1996 - 1997: Hasbro Star Wars Dolls, Part One

In the early 1990s Hasbro bought out the Kenner toy company and took over the production of Star Wars toys. Hasbro began producing a new series of smaller action figures and shortly after, in 1996, they introducted their 12" Star Wars dolls. This was the first 12 inch doll series to be produced by any manufacturer since the Kenner series from 1978 -1980. This Hasbro series of 12 inch Star Wars dolls was very well received and became very popular. It was sold in countries all over the world and is responsible for creating the market for all other Star Wars dolls that followed... including those that are still being produced to this day by other companies.

For the first three years, untill 1998, the Kenner logo appeared on the boxes for this series. When Hasbro introduced the "Episode 1" series in 1998 they stopped using the Kenner logo on boxes and switched to the Hasbro logo. For the first few series of dolls many of the head sculpts were poorly done with faces that often did not look like the actors, but this improved as the series expanded. Today there are more than 18 different Luke Skywalker dolls available in this series, with over 100 dolls in the collection, and counting! My own collection includes about 40 of these Star Wars dolls, and I'll add photos of all of them here eventually. Click on the photos to see a larger version.

Star Wars, 12 inch dolls by Hasbro

1996

Series 1
"Collector Series", Kenner logo, flap on front of box

Luke Skywalker, Tatoonine outfit, this head sculpt does not look like Mark Hamill, costume is very well done
Han Solo, vest with navey blue pants, this head sculpt is poorly done, costume is okay but a different fabric would have been better for the shirt, which seems kind of cheaply made. (The fabric Hasbro made the shirt and pants for "Snake Eyes" from their 12" G.I.Joe doll series would have been perfect here.)
Obi-Wan Kenobi, with brown robe, this head sculpt is okay, this costume is perfect
Darth Vader, unfortunately the head for this doll is too small for the body but well sculpted, the costume is very well done

 Here are the boxes with the front cover flaps open.

Chewbacca was shown on the back of boxes as part of the assortment but was not yet released. Boxes for Series 1 were made with English text (as shown above on the Darth Vader Box) or text in three languages (shown on all the other boxes).


The first two series of Hasbro Star Wars dolls used the exact same doll bodies as Hasbro's G.I.Joe doll series. Shown here is Snake Eyes from Series 1 of the G.I.Joe collection made in 1992, next to Luke from Series 1 of the Star Wars collection made in 1996.

Series 2
"Collector Series", Kenner logo, flap on front of box

Luke Skywalker in Bespin Outfit (with jacket) For some bizarre reason Hasbro made this outfit with fabric that is greenish in colour rather than tan, as was seen in The Empire Strikes Back movie. Otherwise the costume is very well done with a lot of detail. The same head sculpt as the Series 1 Luke doll was used but with light brown hair.
Lando Calrissian, the head sculpt on this one was poorly done, cosume is okay but could have been better
Tusken Raider - with Gaderffii Stick, this doll was very well done, no complaints!
Tusken Raider - no Gaderffii Stick , the same doll was also packaged, purposefully, without a Gaderffii Stick just to drive collectors nuts! This one came with a blaster and binoculars (the same ones that series 1 Luke has) instead of the Gaderffii Stick.


Here are the boxes with the flap open. I assume these boxes were also available with only English text. Shown here are the boxes with text in three languages.


Chewbacca was once again shown on the back of boxes as part of the assortment but was not yet released, which also drove collectors nuts!





Here is a look at Series2 Luke. Hasbro did an awesome job on his Bespin outfit adding lots of details but unfortunately used the wrong colour of fabric. His outfit should be tan, as shown on the box, rather than the greenish fabric that was used. The head sculpt is the same one that was used for Series 1 Luke, but painted with a different colour of hair. This head does not look a thing like actor Mark Hamill, but it was used again for Seires 3, Luke in X-Wing outfit, and for the special edition Luke in Stormtrooper Outfit (sold in a two-pack set with Han Solo in Stormtrooper Outfit) before being replaced with a new head sculpt for Series 6, Luke in Ceremonial outfit (shown below in the yellow jacket).

Series 3
"Collector Series", Kenner logo, flap on front of box. New, improved doll bodies were introduced for this series that had jointed wrists, elbows and waist.

Luke Skywalker in X-Wing Pilot Outfit, uses same head sculpt as Series 1 Luke but with lighter coloured plastic (bright, light pink face) and light brown hair
Princess Leia, in white robe from original movie, this was the first female doll in the series and uses a new multi jointed doll body.
Boba Fett, (non-electronic), the costume on this doll was very well made with great detail, unfortunately the head is way too small
Stormtrooper, this doll is perfect with excellent articulation! It's one of my favourites from the collection!


The still unreleased Chewbacca disapeared from the back of boxes, causing collectors to be quite confused!

The back of Series 3 packages also shows a photo of a space ship with the title "Collector Fleet" underneath it. I've never figured out what product this was advertising, and can only assume that the "Collector fleet" was a collection of smaller space ships.



Here is a closer view of Princess Liea's face to show how uneven her hair buns are. They are made out of doll hair and glued into position so that they can't be removed. I've seen other copies of this Liea doll with the hair buns done much more evenly, but when I bought this at the store all of the Liea dolls they had on the shelf had uneven hair like this one.

Here is a back view of the Boba Fett doll to show his jet pack, cape, and wookie scalps.

For Hasbro's third series of Star Wars dolls a new doll body was introduced that allowed more articulation. Joints were added at the elbows, wrists and waist. Shown above on the left is the first Luke doll from Series 1, made in 1996, on the right is an example of a Luke with the revised doll body. (The Luke on the right was made in 1998 but the body is the same as those from Series 3, made in late 1996. I just didn't want to take the costumes off of any of the series 3 dolls.) The Princess Leia doll in this third series also introduced a new female doll body.

1997
Year two of the collection really exploded. It was difficult to keep tack of what was available and when, so from this point on I don't have all of the dolls in the collection listed. Also, the series number that I've put the characters under may not be accurate but the order that they are listed in is still more or less correct. The character assortment and year is taken directly from the boxes.

Series 4
Last "Collector Series" assortment, Kenner logo, flap on front of box

C-3PO, non-electronic, this large size action figure was perfectly done!
TIE-Fighter Pilot, the head was very well done, as were the gloves, but the jumpsuit part of the costume could have been better (I find the legs look quite silly)
Admiral Ackbar, this doll was prefectly done!
Chewbacca, with fake fur, no chains, this doll was very well done! At last, after a year of waiting, the illusive Chewbacca was available for collectors! Unfortunately it was very hard to find at the time, so I still don't have this one in my collection, but it's at the very top of my list! This Chewbacca with fake fur was later reissued as "Chewbacca with chains". The doll came with "handcuffs" on his wrists.


Back of boxes for this series lists Yoda and R2-D2 as "comming soon". 


Series 5
First "Action Collection" assortment, Kenner logo, no flap on front of box, these were the first smaller sized boxes in the collection


R2-D2, non-electronic, this action figure was perfectly done!
Yoda, head was perfectly done, unfortunately the body does not have much movement and does not have separate movable legs.
Jawa, with light up eyes (this is controlled by pressing a button on the figure's back), a well done figure.



The bottoms of the boxes show a photo from the movie.



Here is the Hasbro Yoda for the 12 inch series. He is 4.5 inches tall. I've shown it above next one of the 12 inch Luke dolls for size comparison. This is actually an action figure with a fabric jacket. The figure has a brown cloak moulded as part of the body. Rather than separate legs, this figure is jointed to bend at the waist with the lower half of the body as one piece. Below is Yoda "sitting" to show how the figure has no legs. I was a bit disappointed that this wasn't an actual doll, but the head sculpt is so awesome it makes up for that.

Series 6
"Action Collection", Kenner logo, this is a transitional series as Hasbro changed to boxes without a flap on the front, therefore two characters in this series did not have a flap on the front of the box (Luke and Grand Moff Tarkin), and the other two characters (Greedo and Sandtrooper) came in both styles of boxes - one with the flap, one without.

Luke Skywalker, Ceremonial outfit with medal, new head sculpt, perfect doll, one of my favourites from this collection!
Greedo, this doll was available in two different boxes, one with a flap on front and one without. Greedo is perfectly made and one of my favourites!
Grand Moff Tarkin, unfortunately I still don't have this one, but it looks to have been very well made, the head sculpt is very well done
Sandtrooper (white shoulder armour), This doll is the same Stormtrooper from Series 3 but it has the added white shoulder armour piece and black paint speckles on the outfit. The photo on the back of the Luke and Greedo boxes shows the Sandtrooper with white shoulder armour. This doll was available in a box without a flap on the front.
Sandtrooper (orange shoulder armour), This doll is the same as above but with orange shoulder armour instead of white, and it does not have the black paint speckles on the outfit. It was available in a box with a flap on the front.


Sandtrooper with a black shoulder piece and a black back pack was also packaged with the large size Patrol Dewback creature, which is also at the top of my "to find" list. A two-pack set of Luke and Han in Stormtooper Outfits, with removable helmets, was also sold. These dolls re-used the series 1 head sculpts for Luke and Han. Another doll of Luke in Stormtrooper Outfit was later packaged separately. This version had a different head sculpt, paint speckles on the outfit and came with the Trash Compactor Monster's tenticle. The Grand Moff Tarkin doll from this series was later included in a two-pack set with the Death Star Gunner.

Here is the  Luke Skywalker doll in Ceremonial outfit by Hasbro next to Greedo. Luke came packaged with a medal to place around his neck, but I keep it off the doll because the silver paint reacts with the vinyl of the jacket. One time after having packed the doll away for a while, I took it out to find that the silver paint had melted onto the shoulder of the jacket. Luckily I was able to clean it up so that the damage was not to bad. (There is still minor discolouration on the jacket, but it's not very noticeable.) Below is a closer look at Luke's face. This is one of my favourite Luke's from this series.


Hasbro made Greedo early on in the collection and they did an awesome job on him. Below is a closer look at the head sculpt to show all the detail. Greedo has such long fingers that his laser gun is moulded as part of his right hand. I also like his 70s style shiny jumpsuit and plush vest. Very retro! Hasbro did an awesome job on the Ceremonial Luke and Greedo dolls. 


Series 7
"Action Collection", Kenner logo, with exception of the At-At Driver, boxes from this point on no longer have a flap on the front

Luke Skywalker, in Hoth Gear
Han Solo, in Hoth Gear, this doll was very well made with awesome detail in the costume and accessories, but unfortunately uses the head sculpt from Series 1 that was poorly done.
Snowtrooper, this was a very well made doll
At-At Driver The At-At Driver was available in a box with a flap and without a flap.

The "Han Solo in Hoth Gear" doll from this series was also released with the Tawn Tawn, which came in a black box. At the same time, the "Luke in Hoth Gear" doll was released with the Wampa Beast in a two pack set, also in a black box. Much later in the series a "Luke in Hoth Gear" doll was also released with the Tawn Tawn, this set came in a blue box. I suspect that the Luke with the Tawn Tawn may have been a different version than the one from this series. All 4 dolls from Series 7 - Han Solo and Luke in Hoth Gear, Snowtrooper and At-At Driver - were also available in a 4 pack set.

Hasbro did an awesome job on these two dolls, adding lots of detail to the costumes and accessories.

Here is a side view of the Han Solo and Tawn Tawn box.

The back of the Tawn Tawn box is quite sparce with only a snowy Hoth scene and some text. This large box would have been a good space to promote the various dolls in the collection, but no other dolls were mentioned.

This set with Han Solo in his Hoth outfit with a large Tawn Tawn figure to ride on is a very awesome addition to the Hasbro Star Wars 12" doll collection. In the early 1990s I wrote Hasbro a letter and suggested that they make 12 inch dolls and mentioned a few ideas for the collection. This Han Solo and Tawn Tawn set was one of the things that I suggested. A representative at Hasbro was kind enough to reply and thank me for my interest in their products. Of course, they likely received several letters from Star Wars fans asking for this toy as well, otherwise Hasbro wouldn't have made it. Still, I like to think that I at least played a small part in getting this toy made. In the same letter I also suggested they make a 12 inch Greedo, Tuskin Raider, Lando Calrissian, and Darth Vader with removable helmet. This was before any of these had been produced, so I'm quite happy to now have them all in my collection.


The Han Solo in Hoth Gear comes with quite a few accessories.

 Here is a back view of the Snowtrooper to show more of the detail in the outfit. Underneath the Snowtrooper's mask his face is just blank! See the photo below.


There are more Hasbro Star Wars dolls on the next page of this blog, showing the continuation of this awesome collection!


Text & Photos © Mike Artelle 2010, 2013

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