Vintage The Empire Strikes Back Action Figures
The Empire Strikes Back Action Figures were released in 1980 and were based on the second movie, or Episode V, of the Star Wars saga and as such are considered original Vintage Star Wars action figures.
There were either 27 or 29 The Empire Strikes Back Action Figures depending on whether you consider C-3PO with removable limbs and R2-D2 with an extendable periscope feature to be new and distinct figures rather than variants of their 1977 originals.
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The original Empire Strikes Back action figures consisted of 29 carded figures.
The first wave of 20 were displayed with the original 21 on a 41-back card.
All of the original Star Warsaction figure line got their own new Empire cards, whether they were in the movie or not.
The remaining nine, in the second wave, turned up on the later 48-back cards.
It should really have been 50 but Kenner omitted the more basic versions of Artoo and Threepio from the back to avoid confusion, even though they did get released on Empire cards in the first wave before being effectively replaced on shelves for the remainder of Empire and then Jedi by their periscope and removable limb-sporting successors.
Notably Zuckuss the insectoid bounty hunter ended up with the wrong name of his similarly insectoid droid bounty hunting partner 4-LOM and vice versa.
Three creatures for collectors to add to these are the Wampa ice creature, the Imperial Probe Droid and of course the faithful and comfortable Tauntaun.
All the original Star Wars figures were re-released with Empire Strikes Back cards, nineteen were reissued with Return of the Jedi cards and six made it to the fourth line which was called The Power of the Force.
As for The Empire Strikes Back Action Figures twenty seven of them were reissued on Jedi cards and two (3PO and Yoda) were in the Power of the Force.
This level of re-carding figures and keeping every one available on shelves as long as possible maintained kids ever-growing collections and helped give even the most obscure characters a level of early geek cache.
The Empire Strikes Back Action Figures: Wave 1
Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) [Blonde/Sandy Hair]
Leia Organa (Bespin Gown) [Flesh Collar/Turtle-neck]
Han Solo (Hoth Outfit)
Imperial Stormtrooper (Hoth Battle Gear)
Lando Calrissian [Standard Face/White eyes and teeth]
Security Guard (White)
(Hoth Outfit) [Dark Brown/Reddish Brown Hair]
Driver [Scarlet/True Red Logo]
The Empire Strikes Back Action Figures: Wave 2
Variants from now on are less well-known than those earlier gaffs and most involve slightly different colour details.
- Luke again has his blonde or
- Leia has either a
flesh-coloured collar or a turtleneck to her Bespin dress.
- Leia in her Hoth outfit also
had either brown or reddish brown hair.
- The Hoth Rebel Commander, Cloud
Car Pilot, AT-AT Commander and Lobot all have slight variations in skin tone,
ranging from fleshy to very pale. Lobot with the fleshy face has round dots on
his belt rather than circles.
- Spanish Dengar has slightly
- Bounty hunting droid IG-88 was presented in either
grey or metallic plastic.
- A variation on Lando Calrissian
has white eyes and teeth details added.
- The white Bespin security guard
has a regular or a long moustache.
- Bossk has slight variations in
his skin tone.
- The AT-AT Driver had two
different shades of Imperial logo, either true red or scarlet.
- The Imperial Commander sports
either a slightly more skinny or round head.
- The Ugnaught has either a
lavender, a green or a blue apron with variations in the thickness of the cords
used to tie them.
- There was a version of the
Snowtrooper given away with issue 150 of a German comic called YPS (or PBP in
Spanish). It can be identified by its circular skirt slots, occasionally better
detailing and also occasionally a gun from Action Force which was the European
- One of the more well-known is
Yoda with either a brown or orange snake. He also had various skin tones and
stick colours throughout his release.
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PLEASE NOTE: All prices and values quoted on this site were correct at the time of publication based on the average value across several online and offline auction sites etc. The prices quoted ARE NOT an offer or solicitation to buy any figures at these prices.
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