Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Little Light, The Wampa With Hoth Cave Deluxe Figure (Mostly) Measures Up!

The Good: Generally decent sculpt, Very cool accessories, Collectible value
The Bad: Low articulation, Barely holds main accessory.
The Basics: After years of coveting, I finally own and open the Hoth Attack Wampa action figure which is a little more problematic than I would have hoped, especially with its grip.

Earlier this year, while I was working at the comic book shop, I had the chance to fulfill some collecting dreams of mine and fill some holes in my Star Wars action figure collection. One of the primary figures I was eager to get - and did on Free Comic Book Day in order to help boost the grosses for that day's business - was the 2003 Original Trilogy Collection Hoth Attack Wampa with Hoth Cave deluxe action figure. The larger-than-normal figure was one I coveted for some time because I had the Hoth Attack Luke Skywalker (reviewed here!) and the Wampa's base attaches to the base that comes with that figure, so this helps to create a better diorama. The Wampa with Hoth Cave has actually remained one of the more valuable deluxe figures and as much as I like it, it is not the perfect figure I hoped it might be.

For those unfamiliar with it, the Wampa was the giant white creature at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back (reviewed here!) that knocked out Luke Skywalker and ate his tauntaun. Luke escaped it by using the Force to retrieve his lightsaber and slicing the creature's arm off.

It is the Wampa, in his ice cave with the tauntaun innards with the potential to lose the his arm that is the Hoth Attack Wampa figure.


The Wampa is the creature as he appeared in the special edition of The Empire Strikes Back. He is segmented for greater articulation and looks just like the beast that captured Luke Skywalker on the frozen plains of Hoth. The figure stands 5 1/2" tall and is designed to be in scale with the 3 3/4" figures, but seems a little smaller than is appropriate. Given that the Wampa is so briefly seen in The Empire Strikes Back and is hunched over, Hasbro seems to be able to get away with the slight scale issue.

The Wampa figure is molded well, which is saying a lot. It is very difficult to get shaggy hair right when it is molded on a figure and yet with the 2003 Original Trilogy Collection Wampa figure, they get it right. In part, it seems to work because the soft, rubbery plastic is segmented in such a way that the trunk of the beast is able to look like it has matted hair hanging down. The Wampa, outside the head and trunk under the shaggy segments, is made of rubbery plastic. The Wampa looks right for the mold with its descending horns and claws on the hands and feet. The mold looks good because it looks like a furry beast that could kill.

Added to that, the coloring detail is pretty incredible. Instead of being monotonally white for the fur, this Wampa figure features brown splotches on the legs - below the knees - arms, face and chest. This makes it looks like it is wild and has been in filthy snow, feeding off animals that have arterial spray when it kills them. In fact, there is blood dripping from the Wampa's mouth. Hasbro even did decent coloring on the teeth, eyes and horns as well. In other words, this Wampa looks good from the sculpt to the coloring details on the hand pads!


The Wampa, mindless creature that it is, comes with only two accessories: a hunk of meat and an ice cave base. The hunk of meat is a 2 3/8" chunk of red meat that looks like it is tendons and gore surrounding a white bone. The bone is custom formed so it will fit in the figure's right hand. Unfortunately, the figure's right hand is too loose to actually keep the meat in its hand. So, despite the fact that it is supposed to look like the Wampa is pulling out the tendons with its teeth, the arm won't actually hold it there properly.

The action base is an ice cave piece that looks like the ground on Hoth from the film. The base is made of soft, rubbery bluish plastic and is 6" long, 2 1/2" wide and features a column that extends upward 5 1/4". Unlike most action bases from around this time, there are no footprints to help hold the Wampa in place. There is, however, a slot for Luke Skywalker's lightsaber to be held and the base from the Hoth Attack Luke Skywalker attaches to the column to allow Luke to hang from this piece. On the merits, the base is a nice accessory and includes details like the animal's ribcage that is half-buried in the snow. The coloring of the base is pretty accurate and matches the quality of the Wampa figure.


The 5 1/2" Wampa figure falls down some on the playability front. On the plus side, it does have great balance, which is important because this figure does not feature the holes on the feet most figures in the 3 3/4" scale has. That makes some sense as the size of this figure prevents it from being practical to have pegs in the appropriate scale and there aren't many playsets this would be appropriate for.

That said, the Wampa is far less articulated than it ought to be. Because the arms and legs are made of rubber and the hand does not actually hold the meat shank, it is unsurprising that Hasbro did not bother with much articulation. This Wampa figure has only eight points of articulation. It has simple swivel joints at the groin socket, shoulders, and neck. The waist, abdomen and chest are also jointed, so it may stoop over and straighten. This is not terribly impressive, but it is about what it did in the movie.

As an additional play feature, the figure's right arm is detachable. It neither loosens nor reattaches poorly, because of the rubbery material the arm is made of and a hard plastic ball joint for it to plug into. Rather coolly, the coloring detail at the socket and arm is red so it looks like it was a bloody severing!


The Wampa figure from the Original Trilogy Collection is one of the few deluxe figures in that set and it is one of the few Deluxe Star Wars figures that has appreciated a phenomenal amount. Despite being recast or reused in newer packs, this Wampa figure turned out to be a great investment and has not only held its value, but grown in recent months. This was an unsurprising investment winner from this assortment, especially because of the demand to interface with the more produced Hoth Attack Luke Skywalker figure!


The Wampa figure is a great investment and looks cool, but despite being well-balanced is not all it could be on the play front. Even so, it is easy to recommend this toy to those who want a good Hoth scene.

For other Deluxe Star Wars figures, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Power Of The Force Deluxe Hoth Rebel Soldier
Mail-Away Oola & Salacious Crumb
Attack Of The Clones Deluxe C-3PO With Droid Factory


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

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

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