The Good: Great accessory, Generally decent sculpt of figure, Relatively inexpensive
The Bad: Light on details on the figure, Slight balance issues, Overproduced
The Basics: A very cool accessory makes me recommend the Deluxe Hoth Rebel Soldier, despite the fact that the figure itself is pretty lame.
Play is an interesting thing. Around my house, I have collections, like my Star Trek toys and Star Wars dolls, which are on display, and I have boxes of Star Wars toys. The latter have a very clear purpose: they are for play. Once in a long while, I get a whole bunch out, arrange them, come up with motivations for each of them and set them upon one another. It helps break up the monotony of waiting for death to play once in a while. The other day, after reviewing a figure, my wife looked at me and asked when we would play together. Thinking she was being lewd, I remarked how we frequently play, only to be asked about when we’d play with the toys together. This, I thought, was strange, until she informed me that she didn’t have much in the way of toys growing up and how she’d like to play. Then, she began to talk about how exciting it would be to add her horses to my Star Wars figures and the conversation quickly took a turn for the weird from there. I’m not sure if she and I will play with STUFF as well as we play with one another. But, to try to prepare her, I got out a few more figures, including the Deluxe Hoth Rebel Soldier.
The reason for my unearthing this older figure is actually fairly simple. When playing in the Star Wars universe, there is a lot to imagine. However, with the sheer number of Jedi figures available, one has to either have some standards or accept that when the toy armies clash the Jedi are downright invincible. After all, imaginary blaster fire doesn’t hold a candle to a physical light saber. My compromise in play is simple: physical missiles do real damage and have capacity to kill opposing characters permanently. This is where the Deluxe Hoth Rebel Soldier comes in. This mediocre action figure comes with a Rebel laser cannon which can even the playing field against Jedi, Sith and some of the other missile-bearing Star Wars toys. At least in my play and imagination. Sigh.
For those unfamiliar with the Hoth Rebel Soldier, these were the Rebel soldiers seen on the ice planet of Hoth at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back (click here for my review of the film!). There were many Rebels, all bundled up in winter gear and the figures fill out the concept that the Rebellion had as many faceless heroes as the Empire had faceless villains. This is a grunt soldier of the Rebellion outfitted for winter combat.
The 4" Deluxe Hoth Rebel Soldier figure is pretty impressive, not for the actual figure, but rather for the laser cannon accessory with the firing missile. This makes it worth picking up and including with any Hoth setting play!
The Hoth Rebel Soldier is a good support figure for anyone's Star Wars action figure collection as it is a generic Rebel character. While there have been a slew of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and even Chewbacca figures, it is hard to play with more than one at a time without some serious suspension of disbelief. The figure stands 3 3/8" tall and he is dressed in the white and gray winter suit of the Rebels on Hoth. He is intended to look padded and able to keep warm on a frozen wasteland. The outfit is presented as a “clean” version of the Hoth Rebel Soldier, without any snow or dirt detailing on the figure. The Hoth Rebel Soldier figure is cast with the intent that he is standing up, behind the laser cannon he comes with. The soldier is molded with both the grenades on his chest and a firearm in a holster on his belt. The figure is made almost entirely of hard plastic.
This toy is a decent sculpt, looking precisely like the Rebels fighting the Empire and cold on Hoth. The Hoth Rebel Soldier is lightly-detailed in his coloring detail, especially when it comes to his skin tones. There is no shading on his face, and his lips are not colored at all. As well, his teeth and eyes are not visible as the character has goggles molded to his face. The figure also lacks the coloring details on the badges and rank insignias, so the character is pretty light on details. There is no hair on the figure because the Hoth Rebel Soldier has a hood on.
The costume is detailed fairly well in the molded details, though. This sculpt includes the commlink on his wrist and the wrappings on his boots. As well, he has both molded and painted details on his belt buckle and wonderful molded details on the figure's holstered gun. This is a very unimpressive figure; it is clearly intended that the accessory would sell the figure.
The Hoth Rebel Soldier is surprisingly well armed, though not all of his apparent accessories actually are functional. The Hoth Rebel Soldier is outfitted with a backpack and a laser cannon that comes in two parts (plus the actual missile). This figure does not come with a functional sidearm; there is only a little black blaster that is holstered in the figure's holster on his belt. However, despite having remarkable detailing, this cannot be removed from the holster and held by the figure.
The backpack is a 1 1/2" by 7/8" (by 3/8" thick) hollow backpack with a plastic peg that plugs into the figure's back. The backpack has the silver antenna that the Rebels had on their packs and it also has great molded detail for the back. The pack has apparent equipment that are colored to contrast the white of the rest of the pack. It offers the nice option of fully equipped or "at rest" Hoth Rebel Soldier!
The cannon is the reason to buy this figure. Cast in dark gray plastic, the laser cannon features a base with molded treads and a viewer through which the Hoth Rebel Soldier might look at its targets (this is, obviously, non-functional). Into the base snaps a radar-dish-like laser cannon. Where the antenna would be on a radar dish, though, there is the missile. The missile snaps into the port at the center and may be launched by pushing a button on the back of the disc. When that happens, the missile shoots forth, about three feet from the toy. While the laser cannon is light on coloring details, it has stickers on the disc where energy was relayed for firing the weapon in the film. This is a cool accessory which allows a weak, underdetailed figure to hold his own against invading Imperials!
The four inch toy line was designed for play and Hoth Rebel Soldier is good in that regard. The figure is mildly articulated, but he has only average balance when not leaning against his laser cannon. The Hoth Rebel Soldier has fair articulation and the figure is clearly designed to appear battle-ready by his stance! The only real problem is that if the feet are moved out of a flatfooted position, this figure tips over. Still, when the figure is posed flatfooted, he is fairly stable. The Hoth Rebel Soldier figure comes with only six points of articulation, all of which are simple swivel joints! He has joints at the groin socket, shoulders, neck, and waist.
The elbows do not extend, but the figure's shoulder rotate up and down and given how this is a support character, this is not a serious liability for the figure. Otherwise, the joints are fine and the figure has mild posability.
The Hoth Rebel Soldier is part of the Power Of The Force Deluxe four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was exceptionally common. This was a pegwarmer at the time, largely because fans did not want to pay extra for the giant cannon and the figures languished on the shelves. Now, they have appreciated some, but most will find this is not a great investment figure at all as it was severely overproduced.
The Deluxe Hoth Rebel Soldier is a lightly detailed figure made to support a pretty awesome accessory, namely the laser cannon with the firing missile that it comes with. That, durable and adequately detailed, is enough to make this a figure most Star Wars fans who play with the toys want this figure!
For other Deluxe Star Wars figures, please check out my reviews of:
Snowtrooper With E-Web Repeating Blaster
Luke Skywalker with Desert Sport Skiff
For other toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.