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Ultimate Quarter Scale Han in Hoth Gear

Han Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys

There is no doubt in my mind that the finest of the six live action Star Wars films is Empire Strikes Back. There's a whole ton of reasons why this film is not just the best of the series but a classic itself, one of those rare sequels that's even better than the original. One of those myriad reasons is the entire sequence on the planet Hoth.

From the cool ships and vehicles to the icy tundra to the abominable Wampa to the stinky TaunTaun innards, the Hoth sequence is one of my overall favorites. And everybody, including the Troopers, got to wear some mighty cool threads.

Unfortunately, we haven't gotten a lot of larger collectibles showing off these outfits in recent years. We had several 12" figures back in the old Hasbro days, but companies like Sideshow and Medicom have steered clear of the snow clothes for some reason. That's changing, at least with the release of some Gentle Giant mini-busts, but we are still woefully short on cloth outfits from the frozen planet.

That's why when I saw the Ultimate Quarter Scale action figures from Diamond Select on display at last year's SDCC, I was most excited about their Han in Hoth Gear. The outfit looked great, and he's a character that's been under represented. Well, it's 6 months later, and he's on my doorstep. But will he live up to the anticipation?

This guy came from DST direct, so I suspect that he'll be hitting shelves (or at least online retailers) in the next couple weeks. I'm not sure if we'll see him at Toys R Us, like we did with Maul, but I'm betting you'll still get a better deal ordering him online.

Packaging - **1/2
The large boxes are alright, following the current predominately white color scheme that the rest of the Star Wars packaging has. There's a Try Me hole in the front of the plastic to allow you to use the voice feature in the store, but as it plays only one saying, and there isn't anything on the box explaining how many sayings he has, it might imply to buyers that there isn't any more. That would be too bad, since the figure says quite a bit, and having all the additional sayings might sway someone on the fence.
Han Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Han Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select ToysHan Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Han Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Han Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Han Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select ToysHan Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Han Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Han Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Han Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys
Han Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys

Sculpting -***
One of the key features is always going to be the head sculpt, and Ford is always tough to capture, no matter what the character.

Here, we get a solid representation of Han, with a few minor issues. I love the hair sculpt, and it has that perfect early 80's style. It also has enough detail in the hair to give it a fine appearance - no tootsie roll hair here.

The best aspect of the sculpt is the lips and chin. The scar looks great, and the slight twist to the mouth is perfect. Ford tends to talk out of one side of his mouth more than the other, and that tilt is present in his smile and even relaxed mouth position. The sculptor here managed to capture that in the position of the lips and tilt of the muscles around the mouth.

The nose isn't bad, but is a bit thick. That's also the issue with the cheeks - this should be a young(ish) Ford, when he has a thinner face and harder jawline, but this version looks a little older, with a more filled out face. It's not fat, but more of Solo with about 10 more years on him.

Thankfully, there aren't 10 more years of wrinkles. The skin has the necessary ones, but matches his smoother skin of the time.

The eyes and eyebrows are where it falls apart most for me, but much of that is in the paint and not the sculpt. Like the UQS Indiana Jones, I'd love to see this head stripped and repainted by one of the terrific customizers out there - I think it has a tremendous amount of potential. While it has it's issues, it's certainly better a better Solo than we've seen from some other high end collectible companies like Gentle Giant or even Kotobukiya.

Since there is only one pair of hands included, it makes sense to also include their sculpt here. The left is done in what seems to be a standard gesture for the UQS figures, while the right is designed to hold the blaster. They both work fine for most poses, and the scale is about right.

Paint - ***
There's not a ton of paint here, with the important work on the face and hair.

The paint ops are very clean, and color choices are reasonable (getting Ford's eye color perfect is nigh impossible), but there's a lack of life in the eyes that bugs me.

Folks who hate when catch lights are painted in ("doll dots") will find these as annoying as usual. But there's also a mannequin feel to the eyes that hurts the realism of the overall sculpt.

The eyebrows don't help either. While they are relatively clean and neat, they are also very Hasbro-ish, much like something you'd see on the usual mass market toy.

There are some nice small painted details on the rest of the figure to help make up for the shortcomings though, including great work on the communicator/ tracking device/doohicky on his jacket, and they've used the paint to simulate wear on the binoculars and gloves.

Articulation - **1/2
Of the two released so far (Indy and Maul), Maul was clearly my favorite. In fact, remember that had it not been for having to get three of them to get one without joint breakage issues, Maul would have scored a ***1/2 overall.

I didn't have any breakage issues this time, and I put Han's joints through the paces to be sure. I did have a problem with both feet falling off the pegs, but you can just super glue them on - it has nothing to do with the articulation, but whether or not you'll want to swap the feet. Since I see no reason to swap the feet on this guy, I just glued them on to avoid the annoyance.

The range of movement on the figures is better than I anticipated for this line. In the old review of the Indy, I included a nekkid shot. When DST first said these would be 'poseable', I assumed it would be fairly limited, much like the rotocast figures from Mezco or NECA in this scale. But these are true action figures, which makes them quite unique.

I'm dropping this score a half star though this time around, because the lankiness of the design is annoying me more as time goes by. I didn't have an issue with it on Maul (and still don't) because the style of costume hid it quite well. The same will probably be true with characters like Obi-wan, where the long robes hide some of the disproportioned body parts. But on Han, the extended legs and long torso were just to apparent.

It may also appear to you that the arms are stumpy, but that's not the case. Rather, that's simply a visual trick created by the baggy upper arms on the jacket, tucked into the tighter gloves. I'll mention more of that in the Outfit section. The arms are the same length as the previous two figures, where they didn't appear too short at all.

Accessories - ***
Han is a little light in this department, particularly compared to the other releases.

He has his blaster, and the funky binoculars he used on Hoth when search for Luke. Both are fairly well done, and the binoculars even have a real leather strap, well affixed to the case. He can't really hold the binoculars in any realistic way, but they look good around his shoulder. 

The plastic used for the blaster is a little soft, but it's not a major issue, and the gun fits great in either the hand or the holster.

There's also a pair of goggles, to protect his eyes from the frozen elements. These look alright when the hood is up, but since the outfit lacks the other hat he wore on screen, you can't really have them resting up on the top of his head in a movie accurate way.

He also has the black stand that comes with each figure, which is plain, lacking any logo or emblem. These work fine, but you won't really need them unless you live in an earthquake zone. And then you probably have bigger issues than keeping Han upright.

While the couple accessories are good, the quantity is a little disappointing. With other figures we've gotten extra hands, and multiple weapons. I suspect a big part of the issue here is that his outfit is far more complex than most, and the bulk of the budget probably went into it.

Outfit - ***
Here's where I was really hoping this figure would be outstanding, and it's soooo close...but it misses due to a couple major issues for me.

It's all about the jacket here, and this jacket could have been amazing. It is very, very nice, but has one annoying feature that's more a problem because of the underlying body than the jacket itself.

Let's start with the good. The hood is very well done, with a great looking faux fur collar. A key feature is that the hood itself is made from a very thin, soft material, much thinner than the rest of the coat. This is important because it allows the hood to lay on his shoulders better, and when the hood is up, it doesn't pooch out at weird angles.

There are three small snaps up the front of the jacket to close it, and these work well. You can use the top snap for a tightly bundled look, or go with it open, as you prefer.

The jacket also has some terrific stitching throughout. I'm not sure the blue color is the best for the thread, since it makes it stand out more than it did on screen. But the complex pattern on the shoulders, with the slightly simpler pattern throughout the rest of the coat is accurate and very well down.

Finding good images on line was tough to compare, oddly enough, but this one isn't too bad. So, is the jacket brown or blue? It's brown. Yes, Hasbro tried for years (and is still trying) to convince us it's blue with their toys, but the parka was brown. You can see the prop costume here from one of the Celebration events. It does LOOK blue in many of the scenes, but that's an effect of the lighting and film, not the actual color of the jacket.

The waist of the jacket has been designed to fit very tightly around the waist of the figure. This is the biggest negative for me. The waist on the UQS body is VERY narrow compared to the overall size of the figure, and making the jacket fit it tightly just accentuates the weird proportions. At first I thought this was easily fixable, because the twisty tie in the package wraps around the figure at this point. I assumed it was merely the tie squeezing in the coat, not the actual coat, and a quick ironing would fix that right up. Ah, but nay, nay...there's not only a stitch around the outside of the coat that brings it in tight, there's an elastic band on the inside to snug it up! I really wish they had left the coat straight, and allowed us to use the belt to tighten it to his body where and as much as we wanted.

Which brings me to the belt, my other area of concern. On the plus side, it's made from a terrific leather-like material that's fairly thick and unlikely to tear easily. There is an actual metal plate on the front and back, with real metal rivets and even a metal slot for something like a droid caller. There's a ton of loops to put in other items, although there are no additional accessories with the figures to go in these loops. The attached holster looks good, and has a sturdy snap to hold the blaster in place, as well as a solid leg tie to remain attached to his hip. The holster hangs down a little long, but it's a minor issue.

The major issue is that the belt is held together with a snap (hidden by the large metal plate in front), and can't be adjusted or tightened. The fit is VERY loose around his skinny ass waist, and the belt tends to sag on his hips. If you can keep the belt up around his mid-section, you can hide the area of the coat that's pulled in too far. Unfortunately, that's tough to do without being able to adjust the belt. I'm going to end up using a rubber band on the back to pull it tighter, but something a bit less hokey would have been nice.

Other parts of the uniform include his shirt, boots, gloves, pants and scarf. The gloves are a little long on his arms, adding to the stumpy arm look. In the film, the gauntlet section of the glove wasn't nearly this far up his arm. The jacket tucks into the gauntlets well enough, but you can also untuck it and the sleeves come all the way to the half-hand area, giving you another display option.

Speaking of display options, the scarf gives you several more. As I recall, he wore the scarf a couple different ways in the film, and you can do the same here. It comes wrapped around his neck inside, which looks pretty good and helps hide the long neck. You can also wrap it around the neck outside the coat, much like the way he wore it when he ventured out to find Luke. The scarf is fairly long, but you can tuck the ends back inside the coat, or flip the ends back over his shoulders, if that bothers you.

He's wearing a tank top t-shirt under the coat, and they didn't include the hat that he wore under the hood. That's too bad, since it would have worked well with the goggles.

The pants look good, with quality stitching, but you may want to pad up the legs a bit with some wrapped toilet paper to make him look a bit less gangly.

The boots, like the gloves, are a decent sculpt. I do wish they'd gone with a one piece sculpt, like the Darth Maul and upcoming Obi-Wan, because the two piece look (separate foot from upper), leaves too large of a gap.

Talking Feature - ***
A feature of all the UQS figures is sound. The figures include a number of lines taking right from the film. For Solo, they are:

 - "Laugh it up, fuzzball, but you didn't see us alone in the south passage."

- "There isn't enough life on this ice cube to fill a space cruiser. Sensors are placed - I'm going back."

- "Then why are you following me, afraid I was going to leave without giving you a goodbye kiss?"

- "Hurry up, goldenrod, or you're going to be a permanent resident!"

The voice box is nice and clear, and the pelvic button works well enough. You can easily flip the switch on his left side from 'trial' mode to normal mode without removing his clothing.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
These are actually great toys, with solid bodies and well constructed outfits and accessories. If sixth scale figures just aren't enough for your yunggins, then these might do the trick.

Value - **1/2
Some of these figures have been as cheap as $50, and finding them for $60 was no problem. At that price, he really is a great value.

However, Han seems to be running another 10 bucks or so more than that at most retailers right now, so he falls to a more average value. There really isn't anything else out there like this - these are true quarter scale action figures, with full posability. Yep, there's some issues with the base body that will always plague them, but the more you

Things To Watch Out For
I didn't have any issues this time, so hopefully the weird breakage problems I had with the Maul were a fluke.

Overall - ***
I'll admit it - I like the UQS figures. Yea, the lanky body bugs me too, and these aren't going to replace Premium Format figures any time soon. But not everyone has $300 to spend, and would still like to have reasonably good looking large scale movie figure collectibles for their entertainment room. These fit that bill pretty well, especially when you can pick them up in that $60 range.

I also have to admit that I'm disappointed with this guy. It doesn't really reflect in the overall score, because he's decent, but I had my hopes up that he'd be the ONE, the Neo of the line. This is a character/outfit combination that we don't see a lot, and is one of my favorites. But there are enough issues with the outfit (along with the usual body issues) that he doesn't surpass Maul as the best release so far in the series, and I don't know that there's anyone on the horizon with the potential to upset the Sith Lord any time soon.

We're going to see a ton of these in '09 though, with a bunch more being shown off this week at Toy Fair including Darth Vader.  How far off can Boba Fett or a Stormtrooper be?

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - ***
Outfit - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Online options include:

- Urban Collector has their preorder at $63.

- Andrew's Toys has him up for preorder at $65.

- CornerStoreComics has their preorder listed at $65.

- Alter Ego Comics has him listed at $68.

- Clark Toys has him at $70.

- Entertainment Earth has it listed at $72.57.

- in the UK, Forbidden Planet has it for 55 GBP. Just search for 'hoth han solo'.

- or you can search ebay using the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.

Related Links -
I've reviewed a couple of the UQS releases so far, including their Indiana Jones, and the very cool Darth Maul.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 3.75

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Han Solo in Hoth Gear Ultimate Quarter Scale action figure by Diamond Select Toys



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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