Ooh…I thought they smelled bad…on the outside! – Han Solo, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
On January 21, 2021, Hasbro Hasbro released a 6-inch scale Han Solo (Hoth) action figure as part of its Star Wars The Black Series Archive collection. Like other figures in the Archive subcollection, this rendition of smuggler-turned-Rebel hero Han Solo in his Rebel-issue comes in a cardback blister pack similar to Hasbro’s 40th Anniversary “Kenner” packaging – but with a twist.
In 2021, Lucasfilm Ltd. – the company founded by George Lucas on December 10 1971 after leaving Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope, a film production company he co-founded several years earlier – celebrated its 50th Anniversary. In honor of this occasion, Hasbro re-issued some of its Star Wars The Black Series figures in special Lucasfilm Ltd. packaging, including fan favorites such Luke Skywalker (Hoth) and Han Solo (Hoth).
Han Solo (Hoth)
When Han’s tauntaun dies of exposure, he uses the beast’s body to keep the badly wounded Luke Skywalker from freezing to death until the pair can be rescued. – Character blurb, Star Wars The Black Series Han Solo (Hoth) – Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary Archive Collection
Based on the character played by Harrison Ford in 1980’s Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo (Hoth) is a Star Wars The Black Series (6-inch scale) revision of Kenner’s 3.75-nch scale Han Solo (Hoth Outfit).
Like the various action figures (in both 3.75-inch and 6-inch scale) released by Kenner and its eventual corporate owner/successor Hasbro over the past 42 years, Han Solo (Hoth) is a depiction of the Corellian space pirate/Rebel stalwart in his Rebel Alliance-issued hooded parka.
THE ARCHIVE COLLECTION: Epic figures from the Star Wars The Black Series return with the Black Series Archive 6-inch-scale action figures, featuring photoreal deco and premium design. – Hasbro website promotional blurb for Han Solo (Hoth)
As the Hasbro blurb implies, this is a revised version of a 2015 Star Wars The Black Series figure issued in a two-pack, Han Solo and Tauntaun. The Archive Collection figure – unfortunately – does not come with the tauntaun, even though Hasbro – for some reason, kept this character description from the 2015 packaging:
When Han’s tauntaun dies of exposure, he uses the beast’s body to keep the badly wounded Luke Skywalker from freezing to death until the pair can be rescued.
The 2021 Han Solo (Hoth) also features a new paint and sculpt job to correct the coloring of Han’s Rebel issue parka. In previous releases, going all the way back to the Kenner 1980 Han Solo (Hoth Outfit) 3.75-inch mini-action figure, Han’s parka was blue, even though the actual John Mollo-designed costume is brown.
Why the discrepancy? Because when you watch The Empire Strikes Back at the movies or on TV, the parka has a dark bluish hue. Much of the exterior action in the Hoth segment of the movie was filmed in Finse, Norway in early 1979, and the cold affects the way light and colors interact with a camera lens and film stock. Much of the footage, therefore, tends to have a bluish tint to it, and so Han’s brown parka looks, well, blue.
With that out of the way….
Han Solo (Hoth) – like the similarly attired Rebel Soldier (Hoth) and Luke Skywalker (Hoth) – wears cold weather gear that is suitable for the perpetual winter conditions on an ice planet. In his Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary card back packaging, Han Solo (Hoth) wears his brown military-looking parka (it bears a rank tab that looks like the ones worn by Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia above the left breast pocket) with the hood up. Beneath the fur-lined hood, Han sports a gray-white kepi-like cap with goggles. An off-white bandanna covers the lower portion of Han’s face to protect him from the ice-cold winds on Hoth, but the sculpt is so good that you can tell the figure’s face is closely based on reference photos of Harrison Ford in his costume.
Han Solo (Hoth) also wears – logically – protective gloves; they are gray-white (like Han’s military-issue cap), and the left one sports a wrist comlink. His padded cold-weather trousers and tightly laced leggings with snow boots are also off-white with some gray detailing molded/painted on for a photo-realistic depiction of the actual Mollo-designed costume.
CHARACTER-INSPIRED ACCESSORIES: This Star Wars The Black Series action figure comes with 3 Han Solo (Hoth)-inspired accessories that make great additions to any Star Wars collection. – Hasbro website promotional blurb for Han Solo (Hoth)
This 2021 figure comes with three character-appropriate accessories based on Han Solo’s heroics on Hoth just before the arrival of Imperial forces led by the evil Darth Vader:
- BlasTech DL-44 Heavy Blaster Pistol
- Removable Belt and Holster
As mentioned earlier, although Han Solo (Hoth) is technically a “reissue” of a pre-existing figure from a two-figure set released in 2015, he does not come with his faithful (and doomed) tauntaun. He does have a set of macrobinoculars, a DL-44 blaster (which, of course, is a modified German Mauser C96 pistol), and a removable belt-and-holster set. All of the accessories are molded and painted to look like either the costume pieces or hand props, i.e., the blaster’s handgrip has brown detailing to simulate the wooden parts of the grip, and the belt buckle is painted in a silver/chrome color to depict metal parts.
PREMIUM ARTICULATION AND DETAILING: Star Wars fans and collectors can display this highly poseable, fully articulated figure, featuring premium deco, in their action figure and vehicle collection. – Hasbro website promotional blurb for Han Solo (Hoth)
Star Wars figures have seen many improvements and changes in the 44 years since Kenner introduced the original 12 “mini-action figures” of the 3.75-inch variety. As toy manufacturers added computer aided design/computer aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) tools, improved molding and painting standards and techniques, digital and laser scanning for precise measurements of actors’ faces and physiques, the figures, over time, were improved and made more life-like.
Unlike the first-generation Kenner action figures from the 1970s and 1980s, Star Wars The Black Series are larger (6-inch scale versus 3.75-inch) and have at least 24 points of articulation (POAs) compared an average of five in human or humanoid character-based figures.
As Hasbro’s promotional blutb implies, this means that Han Solo (Hoth) can be posed in dynamic and life-like stances. As much as I like the original Kenner mini-action figures from my adolescence, they did not have as many POAs, so displaying them in “realistic” poses was next to impossible. Only a few of the 3.75-inch figures were designed to hold weapons in two hands, and even those were restricted to a few stances that did not look, well, toylike!
And although the “fur-lined” parka’s hood is in the “up” position and the bandanna Han wears underneath obscures the figure’s lower face area, from what I can see in the bubble pack of the Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary card back, Han Solo (Hoth) bears a close resemblance to the then-37-year-old Harrison Ford in costume.
Although this Star Wars The Black Series figure comes in a cardback Archive package, this one is different from previous releases of this Hasbro subcollection because it is a Lucasfilm Ltd. 50th Anniversary issue. The cardback is designed to look like earlier Star Wars The Black Series Archive reissues, but the color scheme is different and Lucasfilm Ltd.’s logo features prominently on the upper left corner of the cardback.
On the reverse side of the cardback, there’s a drawing (done in gray tones) of Han in Hoth gear and this character description (in English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese): When Han’s tauntaun dies of exposure, he uses the beast’s body to keep the badly wounded Luke Skywalker from freezing to death until the pair can be rescued.
The Lucasfilm Ltd. 50 motif recurs with the Golden Anniversary logo underneath the character portrait/blurb, and there’s a simplified Star Wars-centric timeline that traces the history of the franchise from 1971 to 2021, with the logos from various iterations of Star Wars (including Legends!) from the company’s first half-century.
The packaging also bears this tagline in five languages:
Commemorate the first 50 years of Lucasfilm with figures inspired by the original Star Wars trilogy!
Han Solo (Hoth) is, like the similar Luke Skywalker (Hoth) figure in this subcollection issued last year to commemorate Lucasfilm’s Golden Anniversary, a nice find and addition to my modest Star Wars The Black Series collection. Ford’s cocky, reckless, but brave and loyal character appears in more scenes of The Empire Strikes Back in this outfit more than Luke does in his Arctic-combat gear, so if collectors have the appropriate character figures (such as Chewbacca or General Rieekan), they can recreate more Hoth-based scenes with this figure.
Well, this wraps up another review of a Star Wars The Black Series Archive figure from the Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary collection. I enjoyed writing it, and I hope you enjoy reading it.
Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and remember: the Force will be with you…always.
 According to Rebelscum.com’s D. Martin Myatt, Kenner changed the name of Han Solo (Hoth Outfit) to Han Solo (Hoth Battle Gear) three years later because someone thought the original moniker on the cardback did not sound masculine enough. Here’s how Myatt explains it:
Have you ever noticed that the word ‘outfit’ doesn’t really sound all together manly? A fine example is the original name on The Empire Strikes Back card back for the Han Solo (Hoth Outfit) action figure. Though you can count on the fact that the name didn’t actually affect sales, Kenner must have realized the power of a name when they renamed it ‘Han Solo (Hoth Battle Gear)’ on the Return of the Jedi card backs. Either way, the figure’s (sort of) working holster made this version of the scoundrel very cool… even if we all wish to disregard the ‘outfit’ thing completely…
 One-environment planets or moons, such Tatooine (desert), jungle (Yavin IV), Dagobah (bog), and forest (the Green Moon of Endor) are a trope George Lucas borrowed mainly from the Saturday matinee Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers serials that he drew inspiration from when he created the original Star Wars trilogy.