Bespin Han Solo (exclusive version)

Han Solo is one of the most beloved heroes of the last 30 years. Swaggering, self confident, a tad arrogant, but oh so loveable, he defined the cocky male for an entire generation of geeks. Some might argue that it was Harrison Ford's greatest work (although there might be some Indiana Jones fans that would differ in opinion).

Sideshow's latest release in the sixth scale line covers one of his iconic looks, though not his most iconic. That was done in the Premium Format version, with the black vest. Sideshow has been avoiding doing the exact same figure in both the PF and 12" lines, so it was no surprise when they announced the first sixth scale Han would be in his 'Bespin' outfit.

As is the norm, there's a regular and an exclusive version of this figure. The exclusive version, sold originally only through the Sideshow website (), includes a large Mynock, right from the belly of the beast. These have just started to ship from Sideshow, so other retailers carrying the regular version should be able to start shipping them very soon.

Packaging - ****
Really, what more can you say about the Sideshow Star Wars packaging that hasn't already been said? Great graphics, including a shot of the actual Han in the background. Plenty of descriptive text inside, making excellent use of all the available space. Magnetic closures on the box, removing the problem with velcro coming loose or falling off. Completely collector friendly, with no twist ties or damage to the box when removing the figure. Quite honestly, there isn't anything better they could do.

Sculpting - ***
It's usually those pretty boys and pretty girls that are so damn difficult to sculpt. Their faces lack personality and 'character', making it tough to produce an easily recognizable facsimile. But Harrison Ford is not a GQ model pretty kind of guy. With a crooked nose, tilted smile and scar on his chin, he has plenty of character. And yet, he seems to be one of the most difficult males in the Star Wars universe to get right.

Plenty of people have tried, including Gentle Giant, Hasbro, Kotobukiya, and even Sideshow with their previous Premium Format version. And yet, I don't think anyone has actually nailed it.

Here again, Sideshow gets close, but not quite. He's got that classic tilt to his mouth and smile, but where's the crooked nose? He's got the scar on his chin, but where'd his chin go? There's a chubbiness to his cheeks and roundness to his jawline that is completely off.

The hair is fairly good, although a little short, and the eyes improved from the initial prototypes to final production. But the more I looked at actual photos of both Han Solo and Harrison Ford, and compared them back to this sculpt, the less happy I was. A large part of this is actually the paint, which I'll get to more in a minute, but even with a fantastic hand painting by a great customizer, he still has a chubby jawline and too straight nose.  If you could take this sculpt from the bridge of the nose up, and combine it with the lower half of the Premium Format, you just might get the perfect sculpt.

In terms of scale, Han seems about right. He's taller than Luke, and about the same as a 'normal' Sideshow figure. His arms appear a squidge long, but nothing like the monkey arms on Luke. Likewise his head is a whisker too big, but nothing like Luke's when he's down to his skivvies.

And while this sculpt isn't perfect, it's much better than we've seen from other companies.  But that damn paint...

Paint - ***
Great paint can make an average sculpt soar - poor paint can ruin the statue David.  That's why he isn't painted.  Here, the paint ops don't help, and in fact bring down the sculpt score.

The hair line is fairly clean, although I did notice one or two spots where the face color rides up a little too high on the hair. The eyebrows use the cross hatching technique, which isn't my favorite here, as there are some more subtle techniques that look more realistic.

The eyes and mouth are slightly glossy, giving them a wetter more realistic look. The eye color is fine, and the skin tone seems about right. The nostrils are painted quite dark, with some of the paint a little too visible.  Rather than look like shadows, it appears as though he has brown paint in his nose.

The terrific customizer Customikey has done a fantastic repaint of this head, and it proves that there really is a very good sculpt under there.  Now, I don't expect a production figure to look as good as a hand painted figure, working on painstakingly by a customizer.  That would be completely unreasonable. But better paint would have improved the overall appearance of this figure.  I'm betting that if this was a ***1/2 star paint job, you would have seen a ***1/2 star sculpt rating as well, and had they gone all out and given us four star work, well, we might have had damn close to a four star sculpt as well.

Articulation - ***
I've always been a big fan of Sideshow's bodies. I really like both the wrist and ankle joints, and I've had decent luck getting them into reasonable poses and staying there. This Han is no different, and I was able to get a number of cool poses given a little patience.

But as is often the case, time marches on. Things improve. Others raise the bar. And it's getting time for Sideshow to start thinking about redesigning their body. Now, I don't expect their body to be of the same overall quality as Medicom or Hot Toys. If it were, I'd expect their figures to cost twice what they do now, something I'd rather not be paying. Still, Sideshow needs to produce a body that looks more natural, with better overall proportions, if they want to remain in the elite.

That being said, I'd rather stick with this body and keep the price under $50 each, then get a redesigned body and see the cost of their figures jump 50 - 100 percent.

This body does have all the joints you could possibly want and more. Han comes with the ball jointed neck, jointed at the torso, which is always a plus, along with all the standard modern sixth scale joints. But there is no denying that the body tends to appear awkward, especially in tight fitting clothing. It's great that they have multiple sizes, so that figures can maintain relative scale, and that's another option I'd hate to see us lose. Perhaps they can find a way to make improvements to the body one section at a time, rather than trying a more expensive and more painful big bang approach.

Outfit - ***
The outfit consists of his white shirt, dark blue/purple jacket, brown pants with striping, boots, basic belt, and holster/belt.

Let's talk about the good first. The white shirt has a wire in front to fold over the top flap, but the inner flap can fold as well. In fact, mine was folded over in the box, but had to be moved a bit further toward his right hand to make it visible. The shirt is all there as well, with full length sleeves, and sports good quality snaps.

The pants look terrific, even with them riding so high on his body. The striping is extremely well done, and there are net footies in the pants, so that there is no trouble keeping them tucked into the boots. Like I said, he has a bit of a high waist, but the pants are so well tailored that it's not nearly as noticeable. I don't think you need to add any toilet paper padding around his hips either to fill them out, unlike the earlier Luke. There's a basic belt holding them up, which is just that - basic.

Finally, the boot sculpt is great. Han's boots weren't super detailed, but the fit to his calf and general shape of them was somewhat unique and critical to match. They've done an excellent job.

Ah, but all is not perfect in costumeville. The jacket is short, which it was on screen, but here it's a bit too short. That's probably due to the high riding pants and belt, which is where they wanted to line up the bottom of the jacket. But because the belt was so high on the body, with so little chest, the jacket ends up appearing much too short. The quality is great, it's just a bit odd looking.

My other big issues where with the holster. Mine had two major quality issues. First, it did not come with a hole punched in the pleather to fit the belt buckle. I pulled out an awl and fixed that, but it was mildly annoying. However, most of the people that have had holes in the belt, have found that they are too far, making the belt tight and forcing them to put it around his waist well above his hips. That's not a particularly good look, but it does appear to be the way it was designed to work. Instead, I punched my own hole, so I set the belt to ride lower on his hips.

That isn't without its own problems though. As I said, the belt is really designed to ride high on his hips, and the tie down, at the base of the holster, comes out just barely above his knee. When you loosen up the belt and drop it lower on the hips, the tie down wants to ride around the knee, which is definitely not a good idea either. I had to play around with it alot just to get the right combination, but it was worth it. Once you get things in just the right spot, he looks ten times better.

The other issue with the belt was a missing rivet. The belt sports a number of metal rivets around the main section, with two right in front down the holster strap. One of these two was missing, leaving a hole behind. With it being right in front, this is a much bigger issue for me, and it's quite obvious.

Other than those two issues, the belt and holster are terrific. The blaster fits in nicely, and the various pouches and tubes on his Solo utility belt look terrific.

Accessories - ****
This is the one category that this figure truly excelled in. Now remember - I'm grading the exclusive, which includes the Mynock and makes a big difference.

Han comes with his blaster, with sight; a small canister that snaps in place on the front of his holster/belt; his breathing mask and canister; a display stand; and the uber-cool Mynock.

The Mynock is likely to get the most attention. It's big, with a wingspan of 7 inches, or 3.5 feet in this scale. The sculpt is good, and he's made from a fairly stiff plastic. Nothing is bendy though, so you can reposition the wings or tail. There's a very large magnet on the face of his mouth, allowing you to attach him to anything metal. Now all you need to do is fabricate a section of the Falcon's hull!

But don't let the Mynock overshadow the other extremely cool accessory here - the blaster. There's tons of detail in the sculpt, with excellent paint ops, and it fits nicely in the supplied holster or his sculpted right hand. Sideshow weapons can be hit or miss, but this isn't just a hit, it's out of the park.

The small canister is nice and fits perfectly where it should. You won't have to worry about it falling off easily and getting lost, either. The display stand is the usual version, with the Star Wars Logo, but you're not really going to need it unless you're going for a very complex pose.

Finally, there's the breathing mask and filter. The elastic around the head is a little weak, and unless it's lined up perfectly (and it slides down his head awfully easily), the mask won't stay on. The sculpt on the mask, tube and tank is great, and the tank includes a small clip on the back to attach it to his vest or shirt.

I didn't include the holster/belt in the accessories, since I already discussed them in the Outfit section. To me, they are more clothes than goodies. Besides, that would have just hurt this score.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Han is quite sturdy, and would for the most part make a pretty good toy. It's really only his pleather belt and blaster that would have a tough time standing up to the rigors of play. I wouldn't recommend him for a small child, but for a kid that treats his stuff well, in the ten and up range, he'd be a great gift idea.

Value - **1/2
No surprises here. At around $45 - $50, depending on the retailer, you can expect an average value. You're getting a well done figure, with high quality accessories, from an expensive license.

Now, get yourself a price closer to $40 - and it is possible right now, if you check my suggestions at the end - and you can add another half star to the score. Unfortunately, that's for the regular version that lacks the Mynock, but since that figure cost $55 at Sideshow, the same **1/2 star rating applies.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much. Be careful working with the various pleather parts of this holster, particularly the strap for the gun itself. Too much use, and it's like to have issues.

Overall - ***
For every review, there's usually some tipping point. Some main issue that makes the difference between the score the figure got - in this case, three stars - and the score the figure almost got, another half star higher. For Han, it wasn't the sculpt or the body, because of reasons mentioned above. No, for me the tipping point here was the issues I had with the clothing.

I had two QC issues, which you may not. The missing rivet on the belt, particularly since it was in the front, is a fairly big issue, while the missing hole for the buckle is much more minor. But for a figure in this price range, I don't expect to see issues like that, period.

Add to that the short jacket, which annoyed me more as I went along, and the way the belt fit and hung, and it was really the little things that added up that stole that extra half star from him.

If you spend some extra time with this figure - adjusting the belt, pressing a crease into the pants, redressing him from the birthday suit up - you can get him looking pretty good, and I'm happy with my purchase. Still, I'm hopeful for the day when the figures are free of all errors and defects. And it rains Jelly Bellies. And monkeys fly out of my butt and catch the dropping candies on their tongue.

We've gotten some very nice sixth scale Star Wars figures from Sideshow, miles above the floaters we got from Hasbro, but we haven't yet gotten the elusive perfection. Will it be Obi-Wan? Or Maul? I have my fingers crossed.

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

Where to Buy - 
Your best options are all online:

- Sideshow is sold out, but you can get on the wait list for both the exclusive () and the regular versions (). However, if you don't want the Mynock, there are better prices out there for the regular...

- Dark Shadow Collectibles has their preorders still up at $42 each.

- Fireside Collectibles has a preorder price of $44.50.

- CornerStoreComics has him on preorder at $47.

- Amazing Toyz has him on preorder at $50.

Related Links - 
Other Sideshow Star Wars products:

- in the 12" Star Wars line, Sideshow has released Jedi Luke, Kit Fisto and Anakin Skywalker.

- I've reviewed the earlier PF Leia, PF Vader, Han Solo, and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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