The Vintage Original Trilogy Collection (VOTC) came out swinging with the A New Hope wave, demonstrating that figure perfection could be achieved with figures like Han Solo, but at the same time they had misses like Luke or Obi-Wan that made you really scratch your head as to whether the $10 per figure was going to be worth it. This didn’t bode well for the hopes of collectors to get the “ultimate” of any single character.
The Empire Strikes Back wave rolled around and things looked better. We got an interesting Yoda that some liked and some loathed, but I enjoyed it. There’s a Lando that puts all Lando’s prior to shame, and everyone’s favorite Dark Lord of the Sith got hands down his best figure ever in the VOTC line. Then, there was C-3PO. Oh 3PO, how the fans hate you so, and I can’t blame them.
People, this is going to be pretty ugly. When a figure costs $10, and falls short of even its weakest $5 basic line counterparts it supposedly is superior to, you just simply can’t help but bash the hell out of it in a review. The Vintage Original Trilogy Collection C-3PO may very well be the lamest figure ever put out by Hasbro, simply because of the price that accompanied him. I’m maybe going on a limb with saying that, I don’t know, but when you are looking at the VOTC line expecting the absolute best figure for your buck, it’s tough to not slap this C-3PO with some pretty drastic bashing. Read on for the ugly details… and this one is definitely one of the “ugly”.
PROS (this won’t take long)
-Paint Aps/Deco: It’s a stretch to find a single positive about the C-3PO VOTC figure actually. And honestly, the paintjob isn’t amazing or anything to do cartwheels over. We’ve seen basically the same paintjob more or less on basic figures for basic prices, and really a good paintjob isn’t something you should pay extra for. You should just get that because you buy these overpriced chunks of plastic religiously and Hasbro, if anything, owes a little gratitude to its consumer base for the wares they peddle.
That said, C-3PO sports a fairly decent paintjob. The wear and tear is heavy on him, but with the gleaming vac-metalized deco underneath, it’s a classic C-3PO as he appeared in a lot of the original trilogy; Damaged, dirty, and dinged up from years of overuse and abuse.
The base, as noted, is a vac-metalized “chrome” gold figure. The light catches it, and it’s just classic 3PO as we grew up with him. Hasbro touched details the figure has nicely with the VOTC C-3PO like his dull silver right shin, which is tough to catch in the trilogy but it is indeed silver instead of gold. C-3PO also has a chromed gold foot, which is accurate and appreciated from Hasbro as other 3PO’s have had just a silver foot to go with the shin, missing the accurate detail.
The waist of 3PO is a mass of wiring and circuits. On the VOTC figure, the wires are painted a variety of colors including red, white, and green. The black background sets the colored wires off from the figure and gives it some life. Other minor details are the figures hand palms are flat black as they should be, and 3PO’s eyes are a different color of yellow with black dot centers.
Beyond these details, the figure’s covered in a brown wash that gets down in the crevices and details of the sculpt. It dulls the chromed gold color of old goldenrod, and gives off the effect of this 3PO being beat around and old looking. It’s maybe a little overdone, but when you’re fishing for anything positive to say about this figure, you kind of fudge your opinion a little on the little details.
-Packaging: The packaging on the VOTC figures is probably the most ornate and eye-catching package for a Star Wars figure to-date. While the basic OTC line that shipped alongside the VOTC figures was nice, the VOTC definitely drew your attention as being something special.
A downside to the dazzling packaging was the cost, which like other features I’ll touch on that shortly in the “Cons” portion, however it was a cost a lot of people were willing to bite for “ultimate” versions of various figures.
The packaging is a recreation of the original vintage Kenner action figure cardbacks from the 1970’s and 1980’s. If you were like me, and can recall these figures adorning your local toy store (Ah, Children’s Palace… The days when a trip to the toy store meant something), then you no doubt have a feeling of nostalgia, just as Hasbro intended. The old style cardbacks are nice to see on the pegs, and they really do catch the eye like no modern packaging has been able to.
While Hasbro went to great lengths to recreate the front of the packaging, the back of the packaging was a modern style displaying 3 other figures from a specific wave. The waves were broken down into a Star Wars wave with the original Star Wars style card, an Empire Strikes back wave styled accordingly, and then a Return of the Jedi wave.
Hasbro’s work to recreate the cardbacks was nicely done, and appreciated. This has so far been the only packaging I’ve wanted to save really. And Hasbro made saving the packaging easy if you were careful in getting the figure off the bubble, as they included a reseal-able protective clamshell over the figure’s card/bubble. Just perfect for keeping everything minty fresh, aside from that X-Acto knife slice along the bubble to get the figure out.
The end result is some nicely displayed toy on the pegs. A full set of the 12 VOTC cardbacks looks really nice displayed amongst your figure collection.
-Sculpt: I applaud Hasbro for their sculpting of the modern line almost all the time. It’s really pretty rare that I say they did something so horribly bad that it becomes a major con against the figure. Sculpts are just what the big H is good at, so who the hell did they hire out to sculpt this C-3PO then? The same people who sculpted the majority of the figures we’ve had in the last 5 years or so could not have had a thing to do with this figure, I refuse to believe it.
The likeness to C-3PO in the films isn’t anywhere close. There’s the recognizable details like the piston connecting the forearm and bicep, there’s the wiring at the torso, but it ends there pretty abruptly. There’s just so much wrong it’s tough to list it all.
First, the figure’s legs are in a narrow pose, and are sculpted to look as though they’re walking. This off the bat is a huge negative because it makes the figure very prone to toppling over at the slightest bump of the shelf or even a good breeze. It’s confusing why the legs are so close together, much less then the awkward pose they were sculpted in making it even worse.
The pistons at the arms are there, but yet we got short-changed on them being sculpted separate and with space between the arms. The red protocol droid R-3PO from 2003-ish had these, and was a basic figure. Hell, the R-3PO could’ve been painted gold and would’ve made a better VOTC C-3PO in general, but when that basic figure has a feature your $10 VOTC figure doesn’t, that’s just sad. It would’ve been a saving grace on this failure.
Moving on, the sculpt is in disarray almost everywhere else. The lower torso or “crotch” area is concave and looks like the figure deflated while the plastic was still hot during the production process. It almost looks like a defect, seriously, and if I hadn’t seen that this is how it is on every VOTC 3PO, I’d think I got ripped off. Add to that the head on C-3PO is entirely too small and thin, with somehow an absent chin (looks like his jaw was removed), then you’re just racking up an incredibly sad list of flaws in this figure’s sculpt details.
One positive - the wiring of the torso looks really nice. That’s it. $10 friggin’ dollars, and that’s it. Holy geeze.
-Articulation: Articulation is a defining characteristic for the Vintage OTC line. Lando’s an ultimate, Vader was an ultimate, Han’s an ultimate, Luke sucked but was really poseable, and even Obi-Wan Kenobi is more poseable than any other Obi-Wan Kenobi in your collection. I mean, that’s just one of the “standards” for this line. You pay $10+ for your figure and you get a poseable figure you can use in different scenes and stuff – it’s fun, right?
Not C-3PO though. C-3PO has less articulation than many of his basic figure counterparts. Not all, but many, and for the VOTC line C-3PO falls comically short because Hasbro is capable of doing extra articulation on protocol droids. I am quite certain of this. I mean, even swiveling at the forearm or wrists are extra articulation, but this figure has nada.
VOTC C-3PO has articulation at:
- 2 standard shoulder joints
- 2 standard hip joints
- 1 standard neck joint
You aren’t in need of glasses. That is seriously a lame-ass total of 5 points of articulation on C-3PO. F-I-V-E total points of lame articulation on a figure that is just one ball dropped after the other. It’s sad. If you want an ultimate C-3PO figure, keep looking because this one isn’t going to cut the mustard for poseability either.
-Accessories: Or, should I say, “NO Accessories” instead? Not that the VOTC line has been dominated by really cool pack-in accessories, though some figures have had really cool softgoods items and others had blasters. C-3PO has nada.
This is where I think Hasbro should have made a new Removable Limbs C-3PO instead of just a basic C-3PO. They did slip him in the Empire wave anyway, so it’s not like the Empire 3PO is best remembered as the basic one. When I was little it was the removable limbs one that you wanted then, with the cool plastic black bag for Chewbacca to wear. So assuming Hasbro had done the sculpt right, I think they could’ve really made an ultimate removable limbs 3PO and the bag could’ve easily counted as the single accessory I’d have been quite content to applaud them for.
As it stands, this figure has nothing packed in with it. So, let’s just update the tally here: terrible sculpt, little articulation, no accessories, $10+ price tag. This isn’t shaping up well for this figure’s final evaluation.
-No Removable Limbs: As noted, I think that Hasbro would’ve been wise to have run with removable limbs C-3PO. The figure is on an Empire Strikes Back card, so right there I think more of the Removable Limbs figure over the basic one. It would have been an easily convenient means of giving 3PO an accessory to gush over too in packing in the net bag to lug him around in. Right away that’s a better (slightly) figure.
Assuming they had sculpted him to actually look good, if they’d had been innovative by including “wiring” sculpted where the posts snap into the torso, the figure would’ve been really unique and “new”. The joints would be tight too. Had they really wanted to go all out they could have even tried making other areas of the figure “removable” like have it pop apart at the forearms, or the knees. It would’ve added articulation to an extent, and felt like it was something unique and new. You maybe would’ve felt like it was money well spent. It couldn’t have hurt my opinion at this point. I guess being innovative wasn’t on the agenda that day at Hasbro.
-Retail Cost: Without a doubt, and probably the worst aspect of the VOTC line, is the cost that came with each figure. Some have been lucky to have bought their VOTC sets on clearance, however most people paid the retail price which came to approximately $10 per figure or so. Not the cheapest price to pay for a single figure.
The cost of the figure can be blamed on a number of reasons. The VOTC line was touted for its “limited” nature, for instance, driving up costs due to lower production runs. The packaging was ornate, recreated by hand, and it required a lot of extra work for it to be done appropriately. The coffin blisters on the packaging even, to recreate the vintage look, were also “special” and added very slightly to the packaging costs. The special protective case surrounding the figure also would’ve been a noticeable increase in overall costs in producing these figures also. And that’s really only starting on where increases in costs could be hiding with the VOTC figures over basic modern figures.
I personally feel the VOTC figures are not any more intricate or complex in their design than a basic figure is, as far as costs go. If you put VOTC on basic cardbacks, and at basic production numbers, you’d see a figure that would sell profitably at a basic figure’s price. But with the packaging, you have something that, unless it becomes the line’s standard, it definitely inflates the production costs of the figures.
The cost seemed to noticeably hurt the VOTC line as well, as it also has hurt the Ultra/Deluxe lines over the years. $10 is a lot to pay for a figure, and it showed at stores that ordered the VOTC line heavily like Wal-Mart who couldn’t move the later waves out quickly. I love the VOTC concept though, and think that either a better price or case ratios would have alleviated all issues with product movement.
Go buy one now, it’s great!
Eh, just kidding. That was my sad attempt at humor.
This is easily one of the worst figures I’ve had the displeasure of buying, and subsequently reviewing. Personally, I bought one for a complete set more than anything. I think the VOTC cards look good together as a set. It’s a sad state of affairs though when I think the packaging is probably the most appealing part of the toy though.
Obviously I hate this figure though. Off the top of my head, K-3PO, R-3PO, TC-14, Removable Limbs C-3PO, Flash Back C-3PO, and others are all vastly superior Protocol Droids to the overly priced VOTC C-3PO. I would even say that the POTF2 C-3PO from 1995 is on-par to this VOTC C-3PO, and how sad is that to say about this toy?
Buy it only if you want this set. Otherwise, I highly suggest you walk on by and leave this figure to someone more obsessive about their collection than you may be. Unfortunately I was that way, and so are many others, but if you have the will power by all means use it. This is a figure better left at the store if your collecting habits allow that. I’m a little ashamed to even own it.