BATTLE DROID Theed Hangar
Episode I Theed Hangar Motorized Playset
Item No.: Asst. 84055 No. 84713
Includes: Gun, backpack, playset with firing missiles, boxes, Qui-Gon figure
Action Feature: Magnet in middle, falls apart
Availability: May 1999
Appearances: The Phantom Menace
Bio: A battle droid or killer droid was any droid designed for combat. Many of the best known battle droids were those used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars. By the time of the Battle of Yavin, however, battle droids were extremely rare, most likely due to the Clone Wars, or because the Empire didn't want an army that could be easily built and used against it. (Stolen from Wookieepedia.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' floor.
Commentary: Since 1999, Hasbro has taken a sort of newfound approach to army builders. It may be somewhat difficult to buy your favorite by the dozen, but Hasbro made so many different Battle Droid figures that, by buying one of each, you could put together a pretty significant army. Five carded Battle Droids were sold in 1999, two more were sold with playsets, and another came with a vehicle-- and, again, that's just in one year. Because of that level of variety, it's fairly easy to laud the good figures and tout how wonderful they are while not being that upset that this particular Battle Droid has a number of shortcomings. The coolest thing about it is that it has a magnet in his torso, and can be "sliced" in half by flicking it. Later droids would also incorporate this feature, but this one is unique in that his limbs don't move. You can see his head spin, but other than that? No movement. You can put a gun in his hand, though, or take off his backpack. The sculpt is pretty good, the deco is unremarkable, and honestly, if you're just looking to get the best figures, this isn't it. As a playset pack-in, it certainly isn't terrible, and as an army builder, it may be a good one. If you can get tons of these for a couple of bucks and all you want are droids to stand around, it's perfect. If you want figures with anything remotely resembling articulation of a normal figure, though, run (don't walk) away from this one. I'm happy I have it because it's neat enough, but it's beyond unremarkable.
Collector's Notes: One particularly interesting note about this figure's availability is that (like a lot of mail-in figures in the vintage line) it could be purchased on the collector's market, sealed in a little package, without the playset. A few toy magazines and toy dealers secured large amounts of these and sold them by the dozen. They're a little less common today, but you still might stumble across them from time to time.
Day 693: March 29, 2008