Hasbro has rolled out some vintage style carded packaging for the 6-inch Black Series to celebrate Empire Strikes Back‘s 40th Anniverary. Most of these seem to be repacks, and I’m not double-dipping on any of these just because of the packages, but I sure as hell wanted some Hoth Troopers. Since I never find these on the shelves, and since I really don’t care about the package, I went ahead and pre-ordered this one on Amazon a while back, accepting the fact that it would arrive a crumpled mess, and I’ll just have to try my luck at the pegs to pick up a couple more.
All I see are horror story pictures on Twitter of collectors receiving these all mangled. Imagine my surprise when mine showed up in a simple padded mailer and yet still managed to arrive unscathed. Now don’t get me wrong, I do really dig the presentation here. The card looks great! It tickles me in the nostalgia zone and I like the foil 40th Anniversary box at the top. And as wonderful as it all looks, the figure looks every bit as good! But I got no room for keeping 6-inch carded figures, and this ain’t collector friendly, so let’s rip this baby open and have a look.
These fellas sure have gotten a lot more screen accurate since the Kenner days! Indeed, I’m beside myself with how much detail Hasbro packed into this guy. The arms and legs feature that familiar quilting that turns up on pretty much all of the Hoth Rebels, and I dig the crisscrossing straps on his boots. He has a sculpted pouch on his right bicep, just under what I’m going to guess is a unit designation. He also has his comm panel sculpted into his left gauntlet so he can all back to Echo Base and report Wampa sightings! The vest and lower part of his tunic are cast in soft plastic and attached to the figure to give the costume some nice depth. Dress in layers, it’s cold outside! There’s a sculpted military-style belt with a pouch and six grenades sculpted into the front right side of the tunic, as well as his rank insignia on the left side of his chest. He also has a functional holster for his pistol, and the kerchief around his neck is removable, but it’s cold on Hoth so I can’t imagine why he would want to take it off.
The backpack is an impressive piece of kit. It has a sculpted covering with all the little buttons and stitch marks and exposed sections of the packs instruments, along with cables feeding out of them and an antenna. The pack is removable, it simply pegs in the figure’s back and there are also two clips coming off the sides of the vest that tab into slots in the pack. The pack also has a hidden compartment, which houses a second face plate, just like that first Destro figure back in the old GI JOE: Real American Hero line!
The figure is packaged with the clean shaven face that I’ve been showing all along. It looks like this was Hasbro’s attempt to reproduce the soldier depicted on the card, and it does a pretty good job of it. He does look really young to me, but then Hoth wouldn’t be the first battle that sent kids off to fight. I also like that he’s got some rosy cheeks because it’s so cold! The helmet has a quilted hood with a comm device sculpted onto the side, a plastic scarf flap hanging off the other, and a pair of goggles on elastic that can be worn up or over the eyes. I think the goggles look better worn up than they do on over the eyes.
Hasbro took a page from the Figma/Figuarts book when it comes to the face plate. Pop off the top of the head and you can peel off one face and replace it with the other. The alternate face is bearded and looks more age appropriate for the horrors of ice trench warfare. I actually like this portrait a lot and until I can get a second one of these guys, I’m going to go with this face for regular display.
There are no surprises to be had in the articulation. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint hidden up under the vest, and the neck is ball jointed. The lower part of the tunic does get in the way of leg movement a bit, but the sides are slit and that helps a lot. I still prefer the double-hinged elbows and rotating hinges of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line, especially when dealing with rifles, but what we get here certainly isn’t bad.
The Rebel Soldier comes with two weapons, a standard DH-17 pistol and an A280 rifle. Both of these are highly detailed sculpts and I even took a moment to admire how well the rifle matches the one seen in the film. My only nitpicks here are that they didn’t spare a little silver paint for the muzzle of the pistol and I would have liked a sling on the rifle. Hell, even the rifles that came with some of the Kenner Hoth figures had slings! The Rebel’s right hand is sculpted with a trigger finger that works well with both weapons and he can cradle the rifle in his off hand. The pistol fits very well in the holster.
I know I say this a lot, but I’m constantly teetering on whether or not to keep collecting this line. Too often, it feels like Hasbro is just phoning in the figures and not taking advantage of the larger scale. But then, just when I’m at that precipice and ready to jump off, Hasbro produces an amazing figure like this one. It’s kind of sad that they have released more than a few main characters in the line that don’t have the care and attention to detail that this nameless soldier does, but that doesn’t make me appreciate him any less. Quite the contrary. It’s releases like this that realize the potential of the line’s scale and status as “collector” figures, and keep me hanging around a little while longer. Now hopefully he’ll get a regular boxed release so I can get a couple more!