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The Black Series [Phase I]

Luke Skywalker - TBS [P1] - Basic (#21)

Name: Luke Skywalker
Collection: The Black Series
Number: #21
Scale: 3¾"
Source: The Empire Strikes Back
Availability: July 2014
License: Hasbro

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Guided by a message from Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke flies to the planet Dagobah to continue his Jedi training with a mysterious Jedi Master named Yoda.

The Black Series 3.75” Luke Skywalker [Dagobah Training] figure has been on the market for about a month and it has already been visually analyzed by multiple fan sites out on the web by the time we sat down to purchase it and work up a review on it on our own. Our friends at and have provided wonderful imagery and written analysis on this figure already. And while we are always first to jump on their sites to see what they have to say about such things, we can honestly tell you that aside from glancing at a few key images, we tried to shelter ourselves from what they had to say. If we come clean, we have to admit that there is intense pressure from all fan sites to see who can post images and reviews on the new figures first. We can tell you that the “competition” that might exist between our friends is innocent. We typically send joking texts and call each other names, but it’s all in good fun. But this TBS wave of figures made us a little bit numb. As a result, we did fall asleep at the wheel because the samples that arrived on eBay told a tale that not too many of us wanted to hear anyway. Between the inability to find anything at retail and this seemingly poor wave of figures, we lost temporary interest. Why are we telling you this? We are telling you this because we believe that we have digested these figures properly now (without influence) and can give our readers a pretty fair assessment of them despite them being on the market for some time now.

You know the story. Luke Skywalker made his debut at 2013’s NYCC Hasbro Preview party. Jedi Temple Archives was in attendance and were fortunate enough to provide the community with some of the first pictures to the collecting community. The figure looked fantastic. Hasbro took exaggerated measures to give this figure hyper-articulation. And the delivery of the prototype was completely satisfying. We were all excited. Fast forward months ahead, samples began hitting eBay, much to the horror of the collecting community. The most notable feature that caused chagrin in the collecting community was the arms. The double hinge-jointed arms are no doubt a nightmare. But collectors are finding that they cannot even give Hasbro an “A” for effort because this figure just turned out so terribly. The figure has also been ridiculed because of the other travesties it possesses. The paint operations on the eyes have for the most part been terrible, our sample also has male-patterned baldness. And despite the figure being loaded with premium articulation, it isn’t as fluid as many had hoped he would be. Despite all of this, we’re not so quick to dismiss the figure. We won’t make excuses for the lack of quality, and we don’t expect others to accept a new action figure release as a “jumping off” point, but that’s the angle we’re going to take with Luke Skywalker (#21) from the 3.75” The Black Series line.

We think a great figure to make a comparison against would be 2012’s TVC Luke Skywalker (Hoth Outfit) (VC95) figure. He had that porcelain/"cartoony" “Buzz Lightyear-ish” head sculpt. He didn’t have key pieces to the costume. And he only looked good with certain accessories or at certain angles. Yet Hasbro took most of this sculpt to update it and create a much closer definitive version of the character (the "Wampa attack" version in the second phase of TBS). We believe that’s about where Luke Skywalker from The Black Series line stands. Luke Skywalker may require much more intense surgery to perfect, but we don’t think it is without merit. Do you remember those puzzles from the 90s where you had to use your binocular vision to see the “hidden” image? That a pretty good metaphorical explanation of how we’re viewing this figure. There is more than meets the eye here. And while those patterns of curvy geometric shapes from those now classic puzzles make very little sense at face value, there are some greater things laying underneath that surface and sadly being ignored. If it’s possible for you to ignore the arms, Luke Skywalker does indeed have fluidity and realism to him that is a notch above so many other action figures. His torso has been sculpted and decorated flawlessly. His legs have been sculpted nicely and although the deco is not perfect, there is a high level of screen accuracy here. The head sculpt isn’t actually half as bad were it not for the disastrous paint operations. And if Hasbro could find a way to redo his arms, we are confident we’d all have a lot more affection for this figure than we do right now.

We are NOT claiming it’s acceptable for Hasbro to keep trying until they get it right. We know that will be one of the misinterpretations of this review. And we are not saying that we are in love with this particular Luke Skywalker figure either. In hand, visually it is a train wreck. That being said, it’s quite functional. The extra set of hands and the healthy dose of accessories will make you happy. The ability for him to stand on his hands is impressive. Sure, we have seen this before with 2004’s OTC Luke Skywalker (OTC #01) figure, but now a full decade later these arms are fully articulated (whether they look good or not). With extreme patience and perfect balance, you can even get Yoda (#22) to stand atop his feet just like in the film. (We just wish we had a modern Dogabah playset to accompany them.) Yes, those double hinge-jointed arms are an abomination, but if you pose the figure in a way where most of the "wonkiness" is hidden, Luke Skywalker looks pretty amazing. We have posed him in every way possible that matches his appearance in The Empire Strikes Back, without fail. And then we were able to attain a whole slew of other poses not from the film, like him in a “boxing” stance, or with his holding lightsaber and blaster in each hand in a very guarded manner. We are impressed with the flexibility this figure offers. If Hasbro can correct the grievances we have against it, this could be a stunning definitive action figure. We know the collecting community isn’t happy with this release, but you should know it still has confirmed to us that this figure has amazing potential. We’re not ready to throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet.

Collector Notes

Luke Skywalker

Status: Luke Skywalker is an all-new figure.

Articulation Count: 28 points (16 places of articulation)

Articulation Details: ball-socket head (1), ball-hinged left shoulder (2), ball-hinged right shoulder (2), swivel left bicep (1), swivel right bicep (1), hinge-jointed left elbow (2), hinge-jointed right elbow (2), ball-jointed left wrist (2), ball-jointed right wrist (2), swivel waist (1), ball-jointed left hip (2), ball-jointed right hip (2), ball-jointed left knee (2), ball-jointed right knee (2), ball-jointed/"rocker" left ankle (2), ball-jointed/"rocker" right ankle (2)

Accessory Count: 6

Accessory Details: lightsaber, lightsaber hilt, DL-44 blaster pistol, 2 interchangeable hands, removable holster/belt combination

Date Stamp: 2014

Assortment Number: A5631/A5077

UPC: 653569896937

Retail: $9.99 USD

Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on Click here to check the market value on eBay! listings.

Luke Skywalker


The Black Series (3¾") Wave 4
Bastila Shan (#20)
Luke Skywalker (#21)

Yoda (#22)
Toryn Farr (#23)
Snowtrooper Commander (#24)
Dak Ralter (#25)

Added: July 27, 2014
Category: Black Series [Phase I], The
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
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