Star Wars: The Black Series The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary Wave One Figures Review & Comparisons


What’s up, everyone?! I’m back and still enjoying working from home.  I know I haven’t pumped out the content, but I’m having a blast gaming with friends (add me on XBOX – EATMEAHX8), doing my career from home, and having amazing family time and movie nights.  My site is a hobby and not a necessity, so I’ve done more organizing, cleaning, and just appreciating family, friends, and life.

That all said, I’ve got a bunch of stuff up and coming and I wanted to share the first wave of the 40th anniversary figures for The Empire Strikes Back from Hasbro.  I took a look (and bought) both wave one and two here on my site and channel and will look that the upcoming ones as well.  While most of these are just repacks, some have subtle differences due to the face painting tech, I still had to get them because I love the huge vintage style cards.  Here we go!


AT-AT Driver

I’m going to start off just stating a) I love the huge cards and b) the backs are similar on each except for the UPC code.  There’s not much to enjoy on the backs like we were used to as kids, but at least it showcases each figure in a pose.

I will also let you know that I bought this wave from Dorkside Toys.  I’m not endorsed by them, nor do I get anything for free, but they packed them really well and I didn’t get dinged with customs here in Canada. That basically meant I got them close to the retail of the $30 price point plus taxes (13%) here in Ontario, Canada. I’m fine with that for not having to go out in this pandemic to look for toys and get minty fresh cards.  MINTY FRESH!

As for the figure, if you have the first Black Series release, there’s nothing new here.  The blaster that comes with the figure is different but the sculpt and paint is the same.  The only real difference I can see is a little silver paint application on the helmet.  That’s really it.

I think this is a great choice as a figure for this wave and series because army builders love Troopers!

I have comparison pictures for each figure.  On the left, I have the 40th anniversary figure and on the right, the first release Black Series figure in the box. Yeah, I hang them on my walls.  It’s how I collect, so sorry to disappoint anyone looking for posing.



Princess Leia Organa (Hoth)

This is the third release of this version of the figure.  We got the regular boxed version after the convention exclusive packed with Han I’ve previously reviewed.  If I didn’t buy these just to display and hang for my love of nostalgia, I don’t know if I would have picked her and Han up.

While I just stated I don’t know if I would have repurchased this figure and Han if I was a loose collector, the big difference here is with the paint on the face and hair.  I’m still not 100% sure it’s a huge improvement but if you have a 100% on paint application with the eyes, I’m sure many will be happy.  The hair colour is a bit different, but if you aren’t collecting these for the cards, I’m not sure the extra dough is worth it for many, especially when the figure comes with the exact same accessories as the boxed release.

Here are both versions side by side for you to decide what you like more.



Han Solo (Bespin)

I don’t know much more than I can say about Han here than I did Leia.  I guess these pictures are here more now for your amusement.

I’ve liked the sculpt of Han for the most part, except I always thought his chin was a little bit too big. At least the hair is pot on.  This figure makes me wish my eyebrows were that glossy.  I’d really turn heads in the room when I walked in if they were.

Comedy aside, this figure, besides the work done on the hair and the eyes is exactly the same as the previously released figures.  Again, unless you’re dying for an alternative paint job on the face and not collecting for the card itself, there’s no real big reason to double dip.  Shh….don’t tell my wife.

More comparing action!



Luke Skywalker (Bespin)

OH! Now we’re getting interesting.  This figure has the same body as the figure previously released, but the skin tone and the head are very different.

This new head sculpt is so much better than the first one.  It still doesn’t look 100% like Mark Hamill. I still have no clue why in this day and age no company can still get his likeness in any scale.  Small gripe aside, this one will probably be one of the most sought after figures in this wave due to the new head sculpt and paint on it.

While the head is better, there has been some back and forth debate on the black wash on the first release being better.  I do like it a bit more, but if I didn’t have the first release of the figure, I would never have noticed it and would be fine with this release.




I never bought any figure from the Archive line.  When I saw the figures in hand, I really didn’t think they justified the purchase even with some better paint here and there.   I didn’t think they were too much better, but then again, because I didn’t buy them or watch any comparison videos, I didn’t think another $30 each for figures I already had on boring cards were worth it.  Oh my.  I think that whole statement is quite ironic considering what I’m writing about here.

Yapping aside, this Yoda looks so much better than the initial release.  From what I’ve read and seen, this figure is basically a repack of the Archive Yoda.  I didn’t buy it, but now after seeing this figure side by side with the original, I’m blown away.  I guess it’s a blessing I didn’t get the Archive version with this being the same figure.  It saved me $30!

It has been announced that the Yoda in the 2-pack with Luke that will be released around September will be a new sculpt and even more in scale.



I need to give a shout out to Figure Shield again for giving me a break on their protective cases.  What I mean by that is that is that while I did buy them, the company did give me a little bit of a discount because I’ve been plugging them on here.

Again, showing I’m in no one’s back pocket, while I like the cases, a) they need to redesign to put the hanging tab more in the middle so I don’t have to use two tacks to hang the figures without them sliding to the sides and b) the plastic needs to be a bit clearer.  It’s not too bad but I think the cloudiness is due to them having their UV protection, something many collectors want to protect their figures.



Imperial Probe Droid

OK….Trying to get a few more people to check out my video review/thoughts on this wave, I’m showing off these couple of photos of the Imperial Probe Droid on here.  I love this droid and have bought a few different versions in different scales.  My favourite, of course, being the sixth scale one I have from Sideshow Collectibles.

This is a figure that if I ever find it on sale, I think I’ll get one to open up to place in my workplace.  This looks so good, with the weathering done well and so much articulation.  It makes me wish I wasn’t such an OCD in box collector, or at least had the room to take these guys out.

Wave two and three will be coming out, along with exclusive figures from different places, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Empires Strikes Back.  While typing (and reflecting) on that makes me feel old, I’m pumped Hasbro is releasing this stuff.

Thanks for checking this stuff out! Enjoy the video review!