DESTROYER DROID Droideka
30th Anniversary Collection Basic Figures
Item No.: Asst. 87500 No. 87462 (coin SKU)
Includes: 1/2 of shield, snap-on energy blasts, collector's coin or display stand
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: Fall 2007
Appearances: The Prequel Trilogy
Bio: Droidekas, or destroyer droids, are more dangerous and harder to stop than battle droids or super battle droids. Armed with twin blasters and programmed to destroy, they can surround themselves with a protective energy shield or curl into balls and roll into attack at great speed. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' table.
Commentary: Hasbro rarely gets a figure perfect the first time, but they often come very close-- such is the case with this Destroyer Droid. Based on a mold from way back in 1999, this 2007 release takes the original design-- strong by any standards-- and upgrades it with a retooled head, additional accessories, and enhanced deco. While you may not realize it at first, Hasbro did a wonderful job repainting this figure. While it looked slick from its 1999 release, the colors didn't blend well and the abrupt, harsh lines between one color and the next weren't very great to look at. The 2007 release blends the colors well in a more muted pattern which looks, and I use the world with some hesitation, "realistic." The figure had tan wires on the back of his elbows, which have now been recolored in a silvery grey, which looks much better. Considering that this redeco is nearly 8 years removed from the original, it's pretty impressive that Hasbro did such a good job on the sculpt in the first place. The figure stands up well, doesn't seem to have the "warpage" problem we see on so many Destroyers ever since, and, sadly, does not roll up into a ball yet. The figure has about 12 meaningful points of articulation, with two in each of three legs, two in each of two arms, the head, and bendable waist. It's a well-designed figure and feels like it should hold up well to play as well as the rigors of life on a shelf.
Each "arm" has a blaster "hand" on which you can snap on little red blaster bolts to simulate firing. It's believed that these were identical to the ones on an unreleased version of the figure from years past, so at least there's that. The snap-on energy blasts basically went out of vogue by 2004 so while neat, they're more "retro" than innovative here.
The main selling point of this figure was its transparent blue shield which, through the production process, became less transparent, less translucent, and ultimately very opaque. If you buy two copies of this figure (and why the heck don't you-- get one with a stand and one with a coin), you can assemble one complete shield. But here's why it sucks-- not only does it look wonky, not letting you see the figure inside (which is the point), it's also far too small. The figure has to be squeezed in, folded in such a way where it's essentially "kneeling" in order to fully fit inside the constrictive sphere. The guns barely protrude beyond the azure barrier, leaving you with one fairly useless figure obfuscation device. If you don't want to see your figure, there's no better accessory out there. I don't know if diorama fans will enjoy it, but I can say that it really doesn't do anything for me. It's a neat experiment on Hasbro's part but the end result, combined with a figure that's mainly recycled parts, and I can't help but feeling a bit taken.
Collector's Notes: So far it seems the figure is selling well, meaning Hasbro's gambit to include half an accessory to get fans to buy twice as many figures worked. Heck, I opened an extra one just to see what it would look like, and well, I can't say I'm super pleased with the results. I admire that Hasbro tried to create an energy shield out of plastic but I just don't like what I got here. The figure seems to be selling adequately, although it and its casemates seem to be relatively weak sellers when compared with the remainder of the fairly brisk sales enjoyed by the rest of the 2007 action figure line.
Day 704: April 9, 2008