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  • Writer's pictureMephitsu

Review: Star Wars Black Series Princess Leia Organa & Han Solo 'Echo Base' Convention Exclusive



"Afraid I was gonna leave without giving you a goodbye kiss?"

"I'd just as soon kiss a Wookiee."


Released as an Exclusive across the European Convention circuit of 2018, the Echo Base set from The Empire Strikes Back featured Han Solo and Princess Leia in their Hoth gear posed inside a diorama-designed box to recreate the Echo Base corridor scene. The set was initially restricted to the conventions at which it appeared including MCM London. Since then, it has made its way into more general circulation as additional stocks are cleared and offered to retailers. 

The packaging is the main selling point of the set. Considering the two-figure content, it is very large, sized more for the posed scene inside than anything else. It features a blue ice-coloured cardboard window box with a large front window including an icy border design and a further window on the top of the set. This is then all enclosed in an outer clear plastic opening sleeve that features the Black Series logo in ice blue. The side of the box features lined artwork of Solo and Leia, while the rear of the box carries a short piece of background text. 

Once opened, the two figures are secured into plastic trays that themselves are incorporated into the Echo Base corridor backdrop. As has been the case with all Black Series releases featuring some form of internal diorama, the background has little use outside of the packaging.

Princess Leia in her Echo Base Hoth gear is the same figure as released earlier in 2018 as a mainline red box release. There are no exclusive elements or accessories included, and if you have the single release this is essentially a duplicate for your collection. That being said, it is an excellent figure with a great recreation of her padded jumpsuit, over which sits the beige waistcoat complete with Rebel rank insignia painted in silver, red, and blue. 

The head sculpt is fantastic and utilises both a great likeness to Carrie Fisher and the facial printing to capture the Empire Strikes Back Leia to a tee. The figure was also one of the early releases to feature two-part hair pieces meaning her hairline is crisp and clean against her skin, while the hair itself is detailed with her trademark plaited ringlets. 

She features three accessories, starting with a pair of removable goggles as seen when repairing the Falcon later on in the movie. While this is therefore not screen accurate to Echo Base itself I am glad that Hasbro included them. They feature a turquoise body with black painted lenses and a softer black strap that goes over Leia’s head. The fit is extremely tight and a bit of gentle heat will ease it along. The sizing is perfect in that the goggles can be posed on her forehead, or over her eyes.

Leia also comes with the the welding tool, also seen during the scenes in the belly of the Exogorth, a black cast piece with good detail considering the size but zero decor. The final accessory is a DH-17 blaster, a weapon she went on to use on Bespin - but not on Hoth and not in this cold weather gear? The blaster itself has seen plenty of use in the Black Series and features a black cast main body and sights with a painted silver barrel. Leia features 16 points of articulation, including double-jointed pinned knees. The joints permit her a wide range of display options including wielding any of the included accessories. 

At the time this set was released, Han Solo had been seen just once previously in his Hoth gear and as part of the Deluxe Release with his Tauntaun back in 2015. When that figure was released, Hasbro chose to go with the blue colour for the jacket - the colour most people associated with Hoth Han thanks to the lighting during the Hoth scenes and the original Kenner figure release from 1980. For this set, they re-used the base figure but updated the coat to brown - the colour of the original prop. 


The body therefore is a re-use and like Leia, features a padded outfit from the boots, legs, and into the coat. The brown coat is detailed with a similar Rebel rank insignia as Leia but features a different set of coloured pins to reflect their differing ranks. Over the jacket, Han is wearing his gunslinger belt - carried forward from the original A New Hope Han - with a brown base colour, and silver detailing. 

The original Hoth Han figure had the hood up on the figure and a sculpted scarf, this new version saw the scarf be removed and the fur-lined hood recreated in soft goods. This is an individual piece and features a scarf piece in white material, stitched into a brown segment, and then the fur lining. Soft goods are a point of debate among collectors and are usually chosen to ensure articulation is retained on figures who would be constricted were their robes or cloaks to be a molded piece. The decision here therefore is a little bit odd as the soft goods have no bearing on the figure's articulation, and do not quite work with the rest of the figure. The scarf in particular looks poorly made, and while the fur has some aesthetic quality it takes a while to get it positioned around Han’s head. 

The head is taken from the Bespin Han Solo release from the same year so he can be displayed without his hood or Rebel Trooper-issued headgear. This gives the figure a further point of difference to the general release. The likeness is strong in the sculpt, but the facial printing does not appear to be as detailed as Leia and that does detract a little on Han’s finished look as he needs more definition and some more colour in his lips. 

Han’s single accessory is his standard DL-44 blaster, cast in black and with a brown painted grip and silver painted barrel. This fits into Han’s right hand, or into the working holster which is secured by a strap that comes over the grip and clips into the body of the holster. Han features the same 16 points of articulation as Leia with double-jointed pinned knees. Unlike Leia, the joints on Han feel loose in places with far too much movement in both the hip and shoulder joints straight out of the box. This looseness does seem to be isolated to a neutral stance, and when posed for display Han holds his stance well enough. 

The Echo Base Convention Exclusive was very much a set that was ticking a box for a show exclusive with an emphasis more on the packaging and internal diorama than the figures themselves. Leia is no different to the standard release, and while Han was upgraded to a brown coat and a hoodless look - the soft goods do detract from the finish. This look for Han remains exclusive at the time of writing, with the 2022 Archive release of Han on Hoth reverting to the hood-up version with goggles and Rebel headgear. The set’s popularity can be perhaps judged on the fact that a number of years later this is still available through online sellers for a fraction of the original convention price. For boxed collectors, it is a statement piece but will take up a fair amount of shelf space. For out-of-pack collectors, your sole benefit from the set will be the Hoth Han.





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About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...

 

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