Wow. So we finally have a properly-sized environment for the Carbon-Freezing Chamber seen in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Hasbro's come a long way since 2001's POTJ Carbon-Freezing Chamber playset. A LONG WAY. In actuality, we only get half of it. If you want to complete the scene, you'll need to purchase two sets so you can complete it. Before we get ahead of ourselves, we'd like to express that the Carbon-Freezing Chamber is a beautifully-designed, and accurately developed diorama backdrop from The Empire Strikes Back. It may not have all of the parts needed to complete the scene. But all of the base components are here, and collectors should count themselves fortunate. What's more, we get a "new" and exclusive Stormtrooper action figure to help give the playset value, and it might be one of the best Original Trilogy Stormtroopers Hasbro has ever given us in a 3.75" scale. We'll get to the Stormtrooper in greater detail a little bit later. As 2020 celebrates the four-decade celebration of The Empire Strikes Back, Hasbro produced a display for collectors that focuses on one of the most dramatic sequences in a Star Wars film, the carbon-freezing of Rebel Alliance hero Han Solo. This package includes the carbon-freezing chamber, half of the central circular first-level floor, a staircase, and upper-level deck, and various supports to keep it all together. As briefly mentioned, you'll need to purchase two of these to complete the diorama. But one works exceptionally well too if you're looking for a "cut" of the action and reserving space on a shelf.
Once assembled, you have plenty of floor space (even with a single unit) to display the entire cast of characters that make up these scenes from Episode V. The detail in the tooling is impressive. Hasbro studied reference materials closely to develop a play area for collectors imbibed with all of the essential elements of Cloud City on Bespin. The half-circle bottom level is stunning. And if we had to complain, we'd make it known that Hasbro should have beveled out a circle to place the control panel that came with 2009's TLC Ugnaught (BD 43) figure. As it stands now, you're not exactly sure where to place the control panel, and it would have been ideal if Hasbro made this a specific point on the footprint of the lower level. Hasbro added a layer of translucent neon orange plastic underneath the staircase to allow light to penetrate the holes and "glow" brightly. The same orange layer is underneath the lower level too. At the top of the staircase is another platform. And this area is where you'd situate Cloud City Wing Guards or Imperial Officers typically. Above it are silver supports that look the same as they do in the reference images we've found online. We weren't aware of many aspects of this environment until we saw this toy and then compared it to the set. Hasbro faithfully recreated everything correctly here. Some leg supports don't connect at a perfect ninety-degree angle with the bases, so you'll have to perfect the connection points by tweaking these platform legs.
The Carbon-Freezing Chamber tube is smaller than expected, and Hasbro didn't give it much functionality. It does, however, come with a rising and lowering platform. And the Han Solo (In Carbonite) figure snaps firmly into it and stays in place nicely. You can remove it and precariously balance a Han Solo action figure in its place too, but keep in mind that it might tip over if you activate the play feature. The Carbon-Freezing Chamber, the lower platform, the staircase, and the upper level (and the support legs) are all separate pieces. They don't snap together, and one part's slightest movement can cause the whole display to collapse. This alert is your warning if you're setting up an elaborate diorama. For $49.99, you do get a lot of plastic here, but does it provide value? If you subtract $13 for the pack-in Stormtrooper (VC171) figure, the playset costs $37. That's a fair price for this, and while most collectors would want two units for a complete diorama, half is sufficient for posing and displaying. But yes, if you must have both halves, then $74 is a bit of a fortune to blow on these playsets. Not only can you recreate the carbon-freezing of Han Solo, but you can also have Luke Skywalker (Bespin) and Darth Vader interact with each other as well. Bespin was where they first encountered each other, and now we have the backdrop to complete those scenes. Oh, and what about that Stormtrooper (VC171) pack-in figure? It seems lazy, but more is here than meets the eye. Lets' take a closer look.
The Vintage Collection Stormtrooper (VC171) figure is a kit-bashed figure that utilizes the body of 2019's TVC Han Solo (Stormtrooper) (VC143) figure with the portrait of 2019's TVC Imperial Stormtrooper (VC140) figure. Until they tool an all-new figure, this combination of parts might offer collectors the most extraordinary Original Trilogy Stormtrooper action figure to date. If you recall, the Stormtrooper was first released in vintage Kenner packaging in The "Vintage" Original Trilogy Collection as Stormtrooper, from Return Of The Jedi, in 2004. Seven years later, Hasbro updated the figure and placed it on The Empire Strikes Back card back as Stormtrooper (VC41). To date, we still don't have a Stormtrooper on a Star Wars card back, much to the chagrin of the Star Wars collecting community. For this release, the Stormtrooper is once again on The Empire Strikes Back card, but the character is ALSO specific to The Empire Strikes Back. Years ago, a "Bespin orange glow" Stormtrooper was on Hasbro's parking lot of figures. The action figure never came to pass, but now we have it, without the "orange glow" on the armor. The packaging only reflects the "orange glow." In all honesty, the card back for Stormtrooper (VC171) is beautiful. But we'd be lying if we wished the pack-in figure wasn't an Ugnaught instead. The latter feels so much more appropriate than a Stormtrooper. Regardless, we're happy to have an upgraded Stormtrooper in The Vintage Collection once again. But we're delighted to have the Carbon-Freezing Chamber playset.
Assortment Number: E9596
Retail: $49.99 USD
Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on listings.
Status: Carbon-Freezing Chamber is an all-new playset.
Features Count: 1
Feature Details: lowering and raising chamber
Accessory Count: 1
Accessory Details: Han Solo in carbonite block
Date Stamp: N/A
Status: Stormtrooper is a kit-bashed figure that utilizes the body of 2019's TVC Han Solo (Stormtrooper) (VC143) with the portrait of 2019's TVC Imperial Stormtrooper (VC140) figure. Hasbro numbered this figure VC171, and the figure represents a different character than Stormtrooper (VC41).
Articulation Count: 25 points (14 areas of articulation)
Articulation Details: ball-socket head (1), ball-jointed left shoulder (2), ball-jointed right shoulder (2), ball-jointed left elbow (2), ball-jointed right shoulder (2), swivel left wrist (1), swivel right wrist (1), ball-jointed torso (2), ball-jointed left hip (2), ball-jointed right hip (2), ball-jointed left knee (2), ball-jointed right knee (2), ball-jointed left ankle (2), ball-jointed right ankle (2)
Accessory Count: 1
Accessory Details: E-11 blaster
Date Stamp: 2009