Saga Basic Figures Blue Variant
Item No.: Asst. 84851 No. 84959
Includes: Lightsaber, blaster, mask, sensors
Action Feature: Push button for lightsaber-swinging action
Availability: Summer 2003
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back
Bio: On the ice planet Hoth, Han rides a tauntaun into the chilling night to find Luke, who has not returned from a patrol. Han locates a badly wounded Luke, but when the tauntaun succumbs to the cold, they are unable to return to the base. In danger of freezing to death, Han uses the creature's body as a makeshift shelter until rescuers can arrive. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.
Commentary: My long-time readers know that there's quite a bit of controversy over the color of Han Solo's jacket-- and not just on Hoth. Kick-started by Galoob in the 1990s, the way fans, licensees, and LucasFilm viewed the character was initially forged by the 1980s Kenner figures. What color were Han's various jackets in The Empire Strikes Back? Blue, if you grew up during the original days of the original trilogy. But if you were around in the 1990s, Lucas initially dictated to Galoob that (and I've got this quote in a letter from the company in a box some where) that "Han wears black." So for the early Galoob Micro toys, the jackets were black-- but in 1996, Hasbro's Hoth Han was sort of a brownish, purpley color and again in 1997, Bespin Han had a black jacket. Smash cut to 2003, Hasbro (after a few years of fan complaints) decided to do it both this Hoth Han in two colors-- there was even a full-page magazine joking if Han wears brown or blue... which completely disregarded the black jackets in the mid-1990s.
So in short, I have no idea what color this figure should be, because of illusions created by photography and discoloration of aging fabric. As far as I'm concerned, it should be blue, and this figure is blue. Hasbro did a nice job on this one, designing a figure that was compatible with the existing Tauntaun figure (seriously, he sits perfectly), sports a working holster, has sculpted binoculars, and can carry a little scanner pack too.
An action feature was integrated into the figure to simulate the slice-open action as seen in the flick. Han comes with a lightsaber-- it's basically Luke's but let's not dwell on the hilt details-- and if you push a button on his back, he can swing the lightsaber. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, he has a removable face mask too. This is a really slick figure, it's a little dated today but if you just sit down and look at everything Hasbro packed into the figures of 2002 and 2003 it's hard not to be more than a little impressed.
Collector's Notes: This figure has been repainted and rereleased a few times. You can get a really dark (almost black) version in 2006 from a tin gift set in addition to the brown and blue carded ones from 2003. While the 2007 "Vintage" figure is arguably the best overall, this one is presently the best one you can buy which can ride a Tauntaun. I expect a new version in the next couple of years... the Tauntaun and Han Solo.
Day 1,553: May 27, 2011