Leia Organa in her glamorous Bespin gown has always been one of the princess' more ornate outfits in the saga. Her standard white color pallet was starkly disrupted during the Cloud City sequence and it was a great change of pace from a costuming standpoint. The figure renditions over the years have attempted to recreate the outer gown, from the vinyl cape of the classic vintage Kenner version to the more woven POTF2 Princess Collection that would be more appropriate as window dressing. For the 2012 Vintage Collection, you get two variant cardbacks with one paying homage to a "Lost Line" look to go with a nicely sculpted and articulated figure. But did Hasbro get the gown right?
Appearance: The Empire Strikes Back
Includes: E-11 Blaster Rifle, Removable Shoulder Piece and Gown
Released: July 2012
Cardback: Celebrate the legendary Star Wars saga that changed the universe forever! This collection brings to life the incredible story of good versus evil that captured our imagination and took us to a galaxy far, far away. Iconic Star Wars heroes and villains are captured with incredible detail and premium features to commemorate each epic tale in the Star Wars saga. May the Force be with you!
Cardback (Lost Line): Celebrate 35 years of Star Wars in 2012 as we recreate a "lost" packaging line look that was created, contemplated…and put aside in favor of Kenner's classic black-and-silver Star Wars design. For the first time ever, we're bringing this line look out of the Kenner archives and treating you to a glimpse of what might have been.The same creative team who designed the black-and-silver look also developed this design as one of several options to be considered for the line. In this lost line look, they created high tech imagery incorporating a signature Star Wars vehicle and an epic space theme. What might have been, what was and what is: It all captures our imaginations, just as the Star Wars saga captures our imaginations today, tomorrow and always! [IMAGE BANK PHOTOS]
SCULPT/PAINT: The head sculpt is excellent and nearly nails Carrie Fisher's facial likeness along with nice details to her braids. The 2004 Original Trilogy Collection version was the best one up to this point and that figure had awful articulation and a molded non-removabe gown. 2012's Bespin Leia affirms itself to be the definitive iteration with great aesthetics and proportionality. The ball hinged ankle articulation does create a bulbousness that gives her the appearance of "cankles", but it's a tradeoff I'd take to have the additional articulation and pose ability.
The soft goods gown comes with a separate and removable sculpted shoulder piece that gives the overall outfit added dimension, but Hasbro should have chosen a better material for the gown itself. The tampo print is underwhelmingly monochrome and the material looks a little too shiny and silky, and while I still prefer it over the OTC figure's sculpted gown as it allows for more range of motion, the translation didn't quite capture the ornate nature of one of Princess Leia's signature looks in the film. At least the OTC version was closer to the design in terms of pattern and color.
ARTICULATION: Bespin Gown Leia is articulated with 14 points, including a ball jointed waist and swivel hips. You can pose her quite nicely despite the little action in the scenes in which she wears this outfit. She can hold the included E-11 Stormtrooper Blaster Rifle appropriately and with relative ease.
ACCESSORIES: While she doesn't actually brandish an E-11 Blaster in this outfit, it's included as a weapon. The budget could have been better allocated to add more detail and color to her gown, but perhaps the money ultimately wasn't there to design as accurate a gown for this scale that they could achieve. You could also try swapping the head on the VC02 Hoth Leia to kit bash your own Bespin Escape figure that would be a definite upgrade over the Power of the Jedi figure from 2000. And the blaster would be more appropriate.
CARDBACK: The Vintage Collection black and silver version faithfully recreates the Kenner Empire Strikes Back 31 back photo and overall look. The back of the card features the 2012 "14 back" design with other characters from Wave 6 as well as figures from the upcoming Wave 7. The same Vintage "repack" vehicles shown on the bottom section along with the wrong Obi-Wan Starfighter that's been featured on these cardbacks since January serve as a stark reminder that Hasbro missed some quality control opportunities.
The alternate "Lost Line" card back, currently being packed one of each figure in the latest case assortment (as well as in this year's Comic-Con exclusive Carbonite Chamber set), looks more contemporary and quite modern aside from the classic Hildebrandt art logo prominently placed on the front card header. While we can be thankful that Hasbro ultimately went with the iconic silver and black, carded collectors should enjoy this little homage to forgotten Kenner history. The card back features a photo of the actual figure set against the Lost Line card with its own sequencing of "EP505" (Episode 5, Figure 5). Other figures from this Lost Line wave are represented in the bottom portion of the cardback. Compared to 2011's "Revenge" campaign, this packaging certainly has pop that differentiates itself from the other assortments and possibly could give it more peg appeal.
TOPPING THINGS OFF: Yeah, she's the definitive version of this figure yet, but Hasbro could have done a much more definitive design with the soft goods cloak than just the plain, colorless tampo print they applied. Besides the head sculpt and hairstyle, the gown is the signature piece for the character in this particular sequence of the film, and more attention should have been applied to get the colors and design correct. If you're a carded collector who appreciates their Star Wars collecting history, the alternate Lost Line card is a nice looking variant to collect with the regular issue classic TVC black and silver version. As it's probably going to be awhile until Hasbro revisits this character again, the strengths of this figure in sculpt and articulation compared to previous attempts deservedly earns her a WANTED rating.
RATING: WANTED (4 out of 5 Bounty Points)
REVIEW AND PHOTOGRAPHY: MIKE SULLENGER