Luke Skywalker and Taun Taun Date Released:
12 Inch Luke Skywalker & TaunTaun Figure Review
Hasbro’s 2002 12” Star Wars Saga line released the Toys ‘R’ Us
exclusive; “Empire Strikes Back: Luke Skywalker & Tauntaun”
earlier this fall. While it has been out for a while, the idea of
actually being able to own one is a bit of a stretch due to it’s
$49.99 price tag. I was fortunate enough to receive one as a
birthday gift and I thought I’d share my impressions of this epic
Star Wars release.
12 “ Luke & Tauntaun come in a box with the epic dimensions of
17 & 1/2” across, 20 & 3/4” high and 9 & 1/4” thick! You
basically need an SUV to get it home safely. The front is 80% acetate window,
the left side’ acetate window fills over half the space and there is a large,
oval acetate window on the box top. They definitely covered the viewing
capabilities with the packaging. Just seeing them stacked on the floor, in the
aisles of Toys ‘R’ Us is enough to tell you they don’t even make shelves
big enough to hold this box. Luke is packaged in the box astride the Tauntaun
and they are facing to the left side window. Both are held in place with nicely
bound, silver twist-ties around the Tauntaun’s legs, tail and neck and around
Luke’s upper thighs and waist. Luke also has the help of a custom bubble to
give him something to rest his right arm against. Two small, custom tailored,
white cardboard boxes give the Tauntaun the needed support at the right arm area
and at the base of the tail. Luke’s blue lightsaber is attached vertically to
the back box wall, behind the front area of the Tauntaun. The inner walls of the
box have a photographic Hoth scene on them and if you look through the left side
window, you can see the Wampa hot on their tails!
The back of the box has a brief summary about “The Empire
Strikes Back” and background information on the significance of
Luke Skywalker and the Tauntaun on the planet Hoth. An image of Luke posed
taking a knee and pointing his blaster beside the
Tauntaun is surrounded by a nifty series of dashed lines coming
from the names of the various accessories included and going to the actual
accessories. The Tauntaun comes equipped with a
saddle with stirrups, reins and sculpted survival gear (just a
bedroll that won’t help many survive in Hoth’s climate). Luke
comes with his blue lightsaber, blaster, snow goggles, scarf,
Comm link on glove and authentically replicated Hoth gear.
The detail that both Luke and the Tauntaun have been given are
astounding! They were equally astounding in 1997 (POTF2
Collector’s Series; Luke Skywalker Vs. Wampa & Han Solo &
Tauntaun). Luke’s likeness is uncanny and he is portrayed with
the standard yellow/blonde hair found on most Luke 12” figures.
The most startling details are the bloodied scars on his face. A
circular slice around the left eye area, a slash mark down the left cheek and a
large cut that runs from the bottom of his nose and down his chin. His left eye
area is a bit discolored to give it a ‘black eye’ effect. Luke’s Hoth
battle gear is another jaw-dropping detail job. The fabric look authentic right
down to the embroidery on the jacket chest, fore arm and thigh area.
The scarf pulls up nicely to cover his face and keep the freezing winds of
Hoth from chapping his battle-scarred face. Everything about Luke has been given
a ridiculous amount of detailed attention. But, as I said, it is a bit of a
rehashed figure with a new head plopped on it. The Tauntaun is equally as
impressive as Luke. The sculpting of the hair detail is down very well and the
paint application is meticulous and fully detailed. The most interesting of the
details on the tauntaun is the right horn. The tip has been lost during a fight
and a bloody stumped end is detailed to to the extreme. One would imagine the
raw nerve endings and marrow being exposed to the cold would cause the Tauntaun
some discomfort. The Tauntaun that came with Han solo in 1997 is the same as
this one. The only difference being the paint detail is applied and colored
better and the broken horn sculpt. If a grade had to be given, I’d go B, due
to the rehash job. The changes are interesting and well done enough to merit a
little credit and praise.
Luke is fully articulated. The figure is designed for full range of
motion. It’s is not down to the finger articulated, but joints of all
other bendable areas move as they should. The Tauntaun is
another story. The articulation is almost primitive. The hind legs
are only articulated at the hip and the arms are only articulated at the should.
The head is articulated at the neck, but only to move from side to side. And,
Hasbro decided to omit the ‘open belly’ which we all wanted to come complete
with glowing intestines and gloppy sound effects. With the possibilities out
their in figure articulation, Hasbro blew it with the Tauntaun. I give the two
figures a B- at best in the articulation department.
The last few visits I made to Toys ‘R’ Us, they had at least ten 12” Luke
& Tauntaun boxes on display. One store was stashing a mother lode on the top
shelves in the Star Wars aisle. Taking the price tag into account, I don’t
think availability is an issue at the moment. I do think that it will be on most
Star Wars fans christmas lists and one would expect the availability to diminish
after the holiday season. This item should not make a future clearance
appearance due to the demand, exclusivity and fairly low production numbers.
From what I’ve observed they are going almost as quickly as they arrive. This
has not been a problem for Toys ‘R’ Us yet as they seem to restock the boxes
rather quickly. This could be one of the holiday toys that ends up having more
demand than supply. My advice is do not take a chance and pass up getting one if
you have the means. You will most likely regret leaving it behind.
I would say that the 12’ Luke and Tauntaun are another step in the right
direction for Hasbro. A new version of Luke Skywalker and a Tauntaun that
we’ve never seen on a 12 inch scale. The little things they added that make a
huge statement about the attention to detail and the packaging itself is an
innovative concept. I am going to give a straight up A for originality here.
My overall grade of the 12’ Luke & Tauntaun is an B-. They make the grade
on pretty much everything and it is a real fan pleasing figure release.
Some other things I feel the need to mention:
1. Luke did not ride the Tauntaun after his confrontation with the Wampa. The
Tauntaun was turned into Wampa stew prior to Luke avenging it. The photo on the
box is similar to the pose of the figures, but is from a movie still that
sequentially came before any scarring took place. While it is a cool idea, it
might turn some of the more fact-based fans away. It is interesting that
everything would be so authentic, except for the story behind the figures.
2. There have been several variants reported. they include the
following: Luke with Brown hair and without scars on his face,
unpainted silver highlights on the head transmitter and a more
prominent, black eye (like the photo used on the box).
3. The 12” Luke & Tauntaun are currently a hot item on the auction sites
and averaging about $65 per sale.
4. The companion figure for Luke & Tauntaun is the POTF2 Toys ‘R’ Us
Exclusive Han Solo & Tauntaun (1997).