Yesterday (April 29th) marked the anniversary of the 1997 release of X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, the single greatest Star Wars video game experience available. Some other Star Wars news overshadowed this monumental date for some reason or another, but to ensure XvT gets the love it deserves this week I’m celebrating with a Vintage Wednesday look at Luke Skywalker’s best buddy, Biggs Darklighter!
First of all then, the packaging. Biggs comes on the iconic green blade POTF2 card with the distinctive Vader cut edge, and also comes packed with my favourite of the 90’s era promotions – the freeze frame. I loved these things for a few reasons back in the day; firstly, they were a neat memento to the character’s appearance in the films in a way that harks directly back to the medium of film itself, and secondly they marked the start of a significant upturn in quality for the POTF2 line. This is a US cardback and so doesn't have the trilingual descriptions that I normally saw on my figures - a nice added bonus of being able to pick these guys up for peanuts on eBay nowadays...
Released in Wave 14, Biggs benefits massively from a slimmed down sculpt and realistic proportions in comparison to previous human characters, a change for the better that the line started to take in 1998. Whilst still dynamically posed, the figure has a good centre of gravity and stands easily.
In addition to the more realistic sculpt Biggs also has much better detailing than the earlier releases, such as the pipes that run along his flight suit and a strong facial likeness. The paints are a nice combination of colours, with the dull, screen accurate orange much better than the day glow Black Series version that’s currently available, and the recreation of Biggs’ helmet design is superbly done. There is some unfortunate sloppiness with the paint apps on my figure, such as some spill from the black glove onto his arm, and a little grey splodge on the back of the white tabard which does count against him. Other sections such as the helmet and the chest panel are as sharp and clean as possible, however.
He comes with two weapons, the standard Correllian Blaster that came with nearly every Rebel POTF2 figure, and a larger blaster cannon. Both are fun (and he looks mean carrying one in each hand), but the larger gun works best in his left hand, due to the sculpt of his right elbow. The helmet isn’t removable, but given how the Wedge Antilles from the Rebel Pilots Cinema Scene set turned out, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Anyway, there’s one area in particular where the POTF2 Biggs Darklighter excels, and that is in the cockpit of an X-Wing fighter. The first actual X-Wing pilot figure released in the modern era (Luke and Wedge were both previously released in their Snowspeeder gear), Biggs needs a slight push on his arms but once he’s in the cockpit it’s like he was made for it. I’ve had a POTF2 X-Wing for a while now without a pilot, and Biggs here does the job perfectly. I just need to make sure I keep him away from any Death Stars…
The 1998 Biggs Darklighter is a fantastic figure, and was a sign of the great things to come with the Hasbro Star Wars line. If you have an old style X-Wing kicking about in desperate need of a pilot, you could do far worse.
Thanks for reading!