Hasbro had a few iterations in the modern line of the Hoth Rebel Trooper, but collectors wanted an updated version of the Kenner figure with the tan vest. From a personal recollection (no pun intended), my younger self couldn't find the Vintage Hoth Luke right away, so the Echo Base Trooper served as Hoth Luke until my mom finally bought the figure for me from our local Gemco. And you know what? I thought this figure resembled Luke more than the actual one and it stayed that way during my countless hours battling The Empire in my living room and backyard. Yep, there's some emotional nostalgia here and I'm glad Hasbro finally released him for the modern line.
Appearance: The Empire Strikes Back
Includes: DH-17 Blaster Pistol, Removable Goggles
Released: September 2011
Cardback: Celebrate the legendary Star Wars saga that changed the universe forever! This collection brings to life the incredible story of good versus evil that captured our imagination and took us to a galaxy far, far away. Iconic Star Wars heroes and villains are captured with incredible detail and premium features to commemorate each epic tale in the Star Wars saga. May the Force be with you! [MORE IMAGES]
SCULPT/PAINT: This is a decent sculpt with much detail on the uniform, like waffling etches on the vest and worn wrinkle-y-ness. Hasbro avoided layering him excessively to mimize the bulk like they have in past Hoth Trooper figures. The headpiece and scarf are molded on and makes for a clean and generic headsculpt that's pretty true to Lt. Cal Alder, the trooper ordered to close the Echo Base shield doors by Major Derlin. The vest is also molded on the torso and not removable.
The paint is pretty true to the character reference, with almost dead on tone and shade with the scarf and vest. One glaring flaw is the rear ankle ball joints aren't painted black like the rest of his footwear, so it looks a bit sloppy when viewed from the rear.
ARTICULATION: The figure has 14 points of super articulation for good poseability that includes ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles. He unfortunately doesn't have ball jointed hips for Tauntaun ridership, and I guess that's OK if you're going to leave him hanging out in Echo Base, but disappointing if you want to troop build and muster a dawn search patrol.
ACCESSORIES: The trooper comes with a standard DH-17 Blaster that can fit and be removed from a holster. He has separate removable goggles, but they aren't too flexible and won't fit over his eyes. As a matter of fact, be careful in doing so because the plastic for the goggles can easily tear. Again, it's disappointing that the goggles can't adjust for a troop builder like this.
CARDBACK: I know Hasbro had good and sincere intentions to change the cardback photo to Lt. Alder to represent the actual character, but for nostalgia's sake, they should have left it with the original Kenner version (as shown on the cardback). It doesn't look bad, but to infuse some hyperbole, some things can be sacred.
TOPPING THINGS OFF: This figure makes for a great troop builder if you can find him along with the rest of Wave 9, which have been pretty scarce to non-existent. If you've been doing this for awhile, you know the last few waves before a line refresh tend to be lightly distributed, and Wave 9 is certainly no exception. This Hoth trooper is a great addition for your collection and enhance that Echo Base diorama, particularly if you intend to recreate the search for Luke Skywalker scene. I'm knocking off a point and half from perfect because of the updated but historically inaccurate cardback, the sloppy paint job on the ankles, and the fragile goggles that can't fit over his face. I want to note that the cardback is a VERY biased penalty, but that's just a purely nostalgic me.