Since the late 70s Star Wars has been a juggernaut in all things pop culture and collectible from the smallest toys to massive statues and building sets to coincide with characters and images from the movies, comics games and other media. As such it makes perfect sense that a company like Kotobukiya, with their incredible attention to detail and amazing sculpting, would want to tackle some of these images. They have achieved those goals magnificently.
Kotobukiya began in the late 1940s as a retail toy store and transitioned into model kit making in 1985 with their very first licensed kit: King Godzilla. Beginning in 1989, Kotobukiya began creating soft resin sculptures and fine arts statues of various properties. Today, they create a variety of series including their ARTFX sculptures, Fine Arts Statues, Action Figures, One Coin Mini Figures and more. For more on this company’s interesting history, check out “ArtFX To Action Figures: Exploring The Roots Of Kotobukiya” here on CompleteSet.
Star Wars, for anyone reading who truly is from a galaxy far far away and has never encountered the vast cornucopia that is the brainchild of the great George Lucas, it is essentially the story of members of the Rebel Alliance. This rag-tag group is fighting against the evil and all compassing Galactic Empire, led by the sinister Emperor and the menacing Darth Vader and its later incarnation, The First Order and the volatile Kylo Ren. Chief among the Rebels are novice Jedi and pilot Luke Skywalker, feisty princess Leia Organa and roguish smuggler Han Solo and his co-pilot, the Wookie Chewbacca as well as newcomers Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron.
Star Wars itself is quite vast and the offerings from Kotobukiya are equally vast, so we are presenting to you our picks for the ten best Kotobukiya Star Wars figures and statues so far. For a full and comprehensive list, you should definitely check out Kotous.com or their archive here at CompleteSet.
Han Solo and Chewbacca ARTFX+ Statue
This inseparable pair of scoundrels stands ready for anything that the Empire can throw their way. Both standing prepared with weapons drawn, Han is dressed in his iconic Corellian smugglers outfit with the white shirt and black vest, which is sculpted to be flying up as if Han just spun around to fire at a Stormtrooper. The outfit is completed with blue pants with an orange strip, boots and a holster belt for his trusty blaster. The DL-44 heavy blaster is held tight in Han’s hand, ready to take out anyone who gets in his way. The seven-inch figure is an incredible likeness of a young Harrison Ford. The eight inch tall Chewbacca is covered in painstakingly detailed fur from head to toe and wears only his omnipresent bandolier and pouch. With a defiant snarl on his face, Chewy raises his massive crossbow like bowcaster, ready to fire. The attention to detail on both figures makes them look as if they just jumped out of a scene in A New Hope.
Yoda Empire Strikes Back Version ARTFX Statue
The last of the Jedi Masters is represented in this amazingly detailed four-inch scaled statue. The ancient Yoda is presented with his eyes closed in concentration on his wizened face in ragged robes and carrying the gnarled cane that helps him walk. Every wrinkle and fold of the over 900-year-old Master is displayed. The base shows Yoda utilizing his Force powers while he levitates a portion of a decrepit tree. Beside him, is a piece of machinery from Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Fighter. At the bottom of the base, a small green snake slithers away from the no longer calm scene in the Dagobah swamp.
R2-D2 & C-3PO with BB-8 ARTFX+ Statue
Equal parts story lynchpins and comic relief; these three 1/10 scale figures are some of the most beloved characters in the entire Star Wars franchise. Everyone’s favorite astro droid has been an important part of the franchise from the very beginning, holding the specifications for the original Death Star in his “faulty innards” in A New Hope, saving the lives of Padme, Anakin and the Jedi in the Prequels and even holding an important piece of the map to the location of the missing Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens. The whiny and somewhat less heroic protocol droid C-3PO is the “everyman” character in the film, commenting on the insanity that is going on around him and in front of our eyes. Threepio is the most altered by his experiences, currently sporting the red arm of another droid after some unseen adventure. The newest addition, the ball shaped BB-8 unsuspectingly became the one that seemed to draw the three new heroes together with equal measures of human and faithful dog-like qualities. Each of the droids stands ready to aid their human masters and friends in any way they can.
Boba Fett Return of the Jedi Version ARTFX+ Statue
The most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy is poised and ready to fire! Boba Fett, in this Return of the Jedi version, is posed just seconds before shooting a line around the escaping Luke Skywalker. He decked out in his full Mandalorian garb and looking sharp. The functional, multi colored, dented and very worn outfit is a mix of cloth and armor, including his iconic and omnipresent helmet. The helmet comes with its communication antenna. On his back, his half cape is swept to the side to allow for his jetpack and rocket launcher to rest on his back and his arm is raised with his wrist blasters at the ready. His large utility belt and his pants pockets are heavy with weapons and he also wields his huge blaster rifle to compliment his armory. Whether working for Jabba the Hut or Darth Vader, he is the last man you ever want hunting you.
Darth Maul Japanese Ukiyo-E Style ARTFX Statue
Created in the Ukiyo-E or “pictures of the floating world” style of Japanese art, this incredible figure of the striking and sinister Darth Maul is the epitome of strength and danger. The figure is perched on a rock with bare feet in a crouching samurai stance. Maul is snarling at the viewer from his tattooed and heavily horned head and is stripped to the waist, showing off his heavily toned body and the intricate Sith tattoos which cover his entire body. He wears tattered and flowing pants that drift in the breeze. One arm is stretched fully behind him and he holds his double bladed lightsaber close to his body in the other. The rage of the Sith apprentice is palpable in this highly articulated figure.
The Force Awakens Version Kylo Ren ARTFX+ Statue
The most unpredictable and potentially irredeemable of all the new characters introduced in The Force Awakens is the enforcer of the First Order Kylo Ren AKA Ben Solo, the wayward son of Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa. The 1/10-scaled figure is completely shrouded in black like the Sith Lord he emulates, Darth Vader. His arms are covered in flexible metallic material and he sports a long black cloak that is accentuated with a thick black belt. The mask is equally sinister but more colorful than its earlier counterpart, using silver around the eyes and the center of the mask. In his hand is his specialized lightsaber with its uneven arching blade and light guards at either side. He has already committed truly evil acts in the short time that we’ve know him and one can only expect much more bad from this bad guy in the films ahead.
Obi-Wan Kenobi A New Hope ARTFX Statue
Arguably one of the most important characters in the entire Star Wars mythos, Obi-Wan Kenobi is every bit the Jedi Master, even at the advanced age we first meet him in at the very beginning of A New Hope. Still strong with the Force, Ben raises his lightsaber in front of his face (and it actually glows in brilliant blue) and his other hand is raised in the “Force Push” gesture. He is dressed in the traditional Jedi garb that has become his unintentional camouflage while in many years of exile on the desert world of Tatooine. The capes and sleeves flow with the movement of his action. Complete with the uncanny likeness of Sir Alec Guinness, this is a key figure in the collection of any Star Wars fan.
ARTFX+ Stormtrooper Two Pack
The original faceless army, few characters are more recognizable to the world at large than the Stormtroopers. Originally clones of bounty hunter Jango Fett, the multitudes of troopers were first seen as the militant force of the evil Emperor and his apprentice Darth Vader. Their individuality canceling white armor and jet black blasters create the effect that no matter how many are killed, there are always more. This iconic two pack shows one Trooper with the standard blaster and second with the larger pulse rifle. The Trooper with the rifle is pointing, as if calling his shot; which history tells us that he will undoubtedly missed. Despite their questionable shooting skills, Stormtroopers may not be the most standout parts of the franchise but you just can’t have Star Wars without them.
Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia ARTFX+ Statue
Boiled down to its absolute essence, the story of Star Wars is about two siblings that were separated at birth to hide them from their evil father. They were brought back together by a series of extraordinary events to become important in not only each others lives but the lives of the whole galaxy. Those siblings are Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa. To keep them away from their father, Anakin Skywalker, now the Sith Lord Darth Vader (after the death of their mother Padme), Leia was adopted by Galactic Senator Bal Organa and taken to his home planet Alderaan while Luke was taken to the home of his step uncle and aunt Owen and Beru on Tatooine. They grew up separately under the thumb of the Empire but Leia was secretly part of the Rebellion while Luke grew up as a farm boy with dreams of a bigger universe. Thanks to two droids, a crazy old man, a scoundrel and his giant furry co-pilot, the farm boy and the princess finally find each other. The connections that brought them and the universe together form the fabric of Star Wars.
Here, we see both figures in the outfits we are first introduced to them in. Leia is dressed in a neck to toe dress with a hood and a simple silver belt at her waist. Her hair is in the iconic tightly wrapped buns that everyone knows so well. She is holding the simple blaster that she used to shoot a Stormtrooper on the diplomatic ship where she was captured. Luke is wearing the simple Tatooine dusty white outfit tunic and slacks with the bandages boots and the multi-pocket belt. In his hand is the light saber that was saved for him by Ben Kenobi. Each figure captures the two very young actors at this time in their life perfectly.
The Return of the Jedi Darth Vader ARTFX+ Statue
With the possible exception of a killer shark named Bruce, no figure has elicited the amount of dread and wonder as the character of Darth Vader. Thought to be one of the most sinister characters in film history, Vader is the principal antagonist in the original Trilogy and ultimately the most redeemed of any character in the trilogy. His visage casts a very long shadow over the newest film The Force Awakens. The Return of the Jedi version of the figure is a major departure of most of the ways that Vader is portrayed in a still form. This Vader is in motion. The stiffness of his massive form is gone and he is coiled in fluid motion, knees bent as he descends a small set of stairs, fist clasped and his classic red lightsaber is drawn and extended outward, ready to strike. This figure is also a departure because his armor is not the flat black that has become so iconic. There are tinges of silver throughout the figure, especially around the shoulders and the chest piece. Light touches various parts of his armor and especially accentuates his flowing cape. The Vader portrayed here is less the hulking monster and more the samurai warrior. And in its own way, that makes him just a little more sinister.
It could be argued, the seven movies of the Star Wars Saga and it’s accompanying books, cartoons, games and comics are in many ways a modern mythology. And like many mythologies, iconography of important figures are created and revered by the people who believe in them. Given the incredible artistry, painstaking skill and loving attention that the geniuses at the studios of Kotobukiya present here, it is clear to this fan’s eye that they revere all things Jedi (and Sith too).