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Princess Leia (Jabba's Slave)

SWVI: Return of the Jedi
by yo go re

Being a geeky girl is infinitely easier than being a geeky boy. In addition to being the sought-after minority in a population with the most skewed male:female ratio this side of Silicon Valley, when it comes to turning on your boy, odds are good you already know exactly what he wants.

Made a slave by Jabba the Hutt, Princess Leia bides her time as the plan to free Han Solo comes together. The resourceful and courageous princess uses the very chains enslaving her to put an end to Jabba's corrupt reign as the crime lord of Tatooine.

Artemis has already talked about the power that Princess Leia's famous metal bikini has over male geeks, so we won't retread that here. Amazingly, though, this is only the third time Hasbro's made a Slave Leia figure: the first was in 1997, and the next was in 2001. The '01 version has been re-released a few times, but it certainly seems like there should have been more of her, doesn't it?

Every time it seems Hasbro has pretty much perfected the art of sculpting 3¾" figures, they manage to turn things up another notch, so it's no surprise that this Leia looks very good. She's almost all skin, which is a double-edged sword: it gives them a chance to show off subtle feminine musculature, but it also means there's no excusing any flaws as the fault of the costume. She has a very defined abdomen, for instance, but her knees seem slightly out of place. Still, this Leia is absolutely smoking, and shows what a good company can do in this scale.

One bit I'm not crazy about? Her face. The entire head, actually. The previous release had, for my money, the best Carrie Fisher likeness ever seen on a toy at this scale. It was eerily accurate, and this one just doesn't measure up. It's decent from some angles, but front-on isn't one of them. Plus, her braid is a molded piece of the head - the way it sits over her shoulder gives her head a permanent tilt to the side. Unfortunate.

The figure has a softgoods loincloth, but it's somewhat problematic itself. The cloth is far too wide in the front, entirely covering her legs. Maybe this was a choice made to appease complaining parents, but it ends up making the figure look like she's wearing a skirt with large slits up the side, rather than a loincloth that covers the front and back. Plus, it's too long: it reaches lower than her feet, so it constantly drags on the floor; it should really end just above her ankles. Yes, you could "customize" the skirt with a pair of scissors, but you wouldn't have to if it were made right in the first place.

One feature this Leia has over all the others is her articulation. There's a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists, balljointed torso, swivel waist, swivel hips, and swivel/hinge knees and ankles. Her cute little boots keep her legs looking good (unlike some figures we could name), and though the joints are all visible, they're integrated into the sculpt nicely. She's flexible enough to get into almost any pose; about the only thing she can't do with these joints is sit with her knees tucked under her.

Good thing, then, that the set includes a second set of legs that allows her to do just that! Leia comes apart at the waist, thanks to a big thick peg sticking out of the hips. The bonus legs are a single solid piece, molded in a kneeling/sitting pose on a large cushion, with her loincloth spilling over her knees. Swapping the torso between the sets of legs is easy, and she looks good on both - even better if you have a Jabba to sit her in front of.

The figure's belt and loincloth can be removed when you take off her torso, and the short chain around her neck is separate as well, but none of those really count as accessories. When she's sitting, give her the fancy goblet so she can have a drink and partake in Jabba's deadly bacchanal; when she's standing, arm her with the "force pike" (aka "oddly shaped brown stick") and set her loose to crack some heads as she makes her escape from the sail barge.

Leia also comes with a Build-A-Droid piece, the body of R3-M3. For those of you who have ever gone outside to play in the sunshine, that's pretty much a blue R2 stomach. If you're planning to build the entire droid, this is fine - if you're not, well, pretend it's a washing machine. Fun detail? The neck is sculpted with what looks like a motor, like you might find under a real R2 head.

This Slave Leia is better than any seen before. If she had the head from the last version and a better-made skirt, she'd be perfect, but even imperfect, she's still worth getting.

-- 12/27/09

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