The Good: Exceptional detailing, Cool accessories, Generally decent balance
The Bad: Slight balance/articulation issues
The Basics: The Hoth Trooper is a very cool Rebel action figure that has exceptional detail and is worth the investment from any Star Wars figure collector!
Sometimes when I sit down to evaluate an action figure, I find myself quite surprised. In the case of Star Wars action figures, it is pretty rare that I find one that I would consider a perfect figure. After all, the scale is pretty small and the articulation on the figures is nothing compared to any of the Star Trek figures being released from the early-90s on (which actually precedes the reboot of the Star Wars action figure line). But the Star Wars Saga collection from 2004 has some real incredible figures. I was happy when they released, for example, the Cloud Car Pilot (reviewed here!) and it took that long for Hasbro to make a Bespin Princess Leia. But when I look at the line and start going through my collection, I've encountered a few genuine surprises. One of them is the Hoth Trooper.
The Hoth Trooper is an action figure that has been done several times by Kenner and Hasbro and there has even been one since the release of this figure. While I do not yet have the latest one, this is a distinct improvement over the Power Of The Force Hoth Rebel Soldier action figure. With greater detailing and cool accessories in proportion to the figure, this is an ideal soldier for the legions of Rebels one who plays with the toys will need to overcome the armies of Imperial Forces.
For those unfamiliar with the Hoth Trooper, these were the Rebel soldiers seen on the ice planet of Hoth at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back (reviewed here!). 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" Hoth Trooper figure is pretty impressive and because it is so well-detailed, it is easy to want more than one to help take on the Empire on Hoth playsets!
The Hoth Trooper 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 actually weathered on the arms, so it gives the impression that this Rebel was in the trenches on Hoth! The Hoth Trooper figure is cast with the intent that he is standing up and he has both the grenades on his chest and a firearm in a holster on his belt. The figure is made almost entirely of soft plastic, though the chest does seem to be more solid than the rest of the toy.
This toy is a decent sculpt, looking precisely like the Rebels fighting the Empire and cold on Hoth. The Hoth Trooper is well-detailed in his coloring detail, except when it comes to his skin tones. There is no shading on his face, and his lips are not colored at all. However, he does have white teeth and there is an exceptional level of costuming detailing, including rank insignias and the goggles on the figure's head! As well, the Hoth Trooper does have intense little brown eyes with appropriately black pupils. There is no hair on the figure because the Hoth Trooper has a hood on.
The costume is incredibly detailed, from the commlink on his wrist to 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. His right shoulder even has the blue and red patch painted on that the Rebels had on their Hoth uniforms! This is a surprisingly cool figure, even if he has a somewhat limited stance as a battle (or blocking) ready soldier.
The Hoth Trooper is surprisingly well armed, though not all of his apparent accessories actually are functional. The Hoth Trooper is outfitted with a backpack, a blaster rifle and the stand that came with this series of figure. As well, there is 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 compartments that are colored to contrast the white of the rest of the pack and this is a surprisingly detailed accessory that fits the toy perfectly. It offers the nice option of fully equipped or "at rest" Hoth Trooper!
The blaster rifle is a decent-sized (yet proportional) gun that was cast for this figure and used with other Rebel figures later on. Larger than most, it is a two-inch long rifle with a strap and it may be held easily in either of the figure's hands. As well, the blaster rifle may be slung over the toy's shoulder, as Rebels fleeing Hoth were shown to do! The gun is perfectly proportioned and looks like a neat little weapon with a good amount of surface details etched in, but monotonally colored. Still, it looks perfectly appropriate for the character!
The Original Trilogy Collection figures come with stands, including the Hoth Trooper. The stand is a two and three-quarter inch long by one and a half inch wide by one-quarter inch tall gunmetal colored plastic stand. It features tabs which allow it to connect with other stands in the set and a peg which fits the hole in either of the Hoth Trooper's feet. On the stand, the figure is completely stable and posable. The stands make these figures into display pieces and the Hoth Trooper is a worthy one!
The four inch toy line was designed for play and Hoth Trooper is good in that regard. The figure is mildly articulated, but he has only average balance when off his stand. The Hoth Trooper 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, and on his base, he is solid! The Hoth Trooper 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, though the leg articulation is mildly inhibited by the figure's soft plastic "skirt."
The Hoth Trooper is part of the 2004 Original Trilogy Collection four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was not very common at all, but largely recast figures that had been previously released by Kenner. Hasbro sought to improve the old figures by having a greater attention to detail, coloring and accessory detail and proportion. As such, this Hoth Trooper is a distinct improvement as far as balance, detailing and accessories from the earlier Hoth Trooper. Released as Original Trilogy Collection figure #01, this figure is a good idea for those creating a whole army of Star Wars figures. It is hard to imagine how this figure might be improved upon, save with more articulation.
The Hoth Trooper is an essential Rebel soldier and the 2004 recasting of it is an ideal way to collect and play with the character.
For other 2004 Original Trilogy Collection Star Wars figures, please check out my reviews of:
#03 Hoth Attack Luke Skywalker
#13 2003 Saga Collection Hoth Rescue Han Solo
#17 Executor Meeting Dengar
#18 Executor Meeting Bossk
For other toy reviews, please visit my index page for an organized listing!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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