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Review : Star Wars Black Series Luke Skywalker and Yoda (Jedi Training) The Empire Strikes Back


To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and following on from the Deluxe Probe Droid, Hasbro released a Deluxe Set of Luke Skywalker and Yoda from their Jedi Training scenes on Dagobah. The Dagobah Luke was the winner of a Fan Vote from 2019, while Yoda finally got a size reduction to be better scaled. Luke will get a re-release in the 3rd wave of Vintage carded 40th Anniversary figures - but if you want a full on Jedi Training Luke, then this is the set you need.

Packaging 5/5


The set comes in packaging that uses a lot of the Phase 3 packaging design features, but merges them with some classic elements - particularly the silver tramline around the window and The Empire Strikes Back logo.


The box is about 4 cm wider than a normal box, and for some reason is about 0.5 cm deeper which is odd as nothing in the box warrants the box to be any deeper. It is the same height as the normal boxes.


The front of the box has a 40th Anniversary logo in silver foil in the top right. It also uses a Gregory Titus illustration of Luke with Yoda on his back. The set name, in red, sits under the Empire logo and crosses into the illustration.


The set is numbered as it is not an exclusive, it is specified as D4 the 4th general release in the Deluxe Series. The numbering sits on the red side spine and again on the back alongside a bigger image of the Titus artwork and some background text for the set.


"Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back with Luke Skywalker & Yoda figures. At the urging of Obi-Wan, Yoda agreed to instruct Luke, developing his Jedi abilities"



Paint & Sculpt 5/5


Luke is a brand new figure from the ground up as far as I can tell. The head sculpt is amazing, and definitely the best Mark Hamill likeness in the line to date. The face uses face print technology to bring out the realism in the sculpt - which itself is impressive with a determined and out of breath look for Luke - complete with unkempt and sweaty looking hair.


Luke is sculpted in his vest, with the arms uncovered. The joints in the arms have been well disguised so he doesn't look clunky when posed. The legs are the flight suit trousers from the Bespin getup, but are brand new sculpt and nt from the existing Bespin figure. Both vest and trousers are cast in the base colour, then washed with a darker brown and finished with some grey splashes to create a grimy finish - as you see on screen and as you would expect from someone training in a Dagobah swamp.



Yoda too is a brand new figure, now shrunk down a little to be a better scale to the Empire Strikes Back puppet - and, as we will see later, to fit in that backpack.


Yoda comes with two head sculpts, both the same size as the previous version, but new sculpts. The first is a standard head, the second with eyes closed in concentration ready to lift up an X-Wing. Both are gorgeous thanks to a combination of an amazing head sculpt and the new face print.


Yoda is wearing his robes, now tailored to the smaller body and in the same material as the previous 40th Anniversary / Archive Yoda. The bissl sits round his neck - watch out for that getting snagged and trapped when you swap heads. The robes are tied with a plastic belt which does not come undone and therefore the robes cannot be removed, although there is a sculpted body underneath. The robe is already threading a little being a courser material so watch out for snagging loose threads and fraying at the edges.

The robes do cover the hands, and needs to be pushed back a little to expose them. The hands, and feet, are painted well in the same green tone as Yoda's head with the claws picked out in a darker brown.



You can see below the scale of this new Yoda alongside Luke, and alongside the previous released version. You can also see the comparison to the Bespin Luke (Archive Release) and the differences in the trousers which I had assumed may have been reused into this set.


Some early comments were critical of Yoda's head size vs his body. I personally don't see this with the set in hand and open - it perhaps has more to do with the packaging and how it frames the head and compresses the robes?


I will mention, for those who think the same as I, that the heads are not interchangeable on Yoda. The ball socket on the new one is much smaller than the existing one so you can't transplant the spare head onto a Yoda body for a variant version - not without making some physical adjustments to either the peg or the hole.



Accessories 4/5


The Jedi Training set comes with a raft of accessories, mainly for Luke, to allow for the various scenes from Dagobah to be recreated. We start with Luke's lightsaber, and this is the same as the previous Luke/Anakin releases but with a brighter silver finish. We have black painted fins, gold on the strip and red on the button near the emitter.


The blade is pale blue with quite a thick socket to connect to the hilt - this means the fit is secure and the saber is less likely to be damaged or bend.


The saber will fit into either or both hands for posing. Like a lot of Black Series figures who have both Saber's and Blasters the decision has been to give Luke a trigger finger hand and letting that "make do" to hold the saber.



Luke is als armed with his DL-44 blaster. This is not quite the same as the Archive Luke release and is not numbered on the body of the weapon as seen with the two previous releases with the original Bespin Luke and Archive Bespin Luke.


Mine arrived warped, possibly due to a combination of the packaging inner tray and the softer plastic leaving the barrel is very bent and misshapen. The weapon fits in Luke's right hand where a softer plastic trigger finger can slot into place.



Luke does come with a second pair of hands and these are designed for force actions and some acrobatics. The hands swap out easily, but the pegs are much slimmer than usual so be mindful of that when swapping them over.


When this set was released it was demonstrated that the flat left palm could support the figure in the single arm handstand we see Luke perform in the film. As the image below testifies, this is indeed possible - although I failed to get Yoda stood on his foot unaided. This pose is very much dependent on the left arm elbow joint, and mine is a little loose. It might have been nice for Hasbro to build the left hand into a stand to help posing - even if you get Luke balanced he will never stay in this pose on display for any length of time.



Moving on to Yoda, and he gets his walking stick. And this is significantly shrunk from the previous release. At such as small size the detai is hard to see but it does seem to include some wooden texture. It is cast straight with the curved top and will slot into either hand.



The final accessory is the backpack for Luke to wear, and Yoda to sit in. It is cast in a blue rubber plastic with paint apps on the buckles and straps in silver. To get it onto the figure you will need to find the plug which is positioned on the strap that would sit on Luke's left shoulder. A plug connects the strap to the pack and unclips to get the backpack onto the figure.


The only issue with this design is how fiddly it is to reattach the plug once the backpack is on the figure. It would have been easier to have the connection on the front rather than tucked into the back strapping.



Articulation 5/5


Luke is one of the most articulated Black Series figures I have seen to date, with a total of 19 points of articulation and no armour, capes or belts to restrict the movement of any of them.


Head : ball joint neck, ball joint neck base

Body : ball joint torso

Arms : ball joint shoulders, butterfly shoulders, single joint rotating elbows, wrist pivot

Legs : ball joint hips, thigh swivel, single joint rotating knees, ankle rockers


The neck joint removes the ugly pivot we usually see and still allows the head full movement. The butterfly shoulders support the posing of the arms for two handed saber poses and for posing with the backpack, as per the iconic image from the film.



The arms, even without the double joint elbow, pretty much fold back on themselves. And the single joint knees still allow for kneeling and sitting poses - albeit the last one is a little awkward.


If you want a workaround or the handstand pose, then I would recommend a stand of some kind. I used these cheaper secondary market stands to hold Luke in place. You can even take waist clip from a second stand to hold Yoda if you want to put this on display.



Despite his small stature, Yoda too boasts a relatively impressive set of articulation for someone so small. He comes with 14 points of articulation in total, and while the movement in each may be limited it does allow for some iconic posing.


Head : ball joint neck

Body : waist swivel

Arms : ball joint shoulder, single rotating elbow joint, wrist rotation

Legs : ball joint hips, single rotating knee joint, ball joint ankle


Yoda can reach out with the Force, particularly impressive with the eyes closed head. He can also lean both hands on his walking stick, as well as hunch over to walk with his stick.



With the backpack engaged, the two figure become one display piece. Luke's articulation allows for the same wide range of movement even with the backpack in place. This includes using his saber, or posed as though holding the straps of the back pack.


In situ in the backpack Yoda's legs are rendered useless, but his head and arms will need to be posed to instruct Luke as though talking to one side of his head, or reaching past him to gestue at something or make a point.


Summary


The Yoda and Luke Skywalker Jedi Training Deluxe set is pretty much flawless, apart from one warped blaster. The box is a wonderful hybrid of new and old, while both figures look superb and articulate brilliantly. The accessories are extensive, and there are a wide range of options for the set if you want to unbox it and have it on display in one of the Dagobah scene poses.



The promise of Luke being able to balance on one hand is realised, but he will need help to be posed that way for any length of time on display. And any criticism of the slimmed down Yoda having too big a head will simply vanish when you have it in hand and start posing.


I have no qualms at all about rating this set our top marks of 5 out of 5.




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About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...

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