Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Accessory That Sells The Figure: Han Solo In Carbonite Still Underperforms!

The Good: Good costuming, Generally good sculpt
The Bad: Balance issues
The Basics: A great idea, this is an unfortunate execution of one of the coolest Han Solo moments in the Star Wars trilogy; they both literally fall over!

There is something openly weird about Star Wars toy collectors and the people who make and market the merchandise for Star Wars collectors. Take, for example, the makers of the Star Wars toys. They will create a 12" collectible doll of Aurra Sing (reviewed here!) who had literally five seconds or less on screen in The Phantom Menace and will load her up with accessories to make her one of the coolest toys a person could collect. But, when it comes to mainstream characters - even ones who have been done over and over to death - they shy away from doing things without a gimmick.

I mention this as I review the Han Solo In Carbonite 12" doll because those of us who shell out money on these dolls would have been just as happy with the Carbonite block; we didn't need another Han Solo doll. The carbonite block - which was my whole reason for purchasing this figure - is a cheap accessory to a rather generic Han Solo doll.

Like most of the dolls in the 12" Star Wars action figure line, Han Solo In Carbonite is a faithful cloth and plastic replica of one of the heroes of the Star Wars Trilogy. Han Solo In Carbonite, the incapacitated version of Han who was frozen by Boba Fett near the end of The Empire Strikes Back (reviewed here!) and thawed by Princess Leia in Return Of The Jedi (reviewed here!). It's a frightening concept and wonderful execution on screen, but in the toy form, it leaves something to be desired.


Han Solo is a human Rebel leader who was captured by the bounty hunter Boba Fett, encased in Carbonite (think of it as a giant block of frozen metal that keeps the occupant in a state of hibernation) and delivered to the gangster Jabba the Hutt. He ended up in my collection of Star Wars dolls because the bounty hunters I had standing around needed at least one bounty to focus on (otherwise, they are just a bunch of aliens with weapons standing around gawking at one another) and because since I first saw The Empire Strikes Back, that image has fascinated and frightened me. So, I got a Slave Leia doll (reviewed here!) and the Han Solo In Carbonite. The figure stands 12" tall to the top of his head. Han Solo In Carbonite is dressed in a cloth outfit which is just a pair of pants and a white shirt with a pretty extreme lapel.

This toy is a fair sculpt, looking mostly like Solo as he appeared in his last scenes in one movie and at the beginning of the next. Han Solo In Carbonite is a bit lacking on the coloring detail; the head is a solid skintone as opposed to having realistic shading on the cheeks and the nose is proportioned a bit too strongly. While the fingers do have fingernails, they are not colored and there is no other coloring to the figure that adds depth or realistic shading. The eyes are also poorly painted and the hair is a very solid looking mass, which is pretty much how all of the men's hair on the dolls ends up looking.


Han Solo In Carbonite comes with two accessories. The first is a Cloud City Blaster. The blaster is all right, if pointless for this particular figure. After all, Han doesn't do much shooting after he's frozen! This 3" little cat toy is solid black, made of hard plastic and looks realistically like the firearm from Cloud City. As well, it is springloaded to launch a small missile which acts as a blaster bolt from the gun. It is cute, but not exactly the indispensable accessory.

What is the best possible accessory is the Carbonite block and the problem here is that it was treated too much like an accessory than like an action figure. The Carbonite block is a 14" tall, by 7" wide by 2 inch deep replica of the carbonite block Han Solo was frozen into at the climax of The Empire Strikes Back! It is as faithful a replica as any I have ever seen with wonderful coloring detail on the panels on the sides and even shading detail in the frozen cracks and crevices of the carbonite! And it would be a real boon, if only it were able to stand up properly without falling over. Don't get me wrong; the Carbonite block is pushed over in the movie, but it falls backwards, not forwards. This is poorly balanced and as a result, it falls forward with the most subtle vibrations. That's truly annoying!


I don't know who plays with these twelve-inch figures. As far as displaying, though, there is not much to recommend Han Solo In Carbonite. First, he is not a well-articulated action figure. Han Solo In Carbonite is not terribly poseable. As a result, Han Solo In Carbonite has only five points of articulation. He has joints at the groin socket, shoulders, and neck. The neck is a simple swivel socket, which is all right. As a result, Han Solo In Carbonite can turn his head left to right, but not front to back as any sort of nodding motion. However, the shoulder joints and groin are ball and socket joints, which only allow the figure to have some range of motion, though not a lot.

As problematic is that Han Solo In Carbonite is not incredibly well balanced. When posed in a flatfooted position, he requires a bit of manipulation or he falls over. It is difficult, but not impossible, to get Han Solo In Carbonite so stable that he does not wobble or shake at all from vibrations near one's display. Han Solo In Carbonite can be situated such that he does not fall over, but the position hardly looks organic. Moreover, he cannot actually pose into the pose he is stuck in carbonite in!


Han Solo In Carbonite is part of the Power Of The Jedi twelve-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that were released during a time that they were largely being mass produced. Still, Han Solo In Carbonite was fairly uncommon, and given the obvious appeal of this Han, he tended to disappear from the shelves as soon as they were taken from the boxes. As a result, this is one of the more solid Star Wars toy investments!


Han Solo In Carbonite is a surprisingly poor figure and one of the ones I wanted quite a bit, compounding the disappointment with this particular execution. If they ever work out the design flaws in this, I'll try my luck with the next one, but it's easy to recommend against this particular execution of the cool figure.

For other 12" Star Wars figures, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Original Trilogy Collection Boba Fett
Sideshow Boushh
12" Dengar


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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