The wait for this 6-inch R2 has been a bumpy ride. Hasbro’s initial images looked great and then we got some final product images, which looked not so great. Further details about the figure’s gimmickry started getting me worried. Now I have R2 in hand and the final result is… decidedly average. He’s honestly better than I thought he was going to be, but I had very low expectations. Let’s take a look at the ups and downs of this little Astromech droid…
We saw the packaging last week with Luke, so there’s not a lot for me to add. I dig it enough that I’ll probably be keeping the figures stored in these boxes, at least until I have enough to set up a display shelf. It’s still hard for me to believe that anyone at Hasbro designed this packaging because it’s so antithetical to mass market toy design. Sure, it’s designed for collectors and not kids, but it’s still odd to see something as subdued as this hanging on a peg in the toy aisles. R2’s attachments are strategically spread out above and beside him to help the little guy fill out the tray. The first thing I had to do when taking R2 out of the package was attach the blue strips to his legs. These each peg into two slots, but mine wouldn’t fit right until I took a razor blade and shaved off some of the mold flashing on the pegs. It’s not a big deal, and they fit perfectly now, but should I really have to do this on a figure that cost $22? I think not.
Starting at the top and working my way down, I have issues with R2’s dome and the biggest one should be obvious: The seam! Unless I’m looking at R2 dead on from the front or back, it’s impossible not to notice this eye sore. I know next to nothing about making toys, but surely there’s a way to manufacture half a sphere in plastic without this kind of seam mucking it up. Second, the paint apps on the dome are overall quite good, but the blue ring around the base of the dome is wobbly, particularly in the front. I don’t want to keep coming back to the price point, but this is a $22 figure and this kind of stuff is unacceptable. The rest of the dome is great. I’m very happy with the way the opening panels on the top close and fit nicely. Yes, you can tell they’re there, but they aren’t as obvious as they could have been.
Things get a lot better as we move down to the body. All the little panel lines are sculpted and look great. I was worried about how the opening panels on the front would look. Early production shots had them rather warped, but on my figure they close up flush with the rest of the body. I’m sure there are plenty of people more familiar with R2’s design than I am, but as far as I’m concerned, this guy looks pretty accurate. The blue paint apps are neat and clean, and while I’m not usually a fan of Hasbro’s attempts at weathering, the work they did on the feet turned out pretty good.
Gimmicks! For better or worse, Hasbro decided to pack this R2 with gimmicks. Some of these work, others do their part to unfortunately mar the figure. Again, let’s start from the top down. R2’s dome has three removable hatches on top. Inside there are slots where you can peg in his sensor device, his periscope, and Luke’s lightsaber. The lightsaber slot is specific to the hilt, but you can put the periscope and sensor into either of the other two. Hasbro could have just as easily only had one hatch to use for the sensor and the periscoe, but I’ll applaud their attempt at accuracy by making them separate. These all work pretty well, and I will admit, I like the idea of being able to display R2 with some of his gizmo’s deployed.
The body features the two opening hatches, each with an arm that folds up. The right door has a computer interface and the left one has a grabber arm. Again, these are cool little features, that don’t harm the toy, apart from the little bumps on the panels to help you open them up. They’re also a lot easier to get out than I suspected they would be.
Next up are those dopey flight-jet things that attach to his arms. Here, you just pull off the side pieces and attach the jets. I hate that these exist and apart from shooting the picture above, I will never use them again. On the bright side, you can just leave them in the package and forget about them. They don’t hurt the figure in any way.
Ok, so here’s the biggie. Hasbro decided to make the third leg deploy by turning R2’s head. It’s the one gimmick that I really wish had been left out. It’s a cute enough gimmick when it was on the smaller R2 figure designed for kids to play with. On the 6-inch collector figure, I think it’s a mistake.
When all is said and done, R2 is a solid enough figure, but he’s not as spectacular as he could have been. To me, he feels like nothing more than an up-scaled 3 ¾” R2, and that’s a big difference from the “wow factor” that I felt when playing with the SWB Luke figure for the first time. Far be it from me to encourage Hasbro to make collectors double-dip, but I would have been happier had Hasbro delivered a great R2 where they focused more on sculpt and paint and less on gimmicks. Hell, I would have happily traded every gimmick on this figure if to get rid of the ugly seam in the dome. Later, they could have released a more gizmo-laden version, which I could have left on the pegs. I was fairly satisfied with Luke at $22, but this R2 just doesn’t feel as worth it to me. If you’re going to do a collector line, Hasbro, do it and leave the gimmicks for the kids toys.