Released September, 2003
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on October 17, 2003
A brand-new vehicle originally developed for Episode II, the Hailfire Droid is a surprisingly detailled, easy-to-assemble vehicle that not-so-surprisingly doesn't work exactly as advertised..
The set includes one droid, two wheels, a moving gun, and 32 projectiles, 16 of which can fire.
The Hailfire Droid falls into the same trap as a few other Trade Federation designs in that there's no way for figures to interact with it beyond standing near it in a diorama setting. That said, though, it's an original design that could have been just a little bit better.
What you see is pretty much what you get. Two enormous wheels connect to a tiny body that has a pair of missile batteries protruding from the top. Hasbro has an easy ride with vehicles, as it's easier to fudge the proportions than it would be with, say, Darth Vader. As such, this one looks pretty good, appearing very large next to action figures while seeming to be the proper proportions, or at least close enough to the point where I don't notice/care.
The Intergalactic Banking Clan would be prooud of the paint work on this toy, as it looks used, murky, and not at all rushed. As a lot of recent vehicular efforts seem to be lacking in the paint department, it seems Hasbro decided to go all out here and make something to be proud of. The sculpt is quite incredible as well, but in all fairness, it's hard to mess up a droid. The tread of the tires and the panel lines of the middle section are all recreated with the same attention to detail, and even though this was a design I was not keen on when I first saw it, the toy has won me over. It looks and feels great.
A set of eight labels comes in the box, and they're very easy to apply. Then again, after assembling many many Zoids, any labels that are cut properly to the surface on which they are to be affixed are easy to apply. Again, kudos on a job well done, Hasbro. When it comes to rudimentary toy assembly, I don't want to have to think much.
Weapons & Features
The mechanisms of this toy are both its selling feature and its weak spot. The wheels are a little stiff... while they can roll with a little resistance on carpet, on a table, they don't want to roll at all. Odds are this was a decision made to keep it from flailing around, as loose wheels probably would hurt its stability. As such, what they did is unfortunate, but appropriate.
Weapons are probably the first thing people see after the wheels on this toy, and as there are 32 missiles, it shouldn't disappoint... but it does. 16 of the launchers function, the others merely serve as recepticles for the projectiles. Also, when launching, our tests showed that many of the rockets wouldn't clear the launcher, and those that did flew about a foot tops. As such, Hasbro may have been better off just making it so none of the rockets fired.
It looks good, but doesn't play well with others.
Typical for Clone Wars, the packaging is very distinctive and follows the template set forth by previous vehicles in this series. However, while the Jedi Starfighter and the Federation Tank came in a thick cardboard packaging, this assortment seems to be made from the same cardstock as an action figure cardback.
And for kicks, here's the manual and stickers.
This set is showing up at Target and Toys "R" Us stores, as well as online stores around the country.
If you're into the Battle of Geonosis, large droids, or something that looks like it could take your other toys on in battle and win, this is the toy for you. It looks better as a display piece than it acts as a toy, and oddly seems like it'd make a better Action Fleet toy than a toy for the action figure line.
For the price, it's a nice vehicle, but it'd really feel right at $15. The Jedi Starfighter and Federation Tank vehicles allow for interaction with the figures and the Geonosian Starfighter includes a pilot... this is just somewhat dull. For a collector, it's an interesting piece to look at and part of a nice collection, but for kids... get them a real toy instead.
Our sample was obtained from Entertainment Earth in September 2003.