Review : Star Wars Black Series Luke Skywalker Snowspeeder, 40th Anniversary The Empire Strikes Back
Updated: May 9
Luke Skywalker in his Snowspeeder flight suit from the Battle of Hoth was released in the Spring of 2020 on special Kenner inspired vintage cardbacks to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. This sub-line of the 6 inch Star Wars Black Series started in 2017 with the 40th Anniversary of A New Hope, and the 2020 line continues the design with a number of new characters and figures on these gorgeous vintage cards. Luke Snowspeeder Pilot is part of Wave 2 which also includes the Tie Fighter Pilot, Lando Calrissian, Hoth Rebel Trooper and R2-D2 Dagobah.
Snowspeeder Luke comes on the Vintage cardback, complete with Kenner logo and the tramlines border for the figure and the Empire Strikes Back logo. This figure never got a Vintage release by Kenner, so the image on the cardback has been selected by Hasbro and used on this figure and their 3.75 inch retro release. It shows Luke in his Snowspeeder gear without a helmet.
The card back is also a replication of the 1980's versions, with the other figures from the wave displayed in varying character specific colour boxes. Beneath this is the 40th Anniversary text which is generic to all card backs. There is no character specific text.
"Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with figures from The Black Series, featuring classic design and packaging"
The only downside of a card of this nature is damage, particularly if these are bought from physical stores rather than specialist retailers. Even fresh out of the case there is a slight bend on the card.
Paint & Sculpt 5/5
The figure is absolutely fantastic in hand, much improved on the older X-Wing Luke body, with no obvious re-use of parts. The proportions are much better and the suit is faithful to the one used in Empire with the longer flight jacket, puffy collar and wrapped boots.
The majority of the outfit is cast in orange plastic, with paint work applied on top for the vest, chest unit and strapping as needed. Paint is applied neatly and there are plenty of colours around the outfit with blues and silvers on the buttons and indicators, through to brown on the belt and pouches.
The helmet is a re-use of the original X-Wing Luke and has the same decor applied mainly as decals. These include the Rebel symbols as well as varying squadron markings. The visor is cast in translucent yellow so the eyes can be seen underneath.
Under the helmet is a new Luke sculpt, or rather face. The rest of the head is wrapped in the hood used by Snowspeeder pilots. The likeness is great and the look very solemn for Luke with a very impressive face print application. While I know the hood piece is accurate to the costume, this is not my memory of Luke in this outfit - nor is it the one on the card art. Luke wasn't wearing this hood when he jumped into the Snowspeeder with Dak, nor when he finally arrived on Dagobah. I'd have liked to see a full head sculpt for Luke - either as the main head, or at least as a 2nd version.
While Luke X-Wing has a special place in many people's hearts as the first Black Series figure, this comparison shows you how out of proportion it was and how far the line has come over the past 7-years.
The helmet is cast in a slightly softer plastic, and comes complete with visor and Rebel decals. It was designed for a slightly slimmer head and is a very very tight fit over Snowspeeder Luke's head - to the point it can be difficult to get it on and off and lined up.
Luke can carry the helmet under the arm for an alternative look.
Luke comes with his lightsaber, the same one as was packed with X-Wing Luke and other versions of Original Trilogy Luke. The hilt is cast in black plastic and painted silver. There is both red and gold paint applied over details with black left unpainted around the fins - impressive considering the scale.
The saber blade is hugely improved on the original, being thicker and a brighter blue. It clips into position well and feels more robust, but the end piece that inserts into the hilt remains very fragile and bends very easily.
The saber hilt can fit into either hand, and Luke can also hold it with both hands thanks to the articulation. When not in use it has a loop at the end of the hilt which corresponds to a hook on Luke's belt.
There is no inclusion of a blaster for Luke, nor is there the grappling gun he uses to assault the AT-AT, although that is apparently coming with the Snowspeeder vehicle.
Luke Skywalker is fully articulated with a total of 19 points of articulation. He includes the newer two part neck joint that dispenses with the ugly pivot on the neck. He also comes with the butterfly shoulders which add more range to the arms for two handed saber posing.
Head : ball joint neck, ball joint neck base
Body : ball joint waist
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 arms on Luke are fully mobile, but the legs are a little held back by the flight straps and coat. There is a significant issue with the ankle joints and they do not come far enough forward to balance the figure. This can make Luke trickier to pose than some figures and he has a tendency to lean and then fall backwards. You may need a stand to keep him posed on display.
All the joints are tight and work fine, with no issues.
Luke Skywalker in his Snowspeeder flight suit is a fantastic addition to the Black Series, particularly in light of the arrival of the Snowspeeder itself later in 2020. The card back is consistent with other 40th Anniversary releases, but is not itself a replication of a 1980's card as this figure was never released by Kenner.
The helmet is a bit too tight, and the head itself might have been better without the flight hood to allow this figure to double as the one that arrives on Dagobah. With a slight issue with the ankle joints too, I knock off one point and score the Luke Skywalker Snowspeeder Pilot a 4 out of 5.
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...
action figures, reviews, review, articulation, star wars, black series, empire strikes back, hoth, 40th anniversary, hasbro, luke skywalker,