It’s a before-and-after picture!
A lot’s happened to Luke Skywalker by the time that “The Empire Strikes Back” begins. Since his requisite call to action from his now-deceased mentor, Obi-wan Kenobi, Luke has rescued a Princess, destroyed a planet-killing space station, been promoted to a Commander in the Galactic Rebellion, become the leader of Rogue Squadron, and he’s learned more than a little about the ways of the Jedi.
But, as my first Tae Kwon Do master used to say about me, Luke knew just about enough to get his ass kicked.
Luke Skywalker’s “Bespin” outfit is more than a costume. It’s a wearable totem, identified with a phase of his growth. When he dons these fatigues, thoughts of adventure and excitement still dominate his self-image. By the end of “Empire,” this symbolic uniform is left in bloody tatters … along with whatever remained of Luke’s boyhood expectations.
Whilst clad in his Episode V garb, Luke was still at a pretty arrogant age in his own maturation myth. Let’s call it “maturation adolescence.” As Yoda put it, he needed to unlearn what he had learned. But something didn’t quite click between Luke and his wizened Jedi Master. Fortunately for the story, Darth Vader was more than willing to give Luke a good schooling.
Needless to say, after reading that (perhaps) overly-grandiose assessment of Luke in Empire, I had some pretty high hopes for Hot Toys when it was announced that they’d be delivering their own interpretation of the Bespin Luke Skywalker action figure as their inaugural Star Wars sixth-scale offering. And, after all of my initial reservations, it seems that they have delivered in spades.
First, let me get this out of the way: The Hot Toys Bespin Luke Skywalker Sixth-Scale Figure offers what is likely the best value for that scale of collectible in modern times. For the bargain (!?) price of $299, collectors get not one, but two fully-costumed sixth-scale figures – as well as a sixth-scale environment. (Most of my non-collector friends are likely choking at this point. Breathe, friends. Breathe. You, too, wife. It’s okay.)
One figure features Luke unscathed … pure as the virgin snow, unblemished by conflict or paternal abuse. He’s clean, clad as a warrior, proud and strong, with a look of confidence on his face.
The other figure contradicts that confidence with a look of utter defeat. Luke’s face is bloodied by battle, bearing a distinct look of despair. His signature heroic garb is stained, clinging to him in tatters.
Each figure is the hyper-accurate accounting of the character that one would expect from Hot Toys. This is a company that continues to ride the crest of the sixth-scale wave.
Though not without flaw, I’m compelled to say. There was cause for the application of the occasional dollop of superglue to my own figure right out of the box. The magnets holding the “hairpieces” to the head sculpts failed me on both heads, and had to be reapplied. And I still need to dig up my wife’s tweezers to reinstall the inner magnet to Luke’s holster. But this is all a part of the role of the sixth-scale collector. Which is fine. There’s little fun in it for me if I don’t get to play. Futzing and tweaking are a part of the game, and I’m more than willing to man up and put my own spin on things.
So I did my best to pose my pristine Skywalker in a way that reflects his overconfidence, and his unrealistic expectations of himself. It’s his residual self-image – indomitable, invulnerable. Meanwhile, my “battle damaged” Luke clings helplessly to the Bespin weather vane that has come to represent the lowest point in his story, where he hangs in despair, contemplating the revelation that his greatest enemy is also his father, and that everything he was told to believe was a lie.
Hot Toys has delivered with this figure set. It’s clear to me that the utmost amount of thought went into what every collector would consider to be essential in the quintessential Bespin Luke Skywalker figure. My only qualm is with the typical Hot Toys tendency to tailor the clothing for relaxed, upright poses. More dynamic poses will result in a sort of “high water” effect with the figures’ sleeves.
But that is my only irritation with these figures. All other bases are effectively covered. Every conceivable interchangeable hand is available for the collector to use. Luke’s boots are made of a very realistic faux-leather material, and the double-jointed ankels enable easy alterations of the figures’ stances.