There's been a lot of complaining about Hasbro's new Death Star II Luke figure which seems to have snowballed into a sense that this figure flat-out sucks. Granted, there are some deficiencies in this figure, but it's not that bad really, and I encourage everybody to really check this figure out before deciding.
First though, let me focus on the figure's actual problems:
- The arms and legs, recycled from a previous figure, don't fit the body too well. The shoulders are bulky and gapped, a little wide too. The legs are too close together and don't quite meet the crotch properly.
- Incorrect/incomplete belt design.
- Extreme left hand pose.
- Wasp-waisted proportions.
- Handcuffs don't fit too well.
- Wrong lightsaber.
Ok, so there definitely are a few issues with this figure. There's no question the recycled limbs were not effective, though I feel the arms are the real problem, the legs aren't that bad. The left hand thing is a Force gesture I suppose, reaching for the saber on the Emperor's throne, but that's not a good enough reason to go extreme with the pose. There's no excuse for the wrong belt, but at a glance it's not a huge difference. The handcuffs are limited by the scale. And the lightsaber thing is a repeated situation that we're just stuck with for poor Luke.
The waist issue is a pretty noteworthy one, and Mark Hamill was slight but not like this. Compared to the last Luke figure, where the waist meets the hips on this new figure is around 12% narrower, that's a considerable amount visually, scaled up that's nearly 2 and a half inches smaller than the previous figure.
Ok, so here's where the defense comes in. First off, the likeness is very good, this is probably my favorite main character OT sculpted likeness in the last 5 years. The hairline isn't quite right, and there's a passive nature to the expression, but the likeness itself is quite strong.
The articulation on this figure is excellent, the mid-torso can be overused but with some restraint can be posed in ways that are extremely expressive. Little tilts and leans for smaller stuff, arches for the big battle poses, it's got it all and it can move in multiple directions at once unlike most mid-torso joints. The head has ok range, the legs and arms look good in action, and the elbows aren't hampered (though they stop at 90 degrees). And once you have any pose going on this figure, even a fairly passive one, the small waist and ill-fitting arms don't have as great an impact on the overall look, so posing this figure is a massive improvement every time.
The removable chest panel is a nifty idea and works with the actual costume's lines. The "closed" panel is ok but not fantastic. The "open" panel though is a great design, even with the slight paint slop on mine it looks utterly terrific. This is a major element for the costume even though it was only seen after the battle, it is one if its signature elements.
The gloved right hand is a new design despite the previous use of these arms having its own glove, and this is a better design, it really looks like a glove, slightly thicker than the other hand.
If Hasbro is going to use the Obi-Wan lightsaber sculpt, at least they're using the best mold this time and painting it like Luke's. They're using the ROTS Obi-Wan sculpt, and even though it has some differences like the notched upper hilt and PT belt attachment, it's lightyears better than the POTJ Ben saber they had been using that had an extremely soft sculpt and overly long blade. Plus, unlike the previous Luke ROTJ that came out last year, this time they've painted the hilt correctly (minus the silver rings around the upper hilt, but not sure if that'd even be possible at this size).
In conclusion, yes this is a flawed figure, that is not in doubt. But it has positive aspects as well, and is not the horrible figure that many fans are making it out to be. Luke DS2 is my favorite look for my favorite Star Wars hero, so I'm both biased for AND against any figure - after all, how can it live up to my expectations? Yet that the likeness and the panel gimmick both work means this is an ok figure in my book, and I intend to buy a second one when I find it at retail.