Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Figure of the Day: Day 87: Han Solo in Stormtrooper Disguise

HAN SOLO in Stormtrooper disguise
Power of the Force Collection
Item No.:
No. 84198
Number: n/a
Includes: Helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: n/a
Availability: August 1995 - December 1996 + 90 days
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Han Solo was a cocky Corellian with a wry wit, a reckless disposition, dry humor, and technological savvy, who began his career as a smuggler. He went through several employers, had a short military career, met and befriended Chewbacca, and upset enough sentients to have several bounties placed on his head before becoming swept up into the Galactic Civil War against his own wishes. Never intending to stay, he left the Rebel Alliance after receiving pay for the rescue of Princess Leia Organa, but returned soon afterward to play a part in the Battle of Yavin. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: This was it: utopia in a box. The Han Solo in Stormtrooper Disguise figure had some newly tooled parts, and was an actual free figure-- with 2 proofs-of-purchase and an order form, you were sent one of your very own. Free, gratis, no check or nothin'. The figure was basically the (at the time) newly released normal Stormtrooper with a new head, new helmet, new arm, and new leg. Otherwise, he's basically the standard Stormtrooper. The head sculpt was good, and the neck was covered in black rings from the body glove, just like in the movie. (This is especially notable as this detail was ignored on the Luke in Imperial Guard disguise figure.) The old, bulky Stormtrooper sculpt is obviously a little weird to look at in 2006, but it's a special figure in that for many, this was where their new collections started. That, and anything with a removable helmet is cool.

Captain Solo came with the then-standard 6 points of articulation. For most fans, this was the very first modern figure they had the opportunity to purchase, although delivery would come in 60-90 days. The offer ran through 1996, and the cereal boxes were available through Fall of 1996 in many markets.

Collector's Notes: This was the first-ever official Han Solo in Stormtrooper disguise action figure. In the vintage line, only Luke in Stormtrooper was released, which no doubt inspired a lot of customizers to make the unproduced companion figure. Initially selling for upward of $30 for several years, this figure now goes for about $5.

Originally, this figure was to have a double-handled blaster rifle. Kellogg's doesn't allow for guns to be included with mail-in offers-- so this figure, various G.I. Joe figures, and others over time couldn't include what could be easily identified as a weapon. The double-barrelled gun was produced, though, and was apparently ready-to-go until it was released in 1998 with the Freeze Frame release of Princess Leia, which had the extra gun as a bonus. Subsequent releases of that Leia did not include the Han Stormtrooper gun. As the figure was specifically sculpted to hold that unique gun, it's worth tracking down if you own the Han figure.

As a mail-in offer from Froot Loops, this thing was nothing short of a marvel, it brought back the magic of collecting to lots of fans as well as fond memories of mailing away for figures as a kid.

In 1995, this was the first exposure most people had to the then-new line of Star Wars figures, and I know I first heard about it as a rumor on the AOL Star Wars boards-- I thought it was a hoax, so I wrote Kellogg's and got a "we cannot discuss this" letter long after I found it in stores, thus cementing the bizarre "we can't discuss anything at this time" answer that we still hear today. This was also the figure that pushed me to write online on August 1, 1995, because after I did find this in a grocery store, I decided it might be a good idea to make sure other fans knew about it. And that was 11 years ago today.

Day 87: August 1, 2006

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