If you were to ask me a year or so ago, “Hey Jesse, beyond your dashing good looks and obvious charm, the one question everyone wants to know is, do you think they'll ever make a Han Solo in the AT-ST driver's duds?”, and I'd have been my humble self and accepted the compliments, and of course told you “no way” to your query.
Well, looky here! 2004 rolls around, and Hasbro actually makes Han Solo in an AT-ST driver's outfit. And the crowd booed as it had never booed before… Well, not really. Star Wars collectors (me included) hate lots of other things that Hasbro's made, many that were much worse than this, but Han struck a major nerve with lots of people.
Personally, I think the figure's a neat reuse of parts, along with some nice new additions. It's taking the Imperial Officer body and doing with it what I think Hasbro should be doing more often... The thing should be recast (with a new head) for a generic AT-ST pilot, Imperial Technicians, Rebel Technicians, etc… So, to that end, I like seeing Han snuck into the line here, even if this figure's arguably not even accurate from an EU standpoint.
With my possibly overly positive outlook on this one in mind, please feel free to read on and see if what you think matches up to my thoughts...
Sculpt: Pretty darn nice sculpt on this figure, to tell you the truth. His body, legs, and right arm are all reused however, so some people may recognize them from the previous POTJ Imperial Officer sculpt. Still, the sculpt of that Imperial Officer was, in my opinion, one of the sharpest ever in the line. GREAT amounts of detail abound in that single figure, and it holds up better than even some of the most recent figures.
Han however does sport some new sculpting in the left arm (the lower arm actually) and of course the head, as he has an AWESOME removable AT-ST driver's helmet with a chinstrap. And they say it couldn't be done (chinstraps that is) in this scale! Bah! I scoff at you now!
The headsculpt, by the way, is being touted as possibly the best ever - some say even superior to the intricate VOTC Han Solo's headsculpt, which is really saying a lot. I have to agree that it's quite nice - definitely Harrison Ford, and not just a look-alike sculpt going on here.
If I had a minor gripe it's his communicator in his new left hand, which is sculpted into the hand itself and not a separate accessory. More on that negative later though.
Accessories: I'm a sucker for removable helmets, and this Han sports a dandy - chinstrap and all! He also comes with the age-old Imperial blaster that tons of other figures have been accessorized with as well, and (**drum roll**) a rectangular “Star Wars” stand with improved tabs so it properly links together with others.
Not a lot? Yeah, but it's working for Han, short of him having something like a view-screen that somehow makes a grainy image of him on the other side perhaps - just a sudden epiphany of a cool accessory idea I have had, but nothing major.
But what Han does come with is nice, especially the helmet, and logical for him, so I like his stuff. The helmet though is just really, REALLY nice. Like Capt. Antilles or “Dutch”, it has the new working chinstrap feature. Very nice, and works great. Not hard to pop on and off the figure at all.
Articulation: For what he is, he's not bad. He's pretty spiffy for poseability, but I have to admit that his new left hand is unfortunately NOT conducive to posing him well (again, something to discuss later).
Han sports the following articulation:
-2 standard shoulder joints
-1 right bicep cut joint
-1 left bicep/elbow angle-cut joint
-2 wrist joints
-2 standard hip joints
-1 standard neck joint
-1 standard waist joint
With a total of 10 points of articulation, he's not too shabby, but Hasbro has a set of legs that would have made him more poseable, and they would've fit him perfectly. They're the legs used on the pack-in TIE Pilot figures for the Interceptor, Bomber, and KB TIE Fighter vehicles which have come out in the last several years. They fit the Imperial Officer sculpt perfectly, and wouldn't have even required any extra tooling. Something to consider for future figures perhaps, Hasbro? Knee joints are pretty cool on any figure, I think.
Army Building Potential: Probably this figure's saving grace, even if you hate the concept of it alone, is that with the helmet on, Han is a rather “generic” looking Imperial. Even if you're a moderate customizer, headswaps are a possible option for you to create a nice array of generic Imperial army troopers (the EU claim of what AT-ST driver duds actually represent). Personally, I've not personally seen enough Han's to army build with, but the idea's there at least.
New Left Arm: Hasbro designers, in their infinite wisdom, seemed to feel it necessary to sculpt Han's new left hand with a communication device in it. In the brief scene where Han's seen tricking the Imperials into opening the blast doors on Endor, he can be seen holding this device (trying to cover his face some with his left hand), so it's accurate, but it's also rather annoying.
Personally, I'd have prefered it if Hasbro had left the old Officer's left arm as it was, and simply sculpted a new communicator accessory, albeit a tiny one. I don't like accessories molded into hands on figures like this, even though the communicator is really quite tiny and some of you may not have even noticed that it was there.
Paint/Decoration: Not Hasbro's best effort in paint aps this go-round, unfortunately. My sample (I only have one to judge by though, and I've personally never seen these in a retail outlet to judge multiple figures by) has somewhat sloppy paint for the eyes, with very little detail. There's almost a vintage feel in how they appear.
Other details on my sample seemed wanting as well… It's not an overly detailed figure for paint aps as it stands, but what there is shows signs of bleeding and missed applications. The helmet accessory was quite nicely done though.
Also, a glaringly terrible paint detail that this figure shares with the Imperial Officer figures before him, is the crappy emblem on his shoulder. First, there's only ONE emblem on the left shoulder, while the right's been left bare. Second, the emblem is an atrocious little thing that doesn't really look as it did in the film. The Imperial Officer figure had a similar crappy emblem on one shoulder only. Why Hasbro has seen fit to not do two nice emblems (one on each shoulder), I don't know, but it's inaccurate and it just looks bad.
No Goggles: Some recent toy lines to surface at Toys R Us and elsewhere have had separate sets of goggles for their figures. While this is a minor gripe, it's one I thought would've added some help to those who were wanting to possibly army build with this Han Solo figure. Had he come with separate goggles instead of ones molded to the helmet, Han could actually wear his goggles, and army building galore could still happen since most of the pilots had their goggles on in the movie.
That's a minor gripe, and just something someone like me might notice or think of, but if I can think of it then Hasbro could have just as easily thought of it as well. It would've really been nice, and it's definitely doable, as BBI has proven with their Elite Force 1:18 line of action figures.
Did Han Wear This? OK, now this is probably the biggie that, as near as I can tell, the vast majority took a nutty over on why they HATE this figure. If you hate it, it really just seems to be the concept of this figure alone, rather than the how the figure was actually executed - rather like how some people hate EU figures because they don't like EU and only want movie figures.
Did Han wear this outfit? Well, he wore the helmet, and some could argue he had a hood on as well (like how Stormtroopers supposedly wear a black hood under their helmets), since it looks like Han might've had some black showing under the helmet. But whether he donned the WHOLE AT-ST uniform is open to debate.
I've made the argument that, if time isn't displayed well in the movie and it took a lengthy amount of time between when Han makes his message to when the reinforcements actually go out the bunker door, that Han indeed could have put the uniform on. Plus, I'm of the opinion that you don't take a risk in being caught, so you throw the grey jumpsuit on at least, so your effort isn't in vain just because you were lazy. The point is, “it's possible”, just as most anything is in Star Wars.
With that said though, I list this as a “CON” because the vast majority seem to feel all Han did was throw an AT-ST helmet on and make the call inside. To each their own though, and I can acknowledge that the majority disagree with my aforementioned theory, so it's likely a negative feature for most of you with this figure, even if it isn't for me.
Availability: As of now, and this wave's been out for a while, this figure's a royal pain in the butt to find. He's still shipping though on the Saga card, as I understand that he just recently made his first appearance at a local Wal-Mart in my area, as did the rest of his ill-fated wave (last waves of a series - like this is for Saga - always seem to run into distribution problems).
As noted, I personally haven't ever seen this wave at a store. They're supposed to make a return appearance in the new OTC wave of re-releases and such, so that's good news at least. Hopefully they'll make a sufficient enough appearance there to satiate demand, but as of my writing of this review, this wave is still not fun to search for.
My personal opinion is that, while I had a pretty balanced view of “CONS” and “PROS” there, I really actually like this figure. I think the Han head is the best post-ANH Han headsculpt thus far, and I think the figure itself is an ideal army building specimen for a figure whose POTF2 incarnation royally sucked then, and still does today.
If Hasbro released this figure with a generic head and the Imperial Officer's left arm, I would easily buy it by the dozen to build up my Imperial Army Corps. It's really a great figure for that, and with that in mind, even if you hate the concept of Han dressing up in all the AT-ST gear, this figure is still a winner on some level.
While probably the weakest of the tough to find Endor wave, it's still a solid figure. So I highly recommend buying even a couple of him, if you see him and army building is your cup of tea. I know it's mine!