Sideshow Star Wars
Princess Leia and Bespin Luke Skywalker

This last few weeks has been an Original Trilogy time for Sideshow Star Wars fans.  First, the Bespin Rebel Commander vesion of Luke Skywalker shipped.  Then, the regular Princess Leia hit the door.  And within a couple weeks, we should begin seeing the original version of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

I thought I'd put a review of Luke and Leia together, since they are twins after all.  From initial photos, and from looking at them in the box, I formed one opinion.  And then I opened these up and played with them awhile - and my opinion changed completely.

As usual, there's a regular and an exclusive version of both of figures.  Both exclusives come with one additional accessory, and both have lower run sizes than the regular releases of course.  Luke is limited to 1980, and Leia is limited to 1977.  Cute, huh?  The figures are $55 each, exclusive or regular.

Packaging - ****
All the good things we've seen with past Star Wars boxes, we see here.  They use the nifty magnet closures, they hold all the accessories and figures in place without any twisties, and this time they have almost NO tape as well!  There was one small piece holding the top and bottom trays together for Leia, and that was it.  The packaging is extremely collector friendly.

The graphics are decent, but even better is the well written text, covering the films and the specific characters.

Sculpting - Leia ***1/2; Luke ***
Both head sculpts have some issues, all of which are pretty apparent.

Leia's is the better of the two.  There's nice detail work on the hair, and the sculpted expression works great with the painted expression of the eyes.  She also looks very much like the young Leia, and is one of their better human female likenesses.

Unfortunately, her head is too big.  It's very apparent in the photos on the box, but I tried some angles to try to make it less obvious.  Still, she's got quite a melon.  The big problem is probably not the head size, but the body size, which is very small.  They also added a very long neck, and the neck along with the petite female body doesn't allow for a very big head.

Her other sculpting is great.  I love the boots, and the hands work great as well.  She can hold any number of the accessories, and look great doing it.

Luke's head sculpt seems a bit damaged by the manufacturing process.  He has a better sculpted expression than the previous versions (and is miles better than the last one), but the painted expression doesn't really do much to help.  Also, his face seems distorted, with one eye and cheek sunk further into the skull than the other.  That looks like a manufacturing issue.  He also has a very deep head, if you look at the profile.  I spared you that pain.

His hands are all well sculpted though, and again he has a terrific boot sculpt.  The sculpted hands and boots actually bring his overall score in this category up a half star from where they were going to be, based only on the head.

Paint - Leia ***1/2; Luke ***
When I first saw her in the box, I wasn't particularly thrilled with Leia's eyes.  But once I started posing her, I found that the expression gave her quite a bit more personality.  The eyes, skin and lips are all quite clean too, although they still look a little more zombie than I really like.

They aren't as bad as Luke's though, which is perhaps why she pulled the ***1/2 and not *** in this category.  Luke's lips are poorly painted, and his eyes have the dark eyeliner.  They eyes also lack the gloss finish, and are very much like a mannequin.  I was a bit disappointed in the eye work, and it certainly didn't do anything to improve on the slightly warped sculpt.

The rest of the paint ops on both are great, particularly those super cool boots.  Can you tell that those are going to really help their Outfit score?

Articulation - Leia ***1/2; Luke **1/2
Luke is getting hit here for a very specific issue - if it wasn't for that issue (which I'll explain in a minute), I would have added another half star easily to this score.

Leia has a much better body, and actually allows for plenty of poses.  The body also seemed to hang much more naturally, and the joints are nice and tight, holding poses for long periods.  Her ball jointed neck works great, and she has all the other joints you expect in a high end sixth scale figure.  She doesn't pose quite as nicely as some of the Hot Toys figures...yet.  But you can see that Sideshow is working on it.

I suspect they are trying with the male body too, but there's still a few basic issues.  Luke's ball jointed neck allows for some tilting, and some backward movement, but he STILL can't look downward to save his life.  He has the newer shoulder joints that allow the arms to come in toward the center of the body in a much more realistic manner, and the hips seem improved as well.  Like Leia, he doesn't hang as well as a Hot Toys or Medicom figure, but they're trying.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get either of his elbows to work properly.  The upper joint on both elbows is frozen and/or glued so tight that I couldn't break them free.  I worked on these until I thought the elbows would snap, and they still wouldn't free up.  That meant he lost a ton of posing ability, and that was a real disappointment.

Both figures did stand great on their own though, and I would have still had more fun posing Luke if it hadn't been for another issue...

Outfit - Leia ***1/2; Luke ***
Leia's outfit includes her basic white gown, along with her very cool boots.  The gown is well tailored, and is made from a high quality yet thin fabric that flows nicely.  She has the hood in back, but it doesn't include a wire around the edge, so I didn't find any good uses for it.  If it had included the wire, I'm betting she would have squeaked a four star score here, even with such a basic costume.  Again, that's largely due to the cool boots.

Luke also has cool boots, and a MUCH more complicated uniform.  The shirt and pants look terrific, and are fitted nicely.  The t-shirt looks good, and he has some really amazing boot sculpts, as I think I've mentioned several times.  So what pulls his score down a half star?  It's that damn belt and holster.

In fact, the belt and holster almost pull this score down to **1/2 stars, and the only thing keeping it from dropping that far is the work on the rest of the clothing.  If I were grading just the belt, it would get **.

The belt has some very cool pouches around the perimeter, but none of these can be opened.  The buckle stayed in place pretty well for me, but it's removable as well.

The holster has a strap that should fit over the blaster, and into a small hole in the front of the fake leather.  It doesn't.  The blaster doesn't fit low enough in the holster to allow this (the cut out section does not make room for the scope), and that means you have to tuck it off someplace else.

On top of that, the tie down on the bottom of the holster is very likely to break for just about everybody.  Mine broke almost immediately out of the package, and that's the number one thing to annoy the Hell out of me.  When I pay that kind of money, I expect it to make it out of the package in one piece.

The problem with the tie down is the size of the rivet head that is supposed to hold the two pieces of strap together.  This small 'ball' is almost as wide as the strap is, which means that the hole punched for it to go through has very little fake leather around it.  Mine was even punched off center, which meant that it was no good right from the start, with one edge non-existent.  I was able to fake it for a few minutes, but it finally broke completely apart.  That's completely unacceptable, and I'm sure that when I call Sideshow on Monday, they'll happily replace it - but I have no confidence that any of them won't have this problem.

Accessories -***1/2
Both figures come with some great goodies, although Leia is much lighter than Luke.

She has her regular blaster, plus the battle damaged stolen Stormtrooper blaster she carried briefly.  Both of these weapons have fantastic sculpts, and the trooper blaster even has a folding stock!  You can pose her holding it either way.

She also has the small Death Star Plans doohickey, and the exclusive includes a pair of the handcuffs used on her when she was captured.  These cuffs come apart from each other, to make it easier to place them on her arms.  I can't say these cuffs really make the exclusive all that much more attractive than the regular release though.

Luke comes packin' quite a bit more.  There is his blaster, which is another fantastic sculpt.  These are some of the very best Star Wars sixth scale weapons I've ever seen, and give the Medicom stuff a real run for the money.

He has the usual two light sabers, one lit and one not.  They look good in his hands, and the unlit version can be hung on his belt.

There are two additional hand sculpts, one left and one right.  The right is designed to hold the blaster, while the left is designed to be gesturing.  I had a very tough time getting the hands swapped, and this was really the only negative with any of the accessories.

He also has the cut stump for his right hand, and the exclusive version comes with the auto-tourniquet used on his arm.   That's a nice edition, which makes the exclusive worthwhile.

Both figures come with a display stand, but you know how I feel about using display stands unless it's absolutely necessary.

Fun Factor - Leia ***1/2;  Luke **1/2
Leia is surprising sturdy, with some terrific accessories and improved articulation.  She was a lot more fun out of the box than her poor brother, who suffered from the easily damaged holster, and bad elbows.

Value - **1/2
Fifty five bucks seems to be the norm for the regular figures these days, and I can live with that.  Compare what you're getting here at this price with the quality that Medicom or Hot Toys is doing at much higher price points, and you won't feel bad about the cost at all.  Of course, it helps to pick up the exclusive at this price.

Things to Watch Out For - 
That damn holster tie down!  I'm betting that breaking it is going to be a common occurrence, because of the size of the ball that has to fit through the hole.  It's very easy to tear it loose completely while you're posing him, so take care!

Also take care putting the blaster in the holster.  The funky cut out section did not work well for me at all, and did not allow the gun to rest far enough down inside the holster to connect the strap.  When you're putting it in place, try not to damage the fake leather of the holster.

Overall - Leia ***1/2; Luke **1/2
At the beginning of the review, I mentioned that my initial opinion changed once I had these guys opened up.  Until then, I was not particularly enamored with Leia, but I thought Luke looked like a huge improvement.

The big difference is that once they were out of the box and I was able to pose them, I found all the real pluses and minuses.  Luke's sculpt was warped, the holster was a huge issue, and I was not happy about having elbows that wouldn't work.  It's possible that you'll get one without some or all of these problems (although I think the problems with the holster tie down are going to be pretty universal), and so you're personal score might be higher.  But I can only judge the one I received, and that one turned out to be a disappointment in many ways.  In the individual categories, he had some real pluses that managed to keep the single issues from being to major.  But when I look back at the overall figure, and my overall impressions once I was done posing him, he ended up getting a much lower overall score.  With three versions of Luke produced, they still haven't managed to hit a home run.

Leia didn't look all that exciting in the box, but once I had her out I had a great time posing her.  She was much more interesting to photograph, and I think she's going to look much, much better on the shelf.  I don't need another Leia (although if they'd like to do a Hoth version, I won't complain), but I still hope we see them get a Luke out that really wows me. 

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Leia ***1/2; Luke ***
Paint - Leia ***1/2; Luke ***
Articulation - Leia * **1/2; Luke **1/2
Outfit - Leia ***1/2; Luke ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - Leia ***1/2; Luke **1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - Leia ***1/2; Luke **1/2

Where to Buy -
Sideshow is all sold out, but you can get on the wait list for either the Luke Skywalker exclusive, or the Princess Leia exclusive.  For the regular version, try these great Sponsors:

- Alter Ego has Leia for $49.49. 

- CornerStoreComics has Luke for $49.49, and Leia for $49.75.

- Amazing Toyz has Luke for $49.49, and Leia for $49.74.

- Related Links -
With all the Medicom and Sideshow releases, I have plenty of reviews for sixth scale SW items:

- the last was the Holo-chess set and Sideshow's Asajj, a terrific figure.

- in the premium format line, I've reviewed Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Han Solo.

- in the sixth scale line, I've also reviewed Yavin Luke, the Endor Troops, Jabba the Hutt and his throne, Bib Fortuna, Jedi Luke, Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, Bespin Han Solo, regular Anakin Skywalker and Kit Fisto

- I also have guest reviews of the SDCC Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, and Qui-Gon Jinn.

And if you'd like to check out some of the 12" Star Wars offerings from Medicom, hit these links:

- my review of the Sandtrooper.

- guest reviews of the VCD Yoda and Boba Fett.

- guest reviews of the ROTS Vader, Jedi Luke, and this very Trooper.

- and my review of their first release Darth Vader, the regular Stormtrooper, and Clonetrooper and Blackhole Trooper.

Share this review with others!
  Digg it!    StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!     Reddit

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour