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Review : Star Wars Black Series Luke Skywalker Jedi Knight, Return of the Jedi



Following on from Triple Force Friday in October 2019, Hasbro announced the release of a brand new Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker figure. Luke was based on his Jedi Knight appearance from the Jabba's Palace scenes. The figure would be exclusive to Walmart in the US, but would be a shared exclusive via the Fan Channel elsewhere.

Packaging 4/5


Luke Jedi Knight arrives in the standard phase 3 packaging, but is of course not numbered being an exclusive. He is labelled as Luke Skywalker and has the subheading Jedi Knight to differentiate him from other Luke figures. We have a new Gregory Titus artwork of Luke in his robes with the hood down - and this is repeated on the reverse alongside the background text


"Luke Skywalker was a Tatooine farmboy who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known"



Paint & Sculpt 4/5


The likeness to Mark Hamill, as was in 1983, is very well captured in the head sculpt and further enhanced by the face print technology. This photo real tech delivers much more realism in the eyes and the skin tones around the eyes and nose - although in this instance Luke does look a little overheavy on the eye liner.


The body is well proportioned and includes a softer plastic tunic in a grey tone over a slim black body. There are no paint apps as such with each piece of the body cast in its base colour. The boots are presented in a glossier black to the trousers to add some contrast.


Luke comes with a soft goods cloak which slots over the head and hangs pretty well around the body. As usual the hood is unwieldy and does not sit well on the head, it does kind of behave when down and that is probably the better look when using the cloak.



The Luke head sculpt is a big improvement on the previous Return of the Jedi sculpt, with the hair much improved from a sculpt perspective and the overall likeness driven by the face print technology. After the head this is essentially the same body as the 2014 release with an added tunic piece added.



Accessories 4/5


Luke comes with one of those triangular stands that have been packed with selected Exclusives in 2019. Rather than a foot peg, there is a toe grip into which you slide the figures foot to hold it it in place. The stand is triangular and embossed with the Star Wars logo.


The fit is OK for Luke, but not tight. Being triangular the balance is also not great on the stand and as you lock in one foot or the other we don't get even spread of the figures weight and more dynamic poses just causes the stand to tip.


Luke comes with the DL-18 Blaster he appropriated in Jabba's palace. The cast on the weapon is very crisp and it gets a very nice paint job (compared to a lot of Black Series weapons) with a brown grip and dry brushed gunmetal finish.


Luke is fitted with a blaster hand to hold the weapon with a trigger finger that slots in place when it is held.



We also get Luke's green lightsaber from Return of the Jedi, this is a re-use from the original Luke Jedi Knight (2014) complete with the clunky hook on the end where it would hang on the original figures belt (this 2019 version has no such hook).


As per usual the blade comes off if you wish, and clicks back into the hilt when you want to brandish a lit saber. The saber hilt is pretty well decorated from a silver base to gold and black details up the shaft.


Our Saber arrived with the top emitter piece almost snapped off from the rest of the hilt. It seems these are softer plastic than the older versions and are not as tolerant to the insertion of the blade - so be warned.


Now remember the gun hand from before? Well this is the only hand you get with the figure and therefore when holding his lightsaber in his right hand - Luke looks to have his trigger finger raised at an odd angle. Considering the detail on these Black Series figures, it would not have added too much cost to add an alternative hand to the pack for the saber. This hand could have been gloved too to reflect the scenes on Jabba's sail barge.



Articulation


As this is the same base body as the 2014 Luke, it carries the same 16 points of articulation. It also carries some of the faults, in particular extremely floppy hips which makes standing Luke a challenge in some poses.


Head : ball joint pivot neck

Body : ball joint waist

Arm : ball joint shoulder, single joint rotating elbow, wrist pivot

Legs : ball joint hips, thigh swivel, double joint knee, ankle rockers


The ankles rocker on Luke also feel a bit weak and he is one to watch for shelf stability, particularly if he warms up a bit in summer.



The arms would be better with double joint elbows, particular for saber poses, but two handed posing is possible - albeit quite neutral rather than leaping to strike.


The stand, once balanced, does add value in dynamic posing such as running or attacking stances.



Summary


This is a great looking figure, delivered on the back of an existing sculpt - but also featuring a few of the older faults such as those floppy legs. The soft goods work well in this instance as long as you aren't precious about the hood being up. And the accessories are good, if not a bit fragile - and you are at least one hand sort in the box so Luke can hold both blaster and saber with a level of realism.



Apart from a few niggles, the other issue with this figure is it being an Exclusive. I was lucky to go early when it went up for pre-order, but it has already started to sell out. While I am not against Exclusive releases, Luke as a Jedi Knight from Return of the Jedi feels too big and important a figure to limit in terms of collectors being able to find him.


All in all I am impressed with the 2019 Luke Jedi Knight, and I score him a 4 out of 5.




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