Posted by Rich on October 25, 2013 at 06:14 AM CST
I was torn on how to review this figure. I'm ecstatic to own one of the most iconic characters from the Star Wars saga in a 6-inch action figure scale, but then I start to compare Hasbro's design of this figure to that of other company's 6-inch figures and I feel like The Black Series line is several years behind aesthetically.

I'm going to make the disclaimer that this review is going to be more of a critical analysis of The Black Series using the Han Solo figure as an example than an actual review of the figure itself. Please don't use this as a basis for deciding whether you should purchase this figure. Make no mistake, the 6-inch Han figure is worth buying, but I want to point out the innovative things other toy companies are doing and how they can be applied to make The Black Series figures even better.

I personally don't see Harrison Ford's likeness in this figure. Maybe at a profile there's a resemblance, but I think the issue goes back to an outdated design aesthetic and here's what I mean. If you look at any one of NECA's or Square Enix's recent 6-inch figures, you'll see the life-like detail achieved by the intrinsic plastic they use for their figure's flesh. It's a similar type of textured plastic that Hot Toys uses in their 1/6-scale figures, which collectors laud as being some of the most accurate representations of characters in collectible form.

Intrinsic plastic inherently gives figures a more life-like appearance and is far more forgiving to head sculpts that may not achieve an exact likeness of a character. To me, Han suffers what many Sideshow collectors used to refer to as porcelain doll syndrome, meaning the plastic used on the head, specifically the face, makes the figure look like a creepy porcelain doll. I believe that the use of intrinsic plastic on the Han head sculpt--and all Black Series head sculpts--would give the figures a more favorable likeness even if the sculpt wasn't spot-on accurate.

From the waist up, Han is aesthetically solid. I like how Hasbro hid the upper-torso articulation in the shirt and the overall sculpt of the fabrics looks great. On the arms, the hand/forearm plastic/paint doesn't match, but with ball-hinged wrists but I'm not sure there's too much you could do to get a precise match for those two pieces since you'd have to compromise the articulation point in the wrist to keep the aesthetic.

From the waist down, this figure is disappointing. I'm not a fan of visible pins and overly obvious articulation points and Han has both. Slices jet across his thighs, pins hold his awkward "kneepads" in place and the top of the boots, which would make for a perfect hidden articulation point, lack movement. In contrast, NECA's 7-inch Lone Ranger figures are engineered in such a way that they are capable of most of the poses you'd set your figures in (including a natural seated position), yet the articulation points are so well hidden that in many photos you'd never know the knees even bend.

Finally, one thing that I thought was very un-Hasbro like with this figure is the inclusion of the Stormtrooper belt and blaster rifle. I'm not complaining, but I think many of us would have been happy with just Han's trademark holster and blaster. If tooling is at such a premium, this doesn't make sense to me. It seems like the cost of these additional accessories could have been put toward better use in a future figure or accessory. Again, that's just me being overly analytical based on everything Hasbro tells us when we get the opportunity to speak with them at the conventions.

I assure you that while this review reads like a bashing, it's not intended to be. To me, no one does 4-inch scale figures better than Hasbro. If someone were starting a toy company and creating a line of 4-inch figures, I'd point them to Hasbro and say "look at what they're doing, they're doing it right." In the same token, there are other companies producing better 6-inch figures than Hasbro and I wanted to take this opportunity to point out what Hasbro can do to bring that level of detail in their Black Series 6-inch line.

View the photo archive entry for Hasbro's The Black Series 6-inch Han Solo figure.
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