Han Solo (1978)

What better figure to talk about this weekend than the original Kenner Han Solo. It’s the toy that launched a thousand (okay at least fifty) future tiny Hans. Speaking of tiny, the head on this toy holds a special place in Star Wars action figure collecting history, as its one of the first major running changes in the line. I don’t know if he has a proper moniker in hardcore collector circles, but I’ve always referred to him as Small Head Han.

My childhood Han was of the Big Head variety, and I was blissfully ignorant of this version until years later when I saw a friend’s version. As a kid, I didn’t really care about the difference, but as an adult collector, it fell into the category of I Have To Have It. The more diminutive noggin certainly looks more in scale with the early Kenner Star Wars sculpt style. While Han was a go-to figure for years, he was eventually supplanted in my play by the Bespin version, which quickly became my fave. Comparatively, the original Han seemed dainty just a few years after his release.

That’s not to say Han is a bad figure; he’s simply a product of his time. There’s no denying the lightning in a bottle that Kenner captured with Star Wars, and how the unlikely success changed the toy industry as much as Lucas’ film changed movies. For old guys like me, the original toys hold a special place of nostalgia, and while more detailed and film-accurate toys come and go, the Kenner figures will always be cool.

2 thoughts on “Han Solo (1978)

  1. Such a great figure for its time! While most of the figures had fairly static poses, the “gonna shoot you” right arm is perfect. The face on “Big Head Han” might resemble Harrison Ford just the slightest bit more, but I prefer this version. Makes a good precursor to Bespin Han, too.

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  2. When I look at the Kenner offerings through a critical eye, they are really showing their age. Moreso than G.I. Joe, in my opinion. But, these guys were nothing short of awesome back then.

    I have one traumatic memory of this figure. It had to be in 1978 or 1979. But, it was before I had the Millenium Falcon. My dad made me a space ship out of wood. He drilled out holes for the figures to sit in. But, as it was recently cut, there was still sawdust in the bottom. When I dumped out Han’s gun, it was covered in sawdust.

    I did the obvious thing and took Han and Chewie’s gun to the sink to wash them off. But, I turned on the water too hard and Han’s gun was swept out of hands and down the drain. To this day, I see it spinning towards the drain: nothing I can do.

    A few months ago, one of my boys was going to wash off his Legos in the sink. I stopped him and he gave me a fight. I then told them the story of my Han Solo gun going down the sink. He didn’t wash his Lego’s and all the boys still talk about when dad lost Han Solo’s gun down the drain. So, it’s a lesson for 2 generations, now.

    Oh, and I still haven’t replaced that Han. I never got another complete one and once Bespin Han came out, he was good enough.

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