The Good: Great sculpt, Decent coloring, Awesome flexibility, Collectible value, Good balance
The Bad: Weird bottom seam, Could use a little more articulation,
The Basics: The Vintage Collection Luke Skywalker’s Tauntaun is an impressively sculpted version of the classic Tauntaun beast toy!
A few years back, my wife and I were at a local Target store in New York state and we saw their exclusive beast toy during the last Hasbro celebration of The Empire Strikes Back. That year, most all of the exclusives were focused on the Battle Of Hoth and Target had a new sculpt of Luke Skywalker’s Tauntaun as a unique release. The Luke Skywalker’s Tauntaun was a new sculpt of the popular Hoth beast of burden and while I was somewhat lukewarm to the figure, my wife was adamant that the toy was overpriced. Now, almost three years later, as she has sought gifts for me, she ended up paying twice the original price for the Target-released toy and that was the least expensive she could find it. While I am certainly one who prefers thriftiness, the Luke Skywalker’s Tauntaun toy is worth the $30 average price at which it seems to be found now.
For those unfamiliar with the Tauntauns, they were the beasts of burden on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back (reviewed here!). Luke rode one out to investigate what he thought was a meteor crash and got knocked out by the Wampa creature. The Tauntaun did not fare so well; it was killed by the other beast and devoured.
The Tauntaun intact and alive is the subject of Kenner’s Vintage Luke Skywalker’s Tauntaun toy.
The Tauntaun is a two-legged, furry-looking animal that Luke and the other Rebels rode while on the frozen planet of Hoth. The toy stands just under 7” tall (though with the right combinations of joint movements it can stand up to 8” tall, 7 1/2” long tail to claws and a 3” wide stance that puts it in scale with most of the figures in the 3.75” Star Wars toy line. The Tauntaun is instantly recognizable to fans of the Star Wars Saga and this is possibly the most detailed version of the bipedal, kangaroo-like hairy beast that ran over Hoth, with a saddle to match!
This version of the Tauntaun is molded with a separate saddle that attaches to the main trunk of the furry beast. This Tauntaun is cast with its legs in a running stance and arms with the wrists limp, which is how it appeared in the movie. Hasbro got a lot right with the sculpt of the Tauntaun as it has the horns, claws, saddle with bedroll all molded in perfect proportion. The detailing is consistent with the latest figures and Hasbro even textured the body of the Tauntaun to look hairy, as opposed to leaving it smooth (which would be entirely inaccurate). The Tauntaun even features such incredible detailing as the broken left horn of beast and the back claws on the back of the calves of each leg. That detail had never made it into a Tauntaun toy sculpt before and Hasbro got it right with this attempt.
Oddly, though, this Tauntaun features a weird seam on the toy’s belly. That seam seems to indicate that Hasbro was toying with having a removable belly so one could slice the belly open and place figures inside (and/or extract guts from the toy). That was a feature with some of the earlier Tauntaun toys, but it looks like Hasbro opted not to do the “bonus feature.” As a result, when one removes the saddle, the toy looks a bit awkward.
As for the coloring, Hasbro did an impressive job in that regard. The broad strokes are exceptional; the claws and tail are realistically colored and the saddle is colored distinctly so that each part of it (straps, bedroll, etc.) is colored distinctly. Hasbro really knocked coloring the fur out of the park. On the tail, atop the gray back of the Tauntaun, there are flecks of white which embody snow perfectly. There are also dirt highlights on the knees. The tops of the Tauntaun’s hands are even colored different to connote a leathery skin that is furless and that looks awesome. In fact, the only coloring mishaps on the Luke Skywalker’s Tauntaun are the joints (where the smooth hinges of the ball and socket joints are exposed by bending in those directions) and the fact that the well-detailed and colored eyes do not have a glossy sheen to them.
The Luke Skywalker’s Tauntaun was a deluxe figure (vehicle) set. The Tauntaun came with only its saddle. The saddle is impressive enough as it includes stirrups that fit the Vintage Collection Hoth Luke Skywalker (reviewed here!) figure’s feet and a bridle that is flexible enough to rest on the saddlehorn realistically. It is clear Hasbro completely resculpted the saddle to fit both the new Tauntaun and the Vintage Collection action figures!
Luke Skywalker’s Tauntaun has fairly decent playability. First and foremost, the balance for the Tauntaun is impressive. Because the toy has wonderful articulation at the joints it has, it can be posed in a number of poses and it stands entirely stable in virtually any pose – with or without a rider!
This Tauntaun is impressively articulated, especially compared to all of the prior Tauntaun toys. The tail is inflexible and the Tauntaun has seven points of articulation. There are impressive hinged ball and socket joints for the groin socket, ankles, shoulders and neck. The mouth is molded open and is not jointed to close. The arms and legs do not bend at the elbows or knees. The head articulation is especially impressive compared to prior Tauntaun figures.
Unlike most toys in the Vintage toy line, the Luke Skywalker’s Tauntaun toy was exclusive to Targert and was not at all overproduced. Even so, demand for the toy appears to have been met, but its value has now doubled and leveled out at twice its original price. If this ends up being the ultimate Tauntaun figure, then its value might appreciate more, otherwise it has probably topped out at double the original price.
The Luke Skywalker’s Tauntaun toy was and remains an impressive supplemental toy that is essential for fans recreating a quality Hoth environment or play experience.
For otherHoth-based Star Wars toys and playsets, be sure to visit my reviews of:
Power Of The Force Hoth Battle Playset
Vintage Collection Scout Walker AT-ST
For other toy reviews, please be sure to check out my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the toys I have reviewed!
© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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