It seems silly that in 2016, thirty-nine years after Star Wars hit theaters, we are still getting excited about a Tatooine Luke Skywalker action figure. But after thirty-some years of four-inch toys, we have a brand new six-inch scale so everything old is new again. Both Hasbro and Bandai have now taken their shot at the original “farm boy” Luke, and I think making the comparison almost isn’t fair.
First, I did not pay ahead like I usually do, so when Luke shipped I was hit with a little sticker shock. Import prices have begun to trend upward, unfortunately. It should come as no surprise to anybody that I imported the figure, after all I had to. Bandai’s licensing agreement does not allow them to sell these figures at retail in the United States. We’ve been in a bit of a golden age for importing as EMS (Express Mail Service) shipping rates have been at an all time low. Combine that with a decent dollar to yen conversion and buying action figures direct from Japan has been very appealing in lieu of paying domestic retailer’s mark ups. It’s still the cheaper alternative, however, the price difference gap is closing in more and more.
Luke comes packaged in the typical Bandai S.H. Figuarts window box and includes a lightsaber hilt, lightsaber blade, two extra sets of hands, an extra face, helmet with the blast shield down, and finally a practice droid with a blast effect. The alternate face is interesting because I don’t really recall Luke making such a smug smile in the movie. I know Figuarts sometimes likes to pack figures with a goofy “meme face” of sorts, so that could be what they were attempting here.
In order to accommodate the face plates fitting into the helmet, the head splits in the middle and then the hair is removable. It works out fine but feels like some kind of Dr. Frankenstein science experiment each time I go to change the face around. The neck peg is the same one used for Jedi Luke, so if you like that head better it fits just fine.
The included hands are all business. He comes with a set of fists, two hands with holes to grasp the lightsaber, and finally some open hands. Nothing all that fun like pointing hands, peace signs, or devil horns. He can hit some nice two-handed lightsaber poses. Even though he doesn’t use it all that much in the movie, this figure is very scene specific to Luke and Obi-Wan’s training in the Falcon. Does this mean an Old Ben Kenobi is in the works? As much as I’d like that to be the case Bandai has shown about 800 other characters that haven’t gone up for preorder yet. I wouldn’t mind if they got those ones done first. Plus if you are really aching for a Ben, Hasbro just released one as a San Diego Comic Convention exclusive.
As far as likeness goes, the normal face is pretty much spot on. It’s easily the best Luke they’ve done so far, and I’d go as far as to say it may be their best likeness in the entire Star Wars line. The golden hair from Jedi Luke is back, unfortunately. However, it seems to be slightly more toned down for this release.
While I do like the helmet with the blast shield down, I do wish he came with a different set of accessories. Given a choice I would opt for the Tatooine Luke that includes a poncho, floppy hat, and binoculars. That would be my ideal version, and he would work better alone since he’s currently the only Figuarts character from that specific scene. Right now my original trilogy collection consists of Luke and Luke. That Han, Chewbacca, C-3P0, and R2-D2 can’t come soon enough!
Was Luke worth the wait? Of course he was, he’s easily the best version of Tatooine Luke you can find in six-inch scale. He costs a little more than double the Hasbro effort, but I personally think it is worth it just to avoid the soft goods approach. I don’t personally have Hasbro Luke, but you can check out a great review of him over at Action Figure Barbecue and decide which best fits your needs. Not only do I think the Bandai toys so far have been excellent, but I really enjoy the pace of Figuarts releases. Getting one figure every month or two makes this collection much more manageable and easy on the wallet. Of course I say this as Bandai announces a Geonosis Battle Droid and Phase 2 Clone Trooper release for October.
If you are a bit skiddish to importing, keep an eye on Amazon as Figuarts tend to drop down to reasonable prices as time goes on. Actually, now that I’ve taken a look they are selling it cheaper than I paid to import! Son of a …