In 2017, as part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations, Hasbro built an enormous diorama for their Black Series figures that was first displayed at San Diego comic con. The set featured released figures and parts - but a couple of bits were mocked up for the display, most notably a new slicked back hair head for Luke Skywalker in his stormtrooper armour. Roll forward to 2019 and the new head was released on the original Luke Stormtrooper body as an exclusive. The release was exclusive to Target in the US, and was supplied via the Fan Channel elsewhere.
The original Stormtrooper disguise Luke was a phase 2 blue line release, while this new version is updated to the phase 3 red packaging with red figure backing colour and side spine. As an exclusive there is no numbering, and the figure is titled "Luke Skywalker" with a bracketed subtitle as "Death Star Escape".
The artwork is all new and features a Luke with slicked back hair - which is the main update on this figure vs the original release. The artwork is repeated on the back of the box along with some specific text around Luke and his role in the Death Star Escape.
"In a brave attempt to rescue Princess Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker disguises himself as an Imperial Stormtrooper and infiltrates the detention centre of the Death Star."
Paint & Sculpt 4/5
The new head sculpt is a much improved - albeit not perfect - likeness to Mark Hamill and utilises the face print technology which really brings a realism to the eyes and facial shading in particular. The slicked back hair is well done and well painted with some washing of darker brown through the sand colour.
After the head, the figure uses the same Luke Stormtrooper release as the 2015 release. This body is itself an adjusted version of the Black Series Stormtrooper body. Hasbro have reduced the midsection and taken a bit from the top of the legs so Luke is "a little short for a Stormtrooper". This adjustment does pose some issues. The first is Luke's arms - which have not been shortened - look too long if posed straight. The other is some further restriction in articulation, which I will look at shortly.
The Stormtrooper armour is cast in white or black plastic depending on the part. This means the armour in the main is very glossy and a good match for what we see on screen. The neck is cast in black with Luke's skin tone painted poorly on top. Similarly, the hands are cast in black with the white pane painted on top - this isn't finished too well with the white not covering all it should. It is also much duller than the rest of the armour.
To represent Luke landing in the Trash Compactor, this time round the armour is dirtied with splashes of brown mud. This is well executed and gives the figure another point of difference to the original.
As this is Luke in the Stormtrooper disguise he does come with a helmet - even if he had ditched it by the point he hits the Trash Compactor. The helmet looks to be a new / updated version of the original 2015 helmet with a better shape and glossier finish. It is well painted and is also weathered.
The fit over Luke's head is tight but it sits well on the head. With the inclusion of the helmet and the weathering this is perhaps a cheap way of getting some "Remnant" Stormtroopers for your Mandalorian display?
Accessory two is very difficult to photograph due to the size and is the communicator that came with the original set. There is no change from the original. It is a simple cast piece with the two ends painted white and not alot of real detail. It fits in either hand, but fits best in the left hand.
Luke is armed with the E-11 blaster, another carry over from the 2015 release (and all other Stormtrooper releases). The version does get a slight update with a silver panel painted just below the sight area.
This sits into Luke's right hand, where a flexible trigger finger will slot in place to hold it. The gun can also be holstered in the working holster on the left side rear of Luke's belt.
And finally as this is an Exclusive 2019 figure, Luke has one of the new triangular stands that we've seen on other exclusives of 2019 like the Imperial Rocket Trooper and Clone Commander Obi-Wan.
The stand is a clear plastic triangular piece with the Star Wars Black Series logo printed into the plastic. Rather than a foot peg, it uses a shaped piece at one point of the triangle into which the figures foot slips. The fitting is not perfect, as feet do vary on different figures. It will hold the figure, and can help support some action poses such as running - but quite often it will overbalance with the weight all being supported on one of the extremities and not the centre of the stand.
Luke stands perfectly well without the stand and I have discarded the stand totally.
As Luke uses the older 2014 Stormtrooper body, he does arrive with a total of 18 points of articulation. This is two more than normal thanks to double jointed elbows and the supporting bicep swivel above them.
Head : neck ball joint & pivot
Body : midriff ball joint
Arms : ball joint shoulder, bicep swivel, double joint elbows, wrist pivot
Legs : ball joint hips, thigh swivel, double joint knees, ankle rockers
The arm articulation is excellent with plenty of scope in the arms to wield the blaster and to call C-3PO using the communicator. The legs are a different matter. As I mentioned earlier I think some height was removed by trimming the top of the hips - this brings the armour of the thigh even closer to that on the groin and this holds most leg movement in check. Luke won't sit or kneel and that really wastes the knee articulation. The ankle rockers are tight and support Luke standing perfectly well without the stand.
This is a nice upgrade to the original Luke Stormtrooper figure, and might have sat neatly in the Archive releases as much as it does as an Exclusive. The new head is good, particularly when lit as you can see in our images below. You also can't fault the volume of accessories, including a Stormtrooper helmet that works well over the new head and doesn't look oversized or misshapen.
The armour, being adjusted from the original Stormtrooper to make this figure short enough, has a couple of issues. The arms are too long, but this can be overcome with posing. The articulation in the legs is also restricted.
I am really pleased with the Luke Skywalker (Death Star Escape) and score him a 4 out of 5.