Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Figure of the Day: Day 1,211: Luke Skywalker (Hoth)

LUKE SKYWALKER in Hoth Gear with Tauntaun
Power of the Force Beast Assortment
Item No.:
Asst. 69729 No. 69645
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: #BD33
Includes: Blaster, bridle, Tauntaun
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: January 1998
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Quick and Powerful, Capable of Surviving in Frigid Temperatures (Taken from the figure's box. And yes, that was from the Tauntaun. Oh well.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: In the early days of the modern line, the addition of a waist joint was a pretty big jump ahead. Seeing new moving parts like knees on this Luke Skywalker was huge, mainly because it meant the days of trapdoors on the back of creature toys-- which, while effective, would be over. The good news is that the creatures themselves tended to look a little better, the bad news is that the figures looked a little worse. Because of the fact he was made specifically for sitting, Luke has a very wide stance, but not so wide that you couldn't have him stand and look somewhat normal. The figure is based on the 1997 individually packaged Hoth Luke with a few changes, the most important of which are his legs and knees. He can sit-- which, at the time, was normal for most figures. Today, a new Hoth Luke figure would likely be sculpted with plastic around the legs to complete the look of the coat, and this may hamper his ability to ride his creature.

Being a 1998 figure based on a 1997 figure, there's not a lot here to write home about beyond the fact that he's great for riding Tauntauns. The 2003 Hoth Luke has a better overall sculpt, but has been rendered unable to sit on his steed. Due to Hasbro's reluctance to ape the G.I. Joe articulation style for creature-riding figures, it seems unlikely that a future Hoth Luke will be made in a manner which will be perfect for the Tauntaun, so this means only one thing: Hasbro needs to bring back the old-style Kenner trap doors of old.

This figure isn't bad, but it isn't necessarily worth tracking down unless you need a Luke for your Tauntaun. And if you have a Tauntaun, there's a good chance you already have a Luke or two. Snag it if it comes up in a set or a lot, and you probably won't be sorry.

Collector's Notes: This figure was reissued in a Toys "R" Us exclusive blue-boxed Saga gift set a few years later for $20, and for just $5 more you got a Chewie, a Leia, an astromech droid, and a retooled Tauntaun with guts that spill out of his belly. Is it any wonder some fans are concerned about price when you see this kind of drop in the middle of the range?

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,211: February 3, 2010

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