As I tend to only stick to main characters and seldom buy new versions of characters Hasbro/Kenner has already produced, I very rarely purchase Star Wars figures these days. However, when the Vintage line debuted last year, I knew that the first wave's Leia (Hoth Outfit) was an absolute must-have for me, due to being arguably the best-sculpted incarnation of the character yet made (not to mention that the only other Leia figure I currently own is the Shadows of the Empire Leia in Boushh Disguise)
However, since I waited forever to snag one, the Vintage series' distribution woes have made it difficult to track it down now. Luckily Hasbro has included this figure in a few multipacks, namely the Empire Strikes Back four-figure Commemorative Set (packaged with Snowspeeder outfit Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett, and a Snowtrooper) and the Target-exclusive Vintage Rebel Set (with medical droid 2-1B and a Hoth Rebel Commander). After some patience, the Rebel Set finally hit post-Christmas clearance, meaning on Friday Mario was able to pick one up for me for $10.88 plus tax. So for a little over the asking price of one Vintage series figure, I got three!
So how do the contents of the set stack up? Firstly, the completely new Hoth Outfit Leia (not based on any previously molds of the character sporting this costume) is as awesome as I hoped it would be when I first saw it in early press photographs. Note that due to Hasbro's increased adherence to scale, this Leia is extremely tiny compared to past efforts. Apparently actress Carrie Fisher is a petite thing. Like all the Vintage figures, Hoth Outfit Leia boasts a laudable amount of articulation for a 3 3/4"-scale toy: balljointed neck, elbows, and knees; swivel/hinge shoulders; and swivel wrists, waist, and hips. I can understand some people being miffed at the lack of ankle articulation on Leia; it doesn't bother me at all, but your mileage may vary. Though the winter vest is removable, Leia's only proper accessory is a blaster that's rather huge for her tiny hand. At first I was worried that forcing the weapon into place might damage the figure, but it ended up sliding into her grip with no problem.
Hoth Outfit Leia was the primary reason I acquired this set, but the Hoth-garbed Rebel Commander (originally released in the Legacy Collection line) is just as well-crafted as that toy. He has the same articulation as Leia with added ankle balljoints (though his shoulders have limited range due to the sculpt). In the past the lower skirt of the figure's jacket might have hindered posability, but the Rebel Commander benefits from Hasbro's recent tendency to render such wardrobe pieces as cloth instead of plastic (one of its best toy engineering decisions in years). The plastic holster piece wrapped around the right thigh is very forgiving as well, not hindering forward movement of the leg at all. Additionally, he comes with two guns (a rifle and a holsterable pistol), a removable backpack, and a removable cap/wintry face wrap combo.
2-1B is the only underwhelming offering in the set. Unlike the ultra-modern updates of the other two characters, 2-1B here (sporting some sort of gun, which I guess medical droids need for some reason) is the exact same version made in 1997 for Kenner's Power of the Force Line. That was a disappointment to discover after opening the package and wondering why articulation was so limited, especially since it seems to be the only toy from Target's three exclusive Vintage sets not originally produced in the last three years. In that context, the inclusion of this 15-year-old mold (especially when a newer 2-1B was made a few years back) is frankly mystifying. Nonetheless, the sculpt holds up surprisingly well, and see-through parts give the figure plenty of interesting detail to marvel at. And hey, considering I got this clearanced three-pack ostensibly for one (great) figure, everything else in the set is a bonus. That's the way to obtain the Rebel Set, as the original $21.79 asking price is a bit much considering the outdated nature of one of the toys included.