Friday, August 15, 2014

Despite The Hassle Of Accessing The Components, The Star Wars 30th Anniversary The Battle Of Hoth Playset Is Worth Hunting Down!

The Good: Awesome components, Collectible value, Playability/poseability, Detailing
The Bad: Removing from the package is a pain in the butt, Lack of a play base
The Basics: At long last, I not only acquired, but opened the Star Wars 30th Anniversary The Battle Of Hoth Ultimate Battle Pack “playset” and find it still worth the wait and every penny paid!

A few years ago, I gave up a lucrative career with the Federal government to go to work for a start-up comic book shop. The hook the owner of the shop I was managing had was that he and a friend of his had invested to buy one of the largest collections of Star Wars toys in the United States. When they split up the collection they bought, the new comic book shop owner started a shop in a generally low-trafficked mall and I went to work there. Eager to make his money back, he sold a number of big and rare pieces to collectors. In fact, I was responsible for moving some of the biggest pieces. The only one I coveted was the Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection The Battle Of Hoth Ultimate Battle Pack.

Having only discovered the Target-exclusive “Ultimate Battle Pack” (which is more like a bundle pack of action figures and vehicles than a playset) while we were breaking up the collection, my love of AT-ATs and Hoth drew me to it. For about a week, the store’s owner set the Ultimate Battle Pack aside for me before selling it to one of his friends. After leaving the shop after four months (after I organized a kick-ass Free Comic Book Day event), The Battle Of Hoth Ultimate Battle Pack ended up immediately on my wish list and until two weeks ago, I never had the disposable income for the set . . . nor could I find one affordably priced. All of that changed recently and I am now the proud owner of the The Battle Of Hoth. Having now unboxed it, I am happy beyond belief that I have it and that it is so cool.

The Battle Of Hoth Ultimate Battle Pack is a bundle pack packaged in a transparent box that features two “playsets” (one stationary, one vehicle) and eight Star Wars action figures. The figures and vehicles are attached to the cardboard display base in the box by a number of wire ties and plastic shells that keep them firmly rooted to the base. This becomes an issue when one removes the figures and, especially, the vehicles from the packaging. It is virtually impossible to remove the toys in the The Battle Of Hoth Ultimate Battle Pack from the packaging and ever get it back inside, looking like it originally did. The Battle Of Hoth Ultimate Battle Pack includes: 1 AT-ST Scout Walker, 1 “laser” turret with firing projectile, 1 Hoth Han Solo action figure, 1 X-Wing (or Snowspeeder) Luke Skywalker action figure, 2 Hoth Rebel soldier action figures, 1 AT-ST Driver action figure and 2 Snowtrooper action figures. There is no plastic base playset for the figures or the vehicles (only the cardboard display in the box).

Completely unique to the Battle Of Hoth Ultimate Battle Pack (at least at the time) was the “laser” turret with firing projectile toy. The laser turrets were part of the Rebel defense on Hoth. They were the big cylindrical buildings behind the Rebel trenches that fired on the AT-ATs as they advanced at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back (reviewed here!). In the Battle Of Hoth set, the laser turret is exceptionally detailed and puts the turret from the Power Of The Force Hoth playset (reviewed here!) to shame. In addition to including a two and a half inch long red projectile meant to mimic a laser bolt, which can be fired about two feet away, the top of the turret rotates. The top has a bucket which seats a single figure who may act as a gunner for the turret. The figure may pop out of the top so long as the turret’s top hatch is open. There is also a side door into the turret and it may hold at least seven figures inside. The turret is colored to look battle-worn and dirty, which allows it to fit in perfectly with the modern collections of Star Wars toys that have included realistic detailing (which is anything but a clean representation of the figures and vehicles).

In a similar fashion, the AT-ST that is included in the Battle Of Hoth Ultimate Battle Pack features realistic wear/burn marks and molded details that make the AT-ST look virtually identical to the ones in the films. This AT-ST is by no means as sophisticated as the newer Vintage Collection AT-ST (reviewed here!), especially in the scale; the Battle Of Hoth AT-ST can only house a single action figure. The proper scale would allow two pilots to fit into the AT-ST cockpit. What makes this AT-ST worthwhile is a very cute play function. On the back of the base below the cockpit on the AT-ST is a slide “lock.” When the lock is slid to the right, it unlocks the AT-ST’s legs. Pressing a button above the lock causes the legs to make a running motion. When one locks the legs, the AT-ST is perfectly (surprisingly) stable. The molded details, like the side guns, are immaculately rendered and while the legs might not have full articulation, the cockpit module turns on the base and looks good when doing so.

As for the figures, they are a decent mix of Rebels and Imperial officers. On the Imperial front, the AT-ST pilot is arguably the most sophisticated of the bunch. While only minimally articulated (the legs, for example, only bend at the groin socket for straight-legged sitting with the AT-ST cockpit), the AT-ST Pilot has an appropriately-sized, removable, helmet and such molded and accurately-colored detail elements as the wrist communicator on the figure’s left wrist. The AT-ST driver also comes with a pistol that fits in his right hand.

The Snowtroopers are split into two varieties: two with removable helmets and one without. The two Snowtroopers with the removable helmets are identical and also feature the cloth capes (which are essentially skirts). Those two Snowtroopers also have incredible articulation, including hinged ball and socket joints at the knees, shoulders, ankles and elbows. While the other Snowtrooper has an equal level of coloring detailing – like the “dirty” knees and shoulders – it features a stiff plastic cape and less articulation. Even so, it is balanced well-enough that it can stand just fine after it is removed from the package.

Like the AT-ST Driver and one of the Snowtroopers, both Hoth Rebel Soldier figures have less articulation than the standard Star Wars figures of the time (and since). Even so, the appropriately coiffed - if generic – Hoth Rebel Soldiers both come with firearms and one even has the removable backpack that many Rebel fighters on Hoth were seen wearing.

Hasbro put more of an effort in the Hoth Han Solo and X-Wing Luke Skywalker figures that are found in the The Battle Of Hoth Ultimate Battle Pack. Luke is evidently Luke Skywalker by the fact that he is holding a blue lightsaber and the head under the removable X-Wing pilot helmet appears to be Luke Skywalker. This version of the X-Wing Luke Skywalker features the soft plastic straps that connect his chestpiece to his knees. He also has extensive articulation. Similarly, the Hoth Han Solo has incredible articulation (including a lowered hood section on his jacket that turns independently of the head!) and balances incredibly well. Han Solo comes with his trademark blaster, which fits in his right hand or the holster on his right hip, and a pair of electobinoculars on a strap that looks cool slung across his chest.

In addition to being immensely playable, the Battle Of Hoth Ultimate Battle Pack is one of the Star Wars toy sets that has retained its value well over the years. I was able to get mine on a lark for a decent price, but usually, these sets are found now in the $100 range, which is up from what they sold at when Target sold them in 2007. Still, they are well worth the $70 - $125 that most fans and collectors are likely to find them at. This is one of the coolest Star Wars toys Hasbro ever produced and it remains worth coveting and hunting down!

For other Star Wars vehicle and playset toys, please visit my reviews of:
Vintage Collection Luke Skywalker's Tauntaun
Carbon-Freezing Chamber Playset
Motorized Theed Palace Playset
2010 Collection AT-AT Imperial Walker


For other Star Wars toy reviews, please check out my Star Wars Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |

No comments:

Post a Comment