A closer look at the Disney Store exclusive die cast Harrison Ford/Han Solo action figure
The release of a brand-new Han Solo figure is an event to be celebrated in the Star Wars community, whether it is a 6” Black Series or a 3.75” classic equivalent it is an occasion I await with eagerness. With the character, brought to life famously by the legendary Harrison Ford being regarded amongst the upper echelons of my favourites, I was elated to hear that the Disney Store had created a rendering for their exclusive Elite Series assortment. The die cast figures, standing slightly larger than the traditional six-inch scale employed by the Hasbro toy company and their Black Series variation are crafted to a high standard but have suffered from a distinct lack of realism when fashioning a human interpretation.
Their edition of Anakin Skywalker in the latter stages of last year left a lot to be desired due, in part to the mannequin like face and less than impressive paint apps that afforded the figure a bright and odd looking pink lipstick. In contrast, their release of Rey, Daisy Ridley’s The Force Awakens character was received well amongst the fans and managed to avoid similar paint issues. The facial features of our beloved new heroine had been crafted to a realistic and detailed degree whilst characters like the aforementioned Anakin and their version of Force Awakens character Finn, were more than hit and miss.
As a result, my concern for their manufacturing of a Han Solo figure was received with more than the traditional hint of trepidation, especially when it was confirmed that the version being created was based upon the ageing iteration of the character from The Force Awakens.
With the wait for all intents and purposes appearing to be never ending and my anxiousness increasing by the day, we were afforded a small glimpse at the final product thanks to a timelier release of the figure in the United States. With the images being of poor quality, my scepticism was far from appeased and the feeling of dread was hard to ignore despite my traditional approach of expecting the worst and hoping for the best.
And then we arrived at the official UK release date…
As the shutter door at the threshold of the Disney Store began its slow and laborious ascent into its stowage compartment, the figure was revealed upon the impressive mounts that aligned the walls as well as the main display stand that awaited us at the forefront of the store.
The first figure to catch my eye was the distinctive and highly detailed First Order Stormtrooper officer that sat upon the shelf with the florescent lights gleaming off of its immaculate white armour. With its vivid and colourful shoulder mounted pauldron shining beneath the lights, it was hard to see past the amazing figure until I caught sight of the object of my desires.
Standing before me was the Elite Series figure of my beloved Han Solo.
From a distance, the sublime figure of an iconic character favourite was, in a word stunning. From the authentic looking brown leather jacket to the weathered DL-44 Blaster Pistol clasped in the figures hand, the character was represented with a level of subliminal grace and detail I had not expected.
The glossy buckle attached to his blaster holster belt glistened in an elegant way, an undoubtable and direct result of the metallic resin used to such grand effect that only served to accentuate the earthiness of its leather jacket further. Equally as impressive as the jacket, the brown leather boots were recreated in an impressive fashion giving the figure an almost realistic quality and the cream coloured shirt highlighted this effect impressively.
However, once removed from its packaging the faults are revealed…
A great amount of detail has been taken to replicate the hair line of the great Harrison Ford and the figure boasts an impressive recreation but the failings lie within the individual strands. As impressive as the colour appears, complete with its delicate tonal balance to accentuate the ageing process, the fault lies within the inorganic appearance as a whole. Despite my initial concerns, the skin tone that has been a major sticking point with both Anakin and Finn is blissfully accurate on Han Solo but the figure suffers from a lack of genuine definition of the ageing process. The accurate and distinctive lines of ageing have been omitted from the final design leaving Han Solo with a plain complexion that conflicts the figures character.
With a hair line that appears aged and a complexion that betrays youth, the figures suffers from a frustrating conflict that is only intensified by its overly deep red lip colour. Much in the same way as Anakin Skywalker suffered, Han Solo fares little better with an unrealistic lip colour that completely unbalances the face as a whole. The deep red lipstick unbalances the fascial features to a degree where it leaves the face looking akin to that of a china doll, a belief highlighted by the less than impressive eye design.
The finished result is an inferior adaptation of the Black Series version which I regard as one of the finest Star Wars figures ever created. The rendering of the Black Series figure is at the pinnacle of the Hasbro brand and leaves the Elite Series version in its wake. The overall sculpt of the exclusive Elite Series edition is impressive, one of the best in the line but the old failings have severely restricted what could have been a subliminal final product.
But is the figure worth the £19.99/£22.99 retail price you ask…
In a word, TOTALLY…
The sculpt of the final figure is exceptional. The jacket, boots, belt and shirt are faultless with an almost perfect scale and colour to accentuate the physique of the legendary Harrison Ford, but the detail afforded to the hair and face is where disaster strikes.
That being said, the team behind the Elite Series’ conception have improved these failings and have taken steps to perfect the figures complexions with the release of the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story line that boasts improved paints apps for characters like Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor and Chirrut Imwe but still have a ways to go before they rival the Black Series.
In closing, my final thoughts are a little conflicted. The Elite Series has produced some exceptional figures in the past year, C-3PO, R2-D2, Boba Fett, Darth Vader, General Grievous and K-2SO being at the pinnacle of them but when it comes to human characters, the Black Series casts a shadow that is hard to dislodge. The Elite Han Solo is a delight to own and takes pride of place amongst my expanding collection but in truth, if I was compelled to choose between them I would buy the Black Series variety over the Elite without a moment’s hesitation.
The Black Series Han Solo is a vastly superior figure and I have found it extremely difficult restrict my collection to just one. For some undetermined reason, I own four of them and would gladly grab another if the opportunity presented itself.
Star Wars addiction is a very real affliction folks so beware when entering the fray…
My advice to you is, get out there and treat yourself to a Han Solo figure. Don’t leave our favourite scruffy looking nerf herder out in the cold, whether it be a Black Series figure or the exclusive Disney Store Elite Series version you WILL NOT be disappointed with him in your collection.
Set course for a Disney Store near you, and as always…
May The Force Be With You