I’m really not supposed to be buying Star Wars stuff until the new toys start hitting in August. Yeah, there was Zuckuss, but I rationalized him as a one-time slip up to a promise I made myself. Well, here’s another slip up, because the clearance price of $12.48 for a Wampa, Tauntaun and Luke figure seemed like too good a deal to pass up. Now, after the fact, it became clear that my excitement over great value blinded me a bit in the store, because when I got this set home and opened it up, it didn’t seem like such a great deal anymore. I don’t necessarily regret buying it, but its all in all its a pretty shabby assortment of toys.
As mentioned, the pack consists of a Tauntaun, Wampa and Luke Skywalker in Hoth gear. The package is standard for the 30th Anniversary Collection with a TRU Exclusive sticker on the window. It features a large window that shows off the figures nicely and has a cool ice cave motif inside that makes them look really nice in the package. The box is also very collector friendly as you can just slide out the tray and pop out the figures, and put them back again without tearing anything up. There’s surprisingly few rubber bands holding them in, and even without them, the figures fit snugly in place.
We’ll start off with the Wampa, because he is without a doubt the best thing in this box. He was originally issued back in the 2004 Saga Collection as a single carded Ultra Class figure. Despite being a bit long in the tooth (ha ha), his overal sculpt and articulation still hold up pretty well. His fur has lots of sculpted details and he even has pads on the bottoms of his feet. His shoulders and hips have rotating joints and he’s double jointed in the torso to give him the ability to twist a bit. His head will also turn, although not all that much. Hasbro may have gone a little overboard with the paintwork when dirtying this guy up, as he looks a tad too yellowish, but that may just be me. The blood around his mouth is a nice touch, though. The Wampa comes with a joint of meat and his right arm can be pulled off to simulate Luke’s barbarous lightsaber attack on this poor, harmless animal.
Moving on… the reuse of this Tauntaun is quite simply inexcusable, as its the one from the Power fo the Force 2 collection. Yeah, he’s stamped 2003, but I remember this sculpt and I know better. That’s right, folks, Hasbro reached all the way back to 1997 for this toy, and unfortunately it really shows. The sculpt isn’t horrific, but it looks really soft and dated. If Hasbro was insistant on reusing this mold, they probably could have saved it with better paint, but no such luck. The paint work is equally dated and has that grey, heavy handed wash that looks just terrible and yet characterized so many of the POTF2 toys. Even the white “snow” speckling on it doesn’t look good. The bit and harnass are separate and removable, and in case you’re wondering, he doesn’t have the split belly feature. This beast is a passable place holder if you are completely without a Tauntaun or are hoping for an updated release around the corner, but otherwise, you can do much better. I should note, that it is vastly improved if you happen to own a Hoth Luke that is capable of properly riding him. And that brings me to…
Luke Skywalker in Hoth gear. The sculpt on Luke actually isn’t bad at all, but this figure was a really poor choice for this pack because he doesn’t have the sculpting or articulation that would allow him to sit on the Tauntaun. Seriously, why would you include a mount and a rider in the same package that weren’t made to be used with each other? You can actually get Luke to sit on the Tauntaun, but you have to bend out his legs and force him on and it doesn’t look at all natural. His articulation is not only dated, but weird. He has this crazy, primitive joint in his neck that allows him to look up and down, but looks really strange. He has universal joints in his shoulders, rotating joints in his hips, but that’s it. Luke comes with a lightsaber and a useless pair of goggles that he cannot even wear. Wow. You can also remove the scarf hanging off his hat, but why? Unlike the other two figures, I can’t place this Luke anywhere, so if you can, please help me out. I’m pretty sure it isn’t the 2004 Saga Luke that was meant to go with the Ultra Class Wampa, but then I could be wrong. It just seems like a real oddball figure.
The original retail on this set was $24.99 and I’m sorry, but at that price, this set was a rip off. I do realize that these Battle Packs are designed by Hasbro to give them an outlet for cashing in on older stock. Its also a pretty good way for kids and new collectors to get toys that are otherwise not on the shelf anymore. But here’s another good way to do that: Ebay. Even still, Hasbro could have done much better when making the selections for this one. Actually the whole set would have been vastly improved with a more context appropriate Luke. At the clearance price of $12.48 its a little better. The Wampa alone would probably sell for close to that nowadays, but anything more and it would be stretching it.