talking smuggler, Lando Calrissian changed from a get-rich-quick schemer to a selfless leader in the fight against the Empire.”

Okay, well, I’m not quite into the backlogs of my collection yet, but I’m running on fumes in regards to new stuff.  This week, I’ll be looking at a few things that are new to me, along with some things that I just hadn’t gotten around to reviewing, all under one common theme: Star Wars: The Black Series.  So, let’s kick things off by taking a look at one of the main heroes of the Original Trilogy, as well as one of the returning faces for last year’s Rise of Skywalker, Lando Calrissian!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lando Calissian is figure 39 in the Black Series line-up.  He hit shelves alongside the Royal Guard, Qui-Gonn, and a Tusken Raider.  Kind of an eclectic selection, but there it is.  Though it’s the third figure I’m looking at, this was Lando’s first figure in the line, and is based on his attire from Empire.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Lando is pretty standard for the era of the line in which he was released, being wedged between Rogue One and Last Jedi.  The line hadn’t quite made it to the improvements we would see in the latter half of the Last Jedi product, so compared to the other two Landos, he’s a noticeable step down in terms of both articulation and level of detail in the sculpt.  The lessened details are most noticeable on the head.  While this guy doesn’t look *unlike* Billy Dee Williams (in fact, he’s got a more than passing resemblance, to be fair), he certainly doesn’t have the spot-on likeness we saw on the Skiff Disguise Lando.  The rest of the body is a decent enough sculpt, if somewhat stiff in what you can do with the articulation.  The cape is a rather bulky rubber piece, which kind of restricts what can be done with the arms.  If you’re going to want any sort of gun-wielding pose, the cape’s gonna have to go.  The cape is also rather on the soft side when it comes to the details, which is really in contrast to the rest of the figure.  You can see they put effort into putting texturing into the sculpt, but it’s almost like something went off in the production process.  Lando’s paintwork pre-dates the move to the face printing, so he’s not nearly as lifelike or subtle on the detailing as figures that would follow.  He’s better than some of the figures that preceded him, though, and at least what paint is there is pretty crisp and cleanly applied.  Lando is packed with a blaster and a communicator, which pretty much covers the important extras he needs in this look.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The whole assortment that Lando was part of was a little tricky to find.  I did see Lando in person once, but I was low on funds, and ultimately had to pass.  When I got Skiff Guard Lando, I figured I was good, but I happened upon this guy at a Five Below a couple of months back.  For $5, I definitely wasn’t passing this guy up.  He’s a step down from more recent figures, but he’s certainly not a bad offering, and he doesn’t stick out quite as badly as some of the earlier figures did.  Now I’ve got my whole core Empire cast finally!

#2311: IG-88

IG-88

STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (KENNER)

Everybody’s got their own personal favorite bounty hunter from the Star Wars verse.  Well, okay, maybe not everybody.  That seems a little presumptuous.  Some people don’t like Star Wars.  I know, I know, that’s a hard pill to swallow, guys, but lets be real.  Now, for the Star Wars fans out there, we can at least all take solace in knowing that we all agree that the best bounty hunter, bar none is IG-88.  We all agree on that, right?  Right?  Come on guys, Star Wars fans are always a really agreeable bunch, right?  Anyone?  Anyone?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

IG-88 was released in the first assortment of Kenner’s The Empire Strikes Back line, debuting alongside the movie in 1980.  There were two notable variations of IG-88, most easily identified by the finish of the plastic.  Early IGs were a more metallic silver, while later in the run he was shifted over to a duller grey.  The one up top is the silver, but there’s a comparison shot of the two at the end of the review. No matter the variation you have, the figure stands about 4 inches tall (he was a tall boy) and he has 5 points of articulation.  The two versions of the figure actually had slightly different molds, although they were more or less the same sculpt, just with some minor manufacturing tweaks.  The initial sculpt is actually really strong, quite possibly the best sculpt to come out of the vintage line.  While he fits right in with the rest of the figures stylistically, he’s incredibly sharply detailed, and sports pretty much all of the elements he should for a proper screen accurate IG.  The sculpt was so good, that Kenner actually ended up re-using it with just one tweak when it came time for the PotF IG-88, but that’s a discussion for a later review.  For the later run IGs, the sculpt is slightly downgraded.  It’s still one of the best of the vintage line, mind you, and all of the important elements remain, but some of the smaller details are lost and the overall crispness of the sculpt is also gone.  There’s also one piece completely mission on the right leg, and protrusions from the head are generally cut shorter.  If you don’t compare the two, you wouldn’t really know what you were missing.  For the paint work, IG-88 was kind of light, with molded plastic making up most of it.  The bandolier is painted black on both figures, and the lights on the head are red on the silver figure and orange on the grey.  The application on the silver is a little more precise, lending to more of that sharpness like we saw with the sculpt.  Both versions of IG-88 were packed with two blaster rifles, one short, one long, molded in a dark blue, which is probably the thing that most gives away this figure as vintage.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always had a soft spot for IG-88.  Since he wasn’t in the original movie (and therefore one of the figures I inherited from my Dad’s childhood collection), he wound up being one of the earlier vintage figures I tracked down for myself, picked up from an antique school sometime during my high school years. That was the grey version, and was just on his own without the accessories.  I picked up a complete silver when it was traded into All Time a couple of months ago.  Silver is the superior release, but grey has his own charm.  I appreciate them both for what they are: two more pieces for my awesome IG-88 collection!