LEIA ORGANA (Bespin Gown) /

  (The Empire Strikes Back)

Date Stamp: 1980

Carded Availability:
  The Empire Strikes Back
  Return of the Jedi

Assortment No. : 39720

Retail: $2.49

Weapons and Accessories: 

  • Princess Blaster

  • Point of Interest: 
      The image this figure's card back was quickly changed. The first image, a profile shot, was switched out for the second, a straight on shot, on The Empire Strikes Back 32 back card. The second image remained on all subsequent card backs.

    This figure fist appeared on The Empire Strikes Back 31 back card.

    Comments: Never had a vintage Star Wars action figure look more feminine than the Leia Organa (Bespin Gown) figure, and none to come out after could hold a candle. Even though one could argue that a girl figure in a pretty gown isnít much of a draw for little boys, whatever it lacked in playability, it easily made up for in style. With little more than a printed vinyl cape and a little blue Princess Blaster, this figure is the quintessential Leia figure for the vintage collection.

    Major Variations: Though all vintage figures have minor variations, the Leia Organa (Bespin Gown) action figure has three proper major variations.

    Crew Neck: This version, is the most correct of the three, and features a flesh colour painted neck with a gold trim on the collar separating it from the neck.

    Turtle Neck: This version, which is still rather easy to find but not as common as the Crew Neck version, has no paint on the neck save a gold collar. This version is very easy to spot and distinguish, but to further verify its authenticity; one needs to look further than the mould of the neck, which is noticeably skinnier than the other two versions.

    Gold Neck: incorrectly referred by many as "the Green Necked Leia", based on a chemical reaction that created a green stain not un like that found on brass. In truth this version, which is the scarcest of the three, is most intriguing because of the painting process used in its creation. Unlike the other two versions where there was a small gold spray op that split the neck from the shirt, the Gold Neck version was initially painted from the collar up with flesh coloured paint and then, in the front only, painted completely again with gold from collar to top. The mixture of the two paints reacted in most cases creating the staining. There is no record whether this happened immediately or over time, but judging by the MOC 31 back pictured here, it is certain that this was an earlier -if not the earliest- version produced, and it stands to reason that the chemical reaction was instantaneous and quickly altered. Though this is based on research, it most be noted that it is only a theory. To date, this version has not been documented on any card later than The Empire Strikes Back 48 back. It is important to note that not every one of the Gold Neck figures suffered the chemical reaction, as the loose example here indicates. Though this variation is fairly easy to forge, an easy way to tell it's authentic is to turn it around. From the back it can be observed that the gold paint, which was clearly applied by a machine, is only on the front half, therefore the back of the neck is still flesh coloured.

    In all cases, the Leia Organa (Bespin Gown) action figure featured the gold trimming, but it didn't really bond well to the plastic and came off with the slightest touch. In the case of the lips, which appear to have been randomly painted, all three variations have been found with and without lipstick.

    Text & Photography by D. Martin Myatt.

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