Figure of the Day: Day 78
7/23/2006 10:09:57 PM | Reported by Adam

HOTH REBEL SOLDIER with Survival Backpack and Blaster Rifle
Power of the Force Collection 2 (later Collection 1)
Item No.:
Asst. 69605 No. 69631
Number: n/a
Includes: Backpack, rifle, later Freeze Frame Action Slide
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $4.99-$5.99
Availability: Early 1997
Appearances: Primarily The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: The Empire has located the Alliance's secret headquarters on the Ice Planet Hoth. During the consequent invasion, Rebel Soldiers hold out bravely against an unbeatable ground assault until a retreat salvages their heroic effort. (Taken from the figure's cardback in 1998. The 1997 edition had no such bio.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelf.

Commentary: Early in the modern line, a wave of almost entirely Empire Strikes Back figures caused fans to jump for joy! Along with the Hoth Rebel Soldier, this assortment introduced Bossk, 2-1B, Luke in Hoth Gear, and the AT-ST Driver to the modern world. And by 2004, all of them would have been redone save for the droid. This figure, though, stands out as a unique release in that it was the first bearded Rebel Trooper figure, and that it was a very distinctive looking army builder-- usually, they were generic, and many assumed this was on purpose as it was easier to paint your own beards on rather than to take it away. (If you think a toy company designing toys with some customizing in mind is outlandish, check out this page at Yo Joe! from an old G.I. Joe newsletter. But I digress.) With six points of articulation, the figure's pose didn't lend itself to new and amazing diorama action, nor did it allow him to easily pilot vehicles. While big, bulky, and awkward, it was a strong seller and by and large did not become a poor seller like a lot of figures from this era.

Collector's Notes: In 2002, Hasbro slapped this figure's head on Hoth Luke's body to make a new Hoth Rebel figure-- neat! Upon release, fans noted this figure seemed to have a striking resemblance to the first modern Han Solo figures, although depending on how you squint, this is up for debate. This figure in this configuration was only available in 1997-1998, although new Hoth Rebels inspired by (and based on) this sculpt continued to be released for years to come. On the note of "figures from this era," Hasbro released a large number of figures from 1997 to stores yet again in 1998 with Freeze Frames, and by and large some fans bought-- others did not. The glut of Rancor Keepers and other figures from the day did a lot to hurt the line in the short term, of course everybody welcomed Star Wars back into retail with open and loving arms on May 3, 1999. And we all know how that turned out. ( MORE IMAGES )

Day 78: July 23, 2006

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