Star Wars: R2-D2 Sixth-Scale Deluxe Figure by Sideshow

Sideshow has been running their Sixth-Scale line of Star Wars figures for quite some time, and I’ve managed to stay away from it… up until now. It’s bad enough that I already collect Star Wars figures in two different scales, I don’t need to add an expensive third format. There are, however, exceptions to every rule and in this case I’ve decided that I rather need a really nice Sixth-Scale R2-D2 and C-3PO on my shelf. 3PO won’t be showing up until the end of this year at the earliest, but R2 finally shipped this month after a few months delay. When I was a kid, my Dad and I spent a week building the original MPC R2-D2 model kit. I remember wanting to slap that thing together and play with it, but my Dad taught me patience and care as we spent days filing down sprue marks and painting every last piece and the result was extraordinary. It’s a great memory of my childhood and until now that was the best R2 I ever owned. I wish I still had that model and I’ve been looking for an equal to that R2 for ages now. Needless to say I was mighty excited to get my hands on this little Astromech Droid and I can’t wait to check him out.

ssr2bx1

ssr2bx2

R2 comes in a really big box for such a small droid. Sure, he’s Sixth-Scale but for an R2 Unit that amounts to only about 6 inches or so, the box stands close to 12-inches tall and is almost as wide. It’s fully enclosed, but it does have a flap that opens to reveal a window that lets you get a good look at what’s inside. Opening the flap demonstrates why the box is so damn big because it lets you see that R2 only occupies a small portion of the space on his tray, with the rest taken up by his various accessories and extra bits. There’s a lot in this box to look at, mostly attachments, so let’s start out with the base figure…

ssr212

ssr213

ssr211

My first impression is that Sideshow really did their research to painstakingly recreate every little panel line and detail on this little droid. Their Sixth Scale line has come so far since the earlier days! I also want to point out how happy I am they went for a slightly weathered look. Bright and clean R2 just isn’t as interesting to me and super dirtied up rarely looks good. Nope, this is a middle-of-the-road “I’ve been on adventures” version of R2 and I like it a lot. I should also note that I had concerns about the way the dome would look in-hand and how bad those seams would be, but I needn’t have worried. The dome looks fantastic in person and again I think the worn silver works better than a bright and shiny silver would have looked. As we’ll see in a moment, R2 has tons of opening panels, but it’s hard to tell that most of them open because they sit perfectly flush with his body. I’m really thankful for that because it would have been a major “make or break” aspect of the figure for me. If you look closely enough, you can make out seems on a few panels, whereas others totally look like they’re just sculpted as part of the body. All of three of the projectors on R2’s dome are articulated, but the one on the top of my figure has a little mold flashing, which sometimes gets stuck on the grommet. As Yoda would say, “QC issues, yes… but minor they are!” 

ssr219

ssr220

While he looks fantastic, getting R2 in hand gave me pause, as this is a pretty light figure and some might say flimsy feeling figure. There’s no die-cast to give him any heft and it’s obvious that he’s mostly hollow. He’s priced like a high end collectible, but he feels more like a toy, and a delicate one at that, especially as you begin to open his hatches and mess around with his features. Granted, for me value doesn’t have to equate with weight, but I know a number of collectors have been voicing unrest over some of the recent light weight Premium Format statues by Sideshow and this R2 presents a similar case. On the other hand, it’s probably a good thing the body isn’t any heavier because there’s a little play in his ankle joints and you have to balance him just right when standing on only two legs or he’s likely to lean forward or back. The shoulder joints, on the other hand, are nice and snug. R2 also features the retractable third leg. You can deploy it simply by pushing in on it and it will spring out. Push it back up and it will lock into place. All three feet have wheels on the bottom and R2 rolls splendidly across my desk, buy hopefully never off my shelf.

ssr2dh5

ssr215

The electronics in the figure features various lights situated around R2’s dome and they are easily the high point of the figure for me, simply because they are executed so well. R2 looks great standing on the shelf, but when you activate those lights he absolutely comes alive. The color change and dynamic light movements found on a few of the panels are amazing. Once more, getting it activated is as easy as tapping a certain blue panel on the dome with your finger. Tap it again and it activates his projector too. Tap it a third time and everything shuts off. There’s an On/Off switch situated under the dome, but the electronics don’t need to be reset after a while of inactivity (an annoying feature which was the only blemish on the Hot Toys RoboCop figure for me) What’s inexcusable here is the lack of any audio clips. Yes, I knew that was the case going in, but it doesn’t make the absence of sound any less disappointing. For crying out loud, Hasbro was putting sound chips in their ten dollar 3 3/4” R2 figures over ten years ago. The fact that Sideshow couldn’t do it on this $150 piece is pretty sad. I think the sound combined with the stellar lighting would have really sent this figure over the top.

ssr221

ssr21

ssr22

ssr24

ssr26

ssr229

Alrighty, so let’s talk hatches and attachments and we’ll start with the body. R2 comes with Luke’s lightsaber hilt and there’s a magnet in it so you can use it to open all of R2’s chest panels. I love this feature as (most of the time) it prevents you from having to dig these open with your nail and risk damaging anything. Yes, the hinges appear very fragile, and while I did have one door come off entirely, it was easy to put back on. The two horizontal blue actuator arms swing out. The door to the left of the central vents (R2’s left) opens to reveal some sculpted and painted mechanisms. The panel to the right of the vents opens to reveal a socket to insert one of his arm attachments. The two long side panels each open and reveal swing out arms to plug in arm atachments too. Getting these arms to swing out can be a bit of a chore, but once you do they are designed to travel up and down a rail to change their height, which is a pretty cool feature. All the doors can open at once and if you got the regular retail edition (Sideshow’s Exclusive came with an extra saw blade) you can have all the included arms deployed at once. The arm attachments include his zapper, his computer interface, and his grabber arm. These arms just socket into the holes, although some don’t really stick and can be knocked out very easily. And yes, while some of these features are delicate, I still think they were done quite well.

ssr217

Moving on to the dome, there are three panels surrounding the center that open to reveal features. First, you get the periscope, which is the easiest to deploy. If you hold R2 upside down it’ll usually pop out.

ssr216

The little radar dish is a lot tougher. You have to push down on the panel to get it to pop up and swing out. Then you can use the lightsaber to push down on the dish and it will (theoretically) pop out. Unfortunately, mine was retracted backwards, which made getting it out the first time so difficult that I almost gave up for fear of breaking the thing. Lastly, if you press down on the third panel and swing it to the side it will open a compartment for the lightsaber. I had the least amount of success with this one. The panel just seems to want to keep closing on the saber and I was afraid if I dropped it in there that I’d never get it out.

ssr2210

Oh, yeah, you also get a little magnetic restraining bolt… cool!

ssr2dh2

ssr2dh1

ssr2dh3

The final feature on the dome is the rather elaborate serving tray and arm that was used by the little droid on Jabba’s Sail Barge. The serving arm hatch is opened with the lightsaber magnet and then you just peg the arm into place. The tray requires you to peg in the side pieces, which is a precarious undertaking since each level of the drink tray is secured by two rather weak posts. I can easily see these bending and snapping when applying the force needed to get those sidepieces on or taking them off to put everything back in the tray. After that you just peg in the drink cups. Once assembled, the whole thing rests very securely on R2’s shoulders and looks pretty damn great. The serving arm will rotate 360-degrees and it’s hinged in several places. I like this thing a lot, but I can’t see myself using it for display all that often.

ssr2dh6

And we’re still not done, because R2 also comes with the table from Obi-Wan’s place with an attachable hologram of Princess Leia. You plug it into the center of the table and click one of the doo-hickeys on the side and it lights up. It’s a rather large extra for the figure and R2 displays really well with his lit projector pointed towrds it!

ssr218

I like this figure a lot, but I can see some really obvious areas for improvement, in fact three to be precise. Firstly, the figure would have benefited from some ratchets in the ankles to keep him from leaning without having to balance him. Secondly… sound chip!  In a world where you can make an electric key fob that makes R2 noises for a couple of bucks, I really question the lack of sound with this figure. If I’m not mistaken they had a sound chip in their Probe Droid, so why the hell not R2? Finally, and I hesitate to mention this because I’m rarely a champion of diecast, but some diecast in the side feet and possibly the legs would have given R2 some added heft without compromising stability. Now, all nitpicking aside I still think Sideshow did a beautiful job here and they certainly packed in enough goodies to make it worth the price, but I can see a lot of collectors feeling that R2 here is too delicate for his own good. Ah, but there’s certainly no buyer’s remorse on my end and having him on my shelf has made me all the more excited to get C-3PO later this year, assuming he can arrive on time.

Advertisements

Star Wars Black: R2-D2 by Hasbro

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…

swb6r2l

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.

swb6r2a

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.

swb6r2b

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.

swb6r2i

swb6r2j

swb6r2k

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.

swb6r2f

swb6r2g

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.

swb6r2h

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.

swb6r2e

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.

swb6r2d

swb6r2c

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.

Star Wars Vintage Collection: R2-D2 (“Jabba’s Sail Barge”) by Hasbro

Way back in October of 2010 I scored Hasbro’s awesome Jabba’s Throne set and ever since then I’ve been meaning to rebuild my once great collection of Jabba’s denizens. In the years since, I’ve been picking them up here and there, but mostly relegating them to storage totes until I could get motivated to start opening them and piecing the display back together again. Well, cleaning out the Toy Closet this weekend, I stumbled upon some of those figures and have been putting them aside so I can start opening them and looking at them here. And so, the first feature of this week’s Toy Closet Finds, might seem like an unlikely start, but I felt like opening me up an R2 figure and he just so happens to be the version from Jabba’s sail barge.

God, I love this packaging and it’s a crying shame that Hasbro is doing away with it this year. As superficial as it sounds, the vintage packaging is probably the only reason I even look at the Star Wars pegs anymore. Of course, I don’t buy a lot of them because it actually makes me sad to open them, and that’s coming from someone who usually doesn’t give a crap about tearing open his action figures. I’ve managed to shake a lot of the hold Star Wars figures have had on me since I was a kid, but even I can’t resist the appeal of the figures when they’re carded on pure nostalgia. When Vintage Collection came back I started to buy doubles, but space concerns being what they are, that strategy couldn’t last. And so, even now, I don’t want to open this figure, but like taking off a band aid, I’m just going to do it fast so it doesn’t hurt so much.

It has been AGES since I bought an R2 figure. In fact, the last one was probably the one from the Original Trilogy Vintage Collection, and I never opened it. It’s still stacked on a shelf with the other VOTC figures sealed in the clamshell. Having been out of the Star Wars scene for a while now, I couldn’t begin to follow all the repacks and slight modifications R2 figures have gone through over the years. Thankfully, I don’t have to, because this R2 is a completely new figure. That means this little droid should be a whole lot better than the last one I opened, right? I was pretty anxious to play around with him and see what Hasbro has done with him lately.


Make no mistake, this R2 is full of gimmickry, a lot of which intrudes on the articulation and aesthetics of the figure, so before we get into those, let’s start with the sculpt first. R2 has always been one of those figures that looks perfectly fine to me until the next release comes along and emphasizes everything that was wrong with the last one. That having been said, I think this one looks pretty solid. It seems like there’s still a little room for improvement on the dome, and I wish Hasbro could figure a way to not have seams running up the sides of it. But the body has all the appropriate sculpted panel lines, vents, ports, and doo-dads, front and back. For some reason the cables on R2’s feet have always been a sticking point with me and his figures, but they look good here. On the downside, he’s way too big for the Vintage Collection 3PO, but then I wasn’t a big fan of that figure anyway. That’s about as far as I can go without starting to talk about the gimmicks so let’s get to them.

Hasbro tried to make this a pretty versatile representation of R2 as seen in Return of the Jedi. In addition to the obvious drink tray and serving arm, he has a retractable servo arm, a sensor scope, and a lightsaber. About the only thing missing from the movie is the Ewok zapper and the buzzsaw.  Easily the most unsightly of the gimmicks is the servo arm, which is poorly concealed behind the lower blue horizontal servo arm on his chest. In the movies, this blue piece is the actual arm that closes up flush with his body. In the figure, the whole panel opens one way and the servo arm swings out the other way. Considering the door doesn’t close properly and it isn’t screen accurate, I’d rather Hasbro left this one out and went with one of the vertical arm hatches instead.


The third leg gimmick is bewilderingly tied in to the sensor scope. To extend the leg, you have to put the sensor scope into the open panel on R2’s head and push it all the way down. The scope conceals nicely, but if you leave it in there you can’t turn R2’s dome. You can, however, use the scope to extend the leg and then pull it out to regain dome movement. Because the two gimmicks are connected, in order to display the sensor scope extended, R2’s dome has to be centered and the third leg has to be retracted. That having been said, the scope looks really good and since it just sits in the socket, you can rotate it. The lightsaber… wait isn’t that Obi-Wan’s lightsaber? Ahem… the lightsaber also just sits in the same socket as if R2 is preparing to launch it to Luke.

The drink tray is definitely the coolest piece of all the gimmicks, but then I guess it’s more of an accessory than a gimmick. It’s wonderfully sculpted and far surpasses the crappy one that Hasbro released previously. It sits snugly on R2’s shoulders and the drink serving arm plugs right into the socket on the top of his head. Amazingly enough, the drinking glasses are actually removable.


I won’t deny this is an ambitious and, in some ways, fun little figure. He will definitely look great dispensing drinks to Jabba’s minions, but I was also hoping this R2 would be a definitive version and clearly he’s not. I think Hasbro packed a few too many gimmicks into him and the figure struggles under the weight of its own over-engineering. But I think in the end, it’s the loose front servo arm hatch that bugs me the most about him. Ah, but a little super glue should soon fix that.