Figure of the Day: Day 775
6/19/2008 10:05:34 PM | Reported by Adam

LUKE SKYWALKER First Modern Release
Power of the Force Collection
Item No.:
Asst. 69570 No. 69571
Number: n/a
Manufacturer: Kenner
Includes: Lightsaber, Grappling Gun
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99
Availability: July/August 1995
Appearances: Star Wars

Image: Adam Pawlus' TV Tray.

Bio: Raised by his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru on their Tatooine moisture farm, young Luke dreamed of being a pilot for the Rebel Alliance. He realized his destiny after being saved from the Tusken Raiders by the mysterious Obi-Wan Kenobi, who told him of his past and began to teach the boy the ways of the Force. When the Empire killed Luke's family, he and Kenobi set off to find Princess Leia, whose message hidden inside the droid R2-D2 beckoned them to join the Rebellion. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Commentary: The first-ever modern Luke Skywalker is an interesting figure. I mean this in neither a positive nor a negative way-- it's a real product of its time, and it speaks volumes about where the toy industry was when the idea of a post-Trilogy line started and where we are today, thousands of figures later. Well, thousand, at least. The figure's accessories are notable, which is unusual for most figures as all one can say is "welp, it's a gun." The lightsaber was cool because it's the first time Kenner decided to paint the hilt on a figure of this size-- the vintage ones were all one color. Initial releases sported a lightsaber as long as Luke is tall, but this was corrected in the Spring of 1996. The grappling hook blaster should be fun to any collector of the original Kenner line, because a part of it is taken directly from the original 1983 Scout Trooper's gun. If you see it, you'll recognize it. Actually, a number of the early weapons in 1995 featured molded bits from other Kenner toys, so for fans of all things Kenner, these early figures are quite a package of tidbits and trivia.

Now, how about the actual figure? It's good, and bad. When it first came out, I thought it was great-- he could sit in the Landspeeder, hold his weapons (or other figures' weapons), and even though he had a big muscular torso, it still made for a good toy. As Kenner was under the impression that figures with these proportions were the norm for kids, the design was done as such because it was assumed kids would buy it. But representatives of Kenner at Toy Fair told buyers that the line would be limited and aimed at collectors. The end result is a figure that, while better detailed than the 1978 release, is still very much a product of its day and not a truly wonderful piece for the older collector. Fans complained about the proportions since day one, and Kenner actively reduced the bulk in figure torsos until finally starting to get it right around 1998. Since the figure holds together well and can sit in vehicles, it's a wonderful toy. Since collectors demand so much more from a plastic figure, though, this probably won't do much for you unless you like history. There are so many better Luke figures, so odds are this one won't go down as a great sought-after collector's piece-- but it did start life that way.

Collector's Notes: Despite being extremely difficult to get in 1995 and ridiculously popular for months, the figure is of little value to collectors or fans today who seem to largely consider this figure "junk." The figure had numerous variations which, at the time, were considered significant. The figure started off with a very long, roughly 3 3/4-inch lightsaber. This was eventually trimmed down by about an inch. The "short" lightsaber figure came in a package with a shortened tray, or the full-size tray during a very brief transitional period. The short lightsaber in a long tray was and is still a rare find, but since nobody cares about such things, it's not exactly an exciting piece.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 775: June 19, 2008

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