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C-3PO
(With Ewok Throne)

This week’s review we’re taking a close look at the latest version of everyone’s favorite protocol droid, C-3PO. This version is fantastic because it’s a substantial improvement on an existing sculpt, plus it fleshes out C-3PO as we remember him from the classic trilogy with a fine sculpt and decoration. This has been lacking somewhat since many recent versions of 3PO have focused on the prequals. The last classic 3PO was from the Vintage OTC line and boy that one isn’t much to look at.

This week’s 3PO is not only a tweaked sculpt but it also delivers a vintage accessory fans have wanted for a while and a big accessory at that. Hasbro seems to have made many fans happy with this figure, but is it what you think is great? Well nothing is ever perfect and I’ll pick out the flaws I find on this figure like they all get. Read on and see what I can come up with.

PROS

-Sculpt: The sculpt of C-3PO is based on the 2005 Revenge of the Sith figure, which was a fine figure unto itself. Really that 3PO would have made a good classic version if not for the lacking decoration details like the silver shin. Fortunately Hasbro realized what a dandy they had on their hands, and they decided to improve upon it just a tad for poseability.

The sculpt though holds up well and it translates into a super detailed figure. The way the eyes are recessed is simply perfect, 3PO’s pistons at his neck and arms are outstanding, the wire details sculpted into his mid-section look great, and all the other details are there with every plate of body coverings sculpted there.

Hasbro was pretty clever about adding the articulation as well. It seems like it was a tricky thing for them to go with but they pulled it off by sculpting pins and having them put inside the figure. The new parts on this figure are pretty much the legs and pelvis. There are hidden pins that fit flawlessly into the figure so you really don’t notice them without a close inspection. These pins are made of a different plastic to allow for the articulation additions (so they don’t loosen up with play/time).

If there is any flaw with this figure’s sculpt, it is that the hands aren’t opened to hold an accessory, and the pins at the biceps aren’t sculpted with a gap like some protocol droids are. Disappointing on some level, these flaws don’t bother me much. 3PO doesn’t exactly need to hold a blaster. I just know the ability for the figure would be nice, should I want to give him a blaster. Beyond those issues though, this C-3PO is a spot-on likeness which is all you should hope for. It looks fantastic and fills the bill for a classic style 3PO in any scene almost.

-Paint Aps/Decoration: There isn’t much to say about C-3PO’s paint applications in general because, well, he’s gold. There are a number of little details here and there, and Hasbro nailed them all. These are the little things you critique this figure on though as he’s overall a nicely electroplated gold color, just as he should be, giving the impression of finely polished (and expensive looking) metals.

The first little detail is one that the original sculpt of this figure lacked; the silver shin. C-3PO has lost a limb somewhere along the way since Revenge of the Sith and before A New Hope. He got his leg replaced with some hapless protocol droid’s chrome right shin. The folks at Hasbro have been quick to catch the shin since really the end of POTF2, so it’s nice that they maintain that precedent here.

Next up to nitpick on paint is the figure’s middle of his torso. C-3PO’s flexible middle with all its wires and black suit are there in a nicely painted detail. The individually sculpted wires in his torso got silver, blue, and red paint applications to highlight individual wires running along his body both front and back. There is a black background then of course that fills it in and helps this part of the figure stand out on the shiny gold color that dominates the figure.

Lastly we look at C-3PO’s eyes, which are always a subject of debate as to what is a good paintjob or not it seems. This C-3PO gets a simple dot of gold in each recessed eye with a smaller dot of black in the centers. My sample is painted even, and the gold/yellow paint is a distinctly different color from the figure and stand out as the sort of “glowing” eyes we see on the droid in the film. The effect is a simple paintjob that is very effective. It does the job well.

And with that the paintjob is pretty much what one could want. There is possibly some room to argue that 3PO could use a little dirtying at his feet/lower legs due to being on Endor and all, but I think he’s better squeaky clean as he’s good for more scenes and thus more versatile that way.

-Articulation: C-3PO is a figure Hasbro has been reluctant to add articulation to over the years. The excuse was always that the “chromed” nature of the character would result in the chrome flaking off at points of articulation, and that the plastic needed to do the chroming is prone to loosening up over time with playing with the toy. These issues seem to have been overcome for at least a couple points of articulation getting added onto 3PO and improving him greatly.

The new joints are at the knees creating, with much rejoicing from fans, the first C-3PO that can actually plop down in a chair properly. The way Hasbro articulated the knees is pretty creative and complex, so credit is due them for the effort.

C-3PO features articulation at:
- 2 standard shoulder joints
- 2 pin-swivel hip joints (limited additional movement)
- 2 hinged knee joints
- 1 ball/socket neck joint (limited movement)
- 1 ball/socket waist/torso joint

That’s a total of 8 points of articulation on C-3PO here, making him officially the most articulated C-3PO ever. The knee joints work perfectly and allow the figure to sit securely in his throne accessory. The torso is a nice touch, as is the limited ability for the head to tilt to the left and right. These little additional articulation abilities allow the figure to stand in more classic “poses” that C-3PO is known for. It’s amazing how the head tilting to one side really adds a bit of personality to the figure for instance.

The pin-swivel at the tip of the hip seems mostly to be for the figure’s ability to sit, so that the thigh doesn’t get stuck on the lower torso. The point doesn’t allow for much extra movement at the hips but it’s enough that sitting isn’t a problem at all for this figure.

The only complaint I would have is that the arms didn’t receive any additional articulation. Hasbro could make the arms swivel just below the shoulder armor piece, and making the wrists of C-3PO swivel wouldn’t be out of their grasp either. This could be done without risk to paint chipping or anything else, so it would be nice to see in the future on perhaps an “ultimate” 3PO. That said, what we got here is pretty enjoyable for posing too, so kudos for Hasbro finally delivering a C-3PO that’s fun to play with.

-Accessories: The accessories sometimes can make the figure, and in the case of this C-3PO they may not be all he has going for him, but they sure are pretty great. Not that he comes with multiple pieces, just one big multi-part accessory that fans clamored for.

C-3PO comes with his trademark Ewok Throne bestowed upon him when the Ewoks decided he was some kind of god. The throne marks the first time this piece has been made since the Ewok Playset came out in 1983 and fans really have wanted this piece with a figure that could chill out in it. Hasbro delivers a fantastic, large, “some assembly required” accessory for 3PO and it’s even got a spiffy sculpt and paintjob.

The throne is comprised of 9 individual pieces. There are several little posts, the seat, the back, the sides, and the sticks that the Ewoks carry the throne with. You have to assemble the throne some once you get it out of the packaging, and that’s fine by me. I think Hasbro really should do more “some assembly required” pieces with their figures to get bigger accessories in with our toys.

The throne’s sculpt is amazing featuring every strap binding every joint of the thing together. The wood pieces feature grain texturing and knots and such. The simulated leather for the seat and back of the throne has coarse texturing sculpted into them and tattered edges as well as a look as though they’re stitched around the wood sticks of the chair’s frame. This is a ton of little detail on an accessory’s sculpt and really makes for a nice functional piece for the toy to interact with.

The other plus is the paintjob. There is a brown paint applied to the leather parts of the throne to set it off from the wood pieces. There is even a nice wash on there to give it some lifelike details. It would’ve been nice had the leather wraps and wood pieces gotten some paint, but they look ok regardless. It’s a really nice accessory though and reminiscent of some of the larger pieces we got in 2002.

Other pack-ins then are the usual suspects that have come with figures in 2006. There is an embossed stand featuring the film the character appeared in raised on its surface and a silver name of the character painted on the one edge. There is also a randomly packaged holographic miniature figure snuck into the packaging as well. While the stand and miniature are nice, both required molds and effort to be produced and it’s my opinion that the money put into these “gimmick” accessory pack-ins would be better put into the figure itself. I prefer quality toys over gimmicks.

-Error Fix-Up: Shortly after C-3PO got released to retail, it was noted that his pins at his knee joints weren’t the proper colors and came out a more brown or copper-ish color. The look was distracting from the final figure. It is nice to report however that Hasbro must’ve caught and fixed this error right away.

Shortly after he’d shipped a little bit on the West Coast (mostly), people began finding C-3PO with a silver and gold colored knee pin where appropriate, making the figure’s looks jump up quite a bit. I fortunately got the fixed version and I’m sure the “error” variant of the figure will be popular and tougher to track down. The fixed version looks fantastic (even if the pins aren’t chromed, but rather are a duller matching color). The attention to detail Hasbro paid with this error was nice, and they were quick to act to set things right so way to go to the big H on that.

-Removable Parts: For some reason the original sculpt of this C-3PO featured all 4 limbs being removable as well as a removable head. The new version of C-3PO retains a removable head and arms making the figure a little more “fun”. The removable bits add play value in my estimation.

It’s fun for a child to have C-3PO getting routinely dismantled by angry Wookiees or random Ugnaughts. The removable parts also add to the figure by keeping it from “wearing out” as you play with the toy. The pins used for the removable parts keep joints sturdy and tight. It’s a real benefit, and only adds to the figure in my opinion.

-Packaging: The Saga Collection packaging for each figure is an interesting mix of styles. You can definitely see some elements of the ROTS line mixed with elements of the OTC line, and that makes for a unique package on the shelves. I really enjoy the black cardback with silver lettering, and I hope it’s something Hasbro is willing to stick with for a long time to come.

I also highly enjoy the unique backgrounds for each figure. Pulling an element from the OTC line, the new Saga Collection packaging uses a film shot that pertains to each unique character, and really individualizes the figures. This is drool-worthy for the carded collector and it makes even the die-hard openers want a figure here and there to keep carded just because of how special the backgrounds are.

The bubble is a little closer to the ROTS line in its overall size and shape, but should lend itself more to staying mint for the carded guys. There’s also an insert depicting the specific character and the character’s name, packaged into the bottom of the package just as the Revenge of the Sith figures had. The insert features the bold blocky silver lettering of the Saga, and lets fans know that this is the universal collection of figures encompassing the entire Star Wars universe.

There’s a lot to like with this packaging so I hope it stays as the standard for a while. I would say that The Saga Collection and Original Trilogy Collection will go down as some of the most liked packaging by collectors for quite some time if Hasbro gives it a while, and this is coming from a guy that rips almost everything off its card at some point or another.

CONS

-Unposeable Arms: As noted, C-3PO lacks poseable arms for the most part. They move at the shoulders in the standard style of articulation, and that’s about it. Some arm articulation is quite possible from Hasbro, and they have even done it in the past. An extra point just below the shoulder armor pieces of the figure would allow at least a bit more articulation, and if the wrists were also articulated you’d have that much more.

An “ultimate” C-3PO should’ve been delivered in the Vintage OTC line but we fell really short on that one of course. This C-3PO is a fine improvement though, and despite the arms this is a figure worth having. This is a minor nitpick at best, and I’m sure C-3PO fans will feel as I do, that this is the best 3PO on the market at this stage of the game.

-Price Hike: Star Wars figures have taken a jump in price at most all retailers in 2006, and while we paid $5 - $6 for most of our Revenge of the Sith figures throughout most of 2005, figures are up to $7 after tax at most retailers, even the usually stalwart for cheap prices, Wal-Mart. Hopefully Hasbro and Retail will see the light that price increases in this day and age means that people may become more tight with their spending.

I know a price hike will affect my buying habits, and I’ll buy fewer extras of any figure I maybe wanted extras of. I’ll cut back on army building, custom fodder buying, and other areas that I otherwise maybe would have spent more freely. That $1 or $2 starts to add up over 60 or so figures though. With no retailer seemingly wanting to budge on their standard price, things aren’t looking good for a decrease anytime soon. So keep your eyes peeled for sales because when they happen I’ve noticed that figures that were sitting suddenly fly off the pegs.

The price hike sucks, and what really is tough to accept is that in 2006 we’ve seen fewer figures with “great” articulation like we saw in last year’s line for ROTS. This decrease in overall quality coupled with the price increase just hasn’t sat well with me about this year’s line-up. Though those nicely articulated gems like the AT-AT Driver or whatnot do sneak in there.

OVERALL

So that wraps up this week’s review, and it’s nice to also end the Endor Wave on such a positive note. At least we end this part of the Endor Wave, as there are still figures from Endor needing reviewed that are just now starting to ship to retailers across the country. Why they broke up the waves like that, I don’t know, but that’s beside the point.

Anyway, obviously this is THE C-3PO figure to own at this stage of the game. Actually I haven’t had a “good” 3PO on my shelf since the Millenium Minted Coin version was out. That was a pretty solid figure, especially for its time, but it never quite stood up when figures like K-3PO and R-3PO were on the same “Rebels” shelf I have going. This new C-3PO will gladly take over though.

The sculpt is fantastic, the decoration is what it should be, and obviously the articulation hasn’t been matched by another protocol droid. The accessory is great though and really helps the figure stand out on the pegs. It’s worth it (to me at least) to buy several of this 3PO for various scenes. I want one with my Hoth figures, I want one with Endor figures obviously, one for A New Hope scenes. It’s my new favorite droid I think, so get yours today, and buy a couple because they fit in nearly any classic scene.

 

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