Wednesday, September 22, 2010

He Might Not Be A Bounty Hunter In The Purest Sense, But The 12" Lando Calrissian...

The Good: Inexpensive enough, Good costume work, Decent accessories
The Bad: Does not stand well, Face sculpt issues, Proportion issues, Costume could be better.
The Basics: Despite decent costuming aspects, the 12" Lando Calrissian doll is tippable and only looks marginally like Billy Dee Williams.

For those who follow my many, many reviews (thanks for that!), they know that I am both a huge fan of The Empire Strikes Back and I have a small collection of Star Wars 12" dolls of the bounty hunters from the Saga. What can I say? I like rogues! While Lando Calrissian is not usually considered a bounty hunter, I do because he actually starts the series willing to sell out his old friend Han Solo. But while many know Lando Calrissian as the principle black character from the original Trilogy, I now know him as a pretty sad 12" doll from Kenner.

For those unfamiliar with Lando Calrissian, he is the administrator of the Bespin Mining Colony in The Empire Strikes Back (click here for my review of the movie). He mortgages his relationship with Han Solo in order to protect his business interests. But when Han Solo is turned over to the bounty hunter Boba Fett, Lando must consider who is is and what he truly stands for.

The 12" doll of Lando Calrissian was just given to me by my wife for our fifteen month wedding anniversary and the truth is, I asked for it knowing it was a pretty lousy figure. Given that Lando is a background bounty hunter for my doll case, I could not justify her spending hundreds of dollars on the Sideshow doll of Lando. Even so, there is very little Kenner got right with their 12" Lando, which is probably why he has depreciated so severely in the secondary market.


Lando Calrissian is a human administrator who has a prominent role in the latter half of The Empire Strikes Back. The figure stands 11 1/8" tall. Lando Calrissian is a man who ought to define suave. Instead, his 12" doll almost defines unrecognizable. In fact, fans of the Star Wars Saga who see the doll are more likely to recognize him as Lando from the costume or by default (whatwith the doll being of a black man who is clearly not the bald, Mace Windu). The figure is made of hard plastic, though the legs and arms are made of the same thicker rubbery plastic as several styles of Barbie doll.

Lando is adorned in a blue (light blue and navy blue) outfit made of cloth, with the doll's body being made of plastic. Lando's head is about the right size as it ought to be for a figure in this scale, though Calrissian does have awfully broad shoulders!

This toy is poor in the facial sculpt department. Lando Calrissian has a light brown skin, but lacks the realistic shading and depth of a real human face. As well, the pigments do not precisely match those of Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando. The hair has enough etching to it to prevent it from looking like he is wearing a helmet and the mustache looks all right. But the face is not quite right and it seems too angular in the jaw and not round enough in the cheeks. At least they got the eyes right and Lando has cold brown eyes with black pupils.


Lando Calrissian, shifty administrator that he is, comes dressed in a blue suit made of actual cloth. Lando Calrissian's costume is designed to be removed and it includes boots made of soft plastic, pants, the shirt and the cape Lando wore. The detailing on the costume is only fair, though Kenner did detail his belt accurately. What isn't as accurate is the cape. The outside of the cape is appropriately light blue. But inside the cape is just monotonal gold satin. The picture on the box for the toy illustrates that the actual cape was gold and red in a swirling paisley print.

Lando Calrissian's handgun is an oversized blaster. The 4" long blaster looks unlike the one Lando used in The Empire Strikes Back, but has great surface details, like the trigger guard and molded scope. The gun is wonderfully detailed in black and silver plastic and while it looks ridiculously large in Lando's hand, it is colored fairly well for a "clean" blaster.

Lando Calrissian also comes with his wrist commlink. The communications device Lando is seen tapping on as he moves through the corridors on Bespin to alert his security is rendered as a 1/2" silver-gray box with tiny red and black accents on the buttons! This box is connected to a belt-like strap and this fits easily on Lando's wrist and actually looks good there.


I don't know who plays with these twelve-inch figures. As far as displaying, though, there is not much to recommend Lando Calrissian. First, he is a poorly-articulated action figure. Lando Calrissian is not very posable, with only nine points of articulation. This doll has joints at the knees, groin socket, shoulders, elbows and neck. The shoulder joints and groin are both ball and socket joints, so the hunter's arms and legs move fairly realistically! Unfortunately, moved out of a flatfooted position, Lando falls over. The knees and elbows are hidden hinge joints which click into one of three bent positions, so the doll holds his shape when he is posed. The neck is a simple swivel joint, so Lando may look left and right, but not nod.

Lando Calrissian cannot do things like hold the blaster rifle in a decent two-handed supporting position. Even more problematic is that Lando Calrissian is poorly balanced. When posed in a flatfooted position, he wobbles. Any positioning of the legs in a knees-bent position makes the figure tip over. As a result, it is virtually impossible to get Lando Calrissian so stable that he does not wobble or shake at all from vibrations near one's display. Lando Calrissian can be situated such that he does not fall over, but it is all boring, display poses he is relegated to.


Lando Calrissian is part of the 12" Collector Series, a series of Star Wars action figures that were released during a time that they were being over produced. Lando Calrissian was incredibly common, which tended to devalue the figure quite a bit (though most of the Star Wars figures have taken a hit from overproduction and Lando suffered because he was arguably the least-desired 12" figure in an overproduced case).

Lando Calrissian, specifically, was one of the first Star Wars figures in the 12" line to hit the clearance bins and they generally remained there. This is one of the easiest 12" figures to find in the secondary market as a result and it is only truly worth something to people who have a fetish for bounty hunters or aliens, it is not going to be a gold mine for anyone's collection.


I love my wife and I am glad I have the 12" Lando Calrissian doll, but if there were a better sculpt of Lando from The Empire Strikes Back that was affordable, even for a background bounty hunter, that is the one I would want in my collection. Yes, this Lando Calrissian doll is that bad, though it is the only one since the collection in the 1980s to be made of this particular Lando.

For other The Empire Strikes Back toy and ornaments reviewed by me, please check out:
Power Of The Jedi Bespin Guard figure
"His Masters Bidding" Hallmark Ornament
Saga Legends IG-88


For other Star Wars toy reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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