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Review of Hoth Luke Skywalker 1/6th scale action figure
Exclusive Version

Sideshow Collectibles
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Introduction

In past reviews, I've discussed how Hoth is my favorite Star Wars locale. Perhaps it's because it reminds me of Michigan in February. Perhaps it was the uber cool Snowtrooper outfits. But odds are, it's because I've always been a fan of all things Bigfoot/Abominable Snowman, and the Wampa tripped my trigger.

You can't have a Wampa without a Hoth Luke and Han. And you can't have a Hoth Luke and Han without a Tauntaun. Thankfully, Sideshow has stepped up and produced all three, and tonight I'm checking out the most recent to hit my doorstep, the Hoth Luke. Han should be here any day, and I'll be covering him next week as well, and of course, I already reviewed the Tauntaun. And before I get a hundred emails about the photo above, yes, I know the broken horn should be on Luke's ride, but I've already put those parts away, assuming I'd be using the beast of burden with Han, not Luke. Sometimes you have to make due...

Sideshow produced both a regular, and an exclusive version, both selling (and shipping) right now for $200. While the exclusive only has one additional accessory, it's a very cool accessory this time around, so I highly recommend picking up this version while you can. And don't forget to check out the exclusive Hoth Han Solo as well!

Now that we have these guys, where's my Wampa? C'mon, Sideshow...or Hot Toys...give us some Wampa love!

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Packaging - ***1/2
Sideshow's early Star Wars packaging was a breakthrough in the industry, and set the tone for companies that followed. Here we see the standard style, with two large trays inside for the figure and accessories. There's a wrap around cover, held in place with magnets, and everything is collector friendly.

Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Sculpting - ***
There are three head sculpts included with the exclusive - THREE! It's hard to argue with that.

Unfortunately, one of them isn't all that and a bag of chips. But let's start with the standard head, which is everything I'd hoped it would be. This Luke comes wearing the helmet, complete with sculpted radio, cloth scarf, and goggles. It's very realistic - Sideshow has really stepped up their game with the skin texture and detailing. It's also very life-like, with a reasonable expression that avoids the dreaded mannequin effect. And...ta-da!...it's also very accurate, much more so than some past Luke attempts. The detailing not only on the face but the head cover is great, and I'm much more pleased with this head sculpt than I have been with most recent Sideshow attempts.

You can put the goggles over his eyes and wrap the scarf around his face, if you'd like. The goggles are a little stretched out though, so the fit isn't super tight, and you'll have to untie the scarf in the back of the helmet to get it to fit around front. The goggles are NOT removable.

Sadly, the second standard head isn't quite all that. I'm fairly certain that it's the exact same likeness, with just a different head topping. The detail work on the strands of the hair is excellent, and it has the same realistic skin texture. It has two things going against it, however. First, without the helmet on but wearing the bulky Hoth costume, the head looks too small. I don't think it actually is (again, I'm pretty sure it's the same portrait), but this is instead a result of the extra mass from the multiple layers of cold weather gear. The second issue is the hair, or rather how the hair is attached to the head. There's simply too much of a gap all the way around the hairline, making it stick out like some weird hat.

The third head sculpt comes only with the exclusive, and represents his look after my buddy the Wampa was finished with him. The scarring looks great, as does the damage to the helmet. The scarf is more unkempt as well, and the goggles are missing. Since I have my fingers crossed that we will eventually get a Wampa, this head sculpt is more important to me in the long run than either of the regular release versions.  Unlike Han, who I plan on parking on the back of the Tauntaun in the display, there's really only one way to display a Hoth Luke, and that's with a Wampa. Even if we never get Sasquatch's cousin, having Han rescuing Luke is still a more ideal set up, and the inclusion of this head makes those display options possible.

If I were grading this figure solely on the head sculpts in this category, I would have gone another half star. I like the two helmeted versions that much. But there was one other issue that bugged me related to the hands, and pulled the score down a half star. The gripping left and right hands, designed to work with the light saber hilt, really don't. The grip isn't tight enough on either, and the saber tends to hang loose. If my $20 Black figure can hold his saber properly, I certainly expect a $200 version to manage it.

Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Paint - ***1/2
The key to bringing out real life in any portrait sculpture is the paint, and it's one area where Sideshow has struggled over the years. A recent criticism is that their prices have reached Hot Toys levels (almost) with the release of the Hoth Han and Luke, but collectors were concerned that the quality wouldn't warrant the increases.

I'm happy to say that the paint work here is excellent. The skin tone, eyes, lips, eyebrows - all are extremely clean and life-like, adding a ton of realism to the portrait. Sideshow has been making steps forward in this regard with a number of their recent releases, but this one is a clear improvement. While I'm not quite ready to say they've reached the spooky level of quality of Hot Toys, they are still in the $200 and under ball park with companies like Threezero, Star Ace, ACI and Asmus, and the work here is certainly on par with the rest of that market.

The injured portrait sports some very nice blood and reddish wounds, given just the right color and finish. Blood and damaged flesh is very tricky, even for the best companies, but Sideshow has managed to keep the realistic appearance, particularly in hand.

One of my biggest complaints with their recent Snake Plissken was the paint work on the accessories, which seemed to be a step backward, rather than forward. With this figure, we see a return to the high quality paint work on the weapons and extras that we expect from Sideshow.

Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Articulation - ***1/2
The underlying Prometheus body is at it's best with this release. All the joints are tight, he holds poses extremely well, and there's plenty of articulation for you to work with, head to toe.

The ball jointed neck works particularly well, but the upper body torso stands out as well. You can get - and keep - twisting poses in the chest and waist, even with the heavy clothing.

The ankles are a bit restricted by the boots, even though the are made from a fairly soft material, and the heavy coat can effect the shoulders a smidge. The underlying body isn't quite as nice as the TrueType when it comes to taking natural, flowing stances, but it's still a very solid contender in the current market, and has left its early floppy joint issues behind.

Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Accessories - ***1/2
Regular readers know that with three, count 'em THREE head sculpts, this figure was going to score well in this category. I love extra head sculpts...

The heads swap easily, and as I mentioned in the Sculpt and Paint categories, all three have their value.  Even though the helmet-less head wasn't my favorite, I think it would make a good replacement for some of the earlier Luke figures produced or your own custom kitbash.

There's a reasonable assortment of hands, four sets in all.  I mentioned that the light saber grips don't work particularly well, and there's no gun grip for the left, but the scale is good, and every hand comes with it's own wrist peg. They swap easily as well.

I suppose you can count the two itty bitty antennae as 'accessories', although you won't really want to display him without them. Take some care when inserting them into the tiny holes on the helmet.

There's also his light saber, of course. There's both and lit and unlit version. One fits on the hook on the front of his belt, while the other has a rather icey appearing blade. It has a rough texture and flecked color that I've never seen before, and I'm assuming that was intentional. The sculpting on both hilts is excellent, with lots of great small detail.

He will have to scan the frosty horizon, and he has a pair of cold weather binoculars for that purpose. There's a set of hands perfect for holding these either one-handed or two-handed, and the detailing, weathering and scale is terrific. There's a leather strap for him wear them over his shoulder as well.

Last but not least, he has his display stand. It has a crotch rest, and the base comes in three pieces: a  big hunk of snow, a little hunk of snow, and a hexagonal black section that the two snow pieces rest on. It looks good, and can be used without the crotch post for those just looking for a simple diorama.

Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Outfit - ***1/2
Another area that was disappointing on the recent Plissken was the outfit. It was well below the expected quality from Sideshow at this price. But, like the Accessories, the Outfit on the Hoth Luke is back up to snuff.

There's a couple layers here, starting with the thick shirt. Over this is the heavy vest, with various sculpted pieces, like the wrist communicator. The heavy duty snaps holding it shut are much higher quality than the plastic versions we often see with Hot Toys, making it a little easier to undress him if you feel the need.

The pants are well tailored, and the soft boots sport an excellent sculpt and paint job. Over all this goes his belt with holster and various pouches. These pouches can be adjusted to your preferred positions. The holster is my one area of contention with the outfit. While you can fit the blaster inside, getting the magnet to attach and hold down the strap is a trick. The gun simply doesn't fit low enough in the holster to make it possible in the proper way.

Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
This is a sturdy figure, with three nice head sculpts and a good assortment of appropriate extras. Posing is easy and fun, and when you add in a Tauntaun, you can't go wrong.

Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Value - **1/2
Most Hot Toys figures are now at least $225, some much higher than that. Getting anything at $200 or less is becoming more and more difficult. However, this is a great example of the quality that can be managed at the lower price point, and Sideshow has stepped up their game to match their own price increase.

Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Things to Watch Out For -
There are two very small antennae included, which I discussed in the Accessories section. Be very careful when opening the trays, since they are not taped in place and could easily bounce out of the package, onto the floor, and into oblivion. You'll want to be doubly careful inserting them into the small hole on the side of the helmet, but with a little care it works smoothly.

Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Overall - ***1/2
I'm betting a lot of Sideshow haters won't even give this figure - or the Hoth Han - a fair chance, but if you do, you'll be pleasantly surprised. They have been promising to up their game for some time now, and with this release I can honestly say that it looks like they are making good on that promise.

The helmet-less head sculpt isn't one I'll use with this figure, but it does have value with other, older releases as an upgrade, or as potential with a kitbash. The other two head sculpts are terrific, and if you can get the exclusive, go for it. Having the Wampa damaged version will go a long way in your display.

The outfit and accessories are solid work, the Prometheus body has improved, and the price point, while high, still hasn't caught up to the crazy Hot Toys level yet. Whether this upward trend in quality will last remains to be seen (and the Hoth Han will help determine that), but this Luke is well worth it.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Sideshow has him (and Hoth Han) for $200, and you can get the exclusive with the additional "Wampa damaged" head sculpt for that price - that's the way to go!

- has him for $200.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I just reviewed the excellent Tauntaun you see in a couple of the photos, and highly recommend pairing him with either the Hoth Luke or the Hoth Han. Other Hoth related figures include the Snowtrooper, the Heavy Repeating Blaster, and the Probe Droid.

Discussion:
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Hoth Luke Skywalker action figure from Sideshow

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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