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Princess Leia Organa

SWIV: A New Hope
by yo go re

Forget Boushh, forget the slave outfit - this is Leia!

Princess Leia Organa was one of the Rebel Alliance's greatest leaders, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the tyranny of the Empire.

It's well known that the idea of Luke and Leia as siblings was a late addition to the Star Wars story - Luke was definitely intended to have a twin, but she would have been some other girl on some other planet. Leia, at that point, really was just a space princess, inspired by the kinds of heroines in Flash Gordon or John Carter. Through perhaps no fault of his own, Lucas managed to create a a well-rounded example of feminism: she could hold her own with the boys, but wasn't written as some hard-edged bitch or a sexless androgyne; she wasn't a honey pot distracting the enemy with her looks, but she was allowed to express her own attraction; she's outspoken and gives orders, but is never shamed or punished for doing so; she cares for her friends, but never becomes the "team mom"; she's just a hero, regardless of her gender.

This figure is part of the 40th Anniversary Collection, and sold on a blister card designed like the original line from the '70s: a black stellar background, a double silver frame, and a photo of the character on the right side. The back features images of the 12 figures in the lineup, with similar graphics. Of course, since this figure is done in the 6" scale, rather than 3¾", the card is similarly oversized, measuring 7⅛" x 10⅞". It's a nice idea, but it does make the figures harder to store than the other Black Series releases (unless you're very careful).

So yes, this figure is mostly a re-release of the Black Series Leia: that one apparently had a terrible face sculpt, so it was redone for this release. It was also available on late waves of the boxed figure, but it's not like either version (or any of the figures she shiped with) has yet to show up in stores really, so who would even know? This is a very cute likeness, and looks incredibly like Carrie Fisher, with just the kind of sad, wide-eyed look seen in the film. And you know they got her buns right!

Leia is wearing her long white dress, and yes, it's softgoods. Now, we hate softgoods on toys just as much as you do, but there was really no other way to do it. Perhaps they could have sculpted her chest, and even her sleeves, but they still would have had to do a real skirt around her legs, or sacrifice all the articulation. And would you rather have a dress that looked like a complete item from neck to ankle, or one that changes from plastic to polyester when it hits her belt? This may not be our favorite, but it was the right choice. Apparently there's a trick where if you dunk a figure wearing softgoods in water, and then let it dry, the cloth will hang more naturally? I'd never heard of this before, but give it a shot and let us know how it works out.

One definite flaw, though, is the hood. On my figure, it isn't stitched into the dress symmetrically, with one side in front of the seam and one side way behind it, meaning the thing is permanently skewed and there's no way to fix it. There are also two small stitches meant to help hold it in the proper shape when she's got it up, which might work, if the hood itself had been assembled correctly.

Her belt is a plastic piece, though it isn't necessary to give her dress its shape - there's a bit of elastic in the waist. The dress isn't really removable - you'd have to take her head off to get it past her cinnamon rolls - but she does have a fully sculpted body beneath. Despite the fact that "there's no lingerie in space," she's painted wearing a white swimsuit, more or less, rather than just gaffer's tape. The boots are the only things that actually get sculpted.

On the plus side, having a full cloth dress means none of the articulation goes to waste. Leia moves at the head, neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. Somehow, she's ended up with better-designed hips than even Marvel Legends ladies get - they're balljoints, but shaped to look more anatomical than usual. In other words, they designed her a butt that looks a lot like a butt, even when the legs move.

She's armed with two guns: the sporting blaster she defended herself with on the Tantive IV, and an E-11 blaster she stole from a Stormtrooper. Her right hand has a separate trigger finger, but you could have her dual-wielding if you wanted.

Hasbro has a track record of releasing bad-looking Leias, so the first Black Series release was not some new phenomenon. But for once, their inability to get these into stores worked out in our favor, and it's very nice of them to get it right just in time to actually put the toy in the hands of the public. Despite being an anniversary release on a special card, this Leia costs the same as she would have if you'd been able to find the other one. But despite the problem with the hood on mine, she's terrific!

-- 05/07/17

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