The Good: Recognizable casting and accessories
The Bad: Vastly overproduced, Comparatively poor articulation, Light on coloring details
The Basics: Having since been recast as a perfect figure, the Power Of The Force Luke Skywalker In Hoth Gear action figure is now obsolete and not worth hanging onto.
Times change and when they do, collectors are often left either with a huge bill - the cost of upgrading their collections - or a lot of obsolete pieces in their collection. Sad to say, but what was once considered the cream of the crop can be sunk in this fashion and that is where the 1996 Kenner Power Of The Force Luke Skywalker In Hoth Gear falls. When the 2003 Original Trilogy Collection figures were released, one of the first was a Hoth Attack Luke Skywalker (reviewed here!). That figure had realistic coloring details for the face, improved articulation and even a base that connected to the Wampa creature for enhanced playability! At that point, the Power Of The Force Hoth Luke Skywalker basically became obsolete in the collections of many Star Wars fans. And while it is easy to look back now and see the flaws in this Power Of The Force figure, at one point, it was the cream of the crop!
Luke Skywalker In Hoth Gear is the heroic Rebel at the outset of The Empire Strikes Back (reviewed here!), when he is seen in the padded, warm outfit on Hoth. This Luke is clad in gray and tan winter weather gear, which is how the Wampa Creature found him to pound his face in!
The 4" Luke Skywalker figure is good, but ultimately underwhelming in retrospect. The Power Of The Force line was low on articulation and the sculpt of Luke Skywalker was still a bit more buff than the actual Luke Skywalker!
The Luke Skywalker In Hoth Gear figure is the recognizable hero of the Rebellion in his gray and white padded shirt and pants from when he needed to stay warm on Hoth. The figure stands 3 3/4" tall to the top of his head. Luke Skywalker is cast in a stance that is a fairly wide stance and Luke has broader shoulders than Mark Hamill's iconic character. The basic frame of this Luke is off in the proportions.
Outside that, this figure is a decent sculpt, looking enough like Luke Skywalker on Hoth to be recognizable. This Hoth Luke Skywalker features the laced boots and the padded jacket that made the outfit. Luke has his face exposed, though his head is otherwise covered by a hat and goggles with a descending scarf. Kenner cast the scarf in a softer plastic, which was one of their first successful attempts to blend hard and soft plastic elements for a figure!
As for the coloring, Kenner got the Luke Skywalker in Hoth Gear right in a very general way. The face is Caucasian, but lacks any subtle shading to make the figure look realistic. The rest of the skin tones are cheated away by the fact that Luke is wearing gloves. The outfit is colored correctly and this is a very clean look for the outfit, without any snow or dirt. Luke also has the requisite details like the rank pins and belt buckle painted on in appropriate colors.
Luke Skywalker, barely surviving on Hoth comes with two accessories. This Luke features a blaster pistol and a lightsaber. The lightsaber is Luke's standard blue translucent lightsaber with a silver handle. It is three inches long and fits in either of Luke's hand. This figure was released before any of the many gimmicks involving lightsabers, so the blade is not removable and it does not attach to his belt in any way.
The blaster pistol is virtually identical to the Power Of The Force blaster that accompanied the first Han Solo figure. Luke's blaster is 1 1/8" long, monotonal black and disproportionately large, though it does fit in either of Luke's hands. It does not fit into the holster molded onto Luke's leg, which is not cast to accommodate the gun.
As part of the Power Of The Force toy line, Luke Skywalker later came with a Freeze Frame slide as well. The Freeze Frame slide features an image with Luke Skywalker from Hoth on it.
The four inch toy line was designed for play and Luke Skywalker is poor in that regard. The figure is poorly articulated and lacks significant articulation to make it interesting with either of his weapon. In addition to low articulation, Luke Skywalker has limited poseability. The figure tips if the feet are moved even slightly out of a flatfooted position. In a flatfooted position, Luke Skywalker is fairly stable, but even slightly out of it, it tips right over!
Luke Skywalker is also low on articulation. While the figure has six points of articulation - shoulders, groin socket, neck and waist, only the waist and legs have significant range of motion and these are the more pointless joints as the figure falls over or its big action pose is turned half around! Given the limited flexibility of the figure, this Hoth Luke Skywalker is easily replaceable!
Luke Skywalker is part of the Power Of The Force four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was incredibly common. Most of the figures in this line were incredibly overproduced and Luke Skywalker was no exception. Even now, this one can often be found well below its original issue price in the five to seven dollar range. Because there are better versions of it, it is hard to argue it is worth even that price now. In other words, this figure is a dreadfully bad investment for collectors.
Luke Skywalker In Hoth Gear was once the cream of the crop, but now it seems like a lesser figure that, should one keep for play or dioramas, it should be relegated to the background and considered a generic Hoth soldier instead of a Luke!
For other Power Of The Force figures from The Empire Strikes Back, please check out my reviews of:
Luke Skywalker In Dagobah Fatigues
Hoth Han Solo
Deluxe Hoth Rebel Soldier
Mynock Hunt 3-pack
Deluxe Probe Droid
Deluxe Boba Fett
For other toy reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!
© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.