Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 880: Han Solo (Hoth Tauntaun Gear)

HAN SOLO and Tauntaun
Power of the Force Beast Assortment
Item No.:
Asst. 69645 No. 84017
Manufacturer: Kenner
Number: n/a
Includes: Blaster, Tauntaun, reins
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $14.99
Availability: Fall 1998
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy room.

Bio: Quick and Powerful, Capable of Surviving in Frigid Temperatires (Taken from the box. Dull, eh?)

Commentary: In 1996, Kenner put out a Hoth Han Solo with the hood down and his thermal hat up, and in an oddly colored jacket. The figure was one of the first two genuinely poor sellers in the line, resulting in Kenner saying that they would never revisit the character in this outfit. Well, by the end of 1998, "never" came around and the figure was slightly retooled and packaged with a Tauntaun that was basically impossible to find at retail. The figure was a vast improvement over the previous release in all areas, as his hood was now up, he had jointed knees, and oh yes-- he came with a Tauntaun. That's quite important. Keeping the same basic sculpt quality as the previous release, there were loads of textures and paint applications that made the figure good for its time. Since then, we've been given Han in his Hoth jacket in numerous colors (Blue, Brown, Black [Galoob]) and with his hood up or down. Heck, we've even had Han with removable goggles. So why is this one still neat?

Well, for starters, it's one of two Hoth Han molds sculpted to sit on a Tauntaun. The other was the 2003 version with the lightsaber and removable face mask. Second, it holds together nicely. While some fans may disagree, as a toy collector, I admire this figure because it is first and foremost a toy. Sure, the jacket is a color I don't see as correct, but the figure actually holds together. There's no danger of arms falling off, of a weapon breaking, or some other inappropriate problem. It's a solid plastic man that can take abuse and looks good riding his Tauntaun. You can't ask for much more than that, and 10 years later it still looks decent. Not perfect, but honestly the newer ones aren't all that much better than this one was. I wouldn't necessarily suggest tracking it down or paying a premium for it, but it was a fine example of Kenner trying to make good on a previously released and poorly received version of the same toy.

Collector's Notes: This particular figure was very highly sought-after for a couple of years. In 1998, Kenner made so much stuff that stores couldn't absorb it all-- so a lot of it got dumped into alternative channels like GameStops, where most toy collectors didn't frequent at the time. As such, this $15 creature pack was going for upwards of $60-$80 for quite some time. This has since died down, but the item seems to have been produced in fairly limited numbers, possibly meaning that it could be a genuinely hard-to-find item.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 880: October 28, 2008

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