I’ve been a STAR WARS BLACK SERIES cherry picker since the line launched back in 2013. Something I think we can all agree on is that the quality of the head sculpts and paint have varied greatly across the duration of the line’s lifetime.
I think in most cases the quality of the head sculpts have been pretty good but in some instances let down by paint applications that don’t really reflect the line’s price point or target market. Over the years Hasbro has tinkered with various plastics and paint apps to improve the realism of the figures but until they developed their new face printing technique (an industry secret as I understand) that tinkering yielded varied results.
One of the most maligned figures with regards to the head sculpt was the Tatooine (or ‘Farmboy’) Luke that was released several years ago. I didn’t pick up the figure initially because like many others, I wasn’t too keen on the head sculpt. A couple years later I managed to pick him up quite cheap when I saw him in person and decided that while not perfect, as the only 6″ Black Series representation of Luke in that iconic outfit, he’d have to do.
What I found more frustrating was that Hasbro had seemed to have gone backwards in terms of their quality control. I thought the X-Wing Luke from Wave One had a better head sculpt and paint than this and that figure preceded Tatooine Luke by several years.
As those who collect the Black Series know, a couple of years ago Hasbro introduced their Photo Real face printing method which they now use on many of their 6″ figures. This was a watershed moment in the Black Series history as the quality of the head sculpts and realism increased dramatically.
One of the more recent additions to the Black Series line is the Yavin Ceremony Luke Skywalker figure which sported the new Photo Real face paint:
I bought this figure upon release (seems I was one of the few who did as he remains a peg-warmer…) as I thought the figure was pretty tight and I always dug Luke’s outfit in that closing scene of A New Hope. He soon became my default Episode 4 Luke as Tatooine Luke got pushed to the back of the shelf. Let’s face it, this new face technology that Hasbro is using just destroys the old ways.
It wasn’t long before I noticed on YouTube that some collectors were buying this Yavin Luke just for the head to use it on their Tatooine Lukes. I figured I’d give it a go and managed to snag a second Yavin Luke cheap online. There was however, one small problem.
As with the head sculpts and paint, Hasbro has also been evolving the engineering on these figures meaning the joints used on older figures aren’t always compatible with those used on the later figures. Such is the case with Tatooine Luke and Yavin Luke.
Dunking the heads of the figures in boiling water for about ten seconds enables you to soften and then pop them off quite easily. This is when you realise that the ball/socket joint used on Tatooine Luke is smaller than the one used on Yavin Luke. This means that the socket on Yavin Luke’s noggin is too large for the neck ball on Tatooine Luke.
I’d seen some people use things like hot glue to fill the Yavin Luke head socket to create a smaller void. But frankly that seemed scary to me and I figured there had to be a simpler way. And there was: the trusty O-ring. (ooo, errr!)
O-rings are something that I find I often have a use for when it comes to toy repairs and customising. I dunno why, they just seem to lend themselves to helping guys like me out. They’re dirt cheap and can usually be bought in packs containing various sizes. In this case, I just wrapt a small o-ring around Tatooine Luke’s neck and decided to see what would happen when I placed Yavin Luke’s head over the top. And amazingly it worked! Not only did the Yavin head snap on as desired but the o-ring forced the new head to sit at the correct height on the neck. A rare case of trying something new and having it work first time!
The new head looks great and retains all the articulation you need. Yes, it’s easier to remove the new head than previously but it stays on the neck with plenty of security and won’t go anywhere unless you give it a good yank.
I love this figure now. And I take extra joy from the knowledge that a simple plan worked and I now have an Episode 4 Luke I can proudly display.
So if you come across a Yavin Luke, pull him from the peg and give this head swap a go. It’s dead-easy and the result is worth it.