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Vintage Kenner Princess Leia 1978 Action Figure

Princess Leia was born alongside her twin brother (Luke Skywalker) on the asteroid colony of Polis Massa, where their mother had escaped to, in order to protect them from the evil Darth Vader.

 Their mother, who was of noble blood, died shortly after childbirth, so Leia and Luke were separated by Senator Bail Organa and Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi, in order to ensure their protection and survival.

 The senator took Leia to his home planet of Alderran where together with his wife, they raised Leia into a very brilliant and resourceful young woman. Leia excelled greatly in politics and she became a senator herself – the youngest ever in the entire galaxy However, her strong advocacy for the Rebel Alliance meant she would be targeted by the government.

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Kenner Princess Leia 1978 Review

Princess Leia was one of the first four figures to be released in the Early Bird Certificate Package, and like the other three, her cape was made of vinyl, unlike the subsequent figures that had real cloth capes.

The 3.75-inches figure came on classic style card with a picture of the real Princess Leia on the front right side and the figure itself on the left. At the top of the card was a big Star Wars logo. She was originally released on a 12-back card and then later on a 21-back card as well as The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Tri-Logo and Power of the Force cards.  

The sculpting of this figure is quite decent, considering in the late 70’s there was no real body scan technology and the sculpts had to be man-made, also Kenner must have been under a lot of pressure to get these released. They also had to reduce a lot of detail into a 3.75-inches figure, so one could say they did a pretty good under the circumstances. 

Leia’s entire body was covered in her outfit, except for her face and bare hands. Her face was brilliantly sculpted for this time period, and looked very similar to the character (a feat in itself for these toys!). 

The hair on her head had bonds on either side and her long-sleeved suit was very well sculpted as were her chest region and legs, which were covered by her trousers and were perfectly sculpted into her hips.

 She had a pair of boots sculpted onto her legs, with the usual holes on the bottom of her feet for the stand pegs to be inserted.

 She also wore a belt around her waist and her hands were sculpted so her weapon could fit into her right hand. There were two holes on her Vinyl cape, which was removable; one for each arm to fit into. The back of the vinyl cape extended up over her neck almost completely covering her head when looking from behind, and reached down as far as her feet.

The paintwork for this figure was very simple as Princess Leia was sculpted wearing her white robe and gown, so the only parts that were not white were her face and hands which were brown and her hair and belt which were black.

 The painting was not done in completely pure white, with the cape being a bit whiter than the figure itself. Her black hair was not painted perfectly as there was some evidence of smudging and overlapping, even to the naked eye. Lastly, the figure’s accessory, a blaster, was completely molded in black.

For articulation she had the usual five joints, all ball, and sockets. The ball and socket on her neck permitted complete rotation and the joints linking each of her arms to her shoulders and her legs to her hips allowed her to raise her arms and legs in and rotate them.

Kenner Princess Leia Variants

A couple of common variations of the Kenner figure are that she either had black hair with a black belt, or brown hair with a brown belt, with the brown one being the rarer of the two. There were also two variations of her blaster, one a dark blue and the other black.

Glasslite started manufacturing and distributing Star Wars figures in Brazil in 1988 and their Princess Leia figure was the most relevant variants as the Glasslite variant had a poorly sculpted face and came with a different blaster. 

This variant also had a completely different cape. Although it was also made from Vinyl, it was much shorter than Kenner’s. It did not extend above her head and it also did not cover her feet. When viewed from the sides, it could be seen that it had a unique crescent-shaped cut on the edges, compared to Kenner’s straight edge.

Parts of the painting such as the belt and hands were painted by hand and they looked really unimpressive. Lastly, the Kenner’s Princess Leia’s figure came in a light shade of red while Glasslite’s came in a light shade of Yellow.

DIFFERENCES:

Compared to its Kenner counterpart, the Glasslite Princess Leia had:

  • Moulded in harder plastic
  • A scarred COO (2 distinct versions)
  • Pale face, neck and hands
  • Black hair
  • Black eyes and eyebrows
  • Manufacturing flaw so heads are typically angled
  • Hand painted hands and belt
  • Black belt with hand painted large white circle detail
  • Packaged with a silver Jawa blaster and a unique cape

ACCESSORIES:

The Glasslite Princess came with a v5 silver Jawa blaster compared to the blue rebel blaster which came with the Kenner figure. Note that the v5 Jawa blaster mould is identical to the solid black version which came with the Han Solo action figure.

 Kenner Princess Leia Values (May 2022)

  • MOC 12-back $2000-$4000 20-back $450-$2000
  • MLC $45-$220 (Slabbed) $25-$50 Un-slabbed
  • Loose $5-$25


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