#1726: Han Solo in Hoth Gear

HAN SOLO IN HOTH GEAR

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“In his history as a smuggler, Han Solo has been in a lot of hot spots. As a reluctant hero for the Rebel Alliance in the years following the destruction of the Death Star, he found himself in a cold spot…on the ice planet of Hoth, to be exact. Hiding out from the intergalactic crimelord jabba the Hutt, Han and his copilot, Chewbacca, had stayed with the Rebellion for several years, adventuring, piloting, smuggling, and ranking up an impressive rap sheet and bounty not only from Jabba, but also from the Empire. Following the evacuation of the Rebel base on the fourth moon of Yavin, Han helped the Alliance scout out new locations for their base, and helped establish Echo Base on Hoth.”

Two weeks ago, I looked at Luke Skywalker in his Hoth gear.  Today, I’ll be looking at his natural counterpart, Han Solo in *his* Hoth gear.  Two different characters in Hoth gear?  That’s just crazy.  Okay, no it’s really not.  It’s kind of a normal, not at all weird thing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han Solo in Hoth Gear was released durning Power of the Force II’s second year.  He was the second version of Han we received in the line, though he would be joined by the Han in Carbonite figure very shortly after.  He predated the corresponding Luke by a year, because I guess people were just chomping at the bit for this particular version of Han (alternatively, there were two different Lukes already in this particular assortment).  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has the usual 6 points of articulation.  His sculpt was unique to him, and it’s definitely a product of the time.  He’s bulky, and puffy, and a bit pre-posed.  Still noticeably toned down from the first year’s figures, of course, but still kind of ridiculous.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this figure’s sculpt is how it gives us a look we don’t often see.  Most Hoth Han’s have the hood to his jacket pulled up, but this one doesn’t, revealing Han’s insulated cap, which matches the other rebels we see on Hoth.  It’s easy to forget he’s even wearing that under there, since it’s never seen directly in the film, but there it is.  Sort of an odd choice, but I can’t fault them too much for trying something different.  The paint marks something of a debate amongst the fanbase regarding the proper coloring of Han’s jacket.  The vintage figure’s was blue, based on how it appears to be colored in the film.  However, that was all the result of lighting; the actual prop jacket was brown, as seen on the figure here.  Of course, this leads to the whole debate about which color is truly accurate, similar to the color of the Ghostbusters’ jumpsuits.  At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference.  Me?  I always preferred the blue, but that’s not a huge strike against this figure.  Han was packed with his standard blaster, as well as a larger one, if you want more options, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Han was a figure that haunted me for quite some time in my younger years.  All I wanted was a Hoth Luke, but he was harder to find, and Hoth Han was always there, watching me.  It was weird.  I never did get one, not new at least.  This one is a rather recent addition to my collection.  I grabbed him during a recent sidewalk sale that Lost In Time Toys was running, alongside a whole slew of other PotF figures.  I can’t say he’s really a favorite, but he’s certainly not a bad figure either.

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#1721: Millennium Falcon — Kessel

MILLENNIUM FALCON — KESSEL RUN

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

Well, poor Solo’s kind of come and gone.  You can still find it playing in a few theaters, but not nearly as many as you might expect.  And that’s really a shame, since it wasn’t a bad movie at all.  But, it had the misfortune of being the last in a string of summer blockbusters, being too close to the last Star Wars flick’s release, and being the Star Wars film that was in theaters when parts of the fanbase decided to…do…something?  I haven’t gotten that piece figured out quite yet.  Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed Solo, and have picked up a slew of the toys, including the newest (but technically oldest) incarnation of the Millennium Falcon.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Kessel Run variant of the Falcon hit stores alongside the rest of the Solo product in April of this year.It’s by far the biggest of the items offered this time.On the flipside, it’s also the smallest version of the Falcon we’ve ever gotten that was still intended for use with the standard figures.This size has certainly upset large parts of the fandom, who have become accustomed to more robust offerings for the Falcon, and weren’t pleased to see it scaled down quite so far.  I’m of two minds on this.  While I appreciate the play set approach of earlier versions of the vehicle (the POTF2 version is my jam), but they could certainly be a little unwieldy for actual use as a space ship.  This slightly streamlined and smaller model, on the other hand, allows for more use for flying around and such.  It’s not a move that’s going to please longer term collectors, but there’s definitely a rationale behind it.  As it stands, this version of the Falcon is still noticeably bigger than most other recent ships, and upon opening it, it actually wasn’t quite as small as I’d expected. I’d say it’s about 80% of the size of
the POTF2 version, which is respectable.  Obviously, the sculpt on this thing is all-new, given not only the new size, but also the cleaner, sleeker design of the Falcon in Solo. It’s a nice looking ship,to be sure. There are three main areas where the figures can interact.  The most obvious, of course, is the cockpit.  It’s somewhat negatively impacted by the scale.  Getting two figures into the cockpit of even the vintage Falcon mold was difficult enough, but this one throws the concept out all together.  There is one single seat in the cockpit, and one person’s going in there.  If you really try, you can kind of get Han and Qi’ra both in there, but it’s far from natural looking. Of course, once the cockpit’s canopy is shut, it’s not like you can really see who’s in there anyway, so the point is kind of moot anyway.  There are two panels towards the back of the ship which can also be popped off.  Unlike earlier versions, there’s not a ton you can really do with either of these areas. I mean, it’s still nifty to see them there, though.  The details seen there look pretty nifty, and it’s a nice little bonus. The last area of interaction is the escape pod between the mandibles.  It’s really just a simple hatched piece, with space for another figure, albeit laying down. The interior matches the other sections, and is better than just smooth grey plastic.  The pod is, of course, removable, and features further detailing for the thrusters and such, allowing it to fully function as it’s own separate piece.  Personally, I prefer the ship without it, but the option is much appreciated.  The paintwork is a little sparse on the Falcon, being limited mostly to the blue detailing.  The Falcon is supposed to be cleaner, so it works alright.  Smaller details and the like are done with decals, which have to be applied after you get the ship out of the box.  The Falcon has a few action features built in.  It’s compatible with Force Link 2.0, but that’s thankfully limited to the escape pod.  The other features are native to the toy proper.  There’s flight sounds, activated by a “takeoff” (theres a spring-loaded piece of landing gear that senses when the ship is picked up).  There are then some lights and sounds determined by the gyroscope within the ship sensing motion.  Pressing the buttons on the sides intensifies the lights and sounds which each subsequent push, with the third push enacting the “hyperdrive”, which has some rumbling, and pops off two panels on the back and two on the front, thus simulating the damage the Falcon takes during the Kessel Run.  It takes a little bit of work to learn the rhythms of the mechanics.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the Falcon is a variant of the title character, Han Solo himself.  It’s a unique version of the character, based on his appearance from the very end of the movie (and not the Kessel Run as the figure’s name suggests).  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  This Han gets the coveted wrist articulation, which is pretty cool. The sculpt is, surprisingly, totally new.  Not even the head is shared with the other two Hans.  I think I like this one more than the one from the speeder.  It’s certainly a sharper sculpt.  Even the paint is a bit cleaner, which is a plus.  Han includes his blaster, as well as a canister of cargo to go in the ship.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I realized at the time of this set’s release that I hadn’t actually gotten a Millennium Falcon since the ‘99s, which didn’t seem right.  However, the higher price tag on this boy meant I was definitely waiting for a sale.  And find a decent sale I did, so now I have it.  Yay! It’s got its issues, and it’s not going to be for everyone, but I found myself quite liking it, a fair bit more than I’d expected to.

FiQ Friday Fab Five at 5 #0005: Top 5 Han Solo Figures

Hey there FiQ-Fans!  Another month has passed, which means it’s time for another FiQ Friday Fab 5 @ 5!  Since today marks the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, I think it’s only proper I take a look at the top 5 Han Solo action figures!

#5:     Cantina Han Solo — Power of the Force II (Hasbro)

Of all the Power of the Force II offerings, Han’s are, by-and-large, the ones that hold up the worst.  He didn’t really get any decent figures until the line was almost over.  Fortunately, Kenner made up for it by offering one of the best figures in the whole line, and one of the best takes on Han’s classic smuggler’s outfit.

#4:     TFA Han Solo — Star Wars: The Black Series (Hasbro)

The elder Han was held back from initial product offerings for The Force Awakens, but he got a handful of figures after the movie’s release.  The best of the bunch was his larger-scale Black Series release, which is one of the figures that helped set The Black Series on the path back to greatness (though it was not an immediate shift).  It’s  definitely got one of the best Ford likenesses out there, and for a while it was Han’s best Black Series offering.

#3:     Bespin Han Solo — The Empire Strikes Back (Kenner)

A recurring theme of these lists is that it’s hard to beat the classics.  Han’s vintage figures are all pretty decent, but by far the best is his Bespin attire from Empire.  Not only is it just Han’s coolest look, but it’s also just a solid figure all-around.

#2:     Smuggler Han Solo — Star Wars: 30th Anniversary (Hasbro)

There are a lot of options out there if you’re looking for Han’s classic A New Hope attire, with all sorts of minor variations.  This one is very clearly Han piloting the Falcon.  The headset and gloves make for a unique, but still very true to the character look, and this figure hit after Hasbro started making great strides in how they handled articulation.

#1:     Young Han Solo — Star Wars: The Black Series (Hasbro)

I know, I know; it’s blasphemy that the number one slot on this list would go to a non-Harrison Ford Han Solo figure.  The fact of the matter is that this is hands down the best action figure of Han Solo we’ve gotten.  It’s a wonderfully detailed figure, with a fantastic likeness, and an all-around good toy.  Should Hasbro release a Harrison Solo figure of this quality, I could easily see him dethroning this guy.

#1672: Han Solo’s Land Speeder (w/ Han Solo)

HAN SOLO’S LAND SPEEDER (w/ HAN SOLO)

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

“Han is cagey about where he scored this overpowered M-68 land speeder, saying little beyond that its previous owner no longer had need of it.  The M-68 is a design from the ancient Core World of Corellia, now a principal starship production facility for the Galactic Empire.”

This week sees the release of the latest entry in the Star Wars franchise, Solo: A Star Wars Story.  The film’s been the source of its share of controversy since day 1, with its entire premise being based around re-casting a very prominent pop-culture icon.  The firing of its initial directors a good way into production didn’t help either.  Of course, the replacement director is Ron Howard, and he’s pretty top-notch, so I’m trying to go in with an open mind.  Anyway, I’ve got some of the toys, and I’m kicking things off with the main man himself and one of his vehicles.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Since he doesn’t yet have the Falcon at the time of this new movie, Han’s got a few different toys.  If Star Wars has taught us anything, it’s that before a main character can get a space ship, they have to have a land speeder of some sort.  Han gets one that’s more of a sports car than the one that we saw Luke driving in the first movie, but that sort of fits his character, right?  Anyway, Han’s Speeder was part of the new Solo product launch, as a mid-sized vehicle (it’s at the same price point as the A-Wing and Canto Bight Police Speeder from The Last Jedi).  There’s less assembly on this guy than on other vehicles, with just the back tail fin needing to be popped into place.  The speeder measures 9 1/2 inches long by 5 inches wide.  It’s got no articulated parts, not even the steering wheel, which was a little disappointing, but not incredibly surprising given other vehicles in this range.  As far as scaling goes, this is definitely the least scaled down of all the modern Star Wars vehicles, and going by what we’ve seen from the film, it looks like it’s not terribly far off from the intended size.  The sculpt is, of course, unique, and does a respectable job translating the design from the film, which looks to be a decent melding of the Prequel and Original Trilogy sensibilities.  I like it a lot.  Paint’s kind of basic, but it gets the job done, and there are at least a few cool dings and scrapes to make it look a bit more “real.”  The speeder has an action feature built into it.  There’s a spring under the driver’s seat, and it pops up when the front of the speeder is depressed, as if in a head on collision.  I’m guessing this is related to something that happens in the film, but time will tell.  The only real downside of this feature is the use of rubber for the front of the speeder, as I’m not quite sure how that will hold up long-term.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the vehicle is your main character, Han Solo, in his new, non-Harrison-Ford-y form.  This figure gives us a slightly different look than the standard jacketed look we’ve been seeing most places.  It looks to match the vehicle, though, which makes sense.  It’s a different look, though, and I quite like it.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has the usual 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt is new, but I’m going to assume the head’s probably shared with the other 3 3/4-inch Han figures from this line.  It’s a decent enough match for the actor, though clearly not at the same level as the larger Black Series figure.  The body’s a pretty decent piece as well.  The vest is separate, and can be removed if you so choose, though he’s definitely not designed with that in mind.  His legs are a little boxy for my taste, but for the most part, his proportions and build do seem pretty realistic.  Han’s paintwork is about par for the course on this line.  Its clean overall, and the important details are all there.  They’ve attempted some dirt detailing on his boots, but it really just looks like paint splatters.  Han is packed with a blaster, which is curiously different from his usual model.  He has no holster for it, but he can hold it well enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first stop looking for Solo product yielded only the Black Series Han, and no small-scale offerings.  My second stop was more successful, but it was on this second stop that I discovered that to get a smaller Han, you’re pretty much locked into at minimum a $30 purchase.  Given the choice between Han and the new Force Link reader and Han and a Speeder, I felt the speeder set was the better value.  Going by what I’ve seen on shelves, I’d say most fans agree with me.  This is a pretty fun set, provided you’re into this style of line.  If you liked the small vehicles from TLJ, you’ll like this one.  If you’re looking for something less toy-etic, this might not be for you.

#1639: Han Solo

HAN SOLO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Han Solo reinvents himself after leaving behind his old life.  Now, Solo is growing increasingly comfortable traveling with law-benders and scoundrels.”

Yes, that’s right, the Solo product is finally here.  And it arrived…with a bit of a whimper, really.  Maybe I’ve just been more invested in the last three of these things, but the Solo product launch just kind of happened, low-key, with no announcements, no build-up, nothing.  Well, I spent some time tracking down a handful of items for myself, and I’ll be looking at the Black Series release of the main character today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han is part of the latest assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series figures, which officially started hitting stores last Friday.  He’s numbered 62 and is one of four figures in the first assortment to be specifically from Solo.  He’s the fourth Han in the line, and, of course, the first not to be based on Harrison Ford.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  Han’s articulation is some of the best we’ve seen in the line.  Range of motion on the elbows is almost equivalent to a double-joint, and the posabilty of the ball jointed neck is downright astounding.  Han gets an all-new sculpt, which at this point in the line is hardly a surprise.  It’s definitely up to the line’s increasing standard of quality when it comes to sculpts.  The details are all very crisp, and he looks quite a bit like Alden Ehrenreich.  If I have one complaint about the sculpt, it’s that I’m not a huge fan of the non-dominant hands on these figures having this weird empty grip they’ve been going with as of late.  Of course, that’s exceedingly minor.  A good sculpt can still be brought down by bad paint, but I’m happy to say that isn’t the case on this figure.  The Black Series figures have begun implementing the same face-printing technique that Marvel Legends has begun using on their MCU figures, an Han is my first figure from this line to feature it.  I’m very happy with the end result; he looks very lifelike, and definitely avoids that sort of dead-ness that some of the earlier Black Series figures possessed.  Moving past the face, they’ve even put some slight accenting on his hair (something that is far too often overlooked) and his jacket, thereby preventing him from being quite as bland as some of the figures in this line have ended up.  Han’s only accessory is his DL-44 blaster pistol; it’s still a good piece, and this isn’t a huge change of pace from prior figures, so I can’t really complain.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had plans for Friday morning when the Solo product hit, so I didn’t really have the chance to go out and look for it first thing.  I instead settled for stopping at a Target on the way back from said plans, which is where I found this guy and…pretty much nothing else.  So, this guy it was.  I gotta say, while I liked the look of the figure in the package, I had no idea what I was getting into here.  This is, hands down, the best Han Solo figure that Hasbro has produced to date.  It’s just a little sad that it’s not actually a Harrison Ford Han Solo.  If we don’t get a Bespin Han of equivalent quality to this one within the next year, I will be sincerely disappointed.

#1607: Han Solo – Cantina

HAN SOLO – CANTINA

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (HASBRO)

“Inside Mos Eisley’s cantina, Han Solo just negotiated a lucrative deal to transport two men to Alderaan – enough to pay off his debt to crimelord Jabba the Hutt. But it’s too late: bounty hunter Greedo has come to collect – though all the Rodian gets is a shot to the chest from Solo’s blaster.”

Towards the end of their run with Power of the Force II Hasbro officially started putting their name on the line, and also used this as sort of an excuse to circle back around and give us new and improved standard versions of the main characters.  After going a whole year with no Han Solo figures (which seems downright crazy if you ask me), they offered up a brand new figure of him in his classic smuggler’s outfit from A New Hope.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cantina Han Solo was released in the 1999 assortment of Power of the Force II figures.  He was designed specifically to go with a new version of Greedo, and is meant to directly recreate Han from the encounter with Greedo in the Mos Eisley Cantina.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He had knee joints!  You can’t begin to imagine how big a deal that was back in ’99.  It was all so that he could sit at a booth at the cantina.  A non-existent booth, but hey, that’s not the point.  Han’s sculpt is one of the finest the POTF2 line had to offer.  His proportions are actually pretty realistic, he’s slightly pre-posed but not extremely so, and he’s even got a pretty decent Harrison Ford likeness.  The detail work on his clothing, the shirt in particular, is quite impressively handled.  I also really like the posturing of his hands; it adds a lot of life and character to the figure.  Han’s paintwork is all pretty standard fare, but it’s still pretty good.  It’s all pretty cleanly applied, and matches up pretty well with the movie.  Han is packed with his usual blaster (which was notably less over-scaled than prior versions).  Also, as a 1999 release, he was part of the whole CommTech venture, so he comes with a CommTech stand.  I never actually got the reader, but it still works well as a somewhat unique looking stand, so there’s that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember getting this guy with some money I’d gotten for my 7th birthday.  My parents took me out to Toys R Us to use the money, and this guy was amongst the figures I bought.  I’m not entirely sure why, but I just liked him for whatever reason.  To this day, he remains perhaps my favorite Han Solo figure in my collection, and definitely one of my favorite Power of the Force II figures.  He holds up quite well!

#1579: Han Solo – Millennium Falcon Gunner Station

HAN SOLO – MILLENNIUM FALCON GUNNER STATION

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Two weeks ago, I discussed Kenner’s deluxe offerings from their Power of the Force II toyline.  Specifically, I looked at Luke Skywalker and the Millennium Falcon gunner station.  That particular item was designed to work in tandem with another of the deluxe offerings, Han Solo, packed with another of the gunner stations.  I’ll be looking at that particular item today!  And awaaaaaaay we go!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As with the prior set, Han and the Gunner station were released in 1997 as part of the third set of deluxe Power of the Force II figures.  This Han was based on his end of the movie gloved and headset-ed look, which has been the source of a few Han figures (such as the previously released 30th Anniversary one).  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  For whatever reason, he lost the waist movement.  Don’t know why, but there it was.  This figure is rather similar in construction to the first PotF2 Han, but he doesn’t actually share any parts with that figure.  He’s still got some of the wonky proportions, and the head isn’t the best likeness of Harrison Ford, but he’s definitely a bit toned down from the earlier offerings.  I’d place him about on par with the Bespin Han figure, where he’s still within the general confines of the line’s style, but looks a fair bit more like an actual human being.  That’s certainly a plus.  The paint work on Han is fairly standard stuff.  Nothing exceptional, but it’s certainly passable work, especially for the line.  There’s less slop here than on the corresponding Luke. The color palette matches the other Hans from the line, so he was certainly consistent.  Han didn’t include any small accessories, but he still had the gunner station, which was identical to the one that Luke came packed with.  If you had both stations, they could be connected by the platform running behind them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Luke when he was new-ish.  They also had the Han at that time, but I was a silly small child who only wanted Luke and not Han, so he went unpurchased.  It was only recently that I finally acquired this guy.  Lost In Time Toys had him out during one of their sidewalk sales in December, so I was able to pick him up for a pretty low price.  He’s a pretty solid offering for the time.  I could have seen him becoming my default Han had I had him back in the day.

#1517: Han Solo – Concept

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!

#1502: Han Solo as Stormtrooper

HAN SOLO AS STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Okay, so let’s talk about a concept that I really miss: mail away action figures.  Those cool little bonuses you’d get for collecting a bunch of proofs of purchase, or even just finishing a box of cereal.  Hasbro used to be pretty big on them, but we haven’t seen anything like this in a good decade.  It’s kind of a little sad.  So why not reminisce a bit for better times and have a look at one of my favorite mail-away items, Han Solo as Stormtrooper!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han Solo as Stormtrooper was offered in 1995 through 1996 as a Kellog’s-exclusive mail-away offer, featured on Froot Loops, as a part of the overall Power of the Force II line from Kenner.  This was the second Han in POTF2, following the basic ANH Han from Series 1.  As noted by the name, he depicts Han in his Stormtrooper disguise from his time on the Death Star in A New Hope.  Believe it or not, this was the first time we got such a figure.  Said figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Surprisingly enough, the sculpt is all-new, and doesn’t use pieces from any of the standard Stormtroopers.  It still follows their lead stylistically, of course, meaning he’s still got that whole steroid abuse look going on.  But hey, if you’re gonna blend in, you gotta actually blend in, right?  He’s sculpted with a bit of a pose to him, like he’s right in the middle of a lunge or something, which is consistent with the rest of the line’s earliest figures.  The head is a slight re-working of the early POTF2 Han head.  It still doesn’t really look like Harrison Ford, but I can understand their desire for consistency.  I also really like the addition of the collar to his neck; that’s a nice touch.  His paintwork is fairly standard fair.  The body’s on par with the basic Stormtrooper, and the head with the first Han, so he’s certainly at home with his line-mates.  While the figure included no blaster (due to Kellog’s fairly strict no guns policy with their mail-away offerings), he did get his removable helmet, which looks just like the actual trooper head, and goes on quite nicely to boot.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure’s important to me.  Not only was he my first Han Solo, but he was also my first experience with a mail-away offer.  I was at the grocery store with my parents, and they let me pick out a cereal.  I didn’t know what I wanted, but they were kind enough to point me in the direction of the Froot Loops with the Han offer, and that was just tops for me.  Sure, this figure’s goofy and dated, just like the rest of the line, but I still think he’s awesome.

#1497: Han Solo – Smuggler

HAN SOLO – SMUGGLER

STAR WARS: 30TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION (HASBRO)

“A scoundrel through and through, Han Solo nonetheless adheres to a deep sense of right and wrong. He couldn’t leave his new friends behind to what he felt was certain death. Though some might call his arrival at the Battle of Yavin late, he prefers to say that he was ‘just in time.’”

2017 marked the 40th anniversary of A New Hope’s release, and thus the 40th anniversary of the Star Wars franchise as a whole.  Hasbro had a few commemorative releases, mostly to do with the Black Series, but it was notably smaller than the last big anniversary celebration they ran, back during the 30th Anniversary.  For that one, there were several different assortments running, with coverage of all six of the franchise’s films.  There were some new additions offered, but there were also more than a few variants of the main players.  There were three versions of Han Solo offered, and today I’ll be looking at the first of those three!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han was released in the second wave of the Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collection, which was based around the Battle of Yavin from the end of the first movie.  The whole assortment had initially been planned for release in 2006, but ended up pushed back to 2007.  Han was figure 11 out of 60 total figures in the 30th Anniversary Collection, and is based on Han’s fully kitted out look seen both when he uses the gunner turret during the Death Star escape and when he swoops in to save Luke from Vader during the trench run.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  After the introduction of the Vintage Original Trilogy Collection in 2004, Hasbro was beginning to experiment with more fully articulating the basic figures, and Han followed this trend.  This was partly out of convenience, as this figure was built on the VOTC Han’s base, and therefore inherited a lot of his articulation.  To facilitate the slightly different look of this particular Han design, the figure gets a new head and arms.  The head adds Han’s headset, which connects to his belt at the back.  I find the head has one of the better Ford likeness at this scale (especially for the time) and headsets just make everything cooler, am I right? (Fun Fact: the headsets used by Han and Luke in A New Hope are the same model used by the Nostromo’s crew in Alien and the Colonial Marines in Aliens.)  The new arms remove the hinge/swivel elbows of the VOTC figure for the slightly cheaper to produce angled swivel joints.  They aren’t quite as useful, but they pose well enough if you’re creative with them, and they’re pretty well hidden by the sculpt.  He also has new hands, sporting the gloves Han wears wile piloting the Falcon.  I’ve always liked the gloved look, so I was happy to see it show up here.  Han’s paintwork is pretty decent overall, with very clean application with little bleed over or slop.  His pants are a slightly brighter blue than they really should be, but that’s pretty minor.  The gloves are also usually seen with more of a yellowish hue to them, but I think the differences here can be written off as variations in lighting.  Han was packed with his trusty DL-44 heavy blaster pistol, which he can hold in either hand or stow in his holster.  He also included a 30th Anniversary Collection coin, which I foolishly threw into my bin of unnecessary extras before I got a picture.  Silly Ethan.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t really collecting Star Wars figures at the time of the 30th Anniversary Collection, so I didn’t get this guy new.  In fact, my first knowledge of this figure’s existence was seeing him re-packed with the huge 2008 Millennium Falcon release.  I thought he looked pretty cool, but not cool enough to drop $160 for the Falcon (what a fool I was!).  Ultimately, I ended up getting this guy about a month or so ago, during Lost In Time’s grand opening sale.  All the basic Star Wars figures were marked down, and he just looked cool.  He’s a pretty sweet figure, and one of the better Hans I own.  It makes me a little sad that the Black Series figure didn’t include an extra head with the headset.

***SHAMELESS PLUG TIME!***

Hey FiQ-fans, do you enjoy reading my incessant ramblings about Star Wars toys?  If so, you should totally check out A More Civilized Age: Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe, which features an essay about the history of Star Wars action figures, written by yours truly!  And if that’s not enough for you, there’s another 18 essays discussing the Expanded Universe, (including one written by my dad Steven H. Wilson) as well as a foreward by Star Wars Novelist Timothy Zahn.  I’m very excited about it, so please check it out here.