― Luke Skywalker, The Force Awakens
The world we live in has its share of mysteries; the statues of Easter Island, Jimmy Hoffa’s resting place, why the Nazca lines were created, the Kardashians – to name just a few.
Among these great questions is the mystery of why no one seems to be able to accurately capture the elusive likeness of Mark Hamill. Let’s take a quick look at some of the attempts over the years…
Up until now, the Hot Toys DX07 (Bespin, top, third from right) has been considered by many as the best. Remove any of these current sculpts from their distinctively clothed bodies though, and the average (non-toy collecting) person might be hard-pressed to tell you whose tiny face you were showing them.
Hot Toys’ currently unreleased ROTJ Luke may be poised to take the mantle as the most accurate portrait of the young Jedi. Prototype images are never a sure thing though so we’ll reserve the crown until sometime next year.
But those are all young Hamill, and this review is about the current model Skywalker. Let’s see how he stacks up.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
• Luke Skywalker figure dressed in his robes from The Force Awakens
• Three interchangeable mechanical right hands (fist, open/relaxed, force gesturing)
• Three interchangeable left hands (fist, relaxed/open, gesturing/semi-open)
• Standard hexagonal Hot Toys TFA stand with Rebel insignia
• Diorama base stand
SCULPT – 8/10
As with most (well ok, all) prototypes, the initial images of TFA Luke were hotly debated among 1/6th collectors. Preliminary photos were both praised and derided for, among other things; looking like Jeff Bridges, Kurt Russell or Oliver Reed in Gladiator, looking too angry, not having wind-blown hair, and for those extreme curmudgeons – looking nothing at all like Mark Hamill.
Is this a perfect Hamill/Luke sculpt? Well, no. Is it the best currently? I would say it is (and then I’d duck). Personally, I think Hot Toys did a good job with this one, especially given the limits of sculpted hair. Yes, it’s more wild and wind-blown in the movie. But as it is, the sculpt is already very scene-specific (I mean, he was in only one scene – how could it not be?). I don’t think I would have wanted wind-blown hair even if it was achievable to sculpt. Perhaps a bit fuller or less flat against the forehead would have helped but I don’t think it detracts from the likeness much.
The thing I wish they had not made specific to the TFA scene is the direction of his eyes. They are positioned looking to the left which I feel limits posing a bit – especially for photos.
Yes, perhaps its a bit idealized; the cheekbones a little high, jawline a bit too square, eye lines/wrinkles reduced. But it is quite recognizable as a bearded Hamill/Skywalker. Paint is overall well done although slightly more grey in the beard and throughout the hair here and there would have increased the realism.
CLOTHING/ ACCESSORIES – 7/10
If you’re a fan of beige and robes then this figure is your grail! Seriously though, the clothing is nicely tailored – typical of the quality of clothing coming from Hot Toys these days. The inner robes are well fitted and stitched. There is a bit of weathering to them, though it’s understated as is also typical of most non-“damaged” releases – you may or may not want to add to this. Again here, the padding/fatsuit seems a bit idealized – the full-body promo shots of Hamill from TFA do not match the more svelt-ish waist on the HT version. I plan on adding some padding to mine.
The robe has wire in the hood as well as the bottom hem for shaping. Depending on the material it’s used in, I’m generally a fan of wiring in capes and robes. It makes for a lot more creativity in posing – whether for photos or for the shelf. I almost wish they had added wire to the bottom “drapes” of the inner robe though (as was done on TFA Kylo Ren).
The hood of the robe looks good when it’s down, but it doesn’t sit very well on the top of Luke’s head – I think it has to do with the top seam – it doesn’t sit flat and resists shaping. I had to put a little stick-em on his head for photos to get it to stay flat – water treatment may help here. The material is fine, but the hems seem roughly cut – I had to cut off many stray threads that stuck out – maybe it’s just the nature of the material.
The pants are a similar linen material to the cloak and inner-most robes. The boots are soft plastic and two-piece, as they were for young Luke and the belt is simple in a leather-like material with one pouch and a weathered buckle.
As for accessories, well… there really aren’t many to speak of. Three sets of hands, a standard base, and a smallish diorama base.
Let’s start with the hands. The non-mechanical (flesh) hands, at first, seem oversized. I took a shot recently with the “force” gesture hand on and someone immediately asked if I had photoshopped his hand larger, it’s that obvious. But in comparison to the HT Obi-Wan hands, they seem to be the same mold and are exactly the same size. So what’s going on? It’s actually the oversized wrist peg – it sets the hand off too far from the end of the arm and it’s as wide as the palm. I don’t know what the thinking was with this, but replacing them helps.
The mechanical hands are very nicely detailed but have little motion beyond rotation at the wrist (more on this in the articulation section). The diorama base is the exact same base that comes with the R.O. Deathtrooper Deluxe with the stand placement reversed. It’s nicely detailed, but there was really no way to pose the Trooper other than to have one foot up on the rock and it’s almost as difficult (though not impossible) to have Luke stand flat on two feet within the space.
ARTICULATION – 8/10
Typical of most Hot Toys figures, the underlying body is solid and very well articulated. The joints are tight, the elbows are double jointed and the upper and lower parts of the boots are separate giving the feet pretty good range of motion.
Slight negative in the flexibility of the waist area due to the fatsuit, but that’s to be expected. A larger nit for me was the absence of wrist motion for the mechanical hands. I realize that this may have taken some innovative design for full motion but I would have settled for even a simple forward/backward pivot. Again, what they lack in number should have been offset by better quality in the accessories considering the price, which brings me to…
PRICE POINT – 6/10
We’re all well aware of the price increases in 1/6th figures in the last few years – especially from large manufacturers with licensed franchises like Hot Toys. The $229 – $249 range seems to be the norm now. The Star Wars license is surely expensive and the quality that is expected from sculpts, paint, and clothing in the hobby today has gone up exponentially as well.
It did at least seem though, that the number of accessories that came with the figures was generally increasing as well, but not so with this old Jedi Master. Three pairs of hands, a slightly too small diorama base, and a fairly simply clothed figure should just not add up to $229.99. Yes, its Luke Skywalker. But Yoda was Yoda and while his wardrobe was much simpler, for $199 it came with two sculpts with rooted hair, a diorama base, and multiple props including a functioning lamp. This is where I feel this version of Luke should have been priced.
OVERALL DESIGN – 8/10
I think I wanted old Luke a lot more when I ordered him a year ago. But despite the fact that Luke’s look is changing (at some point) in The Last Jedi, and my opinion that it’s priced too high, I’m happy I picked this version up. Hopefully, he will be wearing this outfit for at least a third of the new movie and we’ll have a few more scenes to pull from for shelf posing (as long as he’s brooding and looking to the left).
It’s a good-looking figure; the sculpt and the paint are solid, the clothes are nice. The price point is too high for just a figure and some hands and it keeps this from being a higher recommendation. But it is Luke Skywalker in his first appearance in 40 years and if you felt bad that you never got to see he and Han meet again, you can now make that happen right on your shelf.
Trevor is a New York based Creative Director and owner of The Brand Counselors. He has a growing collection of 75+ 1:6th scale stock and custom figures (and more and more Lego sets). Toy photography melds his childhood dreams of comic book illustration and film directing with his design talents and – in his mind – justifies the money he spends on these things. He has been featured on CNN.com and Spoiler Free Movie Sleuth. When he’s not shooting, he enjoys kayaking with his wife, catching up on good TV and building seemingly endless custom figures.