Updated: Nov 26, 2018
Review : X-34 Landspeeder & Luke Skywalker Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro) ave/Series : Deluxe/Vehicle Series #02
Released : September 2017 Price : £69.99
Pros : Landspeeder is very accurate in terms of size and damage effects Cons : Luke's new head sculpt still doesn't look like Luke. The soft goods are not great.
The first true 6" scale Black Series vehicle was the 2015 First Order Tie Pilot. At the time Hasbro numbered this behemoth #01 and promised more vehicles would follow in the line
It took 2 years for us to get the next two vehicles in the series, and it seems Hasbro have taken some learnings from the Tie Fighter which in terms of size did prove problematic for collectors where space is a premium. The successors to the Tie Fighter are more sensible sized releases - Luke and the X-34 Landspeeder and Rey and her Jakku Speeder.
The X-34 Landspeeder and Luke come in boxed packaging which follows the same colour scheme design as the other Phase 3 releases. There is a window to the bottom right to display the figure - but no window to display the vehicle like we had in phase 2 with the Speeder Bike. By not displaying the vehicle it allows Hasbro to disassemble the vehicle and therefore reduce the packaging size.
Box Dimensions 46cm (length) x 30cm (height) x 9.5cm (depth)
The Star Wars Black Series logo sits top left of the box and is the new brighter white version. The bulk of the box is then decorated with a grey scale illustration of Luke in his Landspeeder. Either side of this, top right and bottom right, are inserts showing the actual vehicle. The vehicle name (X-34 Landspeeder) is printed in red at the bottom left of the box. Luke then gets his name (Luke Skywalker), in the same red text, under the figure window.
The right spine remains gloss red with a large #02 putting this as the 2nd vehicle in the vehicle line. Under this we get a repeat of the contents now titled Luke Skywalker's X-34 Landspeeder. The opposite spine is black and is headed with the Black Series logo and then a further grayscale image of Luke in Tatooine gear - hat and poncho
The rear of the box is split with the first third on the left dedicated to a text write up for both vehicle and figure. This section is headed by another Black Series logo and the red #02.
The description for the X-34 talks about how Luke owned "one of these nondescript but speedy landspeeders" and how he used to race "between the Lars homestead and outposts such as Tosche Station and Anchorhead".
For the Luke text there is a new paragraph rather than repeating what was on the original Tatooine Luke. It simply talks about how Luke "was a Tatooine farmboy" who became "one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known".
Each paragraph is repeated under the English version in French, German and Spanish.
The box opens from either side spine, the right being the easiest as this is where the figure tray sits. While Luke sits in a gloss red tray that acts as a backdrop to the window in the box - the rest of the insert packaging is plain boring brown cardboard.
I am pleased to see Hasbro have included instructions in the set - something a lot of companies nowadays don't bother with. This two sided slip has the black and red design with a nice cover that repeats the artwork from the box. On the reverse we get the three steps to assemble your X-34.
The Landspeeder parts are each strapped in using rubber ties. The best thing to do here than tackle the back of the box is to simply snip them free.
Once the parts are taken out of the box you will have four parts - the chassis, the windscreen in a protective baggie, the rear thruster and the stand.
The thruster piece is slid into the slot on the rear of the main chassis and let it clip into place. The windscreen needs a little more care as you need to line it up with the curved groove on the Speeder. Once aligned, press down and the clips front and rear will click and hold it in place.
The stand goes in a hole on the base of the Speeder. This is not a ball joint type stand like Rey's Speeder so it adds the hovering effect but won't allow banking or cornering. Once in place the Speeder can be rotated on the stand.
Let's talk size first as there were a few concerns over this Landspeeder being undersized when the original images were released. Having consulted Wookieepedia and the DK Star Wars Complete Vehicles reference book - the X-34 is listed as being 3.4m in length (11.2 ft).
The Black Series version weighs in at 33cm from the nose to the end of the rear structure - that scales up to 4m. If you measure from the nose to the back of the chassis and ignore the thruster then we get 28cm which scales up as exactly 3.34m. That's good enough for me Hasbro.
The X-34 is packed full of sculptural detail which are all accurate to the 1977 movie prop. We get the dent on the front nose, and the missing thruster cover on the passenger side - beneath which is a mess of wires and engine parts. There are scrape marks from the inlet vent on the drivers side that rake across the rear section.
In the cockpit we have a steering wheel, gear stick and two control panels. The seats themselves are ribbed. We even get two working compartments either side of the rear thruster. The driver side is empty and can be used for storage, the passenger side has more workings inside.
All of this is painted nicely. The main body is cast in the brown plastic and over this we have darker brown painted panelling to give the X-34 a two tone finish. We then have grey weathering starting at the bonnet downwards. There are silver patches to represent where the paint has rubbed off. We get further grey weathering and scorching round the thrusters and upwards and backwards from the vents.
More intricate detail includes the controls in the cockpit painted black and silver. We also have a section on the bonnet where what look like spark plugs or similar are exposed. These are neatly painted in yellow and grey with red wiring.
Another moving part is the bonnet. This flips open to reveal the engine underneath. Here we get a better look at that spark plug box as well as the larger engine block which is a predominantly a cream colour, surrounded by grey engine detailing - brushed or finished here and there in silver.
It is worth noting at this point a more "deluxe" version of the Speeder was sold at SDCC 2017 as an exclusive. This X-34 had more intricate paint decor as well as moving parts under the bonnet. All of this came at a cost though and the SDCC boxed version came in at nearly twice the price.
Moving onto Luke now for a moment, and he is packed in a standard figure tray - wearing his poncho. Around him are arranged his Hat, Macrobinoculars, Light Saber and Rifle.
While I like the idea of the Poncho as an added extra from the basic release, it isn't particularly well designed and doesn't hang all too well on the figure. It could do with some weight in the bottom or perhaps some stitching to shape it a little better. Without these it hangs out to the side a little too much.
Luke also gets a brand new head sculpt from the 2016 Wave 6 Version (re-released in 2017 as part of 40th Anniversary Wave) and even with this second stab at the likeness it has still not truly captured the look of a 1977 Mark Hamill. It does to a better job of the wilder hair Luke had on Tatooine and this is well painted with a brown base coat and more golden colouring applied on top as a dry brush.
The skin tone is a touch glossy but one tone. The eyes nearly painted in blue. There is a hint of pink in the lips to differentiate them from the skin tone.
The rest of the body is identical to the 2016 release. The entire top section is a soft goods tunic over a sculpted bare chested body. Like the poncho this does not sit all too well on the body - particularly the arms where it loses all definition and they look baggy and without shape. The body works better as the belt ties it into place.
The belt is brown leather colour with a silver buckle and bronze button detail. There is a canister to one side in black and silver, and a hook on the other side where the lightsaber hilt can be hung. Round the back of the belt is a large holster and some smaller pouches.
The lower legs are all sculpted with grey trousers that are tucked into wrapped bandage type boots.
When you compare the new Speeder Luke to the original release we can see some other subtle differences in paint. The skin tone is pinker on the hands and face and the boots are a creamier colour.
You can see the evolution of the head sculpt too in these comparison images. And while the new Landspeeder Luke is more rugged and realistic, it still does not look exactly like Hammill. As an improvement on the original though, it is an advancement. I wonder what a 2018 Luke would look like when Hasbro roll out the face printing technology.
Luke comes with his Lightsaber, and this is a re-use of the previous release. The paint applications on the saber hilt are however much tighter, the black being crisper and more defined over the silver base colour. The red ignition switch is also painted smaller.
Like all Black Series Lightsabers (except Kylo Ren) the blade is removable. This slots in and out fairly easily, but being such a small part I suspect that over time the click will wear away. The saber blade is a translucent clear rod with a faint hint of blue.
Under the soft goods tunic is a very articulated torso for Luke and this helps with some nice action poses with the saber. The shoulders are ball jointed and have a huge range of movement. We then get a jointed elbow which bends beyond 90 degrees as well as rotates. We also get a pegged pivot wrist which rotates and bends.
When not fighting with his saber, the hilt can be hung off the hook on Luke's belt.
Accessory number two are Luke's Macrobinoculars. These are a direct re-use from the original Tatooine Luke. This is cast in black with silver detailing. Thanks to the arm articulation you can get this into Luke's left hand and up and almost to his eyes as though surveying the landscape for Tusken Raiders or run away R2 units.
Luke can also kneel to survey the Jundland Wastes thanks to the leg articulation. This is made up of ball jointed hips, a thigh swivel, double jointed knees and an ankle pivot.
Accessory three is a new addition for this release, this is the 6-2Aug2 hunting rifle. At six inches long this is as tall as Luke and is cast in a hard brown plastic. Details have been added in silver around the barrell and on the trigger.
While Luke can hold this as though it was a staff, you will struggle to get Luke into a firing pose using this weapon. The best you can get is to put the barrel in the left hand and let this take the weight. Then move the butt of the weapon up into Luke's shoulder and pose the right hand over the top as near to the trigger as you can get.
Accessory four finishes off Luke's Tatooine outfit with his Tatooine sun hat. This never made it to the finished movie with the scenes in which Luke wore this being cut. We are familiar with the hat thanks to images from things like the Topps Trading Cards and of course other figure releases of this look in 3.75" scale.
The hat is cast in white soft rubber and has sculpted goggles over the top. These are painted black with bright blue lenses. The hat sits over Luke's head pretty well, but still looks a touch oversized.
Like the scene, this is one accessory I will most likely cut from my display.
The Luke body has sufficient articulation to get him behind the wheel of the X-34. Be sure to point his feet downwards to stop them catching as you slide him in. Once seated you can also pose the arms and have them grip the steering wheel. Luke does look a little stiff when holding the wheel in both hands, I have since moved to a more casual arm on the window look as he cruises.
In the movie the X-34 was loaded up with Obi-Wan as a passenger and the two droids slotted awkwardly behind the seats. Hasbro have taken a feature on their 2013 R2-D2 sculpt and created a corresponding peg hole on the rear of the Speeder so R2-D2 can be laid in place without sliding off. This is either very creative - or some very long term planning on Hasbro's behalf.
Unfortunately getting Obi-Wan into the passenger seat is not possible. The huge rubber lower skirt stops Obi-Wan from getting into a sitting position. This is a shame and it might be nice to see Hasbro recognise this with a tweaked release of Obi-Wan with soft goods lower skirts to let him ride with Luke to recreate that iconic scene. I may look to get a 2nd Obi-Wan cheap and remove the skirt myself - if you see any shots with Obi-Wan seated in the Speeder I warrant this is what they will have done to get him seated easily.
While Obi-Wan can't get in the passenger seat, I was surprised to find that the C-3PO figure can sit well enough on the rear shelf next to R2-D2. As you will see in a few images time, C-3PO can even sit in the driver's seat - as seen as he and luke cross the Jundland Wastes looking for the runaway R2-D2.
The closest I got to the "these are not the droids you're looking for" scene is the image above with Obi-Wan stood up to deliver his Jedi mind trick. It is clear at this point that the beauty of this vehicle is more the scenes it can be used to recreate - this is the opposite position to Rey's Speeder which lends itself more to be posed in a dynamic flying pose.
With your Landspeeder you can start to play around with your other Tatooine figures. Perhaps the Jawa's are bartering to buy the Speeder off Luke.
When Luke is travelling the desert, he can stow away his weapons in the rear compartment. There is then a clip to the side of the drivers side into which the rifle can be clipped - it took me a day or two to work this one out as it's not covered in the instructions.
And of course you can go back to the Speeders first appearance as Luke is driven by C-3PO in search of R2-D2. It even looks awesome when being ransacked by Tusken Raiders.
There is not a great deal wrong with the Landspeeder. In fact I have not come across any flaws with the vehicle itself, only that other figures were not designed with them sitting in the Speeder in mind (Obi-Wan).
The issues in the set come with the Luke figure. The soft goods don't quite work, particularly that poncho. The hat is a touch too big and may have been better done as a swap out head. And the head sculpt is still off - even when this was meant to correct the likeness from the first release.
The other issue is the price. For me a small vehicle like this and a standard figure should come in around £50 - £55. This values the vehicle at £30. Most retailers have the Speeders at £64.99 upward, which is about £10 too much for me. This is of course impacted by the price Hasbro puts on the set for UK release - and it does sting when we see these for sale at $50 or less in the US (that's under £40).
These sets are not going to sell out anytime soon, and if you are on the fence I would consider waiting on a keener price on this set once it's been out a few months.
I score the X-34 Landspeeder and Luke Skywalker a solid 4 out of 5.
Checkout the Star Wars Selection Over at Kapow Toys