Hoth Rescue Han Solo

Sean keeps cranking out the Star Wars guest reviews!  Take it away, Sean...

Itís time for a figure with some interesting history. Han Solo has made three previous appearances in his Hoth gear: once in the vintage Kenner run and twice in the second Power of the Force line. Although the basic figure was pretty lackluster, and unexciting Ėsomething that Hasbro tried to atone for with the Tauntaun pack-in version, but failedóthe color change of Hanís parka from blue to brown caused some questioning among collectors. Hasbro explained that the new brown color was favored over the blue used with the vintage figure because it was the actual color of Han Soloís parka in the movie. Of course, when one watches The Empire Strikes Back, it either looks blue or is hard to tell because of lighting and frost cover. The jacket that Hasbro borrowed for color comparison was almost 20 years old at the time and could have easily been faded or damaged. So now that weíve got a new Hoth version of Han Solo in the Saga line, what color should his jacket be? Why not both? Thatís right, Hasbro is sending the variation collectors on yet another Easter egg hunt: both brown and blue parkaíd Hans are coming out. Since blue is the coloration most people seem to remember, Hasbro has released this version first, with the brown variation to come out later in the year. 
So here we go, a blue-jacketed and hooded Han Solo, Hoth Rescue . . . 

Packaging - ***
The packaging is the same blue-backed blister card, blah, blah, blah . . . Iíve pretty much covered this section in previous reviews of Hasbroís line.

Sculpting - ***1/2
This is a huge improvement over the Power of the Force sculpt, and boy does it look awesome. Hasbroís really been stepping up with their new additions; this is certainly one of the best looking Han Soloís ever produced for the 3 ĺĒ line, but heís not without a few flaws.

The face does have a passing resemblance to Harrison Ford. The patterned lines on his parka, the fur around the hood, his belt and holster Ėeverything looks great. The bottom of the parka flares off a little below the waist and is separately sculpted in soft plastic. His legs are also highly detailed with pleated kneepads and banded boots. There are only a few small complaints. First off, the grips of both hands are kind of hard to work with. The right hand is kind of tight, while the left one is loose. Be careful with the blaster in the right hand, as the soft plastic of the gun feels like it could twist or break sometimes. Both hands are too tight to really hold the sensor pack and itís very hard to hold it with both at the same time because of the strap. The grips could get stretched out over time, but would become too loose for the other accessories. I suggest holding it with only the left hand, since the grip is already the wider of the two. 

The legs are somewhat of a sore spot with me as well. They look good enough, but because of the slightly bowed sculpt on both Ėas well as the bent left ankleóHan can only affect a wide-legged stance. This just looks kind of goofy in static poses. A more neutral sculpt would have been better. Thereís also a blue push-button sticking out of his butt, which detracts from the overall look. Iíll cover that item in another category.

Paint - ***Ĺ
He could have been great, but Han falls a little short in two spots. The white binoculars sculpted on his belt (which would have been nicer as an accessory) bleed onto the side of his parka. This is pretty sloppy, especially on a nicely detailed piece Ėthe binocular have sculpted eyepieces. However the real downer on this figure is Hanís face. While the details are painted nicely enough, the edges where his head meets the parka are blue. The skin tone used thins out then doesnít meet the edges. It looks motley and just plain sloppy. At best, Han looks like heís got some frostbite round the jowls. 

Itís a real shame too, since the rest of the figure is darn near impeccable right down to the silver buttons and clasps on his belt. His insignia patch is nice and clean as is the fur detail around the parkaís hood. If the face has been better painted, I could have easily overlooked the paint bleeding from the binoculars and bumped him up to four stars.  

Articulation - ***
And now the bane of most Hasbro figures: articulation. Hasbroís only consistency in this category is inconsistency. They can produce a great figure like Bespin Duel Luke and still churn out garbage like Mace Windu, Geonosian Rescue. Luckily for us, Han has some decent cuts on him. Thereís a total of ten points of articulation: neck, waist, shoulder cuts, elbow cuts, forearm cuts, and hip cuts. The shoulder cuts are angled so that Hanís arms lean in towards each other, allowing him to hold the lightsaber with both hands. The elbow and forearm cuts blend into the arm sculpts nicely and afford a decent range of movement and poses. You can even bring both arms up into a pose that mimics holding a set of reins Ėpossible Tauntaun interaction here? Ball-jointed shoulders would have been nice as always, but Iím not complaining here.

From the waist down is a slightly different story. The legs are sculpted somewhat bow-legged (Another possible Tauntaun interactive feature here?) and Han can only stand in one position. Boot top cuts would have been nice for some variation, or knee swivels at the very least, but thereís diddly-squat present.

ďLightsaber Swinging ActionĒ is what it says on the package. Oh? Is this the Han Solo, Jedi Knight, Cold Weather Gear figure? Hasbro give us yet another action feature figure to curse at. Press the button sticking out of Hanís rear and his upper body does a quarter turn to the left. Itís the same feature found on other Saga figures such as Bespin Luke, Bespin Vader, and Geonision Mace Windu. The hip articulation tends to either slow it down or stop the turn if the legs are spread apart too much, including his only freestanding pose. In the end, this is a highly unnecessary feature. Han took one little swipe with Lukeís lightsaber in the entire trilogy. We donít need a figure specially made to do it numerous times. Just stick the saber in his hand and physically rotate his body for the few times you might want to reenact this scene.
Oh yeah, just in case you havenít picked it up from any of my other reviews, I donít really like Hasbroís action features.

Accessories - ***1/2
At first I almost gave this category a full four stars, but being as picky as I am, I dropped it a half star after closer perusal. Something that Hasbro has done better with the Saga line is their accessory inclusion. For example, instead of tossing in only a lightsaber and blaster for the Bespin Duel Luke Skywalker, we also got a tourniquet, a three-piece weathervane, and a removable hand. Han Solo also comes loaded, with four accessories: his blaster pistol, a sensor pack with shoulder strap, a removable facemask, and Luke Skywalkerís lightsaber. The only way this figure could be more complete is if Hasbro gave him a pair of macro binoculars then boxed him up with a Tauntaun. The blaster and sensor pack have some great sculpt detail and clean paint ops. You can even sling the sensor pack over his shoulder when not in use. There was only one tiny spot of bleeding on the sensor packís dials, but itís not too bad. Hmm, Iíve seen this lightsaber before . . . oh yeah, itís the same one packed with Anakin, Secret Ceremony, but with different, and much cleaner paint ops. So in short, itís a solid saber, cast from the metal-hilted ones found with Darth Vader, and Luke Skywalker. The bladeís color is nowhere as dark as Anakinís. The black paint on the hilt is clean, but Hasbro made a bit of a goof: itís painted just like Darth Vaderís lightsaber! Hanís facemask is sculpted in tinted plastic and painted over with white ops. The nosepiece is slightly off-center in both the actual sculpt and paintjob. It attaches nicely and neatly over Hanís face and looks pretty good.

Everything looks nice, so why the half-star deduction? Weíve seen two of these things before. Both Hanís pistol and the lightsaber are revamped accessories. The pistol is the same one used with the Endor Raid Han Solo; while it looks great and fits the side holster nicely, it seems just a tad out of proportion to Hanís gloved hands. Also, the pistolís trigger prevents Han from completely grasping the gun Ėheís just holding the bottom of the grip. Add these to the small problem with the facemask, and I canít give the accessories a full four-star rating.

Value - ***1/2
Just like most of the new figures, I havenít seen a single one in physical stores, and I doubt if Iím going to see one anytime soon. Depending on the store, Saga figures tend to go for $4.50 to $5.99. If you can get him for under $5, bump him up to a full four stars. I paid $5.99 on Ebay, and was still happy after another three bucks for shipping. Online he tends to be pretty high like most of the other hard-to-find figures.

Brian's Toys has him for $14.99 mint on mint card; $9.99 loose.
Federation Toys will have them in stock soon for $7.00 a pop.

He isnít really in wide release right now, and this always creates artificial price inflation in the Star Wars community. Waiting can be frustrating, but price do, and will, go down.

Overall - ***1/2
This is a pretty solid figure. Han looks really cool and is a huge improvement over Hasbroís Power of the Force figure. I could really do without the action feature, and honestly, the lightsaber as well. I have a stack of blue lightsabers to choose from if I ever wanted Han to wield one for any reason. It would have been better to have binoculars instead of the lightsaber, especially if they attached to the belt with a peg or something, but Iím wishing again.

Heís definitely worth picking up and looks great on or off the card, but thereís a slight problem with interactivity. The Hoth sequences from The Empire Strikes Back were some of the most memorable ones to hit the silver screen: this makes it a natural choice for toy dioramas. However, the last figure produced especially for the Hoth environment was the Hoth Leia in 1999 for the Power of the Force line (Iím not counting the pilot figures from Lukeís Snowspeeder and the Chewbacca mechanic in the Power of the Jedi line since any of these figures can be used in other settings.) and simply put, Hasbroís sculpting has come a long way since then. Itíd be nice to see other updated Hoth figures to go with this one. Hasbro is releasing a brand-new Snowtrooper later this year, so maybe weíll get a few other Hoth figures in the future. 

Figure from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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