Hot Toys has followed up its release of the Patrol Trooper (see HERE) from the Solo movie with two versions of the young Han Solo character. The second of these is Han Solo as a "mud trooper," serving in the imperial infantry on the muddy, swampy planet of Mimban. I have little attachment to the film and its characters, but I liked the Patrol Trooper for its relatively cool design and I liked the "mud troopers" for giving us what is still a slightly modified representation of the regular imperial army, which we hardly noticed in the Original Trilogy (primarily as "AT-ST drivers" on Endor). So I picked this up, primarily with the intention of making just that... But even if I don't care much about the film, its silly plot, grungy appearance, or its redundant trooper types (on principle), since I have it, it makes sense to review the set, which, for the most part, is very nicely done.
Packaging: 4/4 stars
This is not a category where one should expect something new or exciting every time. In fact, there should be an expectation of consistency between related products, and to some extent that is dictated by Disney/Lucasfilm. The packing reflects that of the Patrol Trooper and (I suppose) the other Solo Han Solo set. We have the shoe-type box with removable lid, with a fine depiction of the product against the standard two shades of black background. A colorful cigar box band with additional images of the product runs across the bottom of the container. Inside, below the nice but useless card showcasing the figure in something closer to an action pose, there is the translucent lid and black trey assembly (both in plastic), holding the figure and its accessories. Everything is safe and collector-friendly.
Sculpting: 4/4 stars
This category covers all the sculpted or molded portions of the set, although it is naturally dominated by the most elaborate feature, the head sculpt. The head is an excellent representation of the actor, complete with a bit of his smirk. Despite the youthful look, there is enough in the features to look realistic, and the hair stranding is very fine, as we have come to expect from Hot Yous. In common with some other recent Hot Toys releases, the head sculpt is (1) identical to that used for a previous set (the other Solo Solo) and (2) features removable and swappable hair pieces (with magnets) to accommodate optional headgear and other accessories (like the other Solo Solo and the Endor Leia). While neither of these practices is a problem in itself, it is an example of economy that ought to have been translated into savings for the consumer. But unless the price would have been even more outrageous than it already is, that does not seem to have been the case. It could be just my impression, but the way it is put together, the face seems a little bit too far forward inside the helmet.
The other sculpted/molded pieces are done with an equal attention to detail. They are clear and sharp, even where the detail is exquisitely intricate and fine, as on the gloved hand sculpts, the exposed "machinery" on the back armor plate, or the little communicator (?) unit on the right side of the helmet. The E-10 blaster rifle is very nicely sculpted, but sturdy enough to use even if it has a couple of articulated pieces. The gas mask features flexible ribbed hoses that are to be plugged into holes at the top of the back plate of the armor, which look great and work reasonably well, even if they are difficult to plug in.
Paint: 3/4 stars
On the whole, Hot Toys' paint job is as excellent as usual. There are no obvious errors in the application. There is subtle texturing of the skin on the face and neck and glossy treatment of the eyes, giving the head sculpt a natural and realistic look. The hair pieces are well-painted, though perhaps a little flat, although the fine detail of the sculpt and the shinier quality of the paint highlights plenty of detail. The armor pieces (helmet, chest and back plate, shoulder guards, upper arm guards, and shin guards) are given a worn, slightly dirty appearance that works very well, and is carried over to the gas mask. Something like that, though perhaps less fine, is applied to the belt and utility boxes. The paint on the gloved hand sculpts distinguished between the matte rubber parts and the shinier leather parts of the gloves. The goggles are also given nice weathering, helping them fit in with the rest of the equipment. However, they are not translucent, which is a bit of a disappointment. Admittedly, they don't need to be, but Hot Toys has spoiled us with providing that feature to helmets (more often than not), and this removable accessory would have been a good place to do so again; arguably it would be easier to observe and appreciate here than in helmets like that of the Patrol Trooper.
While everything is nicely done, there are certain inconsistencies that detract from the paint execution. The blaster rifle has traditional and fine weathering with silverish or gunmetal grey wash and the shinier finish on the lens is a nice touch, but the golden weathering at the bottom looks simply and poorly painted on. The boots have a very fine and realistic weathering making them look used, worn, and dirtied up; but this is not extended to the pants or coat, which look worn but fairly clean, except perhaps for the occasional dusty edge. Then there is the cape, which is gloriously speckled with drops of mud, but again, contrasting with both the much cleaner pants and coat and with the much finer weathering on the boots. I realize I have ventured into the outfit category, but these observations apply to the paint and coloring of the set. In and of itself, everything is well-done, but taken together, the degree of weathering seems to defy logic.
Articulation: 3/4 stars
Like so often in the past, Hot Toys is capable of providing excellent articulation but more often than not incapable of allowing for it in the fully clothed set. In this instance we have the added benefit of a separate neck piece, allowing for two points of articulation in the area (at the top of the neck and at the base of the neck), which is an improvement on the usual practice (where the neck is either integral to the head sculpt or to the upper torso). The armor pieces get a little in the way of mobility at the shoulders, and at the ankles (where the shin guards could dig into the top of the boots and possibly cause damage), although this is the fault of the film costuming design rather than Hot Toys. However, Hot Toys insists on using hefty padded undergarments that end up severely limiting articulation, especially in the thigh area (a problem possibly exacerbated by overly tight pants, although in this juncture I don't know which part of the clothing is more at fault). The idea is to make the exterior layers of the outfit sit more naturally, but for the most part this makes little difference while having a more palpable impact on the functionality of the figure. If you want to put your Mudtrooper in any ambitious action poses, you might do well to carefully undress him and remove the padded undergarments -- it can only help. As it is, without modifications, I could barely get him to sit down, in an awkward way...
Accessories: 3.5/4 stars
The set includes the clothed and armored figure and a number of additional items. Spare/alternate parts include an extra pair of wrist pegs, a second hair piece to be worn under the helmet and with either the chin strap or the gas mask (which has its own strap), and two additional pairs of hands, for a total of three pairs (relaxed hands, fist hands, and trigger hands). There is a rectangular base and stand with a permanently attached card on top, printed to simulate a muddy surface; the base features a shiny nameplate with "Star Wars" and "Han Solo" written on it. The real accessories are the E-10 blaster rifle, which is articulated with moving parts at the back (butt stock) and front; the helmet (which attaches to the alternate "helmet-hair" hair piece with both a magnet and a sort of plastic peg); a separate chin strap for the helmet, to be used if not employing the gas mask; the gas mask, with its flexible ribbed hose (which attach in the holes on top of the back plate); the goggles, to be worn on top of the helmet. There is a little leaflet (not shown) that provides instructions as to how to use the accessories safely. Given that, apart from some of the alternate parts, everything can end up on the figure or used by it, and that we saw the "Mudtroopers" equipped with all this, this is not an overly lavish selection of accessories. On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine what else could have been provided with this set.
Outfit: 3.5/4 stars
The visible parts of the outfit are fairly simple: the cape, the coat, the pants, and the boots; the padded undergarment also features the visible collar of what is supposed to be the shirt beneath the coat. They all look great by themselves, although the degree of weathering applied to them as a whole is both inconsistent and arguably illogical. The pants are perhaps a little tight, limiting articulation, although the problem might really be limited to the padded undergarment. The cape is recreated very elaborately and given a fair amount of wear and tear (not just weathering), but it does not seem to be truly functional, and posing it can be an issue (there are no wires to help you achieve a desired look). The boots are soft, allowing for good ankle articulation, although the shin guards do get in the way for some poses. There is an extra strap with its two ends handing over the chest and shoulders -- this is apparently supposed to be for the gas mask when it is off, but since that comes with its own straps, you are probably meant to conceal the extra strap in the folds of the cape if you use the gas mask.
Fun Factor: 3/4 stars
Without other figures seen alongside the "Mudtroopers" and with the limited articulation at the thighs, these figures will not live up to their theoretical full potential. The assortment of equipment/accessories allows for some variation, but army building is likely to be cost prohibitive. Still, the sets are very well done overall, and if you are a fan of the look or of the film, you are likely to appreciate them. They certainly seem to have sold out like hot bread even at the preorder stage, and command disturbing prices on the secondary market.
Value: 2.5/4 stars
Preordered and without including the shipping, this set cost me $228 (USD). The regular price (provided you can find it in stock) is about $235. Compared to many other Hot Toys products these days, this is not a totally outrageous price (and the set is not light on content), but the prices are clearly inflated to begin with, considering the prices of similarly (or more) elaborate sets by other companies. The secondary market prices (especially on eBay) are easily $200 on top of that, or almost double. This is a very disturbing trend. The sets are pretty great, but I would have never considered them at $400+, and I would be surprised if anyone else would. I don't quite understand why, knowing how high in demand these are (even at the preorder stage), Hot Toys did not increase its profits by making more of them (it does not benefit from the extra-inflated secondary market prices). Given the re-release of other relatively recent sets, perhaps it will do just that sometime in the near future, unless it has already arranged for the production and shipping of more product.
Things to watch out for
Not a whole lot. I was worried that the gas mask might scratch the face, but it did not. While handling, the sling came off from the blaster rifle, but it was easy to reattach. The articulated parts of the rifle, especially the butt stock, seem fragile, so it might be a good idea to be careful with those. Avoid poses where the bottom of the shin guards may scratch or dent the top of the boots. It is always a good idea to be extra careful with wrist pegs (heating the hands if necessary), although the hands work easily enough, and Hot Toys included a pair of extra wrist pegs just in case.
Overall: 3.4/4 stars
This is actually a very nice set overall, and a very fine representation of a cool looking character and trooper type. What hurts it in the rating is the price (all the more onerous because of the negated army-building potential), the limited articulation precluding more ambitious action pauses, the very limited choice of potential companion figures (if any!). The quality is there, but, as is so often the case, there were some choices that should have been made differently.
Where to Buy
This has been sold out in most venues even while on preorder. You can try eBay, but be prepared for outrageous prices. Or you can check out Sideshow (HERE) and Timewalker Toys (HERE), which have it on wait list. Presumably, other retailers might obtain additional product down the line.
What do you think?
Extra photos in Post 11 below.
#starwars #hottoys #solo #hansolo #mudtrooper #productreview #review #scifi #film #movie