Toy Tribute: Han in Stormtrooper Gear Froot Loops Mailaway

The Star Wars action figure line is a collecting juggernaut these days. We have thousands of post-vintage Star Wars figures today, so it's a little difficult to get too excited about any new wave. Of course it wasn't always like this. In the early 90's, Star Wars toy collecting was pretty much restricted to Action Masters (die-cast figurines) and Bendies. But in 1995, we got our first new Star Wars action figures in 10 years with the release of Power of the Force 2 from Kenner. The figures were overly muscular, the face sculpts were iffy at best, and the lightsabers were insanely huge... but we didn't mind that much. Star Wars was back, and we gobbled them up like hotcakes.


Imagine our collective glee when Kenner announced a mailaway figure available through a Froot Loops offer! Not only are mailaways inherently awesome, but the figure would be depicting a character never before seen in plastic: Han in Stormtrooper Gear! For years, collectors have been customizing this figure by swapping a Han head onto a vintage POTF85 Luke in Stormtrooper Gear body. And now Han Trooper would finally get his due!


Of course, this figure was a must-have for my blossoming post-vintage Star Wars collection. I remember my friend Matt heard that Froot Loops boxes with the Han Trooper offer were spotted in northern Virginia one weekend, so we went on a quest, scouring the area for boxes. I'm not sure if we found them that weekend, but if not we eventually did and promptly mailed off the order forms. (Thanks to Matt for the box above.)


And this figure lived up to expectations. The proportions of this figure were more reasonable compared to the other hyper-buff POTF2 figures. And this Han Trooper wasn't just a head-swap with a POTF2 Stormtrooper, the sculpt was slightly different: the legs were repositioned and the right arm was bent to aim his blaster. Or, rather his "imaginary blaster", as he didn't come with one. But he did come with a removable helmet, and for a mailaway, that's all you can really ask for.


Although this Han Trooper falls short according to today's standards, it was a pretty awesome figure for its time. And the mailaway aspect added a new dimension of collectibility to the line. It was figures like this that helped cement my Star Wars collecting obsession for almost 10 years.

As a side note, Matt still has a Froot Loops box with the Han Trooper offer, still sealed. Sick. Who knows what science experiments are brewing in that box after ten years. And yet, I'm sure the Froot Loops probably still taste the same. Yum.

6 comments:

  1. Ah, the memories. Yes, we found the Froot Loops boxes at the Safeway in Sterling after sitting in rush hour traffic on Route 7. I'll never forget the joy of finding those boxes in the cereal aisle and the anticipation while waiting for the figures to arrive.

    Also, the Han Stormtrooper had a two-handle gun designed for it, which Kelloggs did not allow to be offered with the figure. Hasbro later packaged it with the Freeze Frame Princess Leia. I read that on GalacticHunter.com Figure of the Day #87 and immediately bought one off eBay to complete my loose Han Stormtrooper properly.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I got into SW figure collecting just after this promo was over. I do however have the Frito-Lays Obi-Wan spirit figure.
    There aren't many things cooler than Han in ST disguise, so when he came out again in the Cinema Scene 3-pack "Death Star Escape" I managed to get one off the shelf and it is still one of my favorites.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This was the pinnacle of awesome when I first saw it. I must have ordered two or three of them – which just about everyone I knew did.

    Today this figure just bums me out. Without fail I constantly see him at garage sales, yard sales, and flea markets with price tags that assure he will never be played with or added to a collection. Outside the hands of kids or collectors, these figures seemed to be stuck in the hands of delusional packrats – stuck in toy purgatory.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post! I remember exactly where I was when I was finally able to obtain my Fruit Loops boxes (Boulder, CO)...and I remember anxiously checking the mail each day in anticipation.

    I ended up acquiring 4 boxes on my 'collecting-journey'...and one of them is still sealed. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. This figure epitomized simple, yet effective! I often used my G.I. Joe figures in imaginary undercover roles, but this little guy was the real deal, a character who actually had a disguise. I'm sure there were other figures that established that precedent before this one, but it is definitely the freshest in my memory. I've often been frustrated by the fact that when I go to a hockey game and get a bobblehead or miniature statue, the face looks nothing like the player it's supposed to be representing. This one looks exactly like Harrison Ford.

    ReplyDelete
  6. One of my proudest collector moments was saving up for this guy!

    ReplyDelete