Monday, November 7, 2011

Iconic (Slave) Princess Leia, More In Scale, Accessorized, Still A Sex Symbol!

The Good: Generally decent sculpt, Very cool accessories
The Bad: Finer points, Low articulation, Somewhat ridiculous look to cloth
The Basics: Princess Leia with Sail Barge Cannon is a powerful figure designed for play and while she looks good, there are some issues with this sculpt.

There are a few iconic sex symbols from science fiction that have so effectively crossed over into mainstream culture as the appearance of Princess Leia in her metal bikini in Return Of The Jedi. The outfit is pretty much a standard at fetish shops, was referenced in the wildly popular Friends and virtually every other parody of the original Star Wars trilogy. It is also the subject of several action figures, which have a difficult time with capturing the likeness and aspects of the captive Princess Leia. For example, Slave Leia was previously released as a 12" doll, which I reviewed here!

The problem is essentially a twofold one. The first is poseability, the second is making the figure look good with the costume. Poseability is a huge problem for toy manufacturers of a Princess Leia in Slave outfit as she spent most of her time laying on her side. This is a difficult pose for toy manufacturers to create and essentially forces them to make a figure with a groin socket joint that goes left to right as opposed to front to back (scissor kick, like most every action figure in the world). While there have been several statues and inaction figures of the prone Slave Leia, there have been no major action figures to allow the toy to be posed such. The other problem with creating a Princess Leia as Jabba's Prisoner figure is that because there is so little outfit, there are few places to hide points of articulation. And as the Power Of The Jedi Princess Leia With Sail Barge Cannon deluxe figure illustrates, it is hard to make joints at the legs and shoulders for such a thin, scantily-clad woman look anything but ridiculous on an action figure in this scale.

Slave Leia, as Princess Leia Organa was known after she was captured attempting to infiltrate Jabba's palace and outfitted in a scanty metal bikini, was essentially in two scenes of Return Of The Jedi (reviewed here!): in Jabba's Palace and on Jabba's sail barge. The Princess Leia deluxe figure that comes with the Sail Barge Cannon is very much intended to be an action figure, not a lounging Leia. This Leia is dwarfed by her cannon accessory, from the last moments the enslaved Leia was in her outfit before destroying the Jabba's Sail Barge with the deck guns.


Slave Leia is a human Rebel leader who was captured by the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt. This figure comes with a replica of the deck cannons from Jabba's Sail Barge, which Leia pointed at the deck, set off and ended the reign of many gangsters and lackeys on Tatooine. The cannon fires two missiles and Leia comes with the skiff guard's pole-ax that she stole in the same scene. The figure stands 3 1/4" tall to the top of her topknot and this makes her more realistically in scale with the other four-inch Star Wars figures. Slave Leia is dressed in a cloth skirt with plastic bikini bottoms on front and back. Her chest is covered (barely) with a bikini top and her neck has a real length of chain around it. As well, this Princess Leia has a braided ponytail made of doll hair, so she is a mix of plastic and non-plastic materials, which sets her apart from earlier sculpts of the same figure.

This toy is a pretty incredible sculpt, except in the joints. She has such details as her clavicles molded into the figure and tiny earrings. Still, because the scale is so small, this Princess Leia figure does not have fingernails molded into or painted onto the figure. This Slave Leia is mediocre in her coloring details, she lacks any skin tone shading, though the outfit has all of the proper accents painted in. Her hair is not monolithically colored, either. Leia has hair that has been meticulously braided and pokes out of the plastic head which is an interesting touch. I actually dislike the incongruity between the plastic figures and real world materials like cloth and hair, but this figure pulls it off fairly well.


Princess Leia As Jabba's Slave, pop culture icon, comes with two accessories: the Sail Barge Cannon and the Skiff Guard pole-ax. The vibro-ax (as it is sometimes referenced as) is a soft plastic stick the same height as Leia. This is the recast ax and as such it has wonderful surface and coloring details. The base and head are silver, the hand grips are molded to look like they are wrapped cloths. This is a very cool accessory and it looks dangerous in Leia's two-handed grip (which is how it comes in the package).

The Sail Barge Cannon is what makes this a deluxe figure! The Cannon is a big accessory: six and a half inches long (an inch longer with the missiles in it!), three and a quarter inches tall and two and a half inches wide at its base. This is a pretty faithful - if monotonally colored - replica of the deck gun Leia used to shoot the sail barge to destroy it. It comes with such realistic details as the kick firing mechanism and the firing platform Leia stood on to rotate the gun. The cannon swivels up and down on the base about forty-five degrees up and down. This is a very cool accessory which can fire the two four and a quarter inch missiles with the push of a button on the top. They shoot the missiles about seventeen inches, which makes for pretty cool play.


This is a very playable 4" Star Wars figure and the fact that the cannon shoots missiles supports the idea that it is intended for action as opposed to simple display. Still, this is a difficult figure to recommend outside the quality of the accessory. Princess Leia stands with some effort, but is best when plugged into the base of the Sail Barge Cannon via the pegs on the firing platform and the holes on her feet. Outside that, this is a difficult figure to keep standing in anything like a complex pose. She is not a well-articulated action figure. Slave Leia is so close to naked that the manufacturers seem to have been faced with the question of making her poseable (with lots of exposed joints) or less mobile and good-looking. They opted for the latter. As a result, Slave Leia has only five points of articulation. She has joints at the groin socket (poorly hidden by her skirt), shoulders, and neck. The neck is a simple swivel socket, which is all right. As a result, Slave Leia can turn his head left to right, but not front to back as any sort of nodding motion. As well, the shoulder joints and groin are simple joints, which only allow the figure to scissor kick her legs or raise her arms up and down.


Princess Leia with Sail Barge Cannon is part of the expanded saga Power Of The Jedi four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was fairly common. It was one of only four (at the time) Deluxe figures which came with more prominent accessories. Because Slave Leia is an exceptionally popular concept, fans gobbled these up and they remain more difficult to find on the secondary market. So, despite the fact that there are various sculpts of this (and other!) Princess Leias, this one still commands higher than original prices. If you can find one cheap, it makes for a decent investment piece.


Princess Leia in her metal bikini might be iconic, but she's tough to sculpt well. This one looks doofy in the hip are and is clearly designed for play alongside one's armies of Star Wars figures. It is easy to recommend that way, whatwith the massive double-barreled cannon it comes with, but still one hopes there might be a better version in the future.

For other deluxe Star Wars action figures, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Original Trilogy Collection Hoth Attack Wampa And Hoth Cave
Comic Packs Wedge Antilles and Borsk Fey'lya
The Phantom Menace Darth Maul And Sith Speeder


For other toy reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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