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Entertainment Earth

Han Solo

The first wave of Vintage Original Trilogy Collection figures were a really mixed bag of quality. That wave was pretty much a 50/50 mix really. You hope for half of them to be resculpted to really get that “ultimate” version of the character out there, but then you have the other two figures in the wave that pretty much could be re-released in the modern line again and again (Leia being somewhat debatable among collectors). With Han Solo, you’re getting pretty much everything Hasbro can do right with this character in this outfit, and for that, I was not too angry when parting with my $10.

Han was actually the first figure of the VOTC I purchased, and really at the time I opened him I was giddy at the greatness this figure exudes. It’s Hasbro at their finest in most every respect, and while there are some minor complaints there is just way too much to love about this figure. Does Han live up to the hype though? Well I think I can prove he does but I bet I can show you he has flaws. While I do feel like a judge in the Miss America panel by critiquing this figure, I can still find flaw with him, so Hasbro’s got some room for improvement as is often the case with even the best of the best Star Wars figures. Read on and check out just why you should own at least one of this figure.

PROS

-Sculpt: Han Solo has been a tough nut for Hasbro to crack at times as far as his likeness goes. And with as many likenesses they’ve made (hardly any look alike), there’s a lot of comparison to be made. With the VOTC Han though I think Hasbro finally got Harrison Ford’s look down as he appeared in 1977 in A New Hope. This figure will make you want to retire your Cantina Han for certain and shows how off that figure really was.

The face has a lot of life sculpted into it, and features that cocky smug look that Ford immortalized in Star Wars. The character isn’t scene specific, very neutral, but somehow it still is instantly “Han Solo” when you look at it, which is really nice. The hair is thick and wavy, just as Solo’s dated 1970’s haircut looked, and comes complete with sideburns for total accuracy. The figure’s sculpted to be “cut” along the jaw line and his hairline in the back due to the ball/socket joint, and while the joint can look awkward on some figures if sculpted wrong (looked slightly odd on Ozzel), on the VOTC Han it looks just fine and completely obscures the articulation point.

The figure’s body/costume is equally full of detail and looks very realistic. The build Harrison Ford sported in 1977 was pretty slight. Much thinner than he is now, and even how Ford looked in Return of the Jedi when he’d bulked up a bit. The figure represents the slim young Ford quite well, with thin arms that have the classic ¾ length sleeves. The shirt is sculpted with very thin, barely noticeable fabric texturing. The arms show the texturing more than the body does though it seems.

The European styled vest is full of detail and looks as though it hangs off the figure as if it were a real, separate, and removable accessory. The sculpt has depth and without actually handling the figure you’d swear it was a separate piece. The way the shoulders of the vest hang over the ball/socket shoulder joints, for instance, completely cover the joint and show some true high quality work by the sculptor.

The pants of the costume got equal detail from the Hasbro Employee responsible for this work of art. They feature a different texturing sculpted into them than the shirt has, and it’s a bit more noticeable overall. There’s a slight crease in them down the front of each leg even as if ironed into them. It’s a very minor detail to notice but man, it’s there and that’s nice. The sculptor even took the time to sculpt a realistic fly/zipper on the front of Solo’s pants, so how is that for detail?

Han’s boots are sculpted to have the stitching details in the back and on the top of the foot, as well as having a sole sculpted to look separate as well. Also Han’s belt is actually 2 separate items. His belt holding his pants up is sculpted at the top of his waist, and is a neat little detail as it’s actually sculpted to have multiple eyelets for the buckle, and then two buckle clips stacked atop each other. It’s very unique and again a minor detail that’s almost obscured by the fact that Han’s gunslinger belt is a separate piece that attaches via a notch in his lower back/butt area. The gunslinger belt hangs down on the figure just as it should, and has tons of detail like clip pockets with buttons, a buckle, the side buckle to his holster, the “droid caller” on his left hip, and of course the functioning holster that hangs down his right leg/thigh.

A little complaint I have about the holster though is that the holster’s thigh-strap (on a real gunslingers belt, this is to keep the holster from flapping around and instead it moves with the movement of your leg) is actually sculpted to Han’s right thigh rather than being a part of the holster, and they don’t attach. The holster kind of hovers there then, but we’ll talk more about that later.

Whew… That was a lot of sculpt talk, and suffice it to say, I’m generally pretty happy with Han.

-Paint Aps/Deco: Han probably has one of the more elaborate decorations of the first 4 VOTC figures. That’s not to say that he’s as colorful as some alien figures, or the fur patterns on a Wookiee or some such, but being Solo, he’s bound to have a costume with some color to it.

Han’s vest, being sculpted to the figure, means that either it or the shirt needs a splattering of paint. In this case the shirt got the paint and the vest is cast in black. While the paint’s just a slight bit prone to straying from the lines, it’s nothing terrible however and doesn’t detract from the figure unless you really inspect it in close. The shirt doesn’t feature any wash or anything, but Han wasn’t exactly a slob (just scruffy looking) so dirtying him up isn’t really necessary. Actually Han looked to be about the only clean guy in the Cantina when you think about it.

Solo’s pants are the classic Corellian Blue as they should be, but they feature a nicely painted series of horizontal red dashes on the outside of each pant leg. This is the “Corellian Blood Stripe”, or some EU BS thing I heard somewhere, and Hasbro painted the detail very nicely. There’s a very even pattern to the red marks and no smudges or misapplied bits that I can tell. They even seem to follow the wrinkles sculpted into the legs at the knees, which is particularly nice. Another little detail painted on the pants is Han’s thigh-strap to his gunslinger’s belt. It’s painted brown to match the belt, and looks fine. The boots are also painted a simple black with no detailing, but no detailing was needed either so that’s just AOK.

Solo’s belts are both painted nicely. The inside pants belt could have used some minor detailing on the buckle or something, but just getting it painted a simple brown is ok too… detailing just would’ve enhanced this nice sculpt “extra”. Han’s gunslinger belt is cast in brown and has a ton of detail like the black/silver painted “droid caller”, the silver buttons on his clips/pouches, the silver rivets around the belt, the silver buckle in the front and back, or the silver buckle details that show where his holster attaches to the belt itself. It’s really a lot of tiny paint applications that catch the eye.

Solo’s headsculpt has the details you’d expect from Hasbro, and certainly should expect on a $10 figure. The eyes aren’t seemingly as complex on this figure as they are on others, as it appears to be just brown dots on a white eyeball, but that’s not to say they look bad. My Han figure has evenly spaced eyes with no dreaded “cross-eye” happening. And since Solo’s eyes are basically dark, the application looks nice to me. The hair also is applied nicely as it’s a dark brown base with a slightly lighter brown wash. The two-layered paint application to the hair brings out the wavy locks sculpted on Solo’s noggin’ and the paintjob really enhances some quality work there. There’s no bleeding onto the face, and no missed hair paint either, so I’m completely happy with that. A good paintjob on this figure from stem to stern.

-Articulation: So yeah the sculpt is great, and yeah the paintjob does the sculpt much justice by highlighting all the fine details the Hasbro guys put into this figure… but how does he pose? Yes, the ever-important question of whether this figure will pass or fail based on his poseability. Articulation can be the downfall of any action figure to this reviewer, especially at this inflated price, so where is Han sitting? Well he’s sitting anywhere he damn well pleases given how poseable he is!

VOTC Han Solo has articulation at:

- 2 ball/socket joints
- 2 ball/socket elbows
- 2 standard wrist joints
- 2 standard hip joints
- 2 ball/socket knee joints
- 2 ball/socket ankle joints
- 1 ball/socket neck joint
- 1 standard waist joint

And with a drum roll please, that adds up to 14 total points of articulation, and 9 of those 14 are ball/socket joints with a whole lot of range to them. That’s not too shabby, and I dare say that this figure is super articulated. Yeah, no ball/socket torso, but that’s ok by me.

This Han Solo is your Han for all seasons pretty much. At least in this outfit anyway. I’ve had Han in tons of poses on my desk. He looks great running through your Death Star diorama, or Han looks equally great chilling out in a Cantina booth with his legs crossed. My personal favorite pose for him, ironically, is a simple hand on his left hip with his right hand down near his pistol… ready to bust a cap in some Hutt slug giving him crap.

Either way you choose to pose him though, this Han Solo MUST be owned and owned opened off the card. You have to play with a figure like this (call it “pose” if you want to feel more mature about your habits) because he’s about as fun a Star Wars figure as I’ve ever had. So if you haven’t opened and played with this figure yet, get to it folks!

-Packaging: The packaging on the VOTC figures is probably the most ornate and eye-catching package for a Star Wars figure to-date. While the basic OTC line that shipped alongside the VOTC figures was nice, the VOTC definitely drew your attention as being something special.

A downside to the dazzling packaging was the cost, which like other features I’ll touch on that shortly in the “Cons” portion, however it was a cost a lot of people were willing to bite for “ultimate” versions of various figures.

The packaging is a recreation of the original vintage Kenner action figure cardbacks from the 1970’s and 1980’s. If you were like me, and can recall these figures adorning your local toy store (Ah, Children’s Palace… The days when a trip to the toy store meant something), then you no doubt have a feeling of nostalgia, just as Hasbro intended. The old style cardbacks are nice to see on the pegs, and they really do catch the eye like no modern packaging has been able to.

While Hasbro went to great lengths to recreate the front of the packaging, the back of the packaging was a modern style displaying 3 other figures from a specific wave. The waves were broken down into a Star Wars wave with the original Star Wars style card, an Empire Strikes back wave styled accordingly, and then a Return of the Jedi wave.

Hasbro’s work to recreate the cardbacks was nicely done, and appreciated. This has so far been the only packaging I’ve wanted to save really. And Hasbro made saving the packaging easy if you were careful in getting the figure off the bubble, as they included a reseal-able protective clamshell over the figure’s card/bubble. Just perfect for keeping everything minty fresh, aside from that X-Acto knife slice along the bubble to get the figure out.

The end result is some nicely displayed toy on the pegs. A full set of the 12 VOTC cardbacks looks really nice displayed amongst your figure collection.

CONS

-Hovering Holster: The most obvious “flaw” in my eyes was the fact that the pistol holster does sort of just hover off the figure’s leg, and so the thigh strap on his right leg doesn’t attach to the holster and that looks bad. The dilemma though is do you want the separately sculpted pistol belt, or do you want the belt sculpted onto the figure and the holster an actual part of his thigh like Cantina Han has?

Myself, I like the pistol belt, but I have to admit the holster looks goofy. I think the best fix would’ve been this; rather than sculpt the thigh-strap to the leg, why not instead use a little elastic cord there for the thigh-strap? Voila, it attaches to the thigh, and it would move with the leg and not look awkward. It’s a simple solution but adds a little bit to the figure probably from Hasbro’s point of view. I am happy to have the separate belt though and wouldn’t trade it for one sculpted to the figure.

-Accessories: One of the more “major” flaws with this figure is the simple lack of accessories. This isn’t a terrible thing, and for the VOTC line it seems that accessories are a bit of an afterthought in general. For the most part figures have come with one, perhaps two pieces, and that is about it.

For Han, the accessory he has is the obvious one. He sports his Blastech DL-44 pistol. The gun is appropriate obviously, and utilizes I believe the 25th Anniversary Han Solo figure’s accessory sculpt rather than Cantina Han’s (they do appear to be unique sculpts). The weapon is detailed and accurately scaled. I’m a little disappointed though that Hasbro didn’t paint the gun with any details. A little silver on the muzzle of the pistol would’ve been nice.

While the pistol is appropriate, Han could’ve used some other items just to make you feel like the $10 was a little better spent. I think a nice Imperial blaster would’ve been appreciated, however since the pistol belt was already a separate sculpt I think it would’ve been really cool had Hasbro made the belt removable and included maybe a Stormtrooper belt? That way you had a nice Death Star Escape Han Solo too since the POTJ figure doesn’t quite cut it to me.

Still, for what the VOTC line seems to be giving out, a single pistol is about right it seems. Still, you should be able to expect more for $10, even with the incredible figure.

-Retail Cost: Without a doubt, and probably the worst aspect of the VOTC line, is the cost that came with each figure. Some have been lucky to have bought their VOTC sets on clearance, however most people paid the retail price which came to approximately $10 per figure or so. Not the cheapest price to pay for a single figure.

The cost of the figure can be blamed on a number of reasons. The VOTC line was touted for its “limited” nature, for instance, driving up costs due to lower production runs. The packaging was ornate, recreated by hand, and it required a lot of extra work for it to be done appropriately. The coffin blisters on the packaging even, to recreate the vintage look, were also “special” and added very slightly to the packaging costs. The special protective case surrounding the figure also would’ve been a noticeable increase in overall costs in producing these figures also. And that’s really only starting on where increases in costs could be hiding with the VOTC figures over basic modern figures.

I personally feel the VOTC figures are not any more intricate or complex in their design than a basic figure is, as far as costs go. If you put VOTC on basic cardbacks, and at basic production numbers, you’d see a figure that would sell profitably at a basic figure’s price. But with the packaging, you have something that, unless it becomes the line’s standard, it definitely inflates the production costs of the figures.

The cost seemed to noticeably hurt the VOTC line as well, as it also has hurt the Ultra/Deluxe lines over the years. $10 is a lot to pay for a figure, and it showed at stores that ordered the VOTC line heavily like Wal-Mart who couldn’t move the later waves out quickly. I love the VOTC concept though, and think that either a better price or case ratios would have alleviated all issues with product movement.

OVERALL

The VOTC Han Solo figure represents everything you, the rabid consumer, should expect Hasbro to deliver in the modern line. While the sculpt and paintjob are outstanding on this figure, the real bread and butter is that you get the ultimate Han Solo as far as poseability goes as well. This Han Solo should see re-release throughout the standard line and without a doubt the “Cantina Han” sculpt needs retired now that this figure is here.

The gripes I had were obviously minor overall aside from the cost. $10 is just tough to stomach for any figure that you really should get for $5, however Han Solo’s poseability and overall quality make you pretty happy with the purchase despite the price. The little issues like the pistol belt and accessories are just that; little gripes. They’re there though, and worth mentioning. I know the belt/thigh-strap I noticed immediately when I got the figure and yeah it sort of is distracting.

This Han Solo is easy for me to recommend to you however, and my overall opinion is that Han is not only the best figure of the A New Hope wave of VOTC, but he’s also one of the overall best figures in the entire VOTC line. He’s a must-have figure, and I’d say owning more than one of these Han’s is well worth it if you have a variety of displays. One in the Cantina, maybe one with your Deluxe Beast Jabba, and one with your favorite Leia/Luke/Chewie figures even. There are plenty of reasons to own more than one though.

So my hat is off to Hasbro for a job well done. If they can work the retail down on potential future VOTC figures that’d be great, but no matter what this sculpt should definitely get re-used in the line down the road. This is a figure that would make kids and collectors alike quite happy to own. Buy, open, enjoy… simple as that.

 

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