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 Commander.
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.
Is there a definitive modern counterpart to 1981’s ESB Rebel Commander?
2018’s THE VINTAGE COLLECTION Rebel Soldier (Hoth) (VC120) is regarded as the closest placeholder.
Has Hasbro added this character’s card art and action figure into THE VINTAGE COLLECTION? And is it definitive?
Yes and no. Officially, thanks to 2018’s TVC Rebel Soldier (Hoth) (VC120) figure, we have a modern version of 1981’s ESB Rebel Commander figure. But the modern Hasbro figure doesn’t have facial hair (and is clean-shaven).
Does THE VINTAGE COLLECTION release completely satisfy the modern counterpart to 1981’s THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK Rebel Commander figure?
No. To be a perfect match, Hasbro needs to re-release this figure with a new portrait that has, at the very least, a mustache. Some argue that the vintage Kenner Rebel Commander isn’t the same character as a Hoth Rebel Trooper. But evidenced by the backpack and the strapped blaster rifle, it’s a perfect match for the foot soldiers seen at the Battle of Hoth.
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?
Yes! Hasbro can take 2009’s THE LEGACY COLLECTION Hoth Rebel Trooper (BD 42) figure (the first version), update it with Photo Real technology, and package it in THE VINTAGE COLLECTION. It would serve as an acceptable update to the classic Kenner Rebel Commander.
What does Hasbro have to do so we can check off “Rebel Commander” from our Vintage Vs. Modern checklists?
They need to get a Hoth Rebel Trooper character with facial hair into the lineup. Also, it’s improbable that Hasbro will ever re-release the card art of the original 1981 ESB Rebel Commander action figure since that is an entirely different character altogether (the action figure doesn’t match the character photo), and it’s unlikely Hasbro would ever produce the character reflected in the 1981 Kenner card art.
The year and years elapsed (through 2021) since we last had this character in classic Kenner-styled packaging (vintage or modern)?
2018’s TVC Rebel Soldier (Hoth) (VC120). 3 years ago.
1981’s ESB Rebel Commander 40 years ago.
3.75-inch Super-Articulated Battle Of Hoth Echo Base Hasbro Hoth Rebel Trooper Kenner Rebel Alliance Rebel Commander Rebel Soldier (Hoth Battle Gear) Rebel Soldier (Hoth) The Vintage Collection The Vintage Conversation
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