Released October 2004
Reviewed by Adam Pawlus
Photography by Michael Sullenger
Reviewed on December 22, 2004
While a lot of figures from the old days will be fondly remembered for their rough portrayals of their movie counterparts, R2-D2 always stuck out as a vintage figure that didn't look a lot like his movie counterpart. With the clicky chrome dome, two legs, and the easily-damaged sticker, this droid needed an upgrade in the modern area and for the most part, all have been improvements. So why go back to the old days? Well, look at this as a "what if?" scenario.
This figure is packaged with a removable third leg, tool arms, and a panel cover.
R2-D2 is hard to mess up because it should be fairly easy to convert a being of plastic into a smaller being of plastic. As such, this new versions looks like R2-D2.
The figure doesn't seem overwhelmingly specific to any one movie, but his accessories definitely feel they belong in Return of the Jedi. The figure itself is scultped excellently, there's really not much to say beyond the amount of work having gone into this figure seems above and beyond what R2 usually gets. The wires on his legs are highlighted, and there's a few more paint applications on the body.
On the whole, really, there's nowhere to go on an R2-D2 body sculpt but toward a third-rate product after this one. I guess Hasbro could concoct some super-figure out of die-cast metal with lots of moving, high-priced parts... actually, yeah, I'd like to see that. Give me a figure of R2-D2 that's worth $20.
One thing Hasbro hasn't been very consistent on is the texture of R2-D2's dome. Is it vac metal? Is it a dull silver? Or is it grey? Since 2003, we've seen it in all of these different materials, and as such, it's hard to say what should be definitive. The bulk of the non-black or non-clear domes in Star Wars are a silvery grey color (save for R2-B1), so this doesn't necessarily fit in with all of them. The sculpt and coloring are good, though, and it's a nice throwback to the all-chrome vintage droids.
When you turn R2-D2's dome, not only does it click, but his sensorscope pops out-- the mechanism works like the vintage R2-D2 with Pop-Up Lightsaber or the datalink accessories from the 1998 figure. It's a nice addition and surprisingly unobstrusive.
Instead of a retractable third leg, Hasbro decided to give him a removable one-- an option we like more, because it lets you use the room inside the body for other mechanisms. Also, instead of foot holes, you have wheels-- a good idea, surely. R2-D2 has no need for a stand in either two- or three-footed modes due to the very stable design of the character, so this is a welcome move from Hasbro.
Before, and after. He's come a long way since 1978.
What does R2-D2 look like next to C-3PO, you ask? Well, he looks a lot like that. For display purposes in my own collection, though, I've found the standard super-clean OTC C-3PO looks better next to him.
This set includes quite a bit-- which is good, because as a figure, R2-D2 doesn't offer much.
Instead of plugging in the gadgets directly to R2-D2, you plug them into one of two panels-- so it can look like a bit of R2-D2 has opened up to throw out a saw or claw or what have you. This excellent idea prevents you from having unsightly holes on the figure.
For their own reasons, Hasbro went back to the Kenner days and recreated one of the Return of the Jedi card fronts-- the same photo was originally used in the old days for ANH through ROJ, but Hasbro opted to release the modern figure only with the Jedi logo. Go figure, it'd be a great variation to produce.
Another photo was used during the Return of the Jedi run in the old days that would have been more appropriate to this figure, as it was based on the Jedi design. But well, this is what you want, this is what you get.
The front of the cardback is probably the most changed from the old days. The photo used here was originally used on cardbacks for R2-D2 (Sensorscope) from 1982-1984 on ESB and ROJ cardbacks. The text on this new packaging renames the figure to R2-D2 with Extension Arms. It's different, but not different enough to but most people.
The back of the card is somewhat lame, using similar graphics to those used on other OTC products. It would be nice to have a vintage-esque lineup of the new VOTC figures instead of just the four from that movie. It's OK, but nothing too special.
The clamshell is nice, and it's taped shut to protect the innards. There's an embossed Star Wars logo on the back, and you could probably cram any old vintage figure in here if you open your VOTC figures and happen to have other real vintage figures in need of star case type storage. The case is too shallow for anything but vintage figures, or perhaps thinner, early POTF2 and POTJ figures.
I especially like the embossed Imperial and Rebel logos on the top of the clamshell. All in all, it's good packaging, but the regular OTC style impressed me a little bit more.
He comes and goes, so keep your eyes peeled-- toys released during the holidays tend to sell fast.
He's R2-D2, and he's good. If you want a good gimmick-free R2-D2, we still think the best bang for your buck is the one used for Saga Hall of Fame and the OTC. But this one is good too-- if you need a special R2-D2 for a diorama or, heaven forbid, a toy to play with, this one offers quite a bit. It's hard to justify its value at $10 ($7 seems a little high) but such is the nature of this line. It's not like a $10 Jabba the Hutt or pack of Jabba's court, but it's still pretty nifty-- besides, what you're paying for is the ornate packaging, which is pretty darned good. Snag it if you like R2-D2s, otherwise save your money.
Our sample was obtained from Toys "R" Us in October 2004.