The first Wave of Deluxe figures from Hasbro’s Star Wars Black line was 50-50 for me. I loved the Scout Trooper on Speeder Bike, but was not so crazy about Jabba. The third and fourth releases in this size assortment are both Hoth themed, giving us Han Solo and a Tauntaun, which I’m looking at today, and Luke Skywalker and a Wampa, which oddly enough doesn’t seem to be included as part of the assortment, so I guess these are shipping separately, two per case. Hoth tends to be one of my favorite scenes of the movies as far as toys are concerned, so I was naturally pretty excited to get this set.
The box is more or less identical to the style and deco used for the last two Deluxes. It’s black and bland and boring, but it does a nice job of showing off the toy inside. I don’t mind it, because it doesn’t make me feel bad about ripping it open and throwing it away. But hey, I always thought Tauntaun was spelled Taun Taun. As in two words. Maybe that was just me. Let’s start with the Han figure.
Han comes all bundled up for cold weather in his blue parka. Yes, BLUE! Just like it should be! Now, I’m not going to join in the age old nerd debate over what color it really was, nor do I care. Kenner made it blue and that’s what I’ve always gone by. I spent a hell of a lot more time playing with that action figure than Han had screen time wearing the outfit, so that’s the color that is burned into my brain. I like the way the outfit is executed, with the vest-style portion sculpted onto buck and the sculpted arm-sleeves. The lower part of the parka is soft plastic and attached under where the belt sits, so it all looks like one jacket, even though it’s a composite. The sculpted detail throughout the costume is quite good. The parka is textured and has the quilted pattern on the shoulders, which also appears on the knees.
The portrait isn’t terrible, but I think the likeness is only recognizable to me because of the iconic outfit. I don’t see Gentle Giant’s name on the packages anymore, so I’m guessing that partnership has ended. I’ll concede that the likness should be better in a Collector’s line produced at this scale, but at the same time, I’m not really taking issue with what we got. It’s OK. I do like that they took the time to sculpt the scar that Ford has on his chin, but then I think they usually get that bit right. The head has the hat sculpted onto it, but the hood is it’s own piece that can be taken off completely. It tends to ride off the shoulders if I don’t keep pushing it down and the split up the back is a little unsightly. The goggles are also removable and in fact come separate in the box. They look great warn up on the cap with the hood on and look fine worn around the neck. They don’t look so great when placed on Han’s face. I think Hasbro should have made these out of clear plastic and painted the rims and strap as the painted green lens doesn’t look terribly convincing.
Articulation is right in line with what we’ve been seeing in this series. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows. We usually get the same in the wrists, but in this case you just get swivels at the ends of the gloves.The lack of swivels in the biceps is a tad disappointing. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, have swivels in the thighs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint at the waist and both a ball joint and hinge in the neck.
Han comes with the same gun belt used for the first Han release, which means it is removable and it does feature a functional holster for his blaster. It never occurred to me that he used the same belt in the movie, but I guess it makes sense. I also really dig this belt a lot. It wears well on the figure and the holster with retraining strap is great. The gun is the same DL-44 blaster that came with the original Han figure. It’s still a decent looking gun and he can hold it in either hand.
You also get his binoculars, which is a nice try, but not a very useful accessory. He can wear them around his neck, but they pop out pretty far. I tend to prefer to put them over his shoulder. They seem way over-sized and will likely wind up in my Tote of Forgotten Accessories. The scanning unit would have been a much better accessory.
I do have one major bone to pick with this figure and that’s the scale. If you stand Hoth Han next to regular Han, he’s considerably taller, which is absolutely ridiculous. Hasbro has had problems with scale in this line before, one which we’ll see more of when Leia in Boushh disguise ships, and I find it to be a sloppy and unacceptable oversight in this type of collector line. Fortunately, my Han will probably spend most of the time astride his steed, so it won’t be as noticeable. Which brings us to…
…the Tauntaun! And I have some real mixed feeling about this guy, mainly because he really does feel like an up-scaled version of a smaller toy. Although even that statement is somewhat generous because the Vintage Collection Tauntaun looks to be a far more complex sculpt than this guy. But that’s just me going by pictures, because I don’t have that figure in my collection. I think my biggest issue with this new and larger version lies in the body. The fur looks too smooth and plastic and there isn’t a lot of depth to the sculpt. It’s a nice, big impressive piece, but I think Hasbro could have done a better job with the paint and fur.
The rest of what’s here is pretty good. I like the head sculpt a lot, especially the sculpted detail in the horns and the painted detail on the eyes and mouth. The saddle is nicely done as well, complete with detailed gear. It pegs into the body of the beast, so it is removable. The stirrups are designed to work well with the figure and Han can sit in the saddle in a convincing manner, even if his butt doesn’t want to go all the way into the seat.
Tauntaun’s articulation includes hind legs which rotate at the body and have rotating hinges at the ankles. The front legs rotate at the body and the neck is ball jointed, but mostly just moves side to side. Oddly enough, there’s no hinge in the jaw. Hey, Hasbro… why does Bossk get a hinged jaw and not this big guy? The articulation feels lacking, but then when you compare this piece to the Speeder Bike or even to Jabba, both at the same price point, I’m not sure it’s fair to complain.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m disappointed in this set, but then I have learned to temper my expectations from this line. It’s a solid release, not a bad value at the price point considering how big the Tauntaun is, but there’s certainly opportunity for improvement, especially when you can argue that both figures have been done at least as well in the smaller 3 3/4″ scale. The truth is, I’m still excited to get the Luke and Wampa set and if Hasbro wanted to get us a 6-inch Scale Probe Droid and throw a snowy-repaint Chewy in there, I’d happily buy that too.