When it comes to collecting Star Wars toys I’ve always been partial to the aliens, robots, and monsters. I usually tell people that Walrus Man is my favorite Star Wars character. How could a boring human character ever hope to win out over a guy with giant tusks on his face in the eyes of a young boy who’s allowed to pick just one figure? If that boy is me the tusk faced dude wins every time.
I always thought Walrus Man looked super cool, even when he wore flippers and a bathing suit. In fact it was that ridiculous original 1980s figure that endeared the character to me so much. Had the original toy actually resembled the character as he appeared on screen he probably never would’ve become my favorite. Walrus Man may have only been in one brief scene of the movie but he had a starring role whenever I played with my toys. Those “expanded universe” tales that happened on my bedroom floor turned what was essentially a background character into an essential player in the rebel/empire conflict.
With a new trilogy in the pipeline and talk of multiple spin-offs it’s fun to imagine the possibility of a solo Walrus Man movie, or a Greedo movie, or a Hammerhead movie. But if I’m being honest with myself I know those movies would most likely suck. As an audience we like to be able to relate to our hero and I don’t find Walrus Man particularly relatable. Plus the entire movie would have to be subtitled. The fact of the matter is that those aliens and monsters that I love so much are better off in supporting roles. The heroing should be left to guys like Han Solo.
Han was the personification of cool to me as a kid, and probably to most guys my age. Not only was he a space pirate/ smuggler, he was cocky, he got the girls, he had a cool ride, and he was also Indiana Jones in his spare time. Trilogies, or even sequels, weren’t nearly as popular back then as they are now and Harrison Ford was the star of the two biggest ones; the man was a pimp.
There were multiple Han figures available in the vintage Star Wars line. My brother Doug had Han in his classic white shirt and black vest as well as Han in his Hoth snowgear. I had this Han which is decked out in a blue jacket and brown pants; an outfit he wore in the Empire Strike Back. I always thought this was the best Han Solo figure. The snow one was nice too but kind of limited in its use. I never cared for the black vested Han because he looked too scrawny. This Han was much better proportioned and the outfit looked better, even if it wasn’t as iconic.
The actor likeness is pretty bad, as was the case with all 80s Star Wars figures. I don’t know if it anything to do with Kenner not having the rights to the actors’ likenesses or maybe the sculptors just weren’t trying that hard. Han has a very generic look to him and could have easily been used as a civilian figure when playing G.I. Joe. The articulation is horrible too. Five point articulation (arms, legs, neck) is pretty much the worst articulation you can have. It’s the next step up from zero. It’s the bottom-of-the-barrel, dial-up internet, Amazing Spider-Man 2 of articulations. But in the early 80s 5 points was the norm (until G.I. Joe blew up and changed the game) so I won’t dwell on it.
I got rid of this Han figure along with 90% of my other Star Wars figures back when I was like twelve. I hadn’t given any thought to replacing them once I started collecting toys again as an adult because I had accumulated a ton of modern Star Wars figures in the 90s and 2000s that are just gathering dust in a box. But then last summer my local comic shop, Strange Adventures, acquired a vintage collection and offered up the figures for $5 a pop. I bought a couple aliens to display on my work desk but I ended up so charmed by them that I went back and bought some of the less interesting human characters a couple of days later. This Han was one of them.
The figure is really rather plain but that’s part of it’s charm. There’s just something really nostalgic and lovable about these stiff old Star Wars figures. I suppose that’s why companies like Gentle Giant and ReAction Figures are capitalizing on this retro style these days. By modern standards this figure would not score well but taking it for what it is it’s kind of great. 7 out of 10.