Friday, April 8, 2011

Poorly Balanced, Over-Buff And The Wrong Color: Han Solo In Hoth Gear Is A Dud!

The Good: Recognizable as Han Solo, All right gear
The Bad: Miscolored, Sculpt is more buff than character was, Overproduced, Unbalanced, A better version exists.
The Basics: Bearing only a vague resemblance to Harrison Ford's character, the Power Of The Force Han Solo In Hoth Gear is a poor toy.

Who doesn't love Han Solo? That scoundrel came through for the Rebellion while attacking the Death Star and even rescued Luke Skywalker before his debt collectors caught up with him and froze him for a trip to Jabba The Hutt. Poor guy. Aptly played by Harrison Ford, Han Solo is one of the most merchandised characters in the Star Wars saga and even now there are more sculpts of the same old Han being released. But back when Kenner rebooted the Star Wars line with the Power Of The Force Collection, it was unclear if anyone there had actually seen Han Solo in the Star Wars Trilogy. Why? Because Han was made far more buff than Harrison Ford ever was. In fact, the Han Solo In Hoth Gear action figure is so top-heavy he cannot easily stand. It remains, unfortunately, one of the worst Han Solo figures ever produced and the saving grace for toy collectors is that they don't need to collect him. Completists are going to collect the Power Of The Force Han Solo In Hoth Gear anyway, but for those not yet invested in the Star Wars toys, the more discriminating fans may just want to pick up the Saga Collection Hoth Han Solo (reviewed here!).

For those unfamiliar with Han Solo as he appeared on Hoth, at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back (reviewed here!), the Rebellion has found refuge on the ice world Hoth. There, a bundled up Han Solo lays sensors to help the Rebels monitor for incoming attacks. Luke, on a similar mission, is waylaid by a Wampa creature and Han goes out into the frozen night to find him! This figure represents Han Solo bundled up in his winter coat for Hoth exploration. Unfortunately, Kenner didn't even get the color of the outfit right for this figure!

The 4" Hoth Han Solo figure is poor and anyone who has seen how Han Solo actually looked will recognize this bears little resemblance to Han Solo. This Han Solo is top-heavy because he is sculpted with such a ridiculous upper body that makes Han look like a professional bodybuilder.


Han Solo is a human Rebel, seen on Hoth freezing and doing whatever it takes to stay alive in the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. The figure stands 3 1/2" tall, or he would if he actually could stand up. Han Solo is dressed in a brown jacket ornamented with Rebel rank insignia (on, apparently, the wrong side of his chest if the reference picture on the packaging is to be believed) and gray pants that look surprisingly clean! This Han Solo figure is cast in monotonal white fleshtones, lacking realistic shading, but with accurate-enough sculpting details on the face. The figure is made entirely of hard plastic.

This toy is a decent sculpt only in the face, which looks generally like the Harrison Ford in that it has a pretty strong nose and pointed chin. Where the figure goes wrong is that the fact lacks any coloring detail and the toy is muscled like a comic book superhero, not Harrison Ford or Han Solo as he appeared on screen in The Empire Strikes Back. Han Solo is fairly bland in his coloring detail, as far as the skin tones go. There is no sense of shading to face, including the lips which are molded but left uncolored. The fingers are molded to hold either of his accessories in either hand and they feature enough molded detail to look accurate including a molded wrist commlink in the figure's left glove. The figure lacks any realistic costuming detail, like the snow that covered Han almost constantly while he was on Hoth.


Han Solo, exploring Hoth as he is, comes with two accessories: a blaster assault rifle and a blaster pistol. The assault rifle looks unlike anything Han Solo carried in any of the Star Wars movies. The two-inch long assault rifle has a scope and a lower barrel and has decent molded details, but no coloring realism. It is a monolithic black gun that looks like it could have come from a G.I. Joe figure. It fits clumsily in either hand.

As well, Han Solo also comes with a little blaster pistol. The inch long choking hazard fits in either of Han Solo's hands. This is a monolithically molded black plastic blaster that is simple and looks quite large for his hand. Still, the surface detailings, like the scope and ribbing on the barrel are pretty cool and this looks like the gun Han Solo actually used.


The four inch toy line was designed for play and Han Solo is below-average in that regard. The figure is poorly articulated, but he has terrible balance. Han Solo lacks significant articulation to make him a big fighter and he is top-heavy, so he tips over when not in one of very few, specific poses. When the figure is posed flatfooted, he is still hard to balance and if his feet are moved even slightly out of position, he falls over ridiculously easily. He 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, so all arm posing is straight-armed. He may be posed standing or in more outlandish poses on playsets because of the holes in the soles of his feet. They may be stuck in pegs on various playsets. Without the pegs, though, this is one of the most tippable Star Wars figures I've reviewed.


Han Solo is part of the Power Of The Force four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was incredibly common. The Han Solo In Hoth Gear was overproduced, though he appeared on only one card. Because the figure was such a bad sculpt, it is easy to avoid this figure and pick up the later Saga Collection Hoth Han Solo for serious fans and collectors.


Han Solo In Hoth Gear is an essential Han Solo figure for anyone who loves The Empire Strikes Back, but this is not the version ideal for fans or collectors. Even those who want Star Wars figures to play with will find this one problematic when it comes to standing him up or playing with him.

For other Power Of The Force figures from The Empire Strikes Back, please check out my reviews of:
Deluxe Hoth Rebel Soldier
Mynock Hunt 3-pack
Deluxe Probe Droid
Deluxe Boba Fett


For other Star Wars figure reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject, here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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