The original Kenner figures and their accessories pictured here are original childhood figures, they've been played with and are 40 YEARS OLDER than the 2020 Retro Collection figures. Paint differences are to be expected, however this article aims to show you the differences in the sculpting of the figures and their accessories.
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Welcome to our look at the differences between Hasbro's 2020 Star Wars Retro Collection figures from The Empire Strikes Back and Kenner's original Star Wars action figures. If you are looking for the first wave of Retro Collection figures based on A New Hope have a look at the article which explains the differences to the original Kenner figures from 1978.
Hasbro's Empire Strikes Back themed Retro Collection was first released in May 2020 exclusively at Walmart stores to commemorate the movie's 40th anniversary. The wave included remakes of the original Han Solo (Hoth), Princess Leia (Hoth), Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues, yellow hair), Boba Fett, Yoda (orange snake) and non-smiling Lando Calrissian.
All the figures in The Empire Strikes Back Retro Collection have a 2020 date stamp on them, along with a country of origin (COO) of VIETNAM imprint.
Besides those obvious differences to the originals, let's have a look at each figure in more detail.
Even though the Retro Collection Yoda figure looks like a carbon copy of the original Kenner figure at first, there are a few subtle differences between the figures and some of the accessories. The Retro Collection Yoda has slightly shorter ears, that's especially noticeable on the left ear.
Here you can see the different dates on the back of the Yoda figures, also take a look at the ears again, they are just a bit shorter on the Retro Collection figure.
The sculpting on the 2020 Yoda figure looks softer, look closer at the wrinkles in the clothing and the belt to see the differences.
Let's take a look at all the accessories included with Yoda, the cane, the belt, the soft-goods Jedi robe and the orange snake. The cane included with the Retro Collection Yoda figure is made out of softer plastic and it's painted in a lighter brown color which is less shiny.
The snake looks almost identical to the original, but the middle section isn't curved as wide and the tail points further down.
The new 2020 Retro Collection Yoda robe feels authentic in hand. The texture feels right, the length and width, the weight and the thickness of the material, the color and the way it fits onto the figure, it all feels right. The original however has a small piece of paper attached on the inside which says "Made in Hong Kong", which the Retro Collection version doesn't have.
Both belts have about the same lengths, but the peg on the Retro version is bigger and the hole it needs to go into is bigger as well. There are some color differences as well, but your mileage will of course vary depending on the condition your original belt is in.
Here are some comparison pictures of the original Kenner Han Solo (Hoth) figure from 1980 and the Retro Collection Han Solo (Hoth) from 2020. The details on the Retro Collection Han Solo feel softer than on the original.
The original blaster is smaller than the 2020 version.
Here are some comparison pictures of the original Kenner Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) figure from 1980 and the Retro Collection Luke Skywalker (Bespin) from 2020. Besides the details pointed out below in the pictures, the Retro Collection Luke Skywalker Bespin arms feel rubbery and much softer than on the original. The figure also has a wider stance.
The yellow lightsaber is difficult to differentiate from the original. The yellow color is identical to the naked eye, the hilt is a little shorter and the blade is a little bigger. The differences here are minimal and quite difficult to make out. The "three dots" on the hilt are a bit softer than on the original.
The blaster included with the Retro Collection Luke Skywalker (Bespin) is identical to the one which was included with Han Solo (Hoth), which is smaller than the original. Scroll back up a bit to see the comparison pictures.
Let's take a look at the original 1980s Lando Calrissian Kenner figure and the 2020 Hasbro version. Lando's Retro figure has a slightly larger head overall.
The capes are almost identical even though there are about 40 years in-between production runs. The 2020 Retro Collection cape feels just like the original, it has about the same size, same texture, same weight, same thickness, and the same size of holes for the arms.
The Retro Collection Boba Fett figure is as close to the original Kenner figure as it can be, the color tones, the sculpted details, it's all there. The only difference besides the 2020 Vietnam imprint is the width of the T-visor in the helmet. Have a look at the pictures below. Side note: the Retro Collection Boba Fett figure pictured is an error version where the pouch on the left hip is unpainted, there have been several of them on Ebay so this is not a one-off.
Here are the blaster comparisons. Of note is the size of the Retro Collection Imperial blaster, it's slightly larger than the original version. The original Imperial Blaster could be found in blue or black/dark grey colors. So the color isn't the give-away that it's the Retro version, it's the slightly larger size.
There have been many different variations of Boba Fett documented since 1979, but those images here will guide you to spot the differences compared to the modern counterparts. From left to right: 1979 Boba Fett by Kenner (painted helmet/Taiwan version), 1979 Boba Fett by Kenner (Tri-Logo/light blue version), 2010 Vintage Collection Boba Fett (mail-away by Hasbro), and the 2020 Retro Collection Boba Fett figure by Hasbro.
Here is a look at the differences between the original 1980 Princess Leia (Hoth) figure by Kenner and the new re-make by Hasbro from 2020. Leia's head sculpt looks quite different on the new interpretation, and both arms feel rubbery when compared to the Kenner release from 1980. The included blaster is also slightly bigger than the original blaster.
Here is a look at both blasters, as you can see the original is smaller than the 2020 version and it has an only slightly pronounced nozzle on the front.
As you can see, there are easy ways to differentiate the 2020 Star Wars Retro Collection figures from their original Kenner counterparts. Where it gets tricky is with the accessories. In a nutshell, all the blasters are slightly bigger and dark grey/black in color. The most difficult accessories to tell apart were Lando Calrissian's plastic cape, Yoda's orange snake and Luke's yellow lightsaber. Look for the Retro Collection figures to be added to the database soon and keep an eye out on this page: Star Wars Retro Collection.
Overall, Hasbro's 2020 take on the original figures in the Retro Collection turned out great. Keep in mind that there are 40 years between those figures, that's mind blowing! Fingers crossed that this line will continue!
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