What better way to get into the swing of reviewing figures again, than for me to review something simply superb in almost every way... and I stress "almost" because nothing's perfect as I love to point out.
Love me or hate me, and I know which category's in the lead, I do like to pick figures, vehicles, and basically any other toy apart... Today, Luke Snowspeeder gets the hammer dropped upon his nicely sculpted noggin, and really that's not a bad thing for him. Hasbro has the ability to improve, but they do come close to perfection with this one!
Please feel free to read on, enjoy, and stop and chat with your own thoughts if you'd like... For now though, on with the review...PROS
: Right off the bat, this figure's sculpt is absolutely sharp, detailed, and pretty perfectly executed for this exact look Luke sported on Hoth... It doesn't double for a Dagobah Luke, but it works well for what it is, and that is Luke as he flew around the tundra's of Hoth, blowing up ****, and crashing.
The pockets of the uniform are sculpted with sharp flaps that, upon first glance, almost look like they're functional, even on such a tiny little figure made of solid plastic. The boots have that bulky padded Hoth Boot look to them, with the straps tying the thick fabric tightly so that it bunches and billows out around the ties. There's even extra bulk sculpted to Luke's heavier outer jacket for the cold weather that all the Hoth Pilots are seen wearing. The jacket's arms are sculpted to look like they're bunched up over the flight suit, at the arms, and even where the cold weather gloves come up over them. It's a very nice attention to detail.
One little thing I particularly enjoyed was the rank/ID badge on Luke's left chest, under his ribbed chest padding, which the sculptor just happened to catch. It's a small detail unique to Luke in this outfit at this moment, and it's cool to see it captured.
And like the fine details of the uniform, the fine detail of Mark Hammil's likeness is also captured by the sculptor. You can see the hint of scarring that Hammil had at the time of filming from his car accident (covered up in the film by the Wampa sequence), as that sort of aged Hammil. It's surprising how it comes out in this figure's sculpt, especially when all you can really see is the face since the rest is covered by Luke's little hoth cap to keep his noggin warm. Which speaking of that cap, they even got Luke's tuft of hair sticking out underneath it in the front, which I thought was a nice touch. Short of giving us a 2nd head (as Luke is seen both with, and without the cap on, in this uniform), this sculpt is really quite nice and fits well with Luke's Snowspeeder sequence.
It's tough to knock details like these, and all it needs now is a good deco to bring them all out!
: There is one minor gripe I'd throw at the deco, but overall I felt the paint application to this figure looked as though it had a lot of time and effort put into it. Lately, Hasbro figures have suffered in the paint application department... So it's nice to see a figure, especially one of a main hero like this, being done so well.
Starting with the boots, Luke's are a grey-ish color, but there's tan outlines around the top of the boot's wrappings, along with the straps holding them together. I thought the tan outlines were a nice touch that I otherwise felt the company would've skimped on to save money. The flares attached to the lower left leg got a nice dose of black for the strap they are on, and then dabs of silver at the ends of each. It's not perfect, and some silver strays or seems hardly applied, but it looks good enough for me, and helps the detail stand out.
Luke's belt sports a nice deep brown deco with little straying into the orange of the jacket on my sample. Also each button on each pocket has a nice silver dot for its button, as well as the buckle, Luke's saber clip, and the clip that I THINK the grapple gun is to have clipped onto in real life. Regardless though, that's some seriously little tiny silver detailing going on, and I like it!
Luke's chest box sports the seemingly accurate deco of blue, white, silver, black and grey markings all over it, and with no straying at all on my sample. And I also noticed some silver details on the chest pad/bib Luke's wearing as well.
The headsculpt's excellent likeness and detailing is brought out even further by a great paintjob as well. Luke's eyebrows and hair got a nice dirty blonde dab of paint, and with no straying onto the face. His skin tone appears painted as well, and rather than cast flesh it looks more realistic to me I think. Also I think the eyes on mine are flawless. White eyeballs with a blue iris and perfectly placed black pupils. The execution of the 3-layer-eye is done very well on my sample. Hat's off to Hasbro on that.
If I had one deco gripe, it's with Luke's helmet... But that's for later.
: A staple of mine is critiquing a figure's articulation. My standards are absurdly high since I think the Saga Death Star Gunner is pretty perfectly executed in this department. Not every figure requires super articulation, but I do think that Gunner's "style" is the bare minimum for most figures (Senator-ish figures aside, of course). That said, Luke's a home-run in the articulation department, as Hasbro has been quite excellent about since around 2006/2007 at least.
Luke sports all the articulation of a typical SA figure, even the waist, and I think each joint's hidden incredibly well. How can anyone complain then?
-2 ball/socket shoulders
-2 ball/socket elbows
-2 cut wrists
-2 cut hips
-2 ball/socket knees
-2 ball/socket ankles
-1 ball/socket neck
-1 ball/socket waist/torso
For a total of 14 points of articulation, and almost all are ball/socket joints. That's pretty much SA, though their ball/socket hips are pretty slick additions on some figures too. I consider this more than perfect though for the Snowspeeder Luke!
I've had my figure in a number of cool poses, but my favorite is re-enacting him running, looking up at the belly of the AT-AT, and trying to aim his grapple gun at the same time. A very dynamic and cool pose I think. Luke's hands are sculpted pretty perfectly for this, however the way they are does create some trickier attempts at other poses, so keep that in mind too.CONS
: Now some of you are probably not with me on this, but I have a double-gripe with the accessories, so stick with me on this because you may actually find you agree after I explain myself.
First, figures aren't cheap these days, and accessories aren't all expensive for the production process... Sure, some things aren't going to be plausible... You can't always get a giant table or a section of a room or something, but Hoth Luke wasn't exactly needing that either. What he did need though, he didn't always get.
For instance, LUke's lightsaber... I'm not saber expert, but I believe he's not wielding the correct one, once again. Also, no blade for it... Why not? He ignights it in this outfit to gut the AT-AT and chuck in the bomb, so why no blade? So yeah, for $7.99-ish, give or take, I'm a little disappointed with the missing blade since it makes the Luke figure more dynamic and action-ish.
It's also sort of ironic we got a saber hilt and nowhere it can attach to also... More a gripe of the sculpt than the accessories, but that point remains too I think.
The grapple gun is pretty cool, it's new, and it clips to Luke's oxygen hose thing, however I think it's supposed to clip to a hook on the belt. There's one sculpted there that is for Luke's lightsaber, but there's also another and I'm pretty sure in the film that's where the grapple gun is meant to go. It'd have been double neat had Hasbro sculpted the grapple gun to then clip to the belt as it should.
Luke's helmet is, I believe, a new sculpt as well to fit the hooded headsculpt properly, and it's nice. The deco on it, at least the detailing, is quite nice also with the various markings true to Luke's helmet style... but for some odd reason Hasbro never sees fit to dirty that brain bucket up, and once again Luke's got a crisp brand new looking helmet to go fly around in, but in the movie's his is one of the most worn and beat up looking helmets of any of the pilots. It'd be cool to see Hasbro get that right with future Pilot Luke figures.
No Blaster? I'm a stickler for blasters... Every menial, boring, lame character should come with one I think. Nothing new, just something on-hand would be nice. Even Mon Mothma needs to pack some heat, and so for Luke to come with only an unlit lightsaber, and no trusty blaster at his side, I'm a tad disappointed. Throw a bone to the consumer on that stuff, Hasbro. It's the little things that sometimes help push the perceived value.
-2 Shades of Orange
: Hasbro missed one detail that the careful nerds of Star Wars noticed, and one I admit I noticed myself (as I pushed my taped up, plastic-rimmed glasses back up onto my face). Luke's jacket does not match the orange of his flight jumpsuit in the film, and it's the same for the other pilots. The jackets are, I believe, a darker orange than the jumpsuits.
In the figure's case though, the jacket and jumpsuit are a spot-on match in terms of color. It's a minor deco flaw that I notice, and which I would've liked to have seen Hasbro catch because, while minor, I think it stands out some once you know this flaw exists.
It's not a deal-breaker for me on the figure, but it's one of those things that I hope they handle in the future because this figure's dominant colors are the orange, so some may say that it stands out as a big flaw. I don't, but I can see where others are coming from on that one.
: Star Wars ain't cheap folks... $6.99 is a pipedream at this point, and $7.50 is actually "cheap". That's a sad statement considering what you're ultimately getting. Blame the economy, blame the industry, blame Hasbro, blame retail, or blame Lucasfilm... Either way you've got a lot of money to spend on one little old piece of plastic.
You knock the price down some, and suddenly gripes like the accessories are much more minor than they are otherwise. The Build-A-Droid promotion is nice, but coming to a close, so where does that perceived value go then, when it's over?
Basically $7.99 is a lot of money for an action figure of this scale, any way you slice it. Prices have gone up, and income hasn't gone to match it for many people, so these are just rough times we have to deal with as collectors. As such though, the price is always going to be a negative unless the figure's really something special or comes with something really outstanding as an accessory. For some, these hikes have cut into their hobby and how much they've been able or willing to spend on it, and that includes myself.OVERALL
What can I say? I'm getting off my ass and reviewing a new figure, and it feels good to do so with something I just picked up recently, and which I consider quite awesome.
Snowspeeder Luke is not flawless though... So don't kid yourself. He's got the articulation, he's got the deco for the most part, he's got one of the best Luke sculpts I think Hasbro has ever done in the entire line. But he's also lacking some key "action" accessories that I think make Luke the hero of the original trilogy. Slap a saber blade and a blaster pistol in there for goodness sake Hasbro! It's not that big a deal I think.
Still, flaws aside, this is one of the finest Luke Skywalker figures on the market, and I think it's one of those figures everyone should own. With the new AT-AT all but on our doorsteps at this point, how could you not have this figure to ascend it, and totally F it up with a bomb?
Speaking of which... No bomb? Yeah, I almost mentioned that as a flaw too, but I figured someone can just use a Wookiee one I guess.
But yeah, I was thinking about that too.
Anyway, my hat is off to Hasbro on another dandy, and I really am hopeful we're going to see a slight retooling of this figure into a Dagobah version. A new skirt piece with a blaster holster, and a capless headsculpt would be nifty.
It's a dandy as it is though, so get yours today if you actually find it somewhere in the quagmire of retail. I just got mine fairly recently in January here, so they're starting to surface, but so far only at Wal-Mart, so happy hunting!