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Never Forget - The ICMG Petition

Brian's Toys

C-3PO
(Protocol Droid)

Anthony Daniels put one of the most memorable characters in film history together with the character of C-3PO. He’s iconic at this point in American pop-culture really, and recognizable by even non-fans of the Star Wars films. He’s a character who can pull off the comedic effect nicely while still serving an important role in many aspects of the story.

C-3PO in Revenge Of The Sith wasn’t as influential as he was in past films. In the prequals in general, 3PO just didn’t stand out like he did in the classic films. I mean, he’s the first character you see and hear in the original Star Wars. That’s pretty big stuff for Star Wars fans, and his role in those 3 films just was a lot more.

In Revenge, 3PO wasn’t nearly as funny or talkative, but he was certainly important and deserved a figure right alongside his counterpart. Hasbro saw to it to put out a new C-3PO figure right from the get-go and they knocked everyone’s socks off by making what is probably the best 3PO figure in the modern line. He’s not everything Star Wars fans want in a 3PO figure though, and there’s definitely room for improvement on new figures, but this is easily THE C-3PO figure to replace the Millenium Minted Coin version until Hasbro sees fit to do a resculpt. VOTC 3PO can eat his heart out if he has one, because there’s a new protocol droid in town and he makes that $10 rip-off just look sad. As with all figures though, you take the good with the bad, and with that we’ll start our review.

PROS

-Sculpt: The ROTS C-3PO, when compared to the last C-3PO we got from the Vintage OTC line, is really like night and day. Just holding the two figures up against each other really makes you wonder what they were thinking with the VOTC, which should have been superior if you were basing it on price. You’re hard pressed to imagine these are the same character really.

The body of the figure is crisp as can be, and with lots of detail throughout. The arms are the only part of the figure that really are lacking in some aspects, but the torso’s sculpt has tons of detail like raised dots on the chest, intricate detailing on the back “circuit” panel thing, the little neck pistons, and my personal favorite detail is the wiring sculpted into the torso.

While the arms lack some detail, the legs are abundant with it. This is the first 3PO I can think of off-hand that has the wiring details sculpted to the back of his knees for instance. A very classic look, especially after the paint application, and something I hope all future protocol droids have since it really does enhance the realism substantially.

The figure features all the pistons, ridges, plating, and lines that we’ve come to expect to see on everyone’s favorite goldenrod. He’s pretty good to have in any diorama, even classic set-ups, and I’d take this sculpt re-painted even to represent other protocol droids from the saga like the silver one from the Tantive IV or Bespin.

The figure’s head, again not like the VOTC figure, is sculpted perfectly and looks very accurate. It’s not too thin, it’s got every detail you could want, such as the eyes seem perfectly detailed and not too small or too large. The head has the ridge that runs around it in the center, and the small “bolts” at the neck. The back even has the small “target” looking detail sculpted in, and the mouth is the tiny little open rectangle it should be. It’s a lot of little detail that the figure should have but which few 3PO’s have had done properly in the past.

-Paint Aps/Decoration: C-3PO doesn’t have much of a paintjob really, and a classic version of the character would probably have a bit more elaborate paintjob to speak of, but this figure’s sporting some details that are integral to a nice looking protocol droid.

The main decoration of the figure is obviously the gold plating. The chromed look is fantastic, and shines bright. I dare say that, if you’re as picky as I am, you won’t handle the figure with your bare fingers even. I’ve noticed that when I do, I see my fingerprints on him way too clearly. I’m usually only picky about stuff like that when it comes to my car, but this figure does show finger smudges, so be careful or you’ll have a smudged up droid on your hands. ? The gold makes the figure POP right off the card when you see him on the pegs, and that’s a major plus for selling this figure.

The main “detail” paint work comes in the form of his wiring details sculpted on his mid-torso and the back of his knees. The wiring’s painted black first for the base, but then several of the wires are painted greys and reds, and my sample had no straying or missed details. They look great and probably better than on most any previous C-3PO we’ve gotten. A nice job by Hasbro there, especially with the painting of the wiring on the back of his legs. This is something I really don’t recall ever seeing on any 3PO, and while a minor point to some, I think it adds a lot to the figure.

The only other major paint detail besides the wiring is then the eyes. Hasbro made sure to get the bright yellow look to them exactly right, and with the black centers. The end result are some very accurate looking eyes on the figure that have that classic “surprised” and glowing look that the character has in the films.

Another paint detail I noticed is that C-3PO doesn’t have a silver shin on his right leg though, which he sports in the classic films, and that’s fine as I don’t believe he has that in ROTS anyway. I could easily see Hasbro repackaging this figure with the silver shin painted on though, and I know I’d replace my MMC version of 3PO with that figure.

-Ball/Socket Torso: While I’m not a fan of the limited articulation this figure features, I will say that it is the first time Hasbro ever put a ball/socket torso/waist joint onto a protocol droid figure. The end result is a REALLY neat feature that lets you pose the 3PO in his classic leaning poses. Very realistic and while it’s a small positive in the articulation area where the figure is severely lacking, it’s a very welcome plus to me.

The joint allows for much more natural poses, and it shows something that you wish other 3PO’s had now that you see a version of the character that has this joint. It’s incredibly versatile and I hope to see it used in many more figures (Droids and Clones shouldn’t be the only ones with this joint, it really should surface in many more figures since it’s easy enough to hide). It’s a major plus, so thumbs-up to Hasbro there.

-Removable Limbs: Hasbro hasn’t busted out the removable limbs on a 3PO figure in a while, so it’s nice to see it on this figure even though the character didn’t seem to have any amputations in ROTS. I’m not sure if he did and they got cut, or if this is just Hasbro’s way of planning ahead to re-release this sculpt in a classic theme, but it’s nice to have even if it was completely unintentional.

The sockets the removable limbs have are also a great means of keeping the articulation points firm. The same articulation points on a figure that doesn’t have the “flexible” plastic sockets would tend to loosen over time since the figure requires rigid plastic to have the gold plating applied. Hasbro’s shown they can articulate the figure without it loosening up, and they also give you a figure that can be torn apart because of that construction. It’s a win-win situation for everyone then.

CONS

-Articulation: Hasbro’s so far been reluctant to offer us a truly “super articulated” version of 3PO. I think that the VOTC figure is most easy to criticize for this flaw, especially considering the cost of that figure alone. However, the ROTS version was just as limited in poseability, and I believe Hasbro’s capable of a bit more with their protocol droids, even with the rigid plastic required for the gold plating effect.

C-3PO features articulation at:

-2 standard shoulder joints
-2 standard hip joints
-1 standard neck joint
-1 ball/socket torso/waist joint

With 6 points of articulation total, 3PO doesn’t really improve much over any previous incarnation, though the ball/socket torso is a nice addition as noted above. Nonetheless the attempt is weak, and this is probably the least articulated figure in the entire ROTS line actually, so no doubt that’s a negative.

Some hinged knees for a 3PO who can at least sit down at some point would be ideal. We need that for an Ewok Throne 3PO in the future, and given the construction of the knees on protocol droids, it’s definitely doable.

I think some swiveling arms at the bicep would be possible too if the joint were set into the shoulder plates. The same could be said for the wrists. Hasbro even used some plastic sockets that won’t “loosen” like previous 3PO figures are prone to, and it doubles for a removable limb feature. That same construction could easily make the arms much more poseable, and a hinge in that fashion on the knees would be great. As you can see, it’s possible, and Hasbro’s not doing it, so that’s one for the negative column.

Now, they need to get to work on that Super Articulated 3PO I think. Chop Chop!

-Accessories: While articulation was lacking, so were accessories, and that makes for a bad combination when you’re looking at this figure from a “value” perspective. The figure comes with very little so from my wallet didn’t exactly come to look at this as being a true $6 figure, especially with some of those Collection 2 Jedi and Clone figures hanging right next to him.

The figure comes with just a re-used stand (the lava one), which is a nice accessory itself, but it’s not something that makes me think I’m getting that something extra when I make the purchase. The figure could’ve used a nice holograph pack-in, a “computer” item like the OTC Lobot figure came with, or really just about anything to give it a little extra value.

Still, this isn’t anything huge if you want a nice C-3PO figure in your collection. So it’s more just the point that he could’ve stood a couple extra little pack-ins even if they were re-used items.

-Arm/Hand Sculpt: While I love about 90% of the figure’s sculpt, Hasbro did drop the ball in one area of the figure’s looks, and that’s on the arms/hands.

The major thing I noticed right away was the weird way in which the hands were sculpted so that the thumbs seem too short, or like they’re amputated from the figure. Open-hands able to hold something would be nice, however the paint and gold plating would chip fairly easily I believe. Still, even if the thumbs are sculpted so they can’t help to hold an accessory, they appear to be pretty much missing from my sample’s hands.

At least, the left hand’s thumb seems missing, while the right hand’s thumb I can see but it’s kind of a sloppy sculpting job. The left hand though seems like the figure’s phalange is just not there. It’s not attractive at all.

The second thing I noticed was a problem with the arms. The “piston” that connects the inside of the forearm to the inside bicep is sculpted separately on the R-3PO figure from the Saga line, and that’s a major plus. Unfortunately the ROTS C-3PO figure didn’t get the pistons sculpted separately. It’s a minor thing for many people but on the R-3PO figure it adds so much realism that you really notice a bump in quality as far as how the figure looks. It could’ve been done on this C-3PO but they chose not to for whatever reason, and the figure suffers when compared to that R-3PO sculpt then somewhat.

Little details like these can make or break a figure sometimes. On a figure who lacks so much in articulation and accessories, these little details mean that much more to me, so definitely something worth pointing out I believe.

-Availability: Despite the positives and the negatives this figure has, if you want one you’re going to have to do some searching to find it. I saw 3PO only a handful of times since April 2nd, and in the past month I’ve not seen any C-3PO’s at all. They’re just not a heavily packed figure it seems.

It’s not terribly surprising that 3PO’s figure has gotten a bit of a short-change in this line since he has a limited role in the film and was basically “just there”. He’s more or less a set-piece for most scenes, and only added a line of dialogue here and there. ROTS really featured R2-D2 much more prominently and 3PO took a back seat. Still, anyone wanting the figure should be allowed the opportunity to pick him up at a reasonable price, and while I picked mine up early I know more than a couple people are still looking for him as of the writing of this review. That’s rough for the completists out there.

Hopefully Hasbro will be sneaking him into assortments as the year progresses, but not too heavily so he doesn’t become a pegwarmer. Just enough to satisfy the demand.

OVERALL

For all my criticisms here, this is still a better C-3PO figure than anything in the modern line. So far my favorite has been the Millenium Minted Coin figure from some years ago, and that’s a LONG time to go without a quality upgrade, but now I finally have that bump in quality. Needless to say I’m a happy camper to see something that is a marked improvement.

The flaws though are big deals with this figure, and really this character in general. We’ve gotten some fairly good protocol droids, but since 3PO is so important in the films I’d like that pseudo “definitive” version of him heavy with articulation, removable limbs/appendages, a nice accessory like the Ewok throne perhaps, and the gold plating with silver shin. I could live without the pistons on the arms being super detailed then like R-3PO’s are, and that would be the C-3PO I would want re-released throughout the line.

This figure isn’t bad though, and looks really nice on your shelf flanking Padme or whatever. He just acts as set dressing most of the time in ROTS anyway, unlike other films where he’s involved in some action sequences or played a bigger part in general. For that he’s an ok figure to have just chilling, but Hasbro’s just got to get that nicely articulated 3PO out some day. It’s doable obviously and should have already been released in the VOTC line instead of the abomination we got.

If you can find this C-3PO though, he’s a good place holder as the top 3PO figure on your shelf for now. Finding him is the key then, as he’s been one of the oddly tough figures in the ROTS line to find since its launch on 4/2. As always, good luck in the hunt for the little plastic idols you require!

 

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