#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.

Advertisements

#1388: Clark Kent

CLARK KENT

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

Ah, the Mail Away figure.  There’s a largely abandoned concept.  It hasn’t been dead for as long as you might think (Hasbro had a few in their various Star Wars lines a few years back), but it’s kind of fallen out of fashion, especially with the introduction of Build-A-Figures.  The concept was an intriguing way of getting an extra figure out there, but was actually born out of the a need to help move figures at retail.  Need to sell extra stock?  There’s no better way to do that than to offer a reward to customers who buy it in a certain quantity.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of the earlier mail-away offerings, courtesy of one of my very favorite toy lines ever, Super Powers!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clark Kent was offered as a mail away item in 1986, coinciding with the third series of Kenner’s Super Powers line.  He was the second mail away figure to be offered in the line, but unlike his predecessor Steppenwolf, he remained exclusive to the mail away offer and never saw a carded release.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  Like the rest of the line, his sculpt was unique to him.  The head shares a number of traits in common with the Superman from the line, which is a very nice touch, and is kind of the linchpin in selling this guy as a Clark Kent.  The plastered-on combover looks suitably dorky, and the glasses actually don’t look terrible.  The body is a decent generic suited body; I’m not sure it has quite the same stature as the standard Superman.  Perhaps Kenner was hoping to re-use it for other characters down the line?  I don’t know.  It’s certainly not a bad sculpt at all.  The paintwork on Clark is fairly straightforward.  The color scheme has the same basics as Superman, swapping out white for the yellow.  It’s all nice and bright and it stands out pretty nicely and fits in well with the rest of the line.  All of the application is nice and clean for the most part, apart from some slight wear here and there.  Clark included no accessories, but he *did* have the requisite Super Powers action feature; when you squeeze his legs, his arms swing in opposite directions.  Not really sure what it’s supposed to be, but it does make for a kind of goofy fast-walking, late for work sort of motion.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been steadily working on a full set of Super Powers figures, and Clark’s not one of the easier ones to track down.  I’ve seen him once or twice, but he’s usually a little pricey.  I saw one at Yesterday’s Fun this summer, and was sort of thinking about getting him, but wasn’t sure.  Remember how I said my family were too good to me?  Well, the day after seeing this guy at Yesterday’s Fun, my Dad presented me with a bag of figures I’d put back, this guy included, with the words “your Granddad would have wanted you to have this.”  I guess I can’t really argue with that.  Is he the most exciting figure of all time?  No.  Is he fun?  Yes.  Do I love this figure?  Most certainly.

#0720: Lifeline

LIFELINE

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO

LifelineVint1

Despite having quite a high appreciation for G.I. Joe and its many military themed characters, I wouldn’t really consider myself a particularly military-minded person. As such, my favorite figures are very frequently those who deviate a bit more from the military structure of the line. One of my favorite characters from the line is Lifeline, who was one of the team’s medics and happened to be a pacifist, which definitely made him a little different from the rest of the Joes, and gave him a nice bit of contrast.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

LifelineVint2The original Lifeline was released in the 1986 series of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (which, having looked into for the purposes of my review, may well be one of my favorite Series of ARAH. That was a good year). This Lifeline, however, is actually the exclusive Rice Krispies mail-in offer version of the character from 1991. The two are almost identical, but there’s one difference between them that I’ll get to in a moment. Lifeline, like all good G.I. Joes, stand 3 ¾ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Lifeline has a sculpt that is very much in line with the rest of his vintage compatriots. Sure, it’s not quite up to modern sensibilities of action figures, and there’s a bit of hokeyness to the sculpt, but it’s certainly a nicely detailed sculpt. Plus, it just has a certain charm to it. Lifeline has a helmet and a pair of sunglasses, so his face is a little hard to see, but what we do see looks nice and friendly, which certainly is befitting of the pacifist medic. So, about that minor change; yeah, Kellogg’s wasn’t super eager to have their mail-away figure sporting a firearm, so, in addition to dropping the original’s included handgun from the accessories list, they also had Hasbro change the figure’s legs to remove the holstered gun on his thigh. The final figure’s legs are shared with the 1985 Frostbite figure. The change isn’t a really big deal, what with the whole pacifist thing mentioned above. The only real issue is that the straps on the figure’s waist, which originally connected to his holster and a pouch on his right leg now just end with the waist piece. It’s a little odd, but admittedly not super obvious unless you’re looking right at it. Lifeline’s paintwork is pretty straightforward; the reds are molded plastic and the whites and silvers are painted on. While my figure sports a little bit of wear from play (that’ll happen to figures from the time before collectors started having the hermetically sealed), the paintwork is overall pretty clean, and I like the “RESCUE” printed on the left leg in particular.  While he may have lost his handgun, the mail-away Lifeline certainly isn’t lacking in terms of accessories. He includes a backpack that looks to double as a transmitter of some sort, as well as a rescue pack, befitting his status as a field medic.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My appreciation for Lifeline came a little while after I got into G.I. Joe. He wasn’t amongst the Joes chosen to be updated for the 2000s incarnation of the line, so I had no figure of him, and therefore, no initial knowledge of the character. However, I got to know the character through his comic and cartoon appearances, which is how I came to really appreciate him, even if I didn’t have a figure. This figure is actually a fairly recent acquisition, having been picked up from a cool little store nearby called 2nd Chance Toyz. I didn’t realize until after getting him that he was the mail-in version, but I can’t say I mind, truth be told. Lifeline is very definitely a toy of his time, but I’m glad to have him in my collection.