Thursday, October 23, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 877: Bespin Luke Skywalker

Power of the Force Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 69570 No. 69713
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, blaster, freeze frame action slide
Action Feature: Removable right hand
Retail: $5.99
Availability: January 1998
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV tray.

Bio: Sensing his friends are in critical danger, Luke Skywalker ventures to Cloud City before finishing his Jedi training. Unbeknownst to him, Darth Vader has prepared an elaborate trap with the darkest of intentions. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Commentary: It took like what seemed to be forever for Kenner to get to Luke Skywalker in his Bespin outfit in the modern line. The good news is that when they got to him, they did a pretty great job-- for the time. Obviously in 2008 the figure isn't too impressive, but for 1998 it was stunning. Luke was significantly less beefy than previous modern releases, plus his head has been redesigned to look less awful. He could sit, pilot a ship, or stand without too much trouble plus he had a removable right hand-- a first for the action figure line, and this feature would become increasingly more common as the line (and dismemberment) went on.

The figure's look is fairly simple-- he's molded in a tan color with some darker brown paint added to bring out some of the detail. While not bloody, the figure was sculpted with moderate battle damage including torn pockets and a couple of rips elsewhere on his costume. Because of how Kenner elected to paint him, it really isn't obvious-- you have to look at the figure up close to see these added details. The costume basically matches the movie, and future figures went on to refine the look by adding articulation as well as improved (2002) and horrible (2007) head sculpts as time went on. This version is by no means essential at this stage in the line, but it's pretty good and is arguably the best plaything out of any of the versions Kenner or Hasbro would produce. For my money, though, the 2002-2004 sculpt was the best.

Collector's Notes: While there aren't many interesting variations to speak of short of international packaging and a spelling variation on the back, there are some notable tidbits about this one. For starters, this figure was in the very first wave to sport a line-wide price increase, raising the consumer cost by about a buck. Second, most if not all early promotional shots show him coming with a grappling hook blaster which was ultimately not included with the figure. Third, it was the first retail figure to include a wrist joint.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 877: October 23, 2008


Philip Ayres said...

Wasn't this figure hideously short packed when it first appeared ?

dsl89 said...

I loved this figure to death when it came out in '98. I still display it because it is still a pretty good figure.
I do remember it being a pain to find. I think I only found it when KB was starting to clear things out in 1999.

Ben Carthage said...

To me this is one of those figures that, even though technology has passed him by, is still great. I have the newer one but this is a handful of older ones I keep on display as he is still just so well done.