General Rieekan (Hoth Evacuation)
Released December, 2003
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on January 21, 2003
The Ultra assortment of figures lead to some chances for really great, really special figures. Larger characters could finally be made, but one figure has fans scratching their head-- General Rieekan. While fans have requested him for years, we wondered why he was packaged at a fairly high price point. Is he worth it? Well, read on.
This figure is packaged with a Tactical Display Map.
It's a basic figure with a big accessory. Surprisingly, for a minor character, the face sculpt isn't all that bad and will probably please the fans wanting this figure.
General Rieekan is a somewhat old, otherwise nondescript man. His outfit doesn't stand out, and his face isn't exactly one that makes you say "golly, I want a figure of this man!" The plastic representation of the character is quite good, though, which is important for someone that really didn't demand an action figure in the first place.
The face looks much better in person, but he does look a little worried. The features seem slightly exaggerated, but that's OK-- they should be, otherwise this would just be another boring Hoth Rebel character. Of course, we need a few more of those, so this is a good thing either way.
The figure has a great sculpt with excellent paint, but suffers slightly from a strange pose and odd articulation. We really don't need to see him pointing at something, as he really was little more than a talking head in The Empire Strikes Back. His articulation is fairly limited, which is very disappointing for an Ultra figure. With joints at the neck, shoulders, waist, and hips, this really doesn't impress much. Since his coat blocks his legs from moving, the figure itself hardly earns the name "Ultra" and to be honest, the accessory really doesn't, either.
This set includes a big map.
The map is a fairly ornate little accessory filled with colorful buttons, a great design, and a sturdy construction. Hasbro wisely avoided making the map itself a big label, and wisely made the buttons labels. The end result is a great looking piece of scenery, and you can pose your General next to it as well as your spare Hoth droids. It looks great, but it'd be nice to have one of the officers standing near it, or that one woman sitting in front of it. You know the one.
The issue of cost and value comes to mind, though, because this really doesn't do much and it really doesn't look like a $5 accessory. That's because it isn't. If some assembly were required, this would easily fit into a basic Saga bubble, but for whatever reason Hasbro opted it to be a pricey figure. I can understand the need to price a collector figure a little higher, but when it comes time for clearances I have a hard time believing that this is going to go quickly. Of course, he seems to be selling well, so maybe Hasbro made the right move.
This toy comes in an extra large, extra thick Saga-style cardback. The design is fairly identical to that of the basic figures, but it's bigger. It would have been nice to have had it be just a little more distinctive, though, but I should also note I'm not a big fan of the gold-striped late-2003 Saga packaging anyway.
Thankfully, the toy seems to fill most of the space, so it looks like the packaging showcases the product in the best possible way. Still... doesn't feel like a $10 toy.
When Hasbro releases a brand-new assortment, like the Ultra figures, they tend to make a pretty hard and fast splash. As such, these are showing up at numerous stores, even Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us.
Want Rieekan? Great, you got it. Go buy one. It's a nice figure, and so far, the only brand new character in the Ultra series. It may not scream "$10 value!" but it's a good toy, a great character, and it's a unique enough item in the series to warrant tracking down. Don't wait for clearance, folks, show Hasbro you care and snag this one.
Our regular sample was obtained from Entertainment Earth in December 2003.