Review : Luke Skywalker, Farmboy (A New Hope)
Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro)
Wave/Series : 40th Anniversary, Wave 1
Released : March 2017
Price : £24.99
In early 2017 Hasbro announced a series of 6" scale Black Series figures to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars, A New Hope. The intention was to replicate the original 12 Kenner figures by releasing the 6" versions on retro Kenner style cards.
The first wave was released March 2017 and was made up of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, R2-D2 and Obi-Wan Kenobi. All five figures were re-releases, although Leia did get a revised headsculpt.
The new card backs are sized to accommodate the 6" figures, without being a direct upscale of the original 3.75" figures. They utilise the same character image as well as the Star Wars and Kenner logo's. The character name is set into a coloured box, with the same colouring used behind the figure.
A neat 40th Anniversary logo sits in the top left corner.
Round the back of the card is a checklist of the 12 figures that will be released. These are framed in various colours, each colour matching the scheme that will be used on their card. Under the 12 figures is an image of the Legacy pack, the stand that revisits the original Early Bird pack and gives collectors who aren't keeping these on card a display option for loose figures.
A subtle Black Series logo is atop the card and of course being 40 years after Kenner & Lucasfilm, we now find the Disney logo at the base of the card along with the present day safety notices and legal logo's
Out of the box and Luke stands 5 3/4 inches high, so accurate in terms of how he stands shorter than Han Solo. The head sculpt, or certainly the hair, is a new sculpt with the face being similar to the Stormtrooper Luke from phase 2. The facial element is a decent enough likeness to Mark Hamill, but suffers from being too glossy and also quite basic in paint applications - something that has deteriorated over time with the Black Series. I say this in nearly all my Black Series reviews now - "I would love to see what a talented painter would do with the sculpt".
The glossy skin tone continues into the chest and arms and these are covered by the controversial soft goods tunic. There will be loads of arguments to and for soft goods for this type of clothing. Purists will want no soft goods at all, or just reserve them for capes/robes. Others will applaud Hasbro trying something different - and how it helps cover unsightly joints without holding back the articulation. I've taken a few days to consider how I feel about the tunic. It is a light enough material so holds a decent shape across the body - but is too puffy on the sleeves. The longer edges are stitched, but the sleeves and the bottom are not and look very susceptible to fraying at some point. My biggest issue is that I think it is too white - it needs dirtying up a bit. Out of the box it looks like Luke is advertising Tatooine's version of Daz.
The belt does a good job holding the tunic in place and is pretty well detailed with a darker wash over the brown and then various implements and pouches hanging down. I do find myself frustrated here though where they can apply washes and highlights to a belt, but not to a characters face.
The trousers are a pale sand colour and up close do have a bit of texture to them, although the paint is a plain colour so there is no attempt to bring out the texture. The boots on the other hand are weathered to look like they are sandy and dirty - which then makes the difference between boots (dirty) and tunic (Daz white) not make any sense.
Articulation is pretty awesome however, one of the better Black Series figures. The head moves freely and can rotate fully as well as look up and down. The arms are pretty amazing, with no constraints from clothing or robes thanks to the soft goods. The ball jointed shoulders rotate fully and go up and down, and the elbows - well wow - these can actually fold back on themselves so Luke can easily get into double handed light saber action poses. He can even touch his own chest if he feels the need. A torso joint also sits neatly under the tunic allowing Luke to bend back and forward and rotate his torso.
Legs are fully maneuverable at the hips, again unencumbered by the lower part of the tunic. There is then a thigh swivel, which is probably a bit unnecessary, but is hidden behind the tunic also so isn't a detraction. Knees are double jointed, and the ankles are on a ball rocker so not only do they point forward or back but they also move side to side which means Luke's feet can always be planted flat to the floor despite how wide his stance is.
Accessories are a light saber and the binoculars that Luke uses in his pursuit of R2-D2. The saber fits well into either hand, as well as being held double handed. The blade is clear coloured plastic, perhaps a little pale than I would like and on mine there was also a flaw which is a shame. The blade comes out from the hilt, and the hilt can then be hung on Luke's belt if needed. The binoculars are also well done - cast in black plastic with painted silver details. They fit into either or both hands, and thanks to that awesome arm movement you can pretty much get Luke into a pose so that he is looking through the binoculars looking for Sand people.
And here is my big issue with this figure, not the head sculpt, not the soft goods - but the lazy lack of accessories. Had this figure come in 2013 at at launch we would have had a wealth of options to allow us as fans to choose which Luke from A New Hope we had on display. For an ultimate collectors figure then this Luke should have also come with his Tatooine head gear & rifle, training ball and helmet from the Falcon and perhaps even the Stormtrooper belt from the Death Star escape.
Luke was a 3 out of 5 figure for us when he arrived in the Red Phase 3 packaging in 2016. While the sculpt isn't perfect, it is passable as a 1977 Mark Hamill. The soft goods aren't too bad either once you've played with and arranged them. The big issue is the cleanliness of them for a character that lives on a Desert planet and has been fighting Tusken Raiders and Storm Troopers.
The big selling point is the retro card, and I suspect the most of these will be kept on card on display. For those of us around in the very late 70's and then into the 1980's the card will also play heavily on the nostalgia aspect and you won't help but feel like a child again when get your hands on one of these - especially if you find it in store.
The price has gone up, to £25 in most places, so value for money is now being stretched. And with all that factored in I will be scoring the 40th Anniversary release of Luke the same as the previous version.