Battle of Hoth

Coheteboy is jumping in with a Star Wars review tonight - the new Battle of Hoth set!  Take it away...

Toys'R'Us stores have been pumping out their exclusives this year and the third of this type is the BATTLE OF HOTH set. Previous releases included the IMPERIAL FORCES and an ULTIMATE BOUNTY HUNTER set. BATTLE OF HOTH reaches all the way back to the late 90s to bring back a repaint version of LUKE SKYWALKER in HOTH GEAR with a TAUNTAUN. Other figures in this set include a customized PRINCESS LEIA in HOTH GEAR, redeco of CHEWBACCA, and a clear-domed astromech, R3-A2. Nothing in this set is entirely new, but there is enough offered here to make it worth the purchase.

Packaging - ***1/2
While very flimsy, the packaging displays the toys well and has a nice appearance to it at the same time. Often times packaging can look too similar to other items making it more difficult to locate but this set is quite easy to spot. The packaging involves a large plastic bubble or tray nested within a cardboard box. It's not impossible to remove the toys and return them with the packaging intact but it is little more trouble than usual. With a clear shot of the figures and colorful graphics, this is a pretty attractive way to package the product. 

Sculpting - LUKE: * 1/2, LEIA: ** 1/2, CHEWIE: *** 1/2, R3: *** 1/2, TAUNTAUN: *** 1/2
If there ever was a set that went through the entire spectrum of quality, this is it. This set goes from the very poor (LUKE) to the pretty darn good (Chewie and R3) and keeps the so-so inbetween. It was a very lazy thing for Hasbro to spit out something as poor as the Hoth Luke. The least that they could have done was to sculpt a new head that matched the quality of the rest of the set. Those of you who have the first Luke & Tauntaun release will suddenly find yourself with one more crappy Hoth Luke figure to add to the litter. 

The TAUNTAUN is an exact repaint of Luke's ride from the late 90s, with broken horn and all... all except for the removed "galloping" gimmick and the newly added "splitting belly" gimmick. The original sculpting of the tauntaun was very well done and there wasn't much there to be improved. The only thing incorrect here is the broken horn, which is unique to Luke's
tauntaun, while it was Han's tauntaun that had its belly sliced open. Word on the street is that there are both versions shipping so pay extra attention if you want your toys perfect. 

PRINCESS LEIA is an interesting piece of work here. The body used is from the POWER OF THE JEDI Bespin Escape Leia but using the head and vest of the POWER OF THE FORCE II Hoth Leia. The overall effect is decent though a bit
awkward at the same time. Still, the sculpting on all pieces were done fairly well so no huge complaints about this one.

CHEWBACCA is a replica of the first SAGA Chewie but with some snow speckled on. It's a definite improvement over the Flashback Chewie but some extra attention could have taken place to get the snow to match more closely with the film. The sculpt of this Chewie is still one of the better ones out there.

R3-A2 is another repaint of a clear-domed astromech droid. More astromechs make me a very happy camper, and to me was the best part of the set.

Paint - ***
Since this entire set is based on repaints, I have to say that this was only an average effort from Hasbro. Nothing was extraordinary but everything looked fine. This might be a problem with the plastic used on Leia's face, but she appears a lot darker than she normally is. Luke looks just as bad as he did before. Chewie is the same but with added powder. The tauntaun is little more gray in color than the initial light blue/gray. R3 could have used a little more detail in its panels but overall looks decent. 

Articulation - LUKE: ***, LEIA: ***, CHEWIE: *** 1/2, R3: *** 1/2, TAUNTAUN: ***
The average amount of articulation in this set overall is pretty high considering the age of a few of the figures. LUKE was made specifically to mount the tauntaun so he was already equipped with the extra knee articulation. LEIA also has an extra point in each arm to total 8 points.

CHEWBACCA is the true hero of the set with a count of 11 approximately. This includes ball-jointed shoulders, arm and wrist joints. R3-A2 gets the maximum an astromech can get in this scale, which is approximately seven points that include: dome, legs, heels x 3, third leg. The center leg on R3 can be retracted, which should be the standard on all astromech droids released. The TAUNTAUN has 5 points of articulation for the hands, legs, and neck. 

Accessories - ***
There are six accessories total for this entire set. Luke has the standard issue blaster pistol and lightsaber. LEIA comes with a blaster rifle. CHEWIE has his trusty bowcaster. Lastly, there is a leash for the Tauntaun as well as a gooey innards accessory that was first seen with the Acklay. 

Each figure also comes with a clear stand, which is a nice addition to the set.

Value - ***3/4
This is VERY close to getting four stars but since these are just simple repaints, I can't give it a perfect score. For $19.99, you recieve four action figures and a beast. Considering that the Luke and Tauntaun was sold for $12.99-14.99, this is an excellent value and definitely worth getting if you're building an army of unique astromechs. 

Overall - ***1/2
I wasn't entirely happy to get another bad Hoth Luke figure but I was definitely happy to get R3-A2 and another Chewbacca. Getting a tauntaun that could actually stand was another feat! (tauntauns with the running gimmick don't balance as well for me). Even with its minor flaws, this is an incredible value; and an even better value for folks who don't have previous versions of these figures!

Where to Buy:
These can be found in Toys'R'Us stores everywhere for $19.99.

Figures from the collection of Coheteboy.

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