For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction… Right? Well, that seems much the case in Star Wars collecting, though not nearly as balanced the vast majority of the time. To put it into figure terms; “For every great figure, there's at least one bad one that comes down the sewer pipe”. The Hoth wave (crammed with decent to really nicely done figures) possibly came with what I would label the absolute worst Star Wars figure of 2003, and so far, 2004 as well. That's some title for this badboy to hold.
Yup, you read it here first… Well probably not, since I see lots of people saying the same thing around any number of message boards, chatrooms, and forums online, but the point is, I'm claiming this thing as the worst figure of 2003 now. Just a big pile of horrid disappointment for $4.99, or even $2.99 for that matter! The Hoth Rebel Trooper (Hoth Evacuation) fails on almost every level that an army builder figure possibly could, and sadly, it's a figure that has desperately needed a major resculpt since its last official version was released as a Deluxe Figure back around 1997.
So, if you're ready for some trash talking, please read on… If having a bad opinion of all things Hasbro offends you, feel free to just back away slowly. And if you're indifferent, why are you even reading this?
PROS (This'll be short)
Coat Extension/Skirt Piece : Ummm, well it is a pro, right? I love the coat extensions that Hasbro has used on its figures since they started cranking these out back in the POTF2 days. An invention that still looks great, despite it being rather restrictive to the leg articulation.
It'd be nice if Hasbro perhaps used a more flexible material though, and if there were a slight cut up each side, so the articulation wouldn't be completely restricted as it is on so many figures with this feature. Still, the way the little skirt piece looks is great, and if the figure's leg articulation is only at the two hip joints, then he couldn't be posed too much anyway.
The short coat extension on this trooper marks the first time a Hoth Soldier has had this little look of realism added to him, and it is sculpted nicely. The holster for the troop's sidearm is also attached to the extension making it also look a little more realistic, if not frustrating that it isn't a working holster, as it should have been.
All in all, a plus I'd say… Probably, in my opinion, this figure's best feature though. That's not boding too well when you think about it.
Accessories : Hasbro didn't really snub us on accessories here, so one can't complain about that aspect of the figure either. He comes with what he basically deserves, though I think as an army builder he could've had more features which would've required more accessories. Of course, I speak of the aforementioned working holster, which would've then required a separate blaster pistol for said holster. But I digress…
Still, the figure comes packed with three accessories, which include:
-Rebel Soldier Rifle, which is the same one included with the 2002 Saga Endor Rebel Soldier.
-Hoth Soldier's backpack, which is an all-new sculpt (and substantially smaller than the previous POTF2 backpacks). This new backpack's sculpt is nice and crisp though, for sure.
-Generic Star Wars stand that appears to be a very frequent pack-in for most 2004 figures as of right now. It's the plain grey stand (with the Star Wars logo imprinted on it ) that rather resembles a ship's floorboard or something. Stands are always nice, so I guess it's a plus to get one here.
So, as you can see, not a terrible allotment of gear for your troop, I guess. Not everything it could be though, since I would've dug a removable helmet and working holster with a pistol to go along with it. Personally, I'd give up the stand for that in a heartbeat.
Blaster Rifle Isn't Flimsy : Holy cow! The rifle I got with my trooper is actually NOT bent in half! I mean, I almost fell out of my chair in shock… Is it that Hasbro is possibly making a change in the line and switching to a firmer plastic for its weapons? I certainly hope that's the case, and that I didn't just get a fluke here. My Hoth Soldier's rifle is actually not real flimsy like the identical weapon that was packed with other earlier figures. It's a small plus, but it's a positive nonetheless.
I certainly hope better weapon plastic is coming about as a turn for the better. But we'll only find out by seeing more figures sport this same weapon, which I'm wagering isn't likely to happen in the coming year, unfortunately. All in good time though!
Sculpt : I've seen some talk around the forums that pumps this figure's sculpt up as a highlight of it, but I honestly cannot agree with that sentiment at all. To me, this was one of the top shortcomings of this figure actually.
Nothing was really crisp or stood out to me with the Hoth Trooper's sculpt. The details of the figure were only slightly superior to its POTF2 counterparts, and in this day and age of top-notch figure sculpts, this figure stands out like a sore thumb due to his inferior quality.
The headsculpt is awkward looking, and many have likened it to Dan Akroyd of Ghost Busters fame. I see it myself actually, and admit it's a somewhat odd and uncanny likeness. The expression on the face isn't doing this character any favors either, with a slightly dumbfounded look, and unnecessarily showing lots of teeth. This figure's face sculpt is full of worry. Maybe that's fairly accurate for a Hoth Rebel staring down the chin guns of an AT-AT, but I prefer my army builders to be as neutral looking as possible.
The body sports some SLIGHTLY better detailing than its POTF2 counterpart. Quilting lines and such on the uniform, the chest badge, the wrist commlink, etc… These are all very slight improvements over the prior version, though I think Hasbro could've pulled off something far superior when initially sculpting this figure. Personally, I still prefer the POTF2 Deluxe Hoth Rebel Soldier over this particular Saga figure. That should never be the case, quite honestly.
Articulation : This figure's absolute worst feature is his complete lack of articulation. Hasbro, in its infinite wisdom, chose to revert back to 1996-97 here, by giving this figure the same awkward action pose that the first Hoth Trooper had, as well as once again giving him the standard (but now outdated) six points of articulation.
When figures like the Imperial Dignitaries are even able to at least pose their arms a couple of ways, it's a true shame to see Hasbro skimp on an army builder like this and make him an ugly one-pose-wonder.
The figure sports its few joints at:
-2 Standard Shoulders Swivel
-2 Standard Leg/Hips Swivel
-1 Standard Neck Swivel
-1 Standard Waist Swivel
This unfortunate lack of decent articulation doesn't allow you to pose the trooper much at all really. He can't hold a rifle with two hands. He can't kneel. He can't be posed like he's running (he's posed permanently walking actually). He can't do much of anything really, and for that, this figure is a major disappointment. Again, he's an army builder, and is therefore worthy of at least a couple good poses and some decent articulation. The ball was summarily dropped here.
Action Pose : I've already made my point fairly clear about his pose in the articulation section, but it warrants mentioning it here separately. The sculpt and lack of articulation on this figure limits it to one, single, uninteresting pose.
Had Hasbro possibly done this figure in a neutral stance, I think I'd be less harsh on it since it would've at least provided some decent customizing fodder to those who wanted it, but the figure doesn't even had that going for it. It is, without a doubt, a terribly posed character. An army of these lined up in the trenches would look like ridiculous cookie cutter clones of each other.
Even with a neutral pose but no additional articulation, this figure would've still been lacking, but at least he'd be able to make a few more unique looking poses with a more neutral stance. Again, it's unfortunate that this figure has this many serious shortcomings (I made a funny on the short remark… Read on for that), and it's especially unfortunate since this is a figure we likely won't see resculpted again for some time to come.
Too Short : Well, the “short of it”, haha, is that the Hoth Trooper is a VERY under-scaled character when compared to the rest of the modern line. I don't know why this is, but Hasbro really missed the mark on this figure's overall size, not to mention quality control. He's downright TINY compared to anyone but a female figure like Leia. Even with the awkward leg pose that some say is why he looks so short, he's STILL way under-scaled compared to any other figure.
I posed him next to some POTF2 Hoth Troopers, and my god they tower over him like he's a midget leprechaun or something. This figure's heighth is a huge flaw you'll notice the first time you have him near any other figure(s). He's even a good half a head or so shorter than Jedi Luke. Luke, as most of you know, was a pretty short guy. When he's even able to look down at the Hoth soldier, you have to wonder if the Alliance was pulling in some child labor for its war effort.
(By the way, no offense to you short folks out there. I'm just 5'11” myself, so I don't have much room to talk. To-scale though, this guy's probably like 4' tall I think. J )
Holster Doesn't Work : Certain things should be “standard” in this line at this point. Hasbro's come so far in its abilities that things like headgear/helmets should all be removable by now. We should see articulation on every figure increased to a minimum number of points per figure. Accessories shouldn't bend under their own weight. Etc., etc., etc…
Hasbro's ingenious method of making functional holsters to hold their teeny, tiny, to-scale blasters is a great thing. To me, it's one of the greatest advancements Hasbro has made since it was introduced on the Cantina Han Solo figure back in the Commtech Chip days. Hasbro usually pulls this off pretty well, when they make their figures with working holsters. Sometimes they even do it for figures we didn't even know HAD a holster, like Ellors Madak for instance.
But for whatever reason, Hasbro chose not to give the Saga Hoth Trooper a working holster and to-scale pistol to fit into it. They even had to sculpt the skirt piece, so I think it would've been great had they simultaneously sculpted a working holster on there as well, and just packed in a pistol to go in it. I don't think this alone would've made this figure great, but it would've at least added some effort points to a figure that otherwise looks like Hasbro put very little (if any) effort into at all.
As it stands, the figure is holster-less (at least functionally speaking), and he's lacking pretty much in every other important aspect as well, so this wouldn't have saved him. It would've just been a nice gesture by Hasbro, I guess.
Lack of Helmet Features : What's this mean, you ask? Well, I figure since I dumped a landslide on this figure already, I may as well dump one more thing on to the heaping pile. This is just something I would've loved to see. It's not something I'd have ever expected though. This is merely me thinking out loud for a moment, and how I personally would have done this figure.
It would've been great to see the Hoth Trooper sport a removable helmet, with a cloth scarf attached into the side of the helmet so you could wrap it around his face. A gauze-like material would've probably sufficed, I think. This is just a personal idea I had. It would've opened the gates for Hasbro to even include head variants (though with how poor this figure is overall, I'd just as soon they didn't do that now). It would've really set this figure out there as something different though. A figure superior to its predecessors, if you will. An evolutionary step in the right direction for Hasbro as makers of great action figures.
Of course, this would've hinged on the figure being decent in articulation, pose, sculpt, scale accuracy, etc… My idea would've been basically doomed. It would be neat though, I think.
Well, that was some heavy figure bashing going on there. I'm downright tired after that.
I know… I know… “Stop whining and complaining”, “If you hate Hasbro so much, why are you here”, blah, blah, blah… Those remarks seem to never get old out of some people's mouths.
The point here is that this figure is poor quality. It begs pointing out. Top-to-bottom, this figure sucks, and Hasbro themselves are responsible for releasing this atrocious pegwarmer to the shelves. And yes, it is a pegwarmer. As of my writing this review, every Toys R Us I go to has them in good abundance, as do some local Target and Wal-Mart stores too.
The Hoth Trooper, quite simply, is the worst figure I've seen since some of the earliest Saga releases. Dare I say it's almost pushing me to change my signature at some of the forums I visit! That'd be quite an unprecedented move, to usurp the Fleet Trooper from my signature line. But my opinion should be pretty clear by this point. I highly suggest you skip this figure and voice your opinion to the proper authorities. If you're a completist, I feel your pain. If you're not, then rejoice in the fact that you most likely won't be buying this atrocity.
Let's hope the Hoth Rebel Trooper is the last terrible figure we see for quite some time. And let us have a second and even greater hope, that this figure is resculpted with Super Articulation at some point, and maybe even some head variants. I would buy those up in droves, Hasbro.
( Disclaimer : No Hasbro employees were harmed in the making of this review. All Hasbro employees are adults and able to take criticism. Any emotional distress caused to Hasbro employees over this review is not the liability of the reviewer. Any Hasbro employee who broke out in tears because he worked on the Saga Hoth Trooper and was hurt by my harsh words should seek medical attention. No Rebel Troopers were harmed in the making of this review either, though I'm still thinking of melting one with a magnifying glass out of principle.)