Battle Droid (Separatist Army)
Released April 2005
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on May 12, 2005
The army builder game is an interesting one. Hasbro makes a figure and we buy a lot of it-- Joe fans do it, we do it, and I guess someone probably did it for Beast Machines too. This time around, we've got a new Separatist Army Battle Droid that hopefully matches their deco in Revenge of the Sith-- if it doesn't, you can use it for your Naboo dioramas, too. The mold should look familiar-- you were sold it twice before, once in red, and once in beige, in 2002 and 2003.
The spindly trooper droid includes a gun, a blast effect, and a (presumably) Kashyyyk base.
Battle Droids are an interesting beast in that army builders don't seem too giddy over them, and after the initial Episode I madness wore off, Hasbro didn't seem too big on making them in a manner I would deem "quality."
In 1999, Hasbro made a fairly neutral pose Battle Droid in four different deco jobs, one of their very first intentional army building variations. The cats at Hasbro didn't go that way this time, instead using an old mold with a single new deco. It looks good, but how does it stand up?
The head is good-- Hasbro hasn't made a badly sculpted Battle Droid yet, so the head is something Hasbro has more or less proven they can't screw up. The proportions are good, and the deco is appropriate. The little black beady eyes are still there, and some added dirt deco makes it look a little older, which is good because some of these have probably been around since the Battle of Naboo and they should look a little older. That, and various art books described the Trade Federation as having build them cheaply, not splurging for good paint-- so the chipping on the robotic exterior is a very appropriate feature to employ here.
The deco, for better or worse, is what this figure has new to offer. Hasbro hasn't fixed the problems from the previous release of this figure, it still has a problem standing up, even with its stand. I've had it for a few weeks and I've noticed that it tends to lean backward on its joints and eventually fall off its included stand, although I've got a few other stands with longer foot pegs that seem to support this guy a little better, at least in the short term. The rubbery nature of the figure makes it almost inevitable that it'll bend or topple eventually, which is unfortunate-- a slightly stiffer plastic may have saved the figure from this fate. My AOTC droids of this mold tended to bend and warp when placed on my Ultarama, but this guy just falls right off. I guess it's better than being disfigured, but man, what a letdown.
The sculpt is still good, and articulation isn't bad. The ball-jointed head can be popped off if you're so inclined, and you get joints at the shoulders, hips, and elbows. Since the figure has joints that tend to sag, I'm glad there's no other points of articulation as I'd rather not have him slowly fall over while he's being posed and on duty on my shelves. He's a good looking figure, but in my initial trials, he's better to look at in the package.
Stand, backpack, gun, blast discharge.
The actual weaponry for this figure are nothing new-- the gun and red blast effect are the same basic thing you got in 2002, and the backpack has been repainted to look better than it's looked before with the serial number written on his backpack and some additional paint ops added to the backpack. Don't forget-- the blast effect can be used for either the tip of the gun, or to indicate the droid has been shot by placing it on its, uh, nipple post.
Thumbs-up and stuff, they wisely spent the money on deco rather than new tooling, although I think the Episode I mold still would've been superior. I'm probably going to say that again.
Notably not present are the energy bolts from the 2002 offerings-- this time around, you get a stand instead. Aside from this switcheroo, it's the same basic molds.
Kashyyyk, I assume, is presented in this stand. It connects well to its peer stands, and the deco is good-- you get a few shades of green and some brown, so it's a nice looking base. As mentioned above, the short peg aids in its toppling over, though, so the figure may have some difficulty staying plugged in and frankly there's no excuse for that. If a figure can't stand up with a stand, Hasbro made a mistake, and this is one of those times where you're probably best off making sure this guy has something to lean against.
New for 2005: the flaming head of Darth Vader.
This is a very ornate package. Despite being somewhat generic across the line, there are numerous layers at work here-- there are two cardboard inserts in the front, a plastic tray, and stickers all over to make this really stand out. The end result is a busy, flaming design you just can't ignore. It isn't as gee-whiz or gosh-golly cool as the packaging used for the Original Trilogy Collection but it looks like the most expensive cardback Hasbro has done to date and the new egglike bubble is a huge departure from the previous two decades and change of product from Kenner and Hasbro. The bubble is much like that of the G.I. Joe figures (two- and three-packs) from 2003-2005 in that the bubble wraps the card, hugging it, where it is taped in the back. This allows you to remove a figure a little more easily, although the folks at Hasbro secured it in more places so you'll probably rip most of these getting the figures out.
This is a pegwarmer as of this review, so you should have absolutely no problem getting one or a dozen.
It's not the best Battle Droid, but honestly, Hasbro's Battle Droid offerings since Episode I have been pretty lackluster save for the Boomer Damage version from Power of the Jedi. The rubbery, flimsy plastic really hurts this figure and the fact that the stand won't help him stand for more than an hour or two before he topples over-- in most poses-- is just plain sad. This isn't a good candidate for an army builder unless you have additional reinforcement keeping him upright.
Carded collectors, this is a good toy to buy-- it looks great, the extra deco on his backpack is superb, and he looks better than any other tan Battle Droid yet. But for you openers, don't army build until you get one and spend a few days experimenting with it on your shelves. If it stays up for your needs, get more, but you might be better getting older, cheaper droids off of eBay now that they're no longer fashionable.
Our review sample was obtained from Entertainment Earth in April of 2005.