Few characters from the Star Wars saga truly transcend the franchise. Most everyone knows Darth Vader, and the recent media barrage means they probably know a few other characters, too, but Han Solo is a rare character indeed. Not only is he one of the most memorable rogues in cinematic history, but since his appearance in Star Wars in 1977, dozens of films and stories have tried to capture that very same essence of character Harrison Ford portrayed. Even nearly 40 years later, Han Solo has endured, which is more than you can say for a lot of fictional heroes throughout history. That's why adding this Hot Toys Han Solo figure to my collection was a no-brainer, even if it's not quite up to the company's usual standard of likeness excellence.
It's actually hard to believe Hot Toys never dabbled in the Star Wars universe before, but until this year, the company didn't have a hand in arguably the biggest license in the collectible market. However, that all changed this year with the arrival of The Force Awakens. Since the deal was announced, Hot Toys has not held back in the least when it comes to announcing new figures for the line. There's been a solid mix of classic trilogy characters mixed with some of the new blood, but to this point, there haven't been many unmasked characters released. There have been Stormtroopers a plenty, but when it comes to the faces of the franchise, Hot Toys' selection has been a little light in that department.
The hype levels surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens may have reached critical mass, but that hasn't stopped fans from clamoring for more. Fortunately, to sate some of those appetites, there have been trading cards and comics and books and toys to hold the hunger for the actual film at bay. I'm as guilty as anyone for jumping head first off the moving bandwagon onto the hype train, and a large part of that is due to the new bad guys we've seen in promotional materials. Apparently I'm not the only one, as trying to find any merchandise with Kylo Ren and the Stormtroopers has been a challenge. Even they can't hold a candle to the desire seemingly everyone invested in Star Wars has for Captain Phasma.
Captain Phasma has appeared in footage and images, but hasn't uttered a single word. The only thing we know about her is that she's played by Gwendoline Christie and has the bossest set of armor. The fan fervor surrounding this character has already pegged her as the successor to Boba Fett. Now that's not from an actual coolness standpoint, obviously. We have no idea how cool she'll be in the movies. That's strictly from the point that any bit of merchandise that she's on becomes more coveted than the Ark of the Covenant. It's been especially true for all the figures Hasbro's made thus far, and it will likely be true for the upcoming Hot Toys version, too.
After the long string of successes Hot Toys has had with its various Marvel-themed figures, it actually not all that surprising to learn there will soon be a Stan Lee figure coming from the Hong Kong-based company. This actually isn't the first time the Marvel legend has been captured in figure form, as NECA, Funko, ToyBiz and more have all tried their hand at bringing the living embodiment of comic book history to life before. However, very few have been as true-to-life as Hot Toys' latest piece, which brings Stan to life in all his grandfatherly glory right down to the Members Only jacket.
It's a curious thing that most toy companies have captured Stan well beyond his glory days in the Marvel Bullpen, and instead have focused on his semi-retired persona as the cameo du jour in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This current version is the more recognizable though, I suppose, but it would have been an interesting take to showcase Stan "The Man" in a younger guise back when he was still influencing the biggest guns in the business on a daily basis. It's also a tiny bit sad that Hot Toys' penchant for realism and accuracy depicts the Marvel mainstay in such a fragile form.
Another week has gone by and we're still no closer to seeing any of the actual human characters whose faces aren't hidden behind masks from Hot Toys' upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens figure collection. That's okay though. The only thing people really care about is Stormtroopers and their various incarnations. So, it makes perfect sense that the latest sixth-scale soldiers to join up with the previously announced Stormtroopers and Snowtroopers are the Flametroopers.
The First Order's soldiers have comprised a great deal of the action figure reveals so far across multiple scales and sizes. The Flametrooper is a division we've not seen in films before, though given how specialized the Empire was and how the First Order appears to be, there were likely similar troops in the Imperial Army as it existed all those years ago. The Flametroopers have gained some significance as of late thanks to the prevalence of fire and flaming villages in the trailers for The Force Awakens. We don't know who or what they're burning down, or why for that matter, but we do know that they are rather good at their job given the propensity of flames in the five or so minutes of footage that's been released.
Since 2006, fans have flooded the Javitz Center year after year for New York Comic Con, but until this year, they've never been witness to magnificent pieces Sideshow Collectibles offered. Sideshow does its fair share of shows, but 2015 marked the first time the company made an appearance at NYCC. Though the booth may not have had the same square footage as Sideshow's SDCC presence, it was still packed with loads of incredible sculptures featuring many fan favorites and some of the company's own creations.
Most of what was on display at NYCC had been seen before at other conventions, but the more diminutive booth allowed for a more focused presentation. Where the SDCC collection was three or four times larger, that also meant there were that many more products vying for your attention. While it was definitely cool to see so many new things a few months ago, there was definitely some "cool stuff" overload happening. Notably missing from the NYCC booth was a great deal of Hot Toys, which was represented at New York with a handful of First Order Stormtroopers, and that's it. Sideshow put the spotlight on its own goods, including the DC and Marvel premium format figures due to arrive over the course of the next year, and its outstandingly creepy Court of the Dead line.
Oh the next year in Hot Toys is going to be so expensive, you guys. We've already got the rest of the Avengers: Age of Ultron roster to get through, but we'll also have the first Civil War figures, Batman V Superman figures, and of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens to somehow find a way to finance. I'd take out a new mortgage on my home, but I'm a renter. Besides, we all know home ownership is merely an illusion for a geek culture writer on the internet. That doesn't stop the production train at Hot Toys from running though, and there's going to be a lot of new Force Awakens characters vying for your dollar in the coming year. Especially if you're an army builder.
Hot Toys has already shown off its standard First Order Stormtroopers, but now the company is turning its attention to the cold climate specialists, the Snowtroopers. We haven't seen them in any of the footage released so far, but they did make an appearance in that Vanity Fair photoshoot, and we do know that there will be some snowy climates dealt with in the film. Like the Stormtroopers, there will be two different Snowtroopers offered, with one being basic, and the other being a boss.
There are a few indisputable truths in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the ultimate lesson is that Nick Fury ain't nothing to f--- with. The dude is practically invincible, and he doesn't have a suit of armor or special secret sauce giving him powers either. He's also Samuel L. Jackson, which in and of itself brings a sort unbreakable spirit to the character. Though Jackson himself owes more than a tiny bit of his success as the leader of SHIELD to Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, the real deal himself has been impressive in his own right.
About the only thing that's been lacking has been an equal distribution of Nick Fury action figures. While there have been a few in smaller scales based on his appearances in the recent films, Hot Toys has only released one Nick Fury sixth-scale figure to date based on his role in The Avengers. It was a decent figure, but lacked a truly special likeness. Where nearly every other Avenger has seen more than a few different figures since the start of the MCU with Iron Man, Nick's only just getting his second figure now. The good thing is, it's a beauty.
Oh, Boba Fett. The reasoning behind your popularity outside of the cool costume has always eluded me, yet like so many other Star Wars fans, I can't help but be drawn to you. That armor is that cool. Yes, you went out like a punk in Return of the Jedi, only to be saved later in the comics and novelizations that no longer count as part of the Star Wars canon, but the impression you made on a legion of admirers was so great, it seems nothing will ever break the bond. Even being retroactively turned into a clone of Jango Fett, a vastly inferior version of your own future self. When I say things like that out loud, I wonder again how it is you've managed to stay one of Star Wars' most popular characters.
It seems even Hot Toys counts itself amongst the loyalists infettuated with the bounty hunter as the company has just officially announced its second Boba Fett figure from its recently launched Star Wars figure line. Already, Hot Toys has planned a quarter-scale version of the character with a portion of Jabba the Hutt's skiff serving as the base. Teased at SDCC this past July, the sixth-scale Boba Fett also comes from the Return of the Jedi, as it will include a Sarlacc pit accessory as part of the deluxe package. There's a normal version, too, but who cares? It's all about that base.
Somehow over the past two years, Quicksilver became a hot commodity in the Marvel movie landscape. With the character's rights in a bit of ownership limbo, both Marvel Studios and 20th Century Fox released films in their flagship franchises that showed off the silver-haired speedster and his one-note abilities. Both X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avengers: Age of Ultron showed Quicksilver's powers and personalities in different ways, with each version of the character having his fans. Regardless of which iteration of Pietro Maximoff you liked better, only one got an action figure. Ipso facto, Avengers Quicksilver is clearly superior.
Teased during ACGHK 2015, Hot Toys officially announced its Avengers: Age of Ultron Quicksilver sixth-scale figure today. While we already knew what to expect from the sculpt based on the prototype shown off at the toy and collectible convention, these production shots do give us a better idea of the articulation and detail. Though Quicksilver's outfit is a bit plainclothes compared to the actual members of the Avengers, Hot Toys' tailors manage to bring all the subtlety they can do the outfit. It's a good thing too, otherwise this figure would run this risk of being just a tiny bit on the boring side.
Typically, we only get to see the end result of the effort sculptors and designers at Hot Toys put into each of the figures the company releases. As the company is overseas, getting a look behind the scenes is rare. Sometimes Hot Toys will share a quick pic on social media of an in-progress sculpt, but for the most part, we're all in the dark about the creative process in the studio.
As one of the more secretive companies in the game right now, it's a big deal whenever we're given a peek behind the curtain. Such is the case with this brief YouTube video from The Story, a Korean news channel which featured an interview with Hot Toys' president, JC Hong. Originally released back in April, the video is only just now making the rounds, but still offers a small glimpse at the work and process each of Hot Toys' incredibly accurate and pricey figures goes through.
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