STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)
Check this out! Doing three whole Flashback Friday Figure Addendums in one year! I haven’t actually done that since I launched them in 2017. Weird. It’s once again a Black Series figure that’s getting the treatment, thanks to Hasbro going back and redoing a lot of the pre-face-printing figures with the appropriate upgrades. The last few I’ve looked at have been from the main line, but today I’m switching over to their Archive line, with my first Archive figure that I actually got the first time around. So, let’s look at The Force Awakens Han Solo, whose original release I looked at back in March of 2016.
A lot of (very much deserved) praise has been heaped on the new cast members introduced in the Force Awakens, but one of the coolest things about the movie was the return of some of the “old guard” from the Original Trilogy. The most prominent returning hero by far was everyone’s favorite scuffy-lookin’ nerf-herder, Han Solo. For a number of reasons, Han, along with most of the other returning characters, was absent from the first few waves of Force Awakens product, but the merch based on him is starting to hit in full storm. Today, I’ll be looking at his much anticipated Black Series figure.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Han was released in the fifth series of the latest iteration of Star Wars: The Black Series. He’s marked as number 18 in the line, which makes him the last figure in this particular series numerically. The figure stands just over 6 inches tall (which is the same as his A New Hope figure) and has 27 points of articulation. Some of the movement, most notably his hips, is a little restricted, but he can certainly pull off just about any pose that the real Harrison Ford can. Han’s sculpt is totally new, and it’s an amazing piece of work. The proportions look great, certainly better than the last Han, and the detail work on the clothing is just fantastic. The jacket in particular has some amazing texture work, which adds a lot of character to the figure. The shirt and underlying belt are a little on the soft side, and I’m not sure I’m a fan of the pose on his left hand, but those are my only real complaints. The real draw of this sculpt is the likeness. Harrison Ford has a notoriously hard to capture likeness, but this is perhaps the best one we’ve ever seen. There are a few angles where it looks a bit off, but the overall appearance is very close. Now, you may be thinking that, based on the pictures, he really doesn’t look as close as I’m saying. Well, here’s where the paint comes in. For the most part, the paint’s great. The clothing (particularly the coat) has some really great work, which really sells this as a real person. My first nit is the eyes; they aren’t terrible, but they’re a little sloppier than I’d like. However, the major issue here is the hair. The application of the paint is alright, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s simply the wrong color. Instead of being mostly grey with maybe a few streaks of light brown, it’s light brown with just a few streaks of grey, resulting in him looking a fair bit younger than he should. It’s really annoying, because it seriously throws off an otherwise really great figure.* Han only includes one accessory: his signature blaster, which is a totally different mold than the one included with the Series 2 Han.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
When I found out this figure was hitting stores, I was anticipating him being a chore to find. So, I was pleasantly surprised to walk into my local Target and find him hanging on the pegs, hiding behind a pair of Jango Fetts. I’m not sure I can adequately describe just how much I like this figure. He’s hands down the best Han Solo figure I own, and possibly one of the best Black Series figures to date, and certainly the best of the Force Awakens figures. Yes, the hair thing is annoying, but this figure outshines all those issues, and is just a ton of fun to mess around with.
I think, perhaps, the most dated part of the whole above review is how Jango was the figure I was pushing aside to find this guy. Believe it or not, when this series hit, the Prequel resurgence hadn’t quite hit in full force yet, and, with the general hype machine that was still going behind The Force Awakens, Han was actually the more desirable figure. How times have changed on that one. Beyond that little diatribe, my review of this figure is pretty spot-on, I think. This was definitely Hasbro’s best Han Solo sculpt for the line at the time, and even now is still a pretty high contender. I think he gets edged out by Bespin Han, but that’s really it. I was critical of the original figure’s paint, and clearly that’s the one thing Hasbro wanted to fix, so I must have been onto something there. And fix it Hasbro did. The new paint is absolutely night and day. There was apparently some sort of contractual thing preventing the hair on any Han Solo merch from being a proper grey when it all hit in 2016, but it would appear that’s been lifted, and this figure’s all the better for it. The new face paint is also perhaps the best upgrade from the entire line, and they’ve even improved on the already high quality paint on the body. He’s really just an all-around win.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review. If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.