* Prices may differ from that shown
I think at some point Hasbro came to realise that they were, at the end of the day, simply releasing the same toys over and over again only with, like, a different blaster each time. So there came a point when they thought to themselves "Let's mix things up a bit", and they came out with a load of new and slightly more interesting range of the same things.
The Star Wars Ralph McQuarrie series of action figures is one of the most interesting of the lot. Based off original concept art sketches and paintings done for the first Star Wars drafts (when Luke was a Jedi Master tutoring a young Annikin Starkiller and Leia's father was called King Kayos ... it's all absolute insanity). Among these sketches was a rather scary goblin like beast which was to be Chewbacca and a feminine C3PO which looked more like Joan Rivers' character in Spaceballs.
I certainly can't say these drawings and paintings weren't cool, and for original concept art, it's some of the best I've seen. What I don't understand is why Hasbro even thought to release them as action figures. Either way, whatever the reason, the series is certainly pretty awesome.
The Han Solo in the set certainly doesn't look like Han Solo as we know him. He has a more Luke-ish or young Anakin look about him, if they both had beards. In fact he resembles, if anything, Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan in episodes 2 and 3.
He wears a sort of Lando-like space suit, complete with flowing cape. It's a sort of purple-burgundy colour and has a very Final Fantasy feel about it. He wields a clear lightsaber and a blaster and looks ready to kick some alien butt.
While looking absolutely nothing like Han Solo eventually did, this figure is a pretty cool collector's item, for the fans of Star Wars who are tired of the same old Han.
If we trace the origins of Han Solo then we can see how he evolved from 'A New Hope' through to 'Return Of The Jedi.' Later comic books also delve into Solo's afterlife, where he goes onto marry Leia. Alongside the conventional Han Solo that we all know and love, there exists this dubious looking chap. Based on conceptual artwork by graphic designer Ralph McQuarrie, the toy is a godsend for hardcore fans, who have long hankered after a different take on the characters.
The toy is a plastic figure, about four inches or so in height and looks nothing like Han Solo. He looks more like Obi Wan or Luke facially. The brown locks are replaced with blondy hair and a beard that could have come from Hulk Hogan! The face is wrought with aggression and the idea of Han Solo being a space pirate really comes through with this toy.
The costume is more space age, with a dashing flowing purple cloak and purple slacks. I do like the way the cloak has such buoyancy about it. It calls to mind Lando's cape in 'The Empire Strikes Back.' Some chunky plating on the torso gives him an overtly beefy stance and his pose is one of a rebellious warrior.
You can pose the figure at the head, arms and legs and create new play scenarios which is great. High levels of articulation on his legs and arms create texture and life and the overall look of the toy is one of a polished nature. On the downside, he looks nothing like Han and could be anyone really.
The figure comes with a collector's coin, which can be removed and used as a separate display piece. This is a solid action figure, fun for kids because he looks so adventurous and a talking point for fans, who will want to know why McQuarrie fashioned Han in this way. Try auction sites to nab one for a couple of quid loose, or a boxed version should cost no more than three to four pounds online.