Something common among collectors once they finish their basic set of figures is to move on to focus on one particular figure. There are many variations out there for each figure which include factories where they were produced, accessories, and mold variations. The figure that I decided to focus on in my collection is Luke from Return of the Jedi. Many people have various reasons as to which figure they choose. My reasoning was this was a figure that I had as a child, still have that original one, and was always my favorite. Yesterday I received one of the last loose variations on the figure that would have been available in the U.S.
Here is a general representation of the figure. You get Luke dressed in black, cloth hooded cape, lightsaber, and blaster. You would think they would all look the same right? Very Wrong.
The cape comes in two variations. The earlier capes had a snap that clos-
ed the cape around the figure. Later on it was changed to a sewn cape that just slid over the figures head. My guess is this was changed to cut production costs. The snap cape is harder to come by but can be picked up on ebay without too much hassle.
The blaster also has a variation. Some of them are grey, while others are a tan brown color. It has been determined by collectors that the grey ones all came with Lukes that were made in Taiwan. The tan ones came from all the other factories.
The lightsaber also has a color variation. Some Lukes came with a blue lightsaber and others came with a green one. I believe the reason for this was Luke’s lightsaber was originally going to be blue in the movie like the previous ones. This can be seen in some of the old trailers when it was still called Revenge of the Jedi. From what I have heard ILM was having difficulty with the blue looking good in the desert scenes on Tatooine, so the decision was made to change the color to green. So therefore while Kenner was making the figures for the movie they originally had them blue and then later it was changed to green to match the final movie. The blue one used to command a premium over the green one but that has since changed. A complete Luke with the Blue saber is now only a few dollars more than one with a green one.
Now on to the figure itself. Luke’s head has 3 major variations. The first and hardest to come by is what is called the moulded head variation. With this variation the figures head was moulded in the color of plastic as his face with the hair painted. This variation has only been on figures Made in Taiwan. 2nd is the pale painted face version which is the most common version. The plastic color was the color of the hair and then the face color was painted on. It is common with this version to have specs of paint missing from his nose where you can see the original brown color of the plastic coming through. This variation can be found on figures from Taiwan and Made In Hong Kong figures. Finally is another painted face variation but it is more of a reddish color like Luke got a sunburn on Tatooine. This variation can only be found on figures from Hong Kong but they do not say “Made in” like the previous one mentioned. I lucked out with my moulded face Luke. I bought it from a dealer in Vegas for $12 and this was before I knew of the variation. The main reason I bought the figure was because it had a blue lightsaber with it and I didn’t have that version yet. A complete moulded head Luke can sell for close to $60, but you can find them on ebay from sellers that do not know what they have.
Finally there are the country of origin on the figures which are different and were somewhat mentioned earlier. On the back of the figures right leg it states where the figure was made. There are Made in Taiwan, Made in Hong Kong, Hong Kong, and No Country of Origin figures out there. The ones from Taiwan seem to be the most common. The figures with no country on the right leg are usually ones from Europe. The crazy thing is that my childhood Luke doesn’t have a country on the leg. I have seen figures from Europe that had Kaybee Toy stickers on them, so somehow they ended up there. My guess is that is where I got my original Luke. They would have been either packaged on a card from England or the Tri Logo packaging that has 3 languages on the front. Below are pictures of all my loose Luke’s. I tried to make it so the country could be read, but also typed the text out.
Now on the packaged versions. First up is Luke sealed in a plastic baggie. These baggie figures w
ere available at department stores like Montgomery Ward, J.C. Penny, and Sears in multipacks. They usually have the Kenner name on the bag and what country the figure is from. The one I have is in a Made in Taiwan R.O.C. (Republic of China) bag. There is also a Made in Hong Kong bag and another one with the Blue Lightsaber.
As far as carded figures go I have two different versions. I have a 65 back (number of figures on the back) and a 77 back. There are a number of different versions that can be picked up. There is a 79 back that I need to get and the earlier 65 back that had the Ewoks blacked out, so it wouldn’t spoil the surprise for kids. They can also be picked up with 3 offers that were available from 1983-1985. These include the mail away Emperor, Anakin, and free coin offers. The figure was also offered in 1985 on Power of the Force 92 back packaging that included a Luke Jedi coin.
Here is the coin that was available either in the mail away promotion or on the Power of the Force Luke card.
Finally to finish off is the Luke Jedi shipping box that I found a few months ago. This box at one time had 96 carded Luke figures in it. I was told it had the Power of the Force carded figures in it. Just one of those figures sells for around $150 a piece today. I hope to add one someday, but right now have a few other things I am pursuing.
There you have it. It seems like I have quite a bit on this character, but I have only made a small dent. There are other collectors that focus on this character that have huge collections. One of these that I like is lukejedi.info He has some great overall collection pictures and individual ones. He liked that shipping box and had me send him some pictures of it for his site.