Saturday, October 1, 2016
Force in Focus: The Empire Strikes Back Action Figures Wave 1
Bespin Security Guard
Han Solo (Hoth Battle Gear)
Imperial Stormtrooper (Hoth Battle Gear) aka Snowtrooper
Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) yellow lightsaber, no telescope
Princess Leia (Bespin gown)
Rebel Soldier (Hoth Battle Gear)
With this wave's Luke figure, Kenner also changed their approach to lightsabers, removing the awkward, built-in, telescoping lightsaber for a more traditional standalone accessory As a result, Bespin Luke comes packaged with two accessories, a blaster and his lightsaber, and the figure gains a boost in playability - he now has two functioning hands - and in the sculpt - he's no longer stuck with one incredibly straight arm (unfortunately, since Darth Vader's costume never changes (much) in the course of the trilogy, Kenner will continue to just repackage their original figure through the years, meaning Vader will always have a lightsaber stuck in his arm). In terms of curious incongruities, Luke's lightsaber is yellow, not blue (presumably because Kenner was afraid kids would be confused by Obi-Wan's blue lightsaber, even though Luke's is clearly also blue in the movie...), and while calling Luke in his khaki fatigues "Bepin Luke" is pretty hardwired into my brain due to the various action figures released through the years, he very clearly is wearing the same clothes earlier in the film on Dagobah, before he ever reaches Bespin.
On a personal note, the only two figures out of this wave that I ever owned were Yoda and the Hoth Rebel Soldier. And, frankly, given that Yoda was re-carded and re-released as part of later waves, I doubt I ever technically had an ESB Yoda. As for the Rebel Soldier, given the generic-ness of face sculpts at the time, it was easy enough for me to pretend that mine was in fact a Hoth Luke, allowing me to have some snow-filled fun with the character despite never having the actual Hoth Luke figure (I'd use colored toothpicks for a lightsaber, as I recall).
Of this wave, for whatever reason, I always desperately wanted a Snowtrooper. I was always partial to the snow-based figures (though in the case of GI Joe, that was usually because the snow figures came with more accessories, and as a kid, the quality of a GI Joe figure was directly tied to how many accessories he or she came with), and something about the design of the Snowtrooper, with its smooth face shield and leg-cape, really appealed to me. Alas, it wouldn't be until the relaunched line, when I was much older, that I'd finally acquire one.
Thanks to RebelScum.com for the action figure pics!