HAN SOLO – CONCEPT
STAR WARS: 30TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION (HASBRO)
“The vivid imagination of conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie brought to life the characters and worlds envisioned by George Lucas. McQuarrie’s paintings and drawings were instrumental in the push to bring Lucas’s saga to the big screen, giving shape and form to a multitude of fantastic individuals, creatures, planets and technology encompassed in this epic tale. Developed in collaboration with McQuarrie himself, this remarkable action figure series pays tribute to the man whose art defined some of the most memorable characters in film history.
McQuarrie’s concept painting of central characters in A New Hope depicts Han Solo as a fierce Jedi Knight rather than a rougish smuggler. Wearing close-fitting battle gear, he is ready for combat with his lightsaber blazing and his face set with stern determination.”
Here, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Star Wars franchise, it’s nice to look back at all the possible what-ifs of the franchise. Ralph McQuarrie’s contributions to the early designs of what was then titled The Star Wars are quite well-known within the fan base. They’ve spawned comics, animation, and yes, even action figures. I’ll be looking at one of those figures today!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Concept Han Solo was released in the seventh wave of Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collection, as figure 47 in the line’s overall count. He was the seventh of the Concept figures (there was one of them per wave), and is a slightly odd-ball figure in an otherwise Return of the Jedi-based assortment of figures. The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation. Han was sporting an all-new sculpt, obviously based on McQuarrie’s early design of Han. Ultimately, it;s rather far removed from Han’s final character, and seems to have more in common with Obi-Wan Kenobi’s final character, especially as seen in the Prequel Trilogy. Still, it’s a pretty solid piece of retro-sci-fi design work, and the figure’s sculpt does a rather admirable job of replicating it in three dimensions. It keeps a lot of McQuarrie’s style, but adds a touch or realism, so he’ll still fit in with the standard movie figures. There’s a ton of detail work going on, especially on the various parts of his uniform. If I have one complaint about this figure, it’s the way his articulation works. It’s not bad; as a matter of fact, he comes from when Hasbro was really starting to improve the movement on their figures, so he’s got a lot of posablity. With that said, the joints aren’t always worked in so well, and when posed, they can leave him looking a little bit odd. Han’s paintwork is actually pretty solid, and much more detailed than your average Star Wars figure. The base colors all match up pretty well with the original concept work, and there’s a ton of accent work, which adds a lot of dimension to this figure that a good number of his contemporaries lacked. Han was packed with a lightsaber (both on and off) and his blaster pistol. They resemble the final film’s props, but are definitely more classic sci-fi, especially the saber, which has a cool energy flare effect going on at its base.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The McQuarrie Concept figures have always fascinated me, but for one reason or another, I’ve just never tracked them down. And, honestly, if I was going to get just one of them, it probably wouldn’t be Han. With that said, I was out with Super Awesome Girlfriend two weeks ago participating in Ellicott City’s Midnight Madness, and I found this guy at All Time Toys. I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to get him, but she insisted on buying him for me, so here he is. He’s actually a pretty solid figure, truth be told, and he has a fun bit of history behind him. Now I definitely feel the need to track down the rest of these guys!