It’s day three of vintage Kenner Star Wars goodness. In case you’re just joining us, these features were inspired by the fact that I got a box of some of my old Star Wars figures shipped down to my from my brother. I’ve been going through them and matching up weapons and cleaning them up. Some of them are in pretty poor shape, while others aren’t half bad at all. To kick things off, I decided to focus on figures from my absolute favorite scene in any of the Star Wars films: The Battle of Hoth. Today we’re going to check out the unsung heroes of that battle, Unnamed Rebel Commander and Unnamed Rebel Trooper!
Oddly enough, I have no memory of actually getting these figures, which leads me to believe they came to me through one of two great Christmas winfalls of Star Wars figures. Yes, there were two Christmases where I gave “Santa” a list of figures I was missing and my poor parents had to go hunt them all down.
The Rebel Commander is a really cool figure, but I don’t think I was all that keen on him back in the day. Nonetheless, he got used a lot. My Falcon spent a great deal of time marooned on Hoth and the Rebels took up using it as a base of operations. Rebel Commander set up shop in the back and became a permanent fixture. I remember that I eventually adopted the name Cliff for him because his mustache made me think he was Cliff Clavin from Cheers. Of course it wasn’t until much, much later that I learned John Ratzenberger actually played a Rebel on Hoth. Was this figure supposed to be Bren Derlin? If not, that was some crazy coincidence!
And then there’s the Trooper. Man, I wanted to build a squad of these so bad. Even as a kid, I loved the idea of having troop builders, but my parents sure didn’t. Getting them to understand that I needed multiple Stormtroopers and Rebels for my battles never did fly. All my attempts were met with, “No, you have this guy already. Get someone you don’t have!” How the hell did they always know? Anyway, I was a tricky little snot and would ask my grandparents for figures that I wanted multiples of and every now and again it worked. Still, I don’t think I ever had more than one Rebel Trooper. Now that I have my own monies and a little something called Ebay, maybe I’ll grab another couple of these guys.
It’s interesting to look at my old toys from a toy collector perspective. I never noticed until looking at these figures now that there was a wee bit of shared sculpting going on. The vests, the belt the pants, there’s a lot of similarities here with enough unique detail and paint to make it work wonderfully. At 9-years old I certainly never gave it a second thought. Of course, the Commander is smart enough to know that you’re less likely to be shot by wearing mostly white on an Ice Planet (they didn’t make him a Commander for nothing) while his poor Troopers in their tan vests are getting picked off by snipers left and right. In retrospect, I think it’s a bit odd that the Commander came with a backpack and the regular Trooper didn’t. Of course, Kenner remedied that with an accessory pack a little later on.
While I probably didn’t give it much thought back in the day, I find the weapon choices for these two a bit odd. The Commander comes with the same carbine that Hoth Luke came with and the Rebel Trooper came with a pistol that would be recycled for many of the Bespin figures. It seems like the Troopers should have had the rifles and the handgun should have been given to the Commander. Of course, the flipside to that was Kenner giving the Snowtroopers giant rifles when they should have just had E-11 Blasters. There’s just no pleasing me, I guess.
And that’s pretty much the extent of Kenner’s Hoth figures on the Rebel side. Yeah, they also did the other Medical Droid, RX-7, but sadly he wasn’t in the box. Maybe I’ll replace him later on down the road. Having this team of figures together again already has me on the hunt for one of the three Hoth Playsets because I’d really love to get these old friends up and on display somewhere. One thing’s for certain, getting this box of old figures has really kindled a fire under my somewhat misplaced love for Star Wars toys, so don’t be surprised to see more of it featured around here in the weeks ahead.