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Never Forget - The ICMG Petition

Brian's Toys

Jedi Luke Skywalker
(Jabba's Palace)

By: Jesse (Jesse James) McCracken

Dateline:  Summer-ish time 2003: Hasbro unveils its latest and absolute worst Luke Skywalker figure of all time, the infamous Throne Room Duel Jedi Luke. To-date, this figure ranks as one of the most horrifically posed, sculpted, action feature-laden figures of the modern Saga line and thatís not a title any figure should aspire to. Die-hard collectors around the world let out a moan of contempt for the figure almost immediately upon its first images. 

But there is anotherÖ

Hasbro, in an unprecedented maneuver, makes an announcement almost immediately that another Jedi Luke figure, which shall be known as ďthe apology LukeĒ, is already in the works. It is at this time that Hasbro unveils their figure design sketches that show a much more neutrally posed Luke that has decent articulation, and a nice accessory count.  Oh yeah, and heís not got a horrible screaming face sculpt either, and no horrible action feature that couldnít work even if a rocket scientist designed the thing. 

All peaches and cream right? We should rejoice in such utter perfection, should we not? Well, yes and no. Hasbroís not perfect, and nobody ever claims them to be, but they often times can make improvements here and there that  we as discerning fans can readily point out, but for some odd reason Hasbro often omits these improvements in the final figure.

Read on and ye shall see of what I speak.

PROS

Sculpt: Easily this figureís shining point is his sculpt. I would say this is the finest head sculpt of any of the classic trilogy actors that Iíve ever seen. It is, without a doubt, Mark Hammil that they sculpted here. Hasbro sculptors should give themselves a pat on the back because they really outdid themselves here in creating an impressive looking figure.

Not only does the head sculpt shine, but so does the rest of the figure. The body has the now standard texture sculpted into it that brings the body of the figure to a much higher standard than figures in the previous lines like POTF2 had. The figureís vest is rough and looks just like the actual costume in the film, whereas the black uniform underneath is much more smooth, and the jackboots are smoother yet and look flawless. For a figure that didnít have much color to him, he sure has a lot of contrast just in sculpt detail. 

Like I said, the Hasbro sculptor(s) who worked on this should be proud of themselves. Top to bottom this figure stands out against any figure in the modern line as being one of the most accurate representations of a character from the film.

Accessories: One cannot argue that this figure is sporting some nice and logical accessories, though one may argue that the execution of ONE accessory wasnít done correctly. With that one accessory I agree, yet I disagree. Iíll explain more on that later.

Luke comes with some dandy pieces though, including a lightsaber (single-piece, and no base flare either, which is odd), a Jabbaís palace blaster pistol (the first time this gunís been sculpted accurately since the vintage line), a black soft-goods (cloth) cloak, and a simple ďStar WarsĒ stand thatís got the tabs to interlock with other stands.

Not a bad tally really, but 2 things stuck out that were kind of disappointing. 

First was the cloth cloak being a bit bulky. The way Hasbro chose to sew this item makes it fall prey to the shortcoming of cloth accessories on Star Wars figures, in that it doesnít want to sit in a realistic fashion on a figure this small. I can get my cloak to a point I like how it looks to me personally though. Thatís fine enough for me, but a limper fabric and a different style of sewing might have helped improve the cloakís look overall. Iím going to say now that I like the cloth cloak though. For the other carded Jedi Luke, he had a plastic cloak, so I say give the cloth fans a chance to have a cloak they can enjoy as well. Itís only fair folks.  Plus, if you donít like the cloth, you probably have the POTF2 Luke to swap his plastic robe with too.

Second, is the lack of quality to the lightsaber overall. Iím disappointed that the hilt/blade isnít detachable as well, but whatís more disappointing is that the blade doesnít have the ďflareĒ at the bottom which Iíve grown accustomed to, and rather like. Iím also disappointed that of the two Jedi Luke figures that I bought at a local Toys R Us store, neither one has a good paintjob on the hilt, and silver paint even ran up on the blades of both sabers.

Some cons mixed in the pros there, but neither oneís a major flaw to me. I could take the time to point out that the generic stands Hasbro packs in wonít interlock like theyíre supposed to either, but itís just a stand so I can just pass that over too.

Articulation: Hasbro at the very least made an effort to have a very nicely articulated figure. Sadly though, the articulation falls short of what it could have been, and Iíll discuss that in the CONS portion of the review in more detail. For now though, Iíve gotta label this kind of articulation effort as a pro. Itís a deserved praise because this Luke is able to pull off a couple decent poses, just not as many poses as he SHOULD be able to pull off unfortunately.

Lukeís articulation is ample (on paper at least), and is as follows:

-2 standard shoulder joints
-2 cut elbows (at a fairly sharp angle, which turns into a negative effect)
-2 wrist joints
-2 hip joints
-2 hinged knee joints
-2 swivel boot-top joints
-1 swivel neck joint
-1 standard waist joint

Thatís a whopping 14 points of articulation, which is a pretty large number of articulation points for a Star Wars figure.  Perhaps fairly common on figures in other toy lines, but itís not shabby for Hasbro whoís pretty much behind the times in articulation standards in their Star Wars line. Hasbro, if youíre reading this, please make better use of your unique ability with added articulation in the future, especially ball/socket joints.  Theyíre worth the extra effort to make a figure truly special.  Luke couldíve definitely benefited from ball/socket joints.

So anyway, as you can see, Jedi Luke isnít hurting for articulation there at all. Unfortunately though, there are some secondary reasons to the articulation style Hasbro chose, or a feature on the figure itself, that make some of Lukeís articulation less than ideal. Like I said, the articulation looks great on paper, but read on to the CONS section to see how some of the articulation didnít turn out as nice as it should have.

CONS

Articulation Issues: OK, I wanted to get this one out of the way first, as to me this is the key problem Luke has that makes him go from being a GREAT figure to just simply being a nice figure that could have been improved in some ways.

The elbow articulation Hasbro chose to use is my first gripe.  This is, unfortunately, a new trend I see in some of the latest figures from Hasbro, including the Captain Antilles figure as well as the Rebel Fleet Trooperís rather unorthodox knee articulation. This articulation style was actually borrowed from 21st Century Toys who pioneered it with their X-Treme Detail military figure lineís first series of Infantry figures. The articulation is based on the idea that the sharp angle will minimize the aesthetic compromise the toy makes by having articulation, and it will still allow two good poses (arms straight, and arms bent) that look good. 

The problem here is that the articulation limits the range of cool poses that the arms are capable of achieving. My solution to this problem wouldíve been to incorporate Hasbroís ingenious use of ball/socket joints into the elbows of this Luke figure. The range of motion wouldnít be hindered at all, and the aesthetics of the ball/socket joint generally look pretty good as well. It is unfortunate that Hasbro chose not to give this figure that great range of motion though, because Luke certainly was an action packed character when he wore this particular outfit. The greater range of the articulation points wouldíve then allowed for a more fun toy in my opinion.

The second area of articulation that Luke falls short in, is his lack of useable leg articulation because of the way that Hasbro made his skirt piece hanging over the legs. This is a problem with many figures, and a fix can be had if Hasbro were to use an EXTREMELY pliable plastic for the skirt piece. Or better yet, I would suggest cloth where possible, as I feel it blends well with the figure when done right, and it works especially well on the Jedi figures, which often have a flap of cloth that hangs down from their robes over their laps and backsides.

So Lukeís legs are pretty non-useable right now because of this issue, and his arms arenít as poseable as they couldíve been, so while Lukeís sporting these 14 points of articulation, heís not the super poseable figure he should be. This is a bit disappointing, even with the great features of the figure, and I think theyíre items worth bringing up so that Hasbro perhaps improves in the future, because we know they CAN improve in these areas. 

If Hasbro had chosen to make these improvements, this would be a figure that I think could see re-release throughout the life of the line without the need of a new sculpt.

Accessory Flaws:  Like I previously mentioned in the Pros, Luke comes with a nice array of accessories, but there are flaws. I have to acknowledge that even though I like soft-goods cloaks and things of that nature, the cloak accessory that came with Luke is not what it could have been. 

The lightsaberís lack of good detail and paint errors make it a somewhat disappointing accessory as well. I plan to give the one redeeming feature of the Throne Room Duel Luke (his saber) to my Jedi Luke for display purposes. I love those metal hilts better anyway.
J

Lukeís Hand Sculpts: A lot of GOOD points have been made regarding the way in which Hasbro chose to sculpt Lukeís hands. Particularly, his right hand, which is not in the typical style where the handís in a loose fist to hold accessories. 

Hasbroís reason for sculpting the hand this way is because it can look like Lukeís holding his hand out when talking, or covering his left hand with his right in a look of calm, Jedi-like tranquility.  Thatís cool, in a way, but thereís a problem. Lukeís right hand is useless for holding accessories now. He canít hold a single thing with that right hand, and thatís disappointing since Luke is right handed (by the filmís evidence) and it makes a double-handed saber position a bit difficult as well.

So the pointís noted about the way the hand is sculpted, and itís definitely a drawback to someone wanting to play with their figure.

Paint Application: This is probably one of the worst points of the Jedi Luke figure, and thereís good reason for it. I had a HELL of a time finding a good paintjob out of half a dozen Jedi Luke figures on the pegs. Thatís a bad sign.

First, the paint wash on Lukeís hair is nice if itís on the hair, but terrible when itís on the face and EVERY Luke at the store had paint wash on his face. I chose the lesser 2 of all of the evils.  Fortunately I was able to clean the best Lukeís face up some with a material called goof-off, and some disposable fine hobby Q-tip type tools. It cleaned up well enough, but none of us should HAVE to do this to have a Luke that didnít look like he was a filthy mess.

Of the six Luke figures there, I noticed that four of them had terrible eye paint aps, with the application being off-center, or missing a pupilÖ  Simply atrocious paintjobs all around and it was tough to find two that were decent out of them - decent enough that I could at least fix.

The final issue of paint is the robes. Lukeís outer terrycloth looking robes were a noticeably lighter shade of black than his uniform that he wore underneath in the film. The figureís robes then were painted to highlight the difference, but Hasbroís paint applications again seemed to bleed onto some of the uniform underneath and just sometimes looked bad. The best Luke that I found even had a blotch of purple, which isnít even a color this figure has used on him anywhere, on the left edge of his skirt-piece. 

Overall I was probably irritated almost as much about the paint as I was that my figure isnít all that poseable for having 14 points of articulation. The paint is usually something Hasbro does at least a passable job on, but on this figure they really just dropped the ball.

Another key to look for is make sure you get a Luke with a GOOD hair paintjob, because some of the Lukes I saw were missing spots with the paint wash in their paint application. This made for TERRIBLE looking paintjobs on some of the Luke figureís hair, and it would be tough to tell because of the way the figureís packaged with his hood covering most of his head. 

My advice overall, be discriminating if you have the ability.  CAREFULLY look these figures over so youíre not disappointed.  You may not even be able to see some of the flaws, so you may be disappointed either way, but you can at least try your best to get one with a good face anyway.

OVERALL

Well, what can I say? This figure is a series of peaks and troughs.

I like my Luke, and I give him a passing grade personally. Heís as nice a Luke figure as has been on the market. Far superior to the Bespin Luke, who is too scene-specific in pose and sculpt, and articulated enough for some cool looking poses. Heís just not articulated like he shouldíve been, and thus not quite as poseable as Iíd have liked. That kind of sucks, to put it quite simply.

I recommend getting Luke, but I recommend you be careful of the quality of the Luke you get. I noticed gaps at joints, bad paint applications, bad accessoriesÖ  Lots of pitfalls for the consumer, so keep your eyes peeled for a superior one on the racks.  Donít just grab the first one you see (unless itís the only one you see and you canít risk not finding it again). 

This figure was actually difficult for me to find, and I just recently got it even after finding later released figures before it.  Iím happy to have this Luke in my collection, and a second to perhaps customize, so I can definitely say pick this one up though if you can get a good one, and enjoy him for what he is.

Customizers can have him be far superior to Hasbroís final product, but I think the general collector will be happy enough with the figure as well, so Iím thumbs up on this one. 

Enjoy folks!

JJ

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