Review : Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot. Star Wars Black Series (Phase 1 / 40th Anniversary Celebration
Updated: Sep 29, 2019
Review : Luke Skywalker, X-Wing Pilot Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro) Wave/Series : Wave 1 (Phase 1) Released : August 2013
Price : £19.99
The Mephitsu Archives did not exist in 2013 when the 6" Black Series range launched. In fact our only look at any of the early figures has been a very brief overview by wave when the main website went live.
With the current re-release of a number of these early figures on 40th Anniversary cards - its a great opportunity to revisit these early figures and take a more in-depth look at them and score them using our 5 star rating.
For the Luke X-Wing we are looking at an original 2013 release, but will include some thoughts a little further on around the 40th Anniversary special release from Star Wars Celebration 2017 in Orlando.
Luke was the figure that essentially launched the Black Series 6" range, he is number #01 in the original orange series. The figure arrives in a black matt box with cut out window insert through which the figure is visible. A frame around three sides of the window gives you the Star Wars Black Series logo top left and to the right of this the grey scaled art we know so well. In the phase 1 packaging this is in a circular frame and is of the characters head only.
To the bottom of the box is the character number and name in orange text. There is then the Hasbro logo and some warning text around age and choking hazards.
The window allows full visibility of the figure which is sat on a black backing card. An orange dotted line, reminiscent of the lighting on the Death Star, runs vertically to the right of the figure as you look. Luke's lightsaber and blaster are packed to the side. His helmet is packed under his right arm.
The two sides of the packaging are quite plain. The right is a wrap around of the window and the left is essentially plain black. Round the back the orange line returns down one side and the back is headed up with the Star Wars Black Series logo. Under this sits a repeat of the character name in orange and then in grey text a very brief character bio and then in italics a quote from A New Hope "It will be just like Beggars Canyon back home". For US releases the rest of the box rear is an image of Luke from A New Hope, converted to grey lined image. For international releases this is often covered with a large oversticker containing the figure info in alternative languages - if you are careful you can peel this off if you wish.
Review : Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro) Wave/Series : 40th Anniversary Carded Celebration Exclusive Released : April 2017
Price : $27.99 (Convention price)
For the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars A New Hope in 2017, Hasbro have revisited a number of their 6" figures (and some new ones) and released them on retro cards which match the original Kenner artwork and design and even carry the Kenner logo.
While the original 12-back of figures are out for standard release, Star Wars Celebration Orlando got it's own release to tag onto the 40th Anniversary. This was a repack of the highly sought after X-Wing Luke.
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. While all of this is consistent with the other 40th Anniversary figures, the big variance is that this card is done in a metallic sheen.
While the front is consistent with all the other 40th carded figures, the reverse is a big change. Instead of a checklist of figures the card is dominated by an image of X-Wings in battle over the Death Star. This is surrounded in the double silver lined frame we associated so much with the Vintage figures. Under this image in a blue box is a bio of Luke and his role in the Battle of Yavin. The card ends with the usual safety notices and the Disney & Hasbro logo's. It is interesting that there is no specific mention of Star Wars Celebration on the packaging?
Out of the packaging and you are presented with a Luke figure that stands 5 1/2 inches high. This would be accurate to Mark Hamill's reported height of 1.75m and means Luke scales accurately when displayed alongside say Han or Leia
It is hard in a retrospective look to not compare the figure against others that have been released since. However, I stand by the fact that this X-Wing Luke sculpt that was done back in 2013 is still the best Hamill likeness we have had in the range. The head isn't perfect, and is painted quite plainly with a flat skin tone and then neat blue eyes. The hair is brown with dry-brushed highlights which are probably too light.
The one issue with the head is the neck pivot which is clearly visible under the chin.
The X-Wing pilot orange is consistent with the on screen colouring and the baggy flight suit has folds and creases to mimic the real costume. It is also washed to dirty and weather it. Luke doesn't look like the flight suit is fresh from the laundry. On top of the chest section is the white ribbed vest and over the top is a chest device in grey with various buttons done in pastel colours. From this comes a pipe which is in flexible plastic that connects to widget further down on the chest. Round the back of the torso is the other half of the vest and with a sculpted and painted strap and buckle. From the rear of the vest hangs a flexible grey strap. This loops down through the pegs and connects back up to a belt. From the loop section, down near the knees, two further straps shoot off and wrap the knees and return back to the strap.
Luke wears glossy black flight gloves and on his left arm on the shoulder there are some slotted in silver accessories. If you are being over critical these do have some paint bleed.
Similar devices surround the right leg above the boot. This time they are on a strap of some kind an the painting of the silver on top of the grey strap is much neater. The legs end with glossy black boots.
When the Black Series launched the original ethos was to jam pack each release with plenty of accessories allowing the collector to vary their display. This has obviously changed as a principle as we moved through subsequent releases, but for Luke it means he comes with a removable helmet as well as blaster and lightsaber.
The helmet is made of a softer plastic, yet doesn't look or feel soft or rubbery. The movement this gives means the helmet goes on and off the head easily and once on it does not look over-sized as some working helmets often do. The base colour of the helmet is white, and it is then decorated with dark red trim down the ridge and two rebel red squadron symbols to either side. There is then some yellow trim and additional symbols to each side and the black circle logo. A lot of these are likely decals not paint, but they all work and are as good a match to the prop helmets that you can expect at this scale and price point. The colours are vibrant and lined in black in places and the helmet has been washed and weathered.
The helmet also carries a flexible chin strap and a see through yellow visor. The visor takes some positioning once on Luke's head to get him looking right, the chin strap can then be hooked under his chin.
Articulation for Luke sits at about 16 points of articulation. The head is ball jointed and then also on a pivot. While the pivot is too big and visible for my liking it allows Luke a full range of movement round and then lets him move his head up and down as far as his chin or hair line will allow.
The shoulders are ball jointed and pull out to 90 degrees and will then also rotate. The elbows are single joint that also rotates, due to the way the arm is sculpted there is a wider range of movement in the elbow than some figures and Luke's elbow bends to 90 degrees and then a few degrees more. This extra movement allows for the 2-handed lightsaber pose we will see later.
The rotating hands also help support this, although the pivot hinge you can see on both hands add's nothing on the right hand - while it allows the left to bend really well. It is this bend in the wrist which allows Luke to hold his helmet under the arm, Top Gun style.
A torso joint exists, tucked under that flight vest. It doesn't move all that far but permits Luke to lean forward and into more action orientated stances.
The legs start with ball jointed hips, followed by thigh swivels and double jointed knees. These allow wider stances and poses, and the strapping does move with them - and impressively it is engineered to move far enough to let Luke sit down or kneel.
The ankle joints are rockers with a vast range of movement to let you keep Luke's feet flatly planted. They also feel ratcheted, and are therefore very secure. There is no chance of Luke X-Wing falling over in your display.
Going back to the other accessories, and the first is the DL-44 Blaster. This blaster is consistent with the original Kenner release and although not used by Luke in A New Hope as he was too busy flying, he is using it during The Empire Strikes back while on Dagobah. This personifies the Black Series original goal of giving you options of which Luke you would display. The blaster is cast in a crisp black plastic - none of your rubbery weapons here. It has a brown painted grip and a silver barrel. It fits into either hand with the right hand having a flexible trigger finger and this fits into the trigger of the blaster.
Luke didn't use his lightsaber in A New Hope while wearing the X-Wing gear, and the Kenner version also did not include it. The later 1995 POTF release did add the lightsaber, and it is nice to see it here in this Black Series release. Again this gives you the option of displaying Luke with blaster, light saber or both.
The saber set the standard for all Black Series sabers to come with its removable blade. The hilt is crisp with loads of detail for such a small item. It is painted silver with black red and gold details all added - all neat with the exception of the gold which has leached a little into the silver.
Luke can hold the hilt in either hand or with both hands in a number of action poses. The blade is a clear blue that slots and clicks satisfyingly into the hilt. The colouring is blue enough for what you would expect, but not too solid in colour.
When not being used the hilt of the saber has its very own hook on Luke's belt and it can be hung out of the way.
So there he is, the figure that launched the series and that is now being hunted down yet again in the Celebration packaging. With two releases being looked at here then I am going to disregard the prices that these are selling for on the secondary market - assuming we have bought these at their respective RRP.
The Celebration packaging will of course be desirable for Mint In Box collectors who are picking up the 40th Anniversary cards. The orange line box will suit those who are collecting the boxed packaging, and keeping them MIB. The figure itself is identical other than some very minor factory variations that are inevitable when you do a new production run. Despite being from 2013, this Luke stands up with any of the current releases and even beats them on the level of painting, weathering and accessories. While the economy has moved on and made this format much harder for Hasbro to put out, the fact is Luke X-Wing is one of the premium figures the line has produced so far and warrants that 5 out of 5 score.