Power of the Force, 1995
Accessories: Blaster Pistol, Heavy Assault Rifle
Appears in: A New Hope
Card Back: Han Solo’s extraordinary piloting skills, blaster-handling and daring have earned him the reputation as a top smuggler, Solo also owes much of his success to his ship, the stock freighter Millennium Falcon, which he won from associate Lando Calrissian in a cutthroat game of Sabacc. The Falcon is widely regarded as one of the fastest ships in the galaxy thanks to the mechanical skills of Chewbacca, Solo’s Wookiee companion. The team’s services are sought after even by powerful crime lords like Jabba the Hutt, who put a bounty out on Solo after he jettisoned a cargo of Jabba’s spice in an effort to flee an Imperial patrol.
Solo and Chewbacca unwittingly became involved in the Rebellion when they agreed to transport Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and their droids to Alderaan for 17,000 credits in an effort to pay off Jabba. To their surprise, this simple smuggling job brought them into the clutches of the Empire, captured on the new Death Star battle station. Through daring and luck, the group rescued Princess Leia and escaped to deliver the Death Star plans to the Rebel base on Yavin. Although reluctant at first to aid in the Rebel’s attack on the Battle Station, Solo’s timely decision to join the fray enabled Luke Skywalker to deliver the final shot, destroying the Death Star and making them all heroes to the Rebel cause.
Now that is a card back.
The 1995 Power of the Force Han Solo is up there with the buff Luke Skywalker as one of the reasons why the POTF2 line is less than fondly remembered by many collectors, and in the cool light of day you can see where they’re coming from. The endearing charm of the seriously toned Luke figure is turned into complete caricature with Han Solo, as his plastic torso practically heaves to explode out of the confines of his vest. His muscular legs are sculpted into a striding pose that means he can stand in only one position, and as a whole the figure looks fairly ridiculous.
All that said, there are still some nice touches and details on this Han Solo figure that ensure it’s not a complete loss.
Firstly, this figure introduced the Harrison Ford head sculpt that served as the basis for all of the Han Solo figures up until 1999. There’s a reason why the look lasted for so long, and that’s because it captured the essence of Solo perfectly – something that subsequent Hasbro releases have failed to do with any consistency. Beyond the head sculpt there are several sculpted details and paint apps that bring the details of Solo’s costume to the fore, in particular around his belt and holster. The addition of screen-accurate Correllian blood stripes down his trouser legs help with this sense of attention to detail.
Han’s blaster pistol, the BlasTech DL-44 Heavy Blaster, became a staple of the POTF2 line as most subsequent Luke and Han figures (as well as the occasional Rebel) came packaged with one. It’s oversized in comparison to the prop used in the films, but works well with these bigger figures.
The Heavy Assault Rifle is for those times that Solo needs some serious teeth. Massive guns were as much the rage as overly-muscular superheroes back in the mid-90s, and so it made sense for Kenner to give Solo some major firepower alongside his gym membership. It actually looks decent slung over his shoulder though so it gets a pass.
The Power of the Force Han Solo action figure is precisely that – a toy designed for some serious action. However much it’s a product of its time it’s still got some serious flaws, namely the bulk and the pose, and removed from the context of the rest of the first wave it makes for an awkward looking figure.
Captain Solo as he appeared in A New Hope wouldn’t see a new mould until 1999’s Commtech release, which blew this one out of the water. That said, if you want to really understand what the relaunched Power of the Force line was all about, then this figure is an essential.