Luke Skywalker (Jabba's Palace)
Released February 2004
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on March 24, 2004
When Luke was first released as a Jedi in the new action figure line in 1996, fans were both elated and dejected all at once. It wasn't a bad figure, but he was tall, had high heel boots, and on the whole wasn't exactly true to the film between his outfit and head. Hasbro has gone back to that well a few times, but this time they really seemed to go all out by essentially remaking the vintage Jedi Knight Luke with Luke Skywalker (Jabba's Palace). Quality varies widely from figure to figure, but on the whole, most collectors should be pleased.
This figure is packaged with a base, cloak, pistol, and lightsaber.
If you've been wanting an all-new Luke from Return of the Jedi that doesn't bear a striking resemblance to He-Man, congratulations, your prayers have been answered.
Luke figures made of completely new components are far and few between these days, so seeing an all-new Luke that at first glance looks great is... well, great.
As you know, the figure that I review and the figure that appear in the photos aren't necessarily the same exact item. In this case, there's a huge difference in how the heads look. The sample in the photo seems to have clean and even paint, while mine has random paint on his chin and is basically missing one eyebrow. As mine was sent to me, and it's hard to see the head in the packaging, try and be extra careful when selecting your sample for purchase. The one in the picture looks fine, but the head on mine seems acceptable only if the cloak stays on. The likeness is acceptable, and the way the hair is painted is nice with multiple shades of brown giving it a slightly more lifelike appearance. While I would hesitate to call my sample acceptable, it seems that acceptable ones are out there and you should keep your eyes peeled for them. And I know I'll be looking for another, better one when I get a chance so I can just leave the cloak on this one at all times.
Articulation on Luke is definitely above par, and on about the same level as 2002's most awesome Bespin Luke Skywalker action figure. You can find joints at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, hips, waist, and at the top of the boots. Frankly, I thought that the Bespin Luke's knee joints were more conducive to additional poses, but this one isn't bad either. 14 points of articulation on a figure this small is nothing to sneeze at, and we're happy Hasbro decided to do a collector-friendly version of the character.
There is a slight issue with the figure's construction. Many fans have noted that on the Deluxe Darth Maul from Power of the Jedi-- you know, the topless one-- the arms were pretty likely to fall right off. I found this Luke more prone to dismemberment, and his right arm popped off at the elbow within a minute of removing him from the package. While this isn't exactly a terrible thing from where I stand, frankly, I can't think of any other action figures (save for Xevoz or those intended to be popped apart) that have these problems. While this may be due to safety reasons, or just to poor construction, it makes the figure look bad and/or cheap. In the future, if I have to sacrifice articulation to have a figure that won't fall to pieces, I want to let it be known that I'm OK with this. However, Bespin Luke was just fine, so what's the excuse?
His hands are unique, and in some case, just odd. His right hand cannot hold a weapon, and his left can without a problem. Since he has two weapons, it would be nice for him to hold all his accessories at once. After all, the vintage one could.
If you ignore the badly, poorly, awful head on my sample with weird brown paint on the sides of his head, the rest of the figure is decorated appropriately. While mostly molded in the proper shades of black, grey paint was used to bring out the tunic part of his outfit here and there, and it looks really great. As far as Jedi Knight outfits go, this may be Hasbro's best yet, right down to the shiny boots.
On the whole, the figure sculpt is good, but I have issues with my sample. Aside from the arm, the sculpt seems to be about right. This is probably as good as this character will ever get in plastic, so be sure to get one that's painted up right and you'll be glad you did.
This set includes a base, gun, cloak, and lightsaber.
The base is nothing new, so you know what to expect from the gunmetal grey rectangle with the Star Wars logo stamped on it. Like before, if you string these together, sometimes the ones on the end pop up. It's weird. And, really, not something that should be happening.
The cloak is pretty nifty and on the figure while packaged. It's very tight around the neck, and there's no snap (like on some vintage samples.) Personally, I think a snap or elastic might be good here so it doesn't feel like it's going to pop off his head. The cloak is made of a nice material and looks pretty great, and is easy to pose in fun and amusing ways. It's a definite step up from previous cloth components to figures and as such, I give it a high mark.
The lightsaber, on the other hand, had me baffled. At first I thought it was the same as the Throne Room Luke from 2003, but his was metal. This is a new sculpted handle, it seems, but has the old style of blade that doesn't have the "flare" at the bottom. It might be from a previous figure, but while going through my Luke archives, I couldn't find a match. The paint job on my sample was pretty good, with gold and black paint bringing out some of the finer details.
Lastly, the blaster is pretty slick. It's the same sculpt as used with the recently released Skiff Guard Lando, but in different colors. The paint brings out some nice detail, and it seems to be the right size as well. All in all, a good set of accessories for a good figure.
For 2004, the late-2003 revision is still being employed. More of the same, folks.
Figure distribution in 2004 is random and spotty, and in some areas this figure has come and more or less gone. He is scheduled to appear in future assortments, and I'm under the impression that additional cases of old assortments are still coming. So get your orders in, or check your stores. I haven't seen one in stores for about a month.
It's a nice figure, and I think that had I got a better one, I'd be thinking this is the best 2004 will have to offer as far as the basic assortments go. He has everything he needs to look his best, and can be posed in a lot of great ways. But the head... hoo boy. Here's hoping I have the only bad one. Take a good look at it if you see it... then buy it.
Our regular sample was obtained from Entertainment Earth in March 2004.