Welcome to another entry in our The Vintage Collection: The Ninety Six column. Hasbro recently committed to collectors that they will be “focusing” on characters in The Vintage Collection that fall under “The Ninety Six” banner. If you’re new to this, it means that there needs a modern counterpart for every classic Kenner figure. Between 2020 and 2021, Hasbro’s made an admirable effort by focusing on these characters. But there is more work to be done, and we’ll figure out where we are step by step. Today we assess Rebel Soldier (Hoth Battle Gear).
Just a few notes: We’re right in alignment with Hasbro in our vintage Kenner database with the count. There are 21 figures under the STAR WARS banner, 29 figures under THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK banner, 31 figures under the RETURN OF THE JEDI banner, and 15 figures under THE POWER OF THE FORCE banner. (Sy Snootles, Max Rebo, Droopy McCool, and Blue Snaggletooth bring the number to an even 100 figures.)
Read our assessment, and then please add your thoughts to the comments. Let us know if you agree or disagree. If you’re a customizer, show us your custom definitive figure in the comments as well! Who knows? It might give Hasbro some ideas.
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Rebel Soldier (Hoth Battle Gear)
Is there a definitive modern counterpart to 1980’s ESB Rebel Soldier (Hoth Battle Gear)?
2011’s THE VINTAGE COLLECTION Rebel Soldier (Echo Base Battle Gear) (VC68)
Has Hasbro added this character’s card art and action figure into THE VINTAGE COLLECTION? And is it definitive?
Yes. But before we begin this assessment, let’s clarify the confusion began by Kenner in 1980. The action figure and character photo do not represent the same character. Hasbro confused the Hoth Rebel Troopers with the technicians, tauntaun handlers, and commanders that patrolled Echo Base. (They’d later and “partially” correct this error a year later with the 1981 ESB Rebel Commander figure.) The 1980 action figure is based on the Rebel technicians, tauntaun handlers, and commanders seen on Echo Base and features the incorrect character photo on the packaging. So, we will assess this entry by the action figure and not by the character photo.
The 1980 THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Rebel Soldier (Hoth Battle Gear) figure is best represented by 2011’s THE VINTAGE COLLECTION Rebel Soldier (Echo Base Battle Gear) (VC68) figure. While differences exist between the 1980 Kenner figure to the updated TVC figure, the differences can be attributed to Kenner’s lack of reference materials. The easiest way to know that the 1980 figure isn’t “Hoth Rebel Trooper” is by the absence of a survival backpack and the stark color differences. Most notably, the character photo is incorrect for this figure.
Does THE VINTAGE COLLECTION release completely satisfy the modern counterpart to 1980’s THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Rebel Soldier (Hoth Battle Gear) figure?
Not only does 2011’s THE VINTAGE COLLECTION Rebel Soldier (Echo Base Battle Gear) (VC68) figure serve as a definitive counterpart to the 1980 THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Rebel Soldier (Hoth Battle Gear) figure, it also corrects the longtime character photo error.
If Hasbro didn’t release the figure yet, do we have a near-definitive or definitive release of this character that can be added to THE VINTAGE COLLECTION as a straight repack, repaint, or with little retooling to update it?
Hasbro added the 2011 figure to their reissue lineup for 2022, and the figure will come with a Photo Real update.
What does Hasbro have to do so we can check off “Rebel Soldier (Hoth Battle Gear)” from our Vintage Vs. Modern checklists?
We have a definitive modern counterpart already, with a Photo Real update coming soon.
The year and years elapsed (through 2021) since we last had this character in classic Kenner-styled packaging (vintage or modern)?
2011’s TVC Rebel Soldier (Echo Base Battle Gear (VC68). 10 years ago
1980’s ESB Rebel Soldier (Hoth Battle Gear). 41 years ago (Incorrect character photo)