‘Star Wars’ Collectibles & Toys Review: Hasbro Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary Figure)

When I bought my Snowspeeder with Dak Ralter vehicle/figure set, I knew I’d have to get Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) as well. So I did. Photo Credit: Hasbro. (C) 2020 Hasbro, Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

LUKE SKYWALKER (SNOWSPEEDER): During the Battle of Hoth, Luke Skywalker piloted a Snowspeeder and led the Rebel Alliance against the Empire’s ground forces. – Action figure description blurb on the Hasbro Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) product page

The Snowspeeder with Dak Ralter. Photo Credit: Hasbro. (C) 2020 Hasbro, Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

Earlier this week, I treated myself to one of the pricier items in Hasbro’s Star Wars The Black Series collection: the Snowspeeder with Dak Ralter released recently as part of the Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary line that commemorates the Ruby Anniversary of both the 1980 film and the Kenner line of tie-in action figures, vehicles, playsets, and games. Essentially a scaled-up and more detailed version of Kenner’s Rebel Armored Snowspeeder from the early Eighties,[1] the Snowspeeder is a replica of the modified-for-cold-climate T-47 airspeeder seen in The Empire Strikes Back’s Battle of Hoth sequence and comes with a 6-inch scale figure of Dak Ralter, a young Rebel Alliance pilot who is assigned as Luke Skywalker’s rear-seat gunner in the mission to defend the Rebels’ Echo Base.

When I decided to buy the Snowspeeder, I knew that I was going to have to buy the corresponding Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) figure in case I ever wanted to put my new collectible vehicle on a floating shelf for display. After all, the T-47’s are two-seat combat vehicles, so I figured it would be nice to have figures for both of the crew members rather than settle for just the gunner, Dak Ralter.

Photo Credit: Hasbro. (C) 2020 Hasbro, Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

Introduced in a “wave” of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary 6-inch scale figures that includes Lando Calrissian, Imperial TIE Fighter Pilot, Rebel Soldier (Hoth) and Artoo-detoo (R2-D2) (Dagobah), Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) is essentially an indirect descendant of the 1978 Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot) figure that was Kenner’s first “costume-change” rendition of any character from Star Wars (aka Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) and set the precedent for the release  of scene-specific figures that has continued to the present day.

To the casual observer, Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) looks a lot like another Star Wars The Black Series figure that I own: 2018’s Archives edition of Luke Skywalker in his X-wing pilot’s gear as seen in the Battle of Yavin sequence from Star Wars: A New Hope. That figure itself is a somewhat improved version of a 2013 figure produced early in the Star Wars The Black Series’ run, and it was the 6-inch scale counterpart to the Kenner mini-action figure from 42 years ago.

Photo Credit: Hasbro. (C) 2020 Hasbro, Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

However, there are quite a few differences between the Luke Skywalker in standard X-wing flight gear from A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, even though the helmet, life support chest pack, and gear harness are identical in form, function, and coloring.

First, although the color of Luke’s flight suit in both figures is orange, Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) is clad in a cold-weather variant which is thicker-looking (due to insulation and padding) than the standard Rebel Alliance pilot’s flight suit.

Second, the gauntlets and flight boots Luke wears on Hoth are gray and a light khaki-beige, respectively; the boots in particular seem to be designed to keep snow and ice out and provide better traction on the icy surface of Hoth, while the gloves and boots worn by the figure that represents Luke Skywalker in the Battle of Yavin are black.

Third, the simulated signal flares attached to the flight suit just above the tops of Luke’s flight boots have changed places; in the 2018 Archives figure, the flares are seen on the shin Luke’s right leg, in Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder), they are attached to his left leg.

Photo Credit: Hasbro. (C) 2020 Hasbro, Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

Star Wars The Black Series Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) 6-inch Scale Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Action Figure

Imagine the biggest battles and missions in the Star Wars saga with figures from Star Wars The Black Series! With exquisite features and decoration, this series embodies the quality and realism Star Wars devotees love. – Action figure description blurb on the Hasbro Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) product page

Finally, there is the question of accessories that come with Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder). The figure includes Luke’s trademark “Red Five” flight helmet, which young Skywalker wears in all three films of the Original Trilogy and Rey, his last Jedi apprentice, “inherits” (along with Luke’s Incom T-65 X-wing fighter) in Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. Hasbro also includes the Skywalker lightsaber seen in seven of the nine Skywalker Saga films. However, Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) does not come with the grappling hook/ascension belt and handheld grenade he used to destroy an Imperial All-Terrain Armored Transport after being shot down in the Battle of Hoth, nor does he have a DL-44 “smuggler’s blaster’ like Han’s, which the Archives version of Luke Skywalker does come with.

My Take

Recall intense moments from the Star Wars Galaxy with this Star Wars The Black Series 40TH anniversary 6-inch-scale Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) action figure that includes 2 accessories and features premium deco across multiple points of articulation. – Action figure description blurb on the Hasbro Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) product page

Photo Credit: Hasbro. (C) 2020 Hasbro, Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

Interestingly, although the Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) figure comes in a Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary cardback with bubble package in 1980-style Kenner livery, there wasn’t a Hoth-specific action figure made of Luke in flying gear. So when I bought my original Kenner Rebel Armored Snowspeeder in 1980 for $14.99 and Florida 4% sales tax, the only recourse I had was to use my Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot) figure and place him in the vehicle’s front seat.

There wasn’t a Kenner Dak Ralter figure, so I had to make do by getting another Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot) figure and seating it in the rear gunner’s seat behind the forward-facing pilot’s station. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it was either that or nothing.

Basically, this is a figure with no direct Kenner counterpart in its 1980-1982 The Empire Strikes Back collection, as there wasn’t a Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) variant then.

Photo Credit: Hasbro. (C) 2020 Hasbro, Inc. and Lucasfilm Ltd. (LFL)

Like all of the Star Wars The Black Series figures I own, Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) is a nice rendition of the character portrayed in six films by actor Mark Hamill. The sculpt and paint job are excellent, and in most respects it is an accurate representation of the Original Trilogy’s young farmboy-turned-Rebel hero, with movie scene-accurate costume and accessories that reflect authenticity from the top of his customized Rebel-issue flight helmet (which is removable) to the tips of his winterized flight boots.

For instance, the flight-gear harness worn by the figure is not molded from plastic; it is made from fabric, just like real flight suit harnesses. Hasbro did the same thing with its Luke Skywalker figure from 2013 and its 2018 Archives reboot, and it simply looks amazing.

Of course, since Hasbro strives to make its figures more attractive to collectors who love to display their figures in life-like poses or in dioramas, the figure comes with points of articulation at every joint, including knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. This does make the figure look more toy-like than an outright collectible made for display only, but it also lets kids and adult collectors pose the figure in believable action stances.

Overall, I am glad that I added Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) to my purchase of the Snowspeeder with Dak Ralter. It did cost more money to do so, but if I ever take the snowspeeder out and put it on a floating shelf, I can display it with its complete two-crewmen complement.

[1] The Rebel Armored Snowspeeder was made for the original 3.75-inch “micro-action figures” and introduced by Kenner in 1980 with a MSRP of $14.99.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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