Part of the basic Hoth wave, this is the 5th modern version of Luke Hoth and is a little reminiscent of the 2 versions from the POTF2 beast packs (Tauntaun & Wampa). This time around, Luke comes with a stand that attaches to the base that comes with the Ultra Wampa to create the part of the cave where Luke hangs upside-down. So how does Luke stack up? Let's find out.
I'm going to try something a little different, number ratings for the individual elements and a letter grade for the overall result. Oh, and I'm going to try to be brief for once.
The 3rd pass on Saga packaging is this gold-border stuff, and it does seem a little classier with that border telling you the name of the movie it came from and the back of the packaging being light blue to contrast the dark blue on the front; the back even shows off the combined Luke and Wampa sets. I'm still not in love with the saber hands, but the ray-explosion is better than Saga v1's or the aurora of v2. The bubble inserts are on cheaper stock lately. The figure being rubber-banded onto the tray isn't especially annoying, but I don't have to like it either.
Luke's face sculpt is an unusually good ESB likeness of Mark Hamill that holds up well in profile and other angles. TThe outfit's details are very nice, even little things like the rank insignia, commlink, and fabric textures pop out in ways most figures from a few years ago didn't hope to achieve. Even the belt on the "skirt" has a separate holster with gun-strap despite it not being a working holster and having no gun in the set. Even the tops of the universal shoulder joints are sculpted to match the shoulders.
A place where this figure takes a hit is the neck joint, which is a hinged tounge-in-groove number that looks like a column from the back or when the figure is looking upwards. Also, with no post-shoulder joints, the right arm is ultra-straight with a very specific pose, not terrible but could be better. And just above each elbow is a small cut that looks like articulation but isn't, it's an itty bitty strangeness that keeps catching my eye.
Luke has a fairly neutral stance, though the legs are in a slight "walking forward" position which makes it hard to stand up alone - with his base though, he's a standing champ since it does all the work. The other reason this one is only a four is that dead right arm which looks great when the figure is upside-down with the hand reaching out to the saber, but just seems like a dead limb in normal standing.
Upside-down in the ice, this figure's pose is really good, he really looks like he's hanging there and reaching for his saber. The "cutting the feet free" pose suffers though, but that's an action pose, so use your imagination there I guess.
At first, this figure seemed really sloppy, but the more I looked at it, the less sloppy it became. In the small areas, like the straps at the boots, there is trouble going over the borders, or the belt buckle and the dots to its left straying slightly; but then you have the commlink, rank insignia, and tiny buttons on some of the belt pouches that are small yet nearly perfect. The face's base color could have gone astray as well but survived and remain natural unlike other painted face figures like CTC Leia. The bleeding red gashes are well-matched to the sculpting, but seem a little redder than they should, though this is open to personal interpretation.
Mine has trouble at the eyes, with the left eye being a little darker and thicker than the right eye - it could be chalked up to that right one being mangled by the Wampa's attack, but it's the eye that looks normal so that doesn't entirely work. The sculpted part of the scarf doesn't entirely match the separate piece's color. However, it's the white of the arms that really hurts here, the paint is thick and gloppy almost like white-out; not so major that it sinks the figure, but noticable.
This was a toughy because of that ugly-but-useful joint in the neck, it could have easily been 3.5 but since the joint does something incredibly vital for the figure, it squeezes by. Yes, Luke can look up at about 45 degrees, perfect for seeing his saber laying in the ice below; and since his scarf is attached at a rotation point, it can suit the scene by hanging down from his head. There's also a standard neck joint at the shoulders. The shoulders are universal joints which look pretty good and are always welcome additions.
The rest of the articulation is standard waist and hips, but this figure should have had elbow or wrist articulation to help make the arms a little better suited to the task of using the saber. Also, because the "skirt" is kinda rigid, the figure can't bend up far enough at the waist to cut himself free from the ice.
Accessories: 4/5 (ice base, saber hilt); 1.5/5 (goggles, saber blade)
It's unfair to gauge half of these accessories in with the rest, so I simply didn't. The ice cave base is nicely sculpted both top and bottom, it makes a very nice stand and also a good base to hang Luke from, though in that regard there should be a flat spot at the feet yet instead a melty lump; and I do prefer the prototype's lighter blue color. As for the saber hilt, this is a retool of the one that came with POTJ old Ben Kenobi, and as such, the details aren't quite as crisp but still pretty nice. The oddity here is a peg sticking out the handle which has no corresponding hole on Luke's belt, there really should be either a hole or no peg.
What was Hasbro thinking with the saber blade and goggles? The blade is one of those flared jobs from last year, sculpted to fit around Anakin's metal saber I think but it doesn't fit the shape here properly, leaving flats and gaps at the emitter - a nitpick for sure, but they could have done it right. Then there's the goggles, oh those goggles! POTJ Weldin' Chewie's goggles to be specific, and that means they're made for a wookiee, not a lukee. Cast in clear green, sloppily painted white, two sizes too large, and sculpted to be held, not worn. I cast thee out, cruddy accessories!!!
Overall Grade: A-
It's easy to overlook the dead right arm and the squared neck joint since this figure is nice in a lot of other areas, even if he is basically a scene-specific figure (unless you plan to have a bloodied Luke going on lots of adventures). The stand makes a nice large base and the goggles can be thrown in the bag of forgotten toys; the interconnection with the Wampa set is a good touch. A major improvement over the POTF2 Wampa set version, Luke Skywalker: Hoth Attack is a winner.