Friday, January 9, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 933: Luke Skywalker (Jabba's Palace)

Saga Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84715 No. 84731
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0404
Includes: Lightsaber, cloak, blaster
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $5.99
Availability: January 2004
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Hiding his identity, Luke went to Jabba the Hutt's palace on a mission to rescue Han Solo, frozen in carbonite and a macabre wall sculpture in the crime lord's abode, Luke attempted to use Jedi mind tricks to influence the Hutt to free Solo, but the loathsome slug of a gangster was immune to such techniques. Jabba captured Luke and cast him into the rancor pit for a battle to the death. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: Around 2002, Hasbro let fans know two versions of Luke Skywalker in his Jedi Knight outfit would be coming, one would be collector-friendly and the other would be a little... less so. This was the collector one. Featuring a cloth cloak, a blaster, and a lightsaber, Hasbro attempted to recreate the 1983 Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker toy with modern bells and whistles. For the most part, they succeeded-- he had jointed knees (still more or less a novelty at the time), swivel wrists, swivel elbows, shoulders, and the normal articulation you've all come to love. While not a super-articulated figure, it really was an example of some of Hasbro's finer work for the time. His hands were sculpted to have a few different uses, like parading around Jabba's palace and also holding a weapon.

As a toy, it basically works but it has difficulty sitting. Other than that, it's a pretty good example of some of Hasbro's better basic figure work around the time that the "new standard" was ushered in by the super-articulated Clone Trooper in late 2003. So at the time, it was a bit of a letdown because we had, just a month earlier, seen a figure which gave us all a glimpse of what the future holds for the line. A future, I might add, which still hasn't come to pass-- the 2007 attempt was a huge step backward, with its odd tan, huge hands, and awful attempt at the costume. The 2008 Sandstorm version was a little better, but lacks the vest-- so I guess we're all still game for yet another version, despite at least one "new" Return of the Jedi Luke figure being sold each year since 2003-- except 2005.

Collector's Notes: Hasbro really likes this mold. It was immediately recolored as a holographic figure just one wave later, and it's been repackaged numerous times to varying degrees of success. A memorable late 2008 reissue appeared as a Target exclusive and featured some of the worst paint you'll ever see out of Hasbro in the Battle at the Sarlacc battle pack. In 2006, the base figure and lightsaber were given a helmet, a poncho, and a belt as well as a new hand and revised legs to recreate the Endor version of the figure.

Day 933: January 9, 2009

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