Can't believe it's been a month since I got these, I've been too darn busy. Anyway, here's the review...
It's been just over a month since I reviewed these 2 VOTC figures' case-mate, Princess Leia, and in that time, more VOTC figures have come out including the final ANH figure in this line, Luke Skywalker. However, Ben and Han here have been the easiest to find so far, in some areas going so far as to be called "peg-warmers" - a title which in my area is not entirely false. But are they actually poor figures or is it something else, a combination of case-assortments, price, and misconceptions about these figures?
Packaging: 4/5 (Han); 3.5/5 (Ben)
If you haven't read my opinion of the overall VOTC packaging in the Leia review, I'll spare you the details and just mention that it's linked above. Since I wrote that review, I've found a lot more of these soft cases that have been slightly mangled, even in factory-fresh cartons, yet I still haven't seen any bent cards or card blister bubbles, so I guess they do work. I've also discovered that the choking hazard warning stickers on the inside of the soft cases can easily be removed leaving a clean-looking resealable soft case - Han and Leia have these stickers while Ben doesn't because his accessory is not that kind of choking hazard. The graphics on the front of the cards are faithful representations of the classic Kenner cards, Hasbro has remade these as close as possible to emulate those original designs right down to Ben's odd yellow saber. The item numbers in the upper left corners represent the new Hasbro item numbers rather than the classics, they match with the modern UPC digits in the soft cases' inserts.
Han's coffin blister and tray show off this figure quite well, but unfortunately Ben is quite lost in his blister due to the cloth robe. Han's blaster is taped into the tray sitting in a small cut-out. Unfortunately, Ben's hood goes through the tray which is annoying while the saber passes in and back out of a tab in the tray slot which is a little risky to remove and replace.
Sculpt-Design: 3.5/5 (Han); 3/5 (Ben)
Hasbro went an odd route with Han, instead of giving him a separate vest they sculpted it onto his torso, yet the design actually works for the most part even if it's flapping open slightly on the right side. The shirt has a textured, wrinkled sculpt to it that looks good even up at the collar and the sleeved arms match this pretty well; the pants and boots also have their own subtle textures and wrinkles. The only outfit complaint I have is the gunbelt, which is separate but permanently attached to the back of the waist, the belt has good details but the plastic is just too thick to look realistic, most noticable at the holster and bottom edge of the belt.
Han's head is a ball-joint head, so the width seems off and the bottom is cut off from some angles - it's neither their best nor worst work with this type of head design. The hair seems wrong at the sides, it sticks out to emulate a look from one part of the film, but seems out of sorts with the general "Han Solo" look from most of the film (as well as promo shots and even this set's packaging). The face sculpt seals the figure's fate, the details all seem a little exaggerated giving it a cartoony feel - it's not a disaster, but it's hardly great.
I'm calling Ben's robe an accessory, so this part is about the figure underneath. The upper body's outfit has a detailed sculpt though it gets softer and sharper depending on where you look. The arms have even more texture than the torso, yet it's not jarring. Unfortunately, the forearms are a bit big thanks to the large sleeve openings, a little Popeye-esque. This is the first Ben Kenobi figure that can actually sit in the Landspeeder, the lower part of the white robe is actual cloth. The torso ends at the belt, where the cloth "skirt" starts at the waist, unfortunately the cloth doesn't even come close to matching up with the torso in terms of texture or wrinkles, and the lines don't even match up with the belt because the hips are rounded off and pinch the cloth skirt in separating it even further; I do like the bottom of the skirt's slightly tattered shape though. Under the skirt are a moderately-detailed waist and legs, followed by simple boots.
The hands are nice work, they're very wrinkled and realistic yet unlike POTF2 Flashback Ben, these are able to actually hold accessories. This head is the best version I've seen but that's not saying that mutch, the sculpt is thinner but almost a little too gaunt at the bottom and the neck tapers down a bit. The facial features are good with a lot of Sir Alec Guinness' subtleties, but the eyes seem a little too high, the chin isn't pointy enough, the sideburns are all wrong, and the back of the head disappears prematurely because the profile of the head is the wrong shape.
Articulation: 5/5 (Han); 3/5 (Ben)
Han is representing the articulation up in here with 14 points: ball-jointed head, universal shoulders, uni elbows, rotating mid-forearms, standard waist, standard hips, uni knees, and uni ankles. While the ankles are restricted from going forward past a few degrees, most of the articulation is free-range and fairly tight. The head and elbow articulation is a little too obvious, but the shoulders, knees, and ankles are nicely hidden. The knees can bend forward too far which always annoys me, but that's a minor issue. He may not be Spider-man poseable, but he's great for a Star Wars figure.
Ben has 10 points of articulation: ball-jointed neck, universal shoulders, diagonal-cut elbows, rotating wrists, standard waist, and standard hips. Unfortunately, the ball-jointed neck is very limited back & forth - at most 10 degrees of range total - as such this joint is too easy to miss entirely. The shoulders are good, but the diagonal-cut elbows are at a terrible permanent bend that looks increasingly awful when you use it. And not including hinged knees is a crime, Ben can sit but only straight-legged.
Pose: 5/5 (Han); 3/5 (Ben)
I love neutral poses, and Han has a very neutral pose indeed, in fact in the bubble the figure could almost be confused for his '78 straight-limbed counterpart in this respect. Thankfully, this version has the right kind of articulation to allow for some pretty expressive and dynamic poses, you can even recreate the "about to shoot Greedo" pose from the Cantina - Commtech Han's main pose. The tightly articulated ankles help make many poses work their best, and the figure can still stand without help in a lot of 'em though he has peg-holes just in case. Strangely, the neck is posed forward slightly, a lot of ball-jointed head figures have this. My only real complaint is the hands, which are curled into tight open-cupped fists that are tilted down slightly.
Ben has a fairly neutral pose until you get to the arms, which are bent well over 90 degrees at the elbow and the articulation doesn't really help much. This sorta kills the pose potential here, you can have Ben wielding his lightsaber or bare-knuckles boxing, but for more natural poses he's fairly limited and awkward thanks to those funky elbows - and when attempting any pose in the robe, it often comes out quite poorly. The nicest thing I can say is that the figure can stand without a base.
Paint-Deco: 4/5 (Han); 3.5/5 (Ben)
Han's outfit has good overall paint, but some details have problems. On mine, the bloodstripe on the right leg is dead-on even though it's mostly hidden under the holster, yet the left leg's stripe is too far forward on the stitching sculpt. Also, on a lot of samples I've seen, the inside of the vest has bad paint slop that carries over from the shirt. The off-white paint on the torso for the shirt is good but because the torso is cast in black, the paint for the shirt (and neck) has to be thicker than usual so the black won't show through, it would have been wiser to cast the torso in off-white and then paint the vest.
The hands and head are cast in regular fleshtone, the painted neck is not too far off from this though Hasbro has had better luck matching colors on such designs lately, and the top of the ball joint of the neck shows the black through a little. The face has eyebrows that are small but still a bit too thick and eyes that are too big, whcih only enhances the "cartoony" feel that the sculpt already gave. The hairline is neat, but Hasbro forgot to paint the inside of the back of the hair and it looks downright strange to see fleshtone hair in the back when looking straight on at the face. The hair itself is brown with lighter streaks, the work is not quite subtle enough and seems more like cheap salon highlights than natural hair, yet I think I still prefer this to the solid pudding that other figures get for paint.
Ben's outfit is simple light tan which is the plastic's color with a few brown painted accents. The brown painted undershirt seems a little thick, but the same paint on the belt doesn't suffer this. Unfortunately, the plastic on the upper body is too shiny which would be bad enough on its own but even worse when coupled with the very flat cloth "skirt", and it's even a slightly lighter color too.
The hair paint could have used a little more gray and is a bit sloppy in some spots, but is good overall. The beard is not bad and works well with the sculpting, but the mustache is too thick. Finally, while the eyes are very small for a Hasbro figure, they're still too big, those blue dots with black centers are well-done from a technical standpoint but just look too vibrant and "awake" -- the eyes are a major part of a human figure's look both in size and expression, Saga AOTC Palpatine is a rare example of this done right.
Accessories: 3.5/5 (Han); 2/5 (Ben)
Han gets only 1 accessory, his trusty blaster pistol which fits neatly in the holster. The pistol is the exact same one as first seen with POTF2 Commtech Han, it's a good, accurate sculpt from the ANH design but could use some updating to include more details. Here, it's cast in flat black plastic with no paint, it looks good but I still prefer the metallic color of previous uses, but at least the plastic is quite rigid. For the money, Han should at least have had a removable vest or a removable stormtrooper belt and blaster.
Ben has 2 accessories, his lightsaber and his brown Jedi robe... both are recycled. The saber is the version from POTJ Ben, the hilt has a decent sculpt but the blade is still almost half an inch too long; the hilt is painted black with silver accents just as before. The cloth outer robe is from the Saga AOTC Obi-Wan Pilot figure, it is identical in material and pattern, which means it still won't hang well, is too thick, and the hood is nearly twice as big as it should be. The robe here is a heartless mistress, robbing the figure of most of its arm articulation and looking good in theory while poor in practice; the inside pattern still has those huge seams too, not cool at all. Hasbro should be ashamed for using this junk again.
Value: 3/5 (Han); 2/5 (Ben)
With VOTC Leia, I gave her Value rating a 3 out of 5, and with VOTC Han it's the same thing: he'd be a great $5 basic figure and an acceptable $7.50 "collectible", but at $10 it's not that surprising he's becoming a pegwarmer. Meanwhile, VOTC Ben would be a good but hardly outstanding basic figure, and doesn't really say "vintage-homage" to me that well so his rating is even lower - kinda surprising that Han is warming pegs worse than Ben really.
Overall: B+ (Han); B- (Ben)
Discounting the price issue somewhat, this Han Solo figure is pretty good and if he were a Basic figure he'd be an "A", while like VOTC Leia if we take into account his high cost he's a generous "B-". Han has great articulation and suffers only from a thick belt, cartoony face, and slightly sloppy paint, yet he makes a good carded or loose figure. Ben Kenobi, on the other hand, suffers from far more indignities with annoying articulation, an awful robe, a limited pose, and a sculpt that's a little too far off; add to that the poor showing he has as a carded figure and he's not a great buy, he'd be a "B" figure as a basic and a "C" when you factor in this price.