Princess Leia (Bespin)
Released July 2004
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on July 2, 2004
While we did receive a figure with this costume as part of 1998's Princess Leia Collection, it's been over 20 years since Princess Leia was made in her Bespin gown as an honest-to-goodness action figure. The results? Mixed.
This figure is packaged with a grey recolor of the Stormtrooper blaster that was first released in gold with Princess Leia (Bespin Escape) in 2001.
Rather than mimic the original, somewhat inaccurate figure, Hasbro managed to capture the movie costume rather well in this 2004 rendition.
As you can see, this figure looks pretty great. The gown has a lot more color in it than the vintage version, as seen below.
While getting the costume right was one thing, Leia's head has been tricky since the old Kenner days. For example you could probably paint a Zorro mask on Boushh Leia from 1983 and call it Robin, and who could forget the comments that dogged the 1995 Princess Leia figure? Thankfully, this figure looks like a female... with a crapload of makeup.
While the sculpt is great, this is a figure that's made or broken by the paint because I've seen two samples thus far, one of which had superb paint and another one that could stop a clock. The brown of her eyes and eyebrows-- on some samples-- is a little fuzzy and thick, and not exactly a high point in the assortment. The makeup on the cheecks is a little excessive, but under the right lighting you probably won't notice. If the skin weren't quite as pale, it might not stand out quite so much, but it's still an above par head sculpt for the princess.
The gown is nicely textured, and there are a lot of intricate patterns all over that look just like the movie... and strike me as being very, very early 1980s. There aren't many folds and creases in this costume, but that's good as it's supposed to be elegant and not overly corny. The coloring highlights what needs to be highlighted, and thankfully, it doesn't look goofy or anything.
I rarely stop and say "why bother with this joint?" when doing articulation reviews, but this is one of the times I think it'd be OK. She is very limited in her movement, with joints at the neck, shoulders, and elbows. There may be a joint under the dress for her hips, but on our sample, it didn't budge easily and it's more or less moot anyway since you can't see her legs. The thing that gets my goat here are her elbow joints, which basically let her arm spin around a little so her hands turn-- basically, these are substitute wrist joints. They tend to stand out, and while I can see how wrist joints may have looked worse, I'm just not impressed by these since Leia doesn't do much of anything while in this costume other than talking to Han and doing some walking. The quantity of joints is absolutely acceptable, but if they cut it back by two, I'd be fine with that. Especially if it meant better QA on the head paint.
This set includes the traditional stand and a blaster.
The base is nothing new. It serves its purpose.
The blaster is nice, and it feels like her hand was molded around it. Rarely have I seen a wave of figures who integrate as well with their accessories as this one so far, and that's a real plus. Of course, she never had a gun while in this costume, but it's nice to see Hasbro toss something in there for both kids who will buy this and play with it. It also never hurts to build up a little armory, as new weapons packs seem unlikely.
Ladies and genltemen, boys and girls, behold. This is it. This is the cardback you've wanted from the start.
There's a lot to the packaging, surprisingly. The double-border is just like the original Kenner packaging, and the black background is also very similar to the old toys. Also, the font of the name plate is similar to (if not the same as) the old days. Beyond that, there aren't a lot of similarities to the old days. Instead of a big photo, there's a background showcasing the environment that character belongs in. Hasbro wisely selected a Cloud City corridor with the classic white lighting (as opposed to the reddish hues seen in parts of the Special Editions) and the figure looks right at home here. A matching package for a recarded Han or Lando would be most welcome later.
The back of the card is completely new, but quite colorful and striking. It's a departure from the past few years, but it's a welcome improvement and something I'd like to see more of in the future.
The nameplate for the figures is a sticker, and the plastic bubble is grooved so it fits snuggly in place and won't be off-center. Customizers will probably have a field day with this packaging, as there are a lot of generic elements you can easily change out andcreate a package that's very specific to your tastes.
As of today, this figure is not yet available in the USA, but looking at future assortments he should be really easy to get and shipping for a good long time.
This is not a perfect figure, but it's a good figure. Leia's ornate costumes don't always lend themselves to lots of articulation and action poses, and thankfully Hasbro recognized this and didn't pose her aiming her gun or running, like they did with Bespin Escape Leia. As, like the Cloud Car, this fills out the roster of MIA action figures from the vintage days, be sure to pick this one up-- just make sure you give the face a good look before going to the register.
She's short, she's standing in a good pose, and it's a Leia figure-- all in all, what's not to like? She's also the first new sculpt female Star Wars figure of 2004. While I'd ordinarily make some sort of crack about this, there's no shortage of Aayla Secura, Bariss Offee, or Ashla in my neck of the woods so there are female figures out there for those that want them. Just not many.
Our sample was obtained from some guy in June 2004.