I don't mind the astromech being up front but I do think it bites if they don't make it so a full astromech fits in the socket. That implies an underscaled ship to me, which sucks.
I don't think its a scale issue if you mean the toy. It’s just about as big as the (oversized) vintage/POTF2 snowspeeder, and def bigger than the AOTC Starfighter.
The problem is with the shoddy ship design logic coming from the PT, in my opinion. Most of the ships they've crammed droids into don't physically fit them. They’re there because they’re trying too hard to emulate better designs and bridge designs that don’t have much purpose to be bridged. If you look at this the ROTS starfighter’s front profile with the wings popped vertical, you can see how close it resembles Vader's TIE. It's clever I suppose, but if they were shooting for design evolution it’s pointless.
So here, just as the Naboo Fighter has a visual dodge that drops the "shoulders" of the droid, or the Jedi Starfighter's hull not having physical room for the droid body, this one just abandons the droid’s feet to make the design work. All so they can cram the stupid R2 in there, whether story needs one there or not.
So I blame the whole R2 thing on crappy PT design from the movies, not much else. And that leads me to my little bitch session that is a larger reason we see these little problems like the R2 socket in ships that can’t accommodate them:
The design sense in the PT sucks. If I showed any ship design from the OT to a layman, they’d easily determine that one side had grey colorless ships, and the other side had sporty, colorful designs. When you looks at the ones that don’t fit that sense, they belong to a character. “Oh, that’s Han Solo’s ship,” etc.
Try doing that with the PT.
The designs coming from the PT films are more aesthetic than functional, from how I see it. (And sometimes a ****** aesthetic). They’re more whimsical, and some are neat, but a lot of them are so whacked out it probably flusters the average moviegoer, who just wants to track characters and action. Bad guys equal grey ships. Good guys equal red ships. Not here.
There was this moment in TPM when I saw Maul’s Sith Interceptor that I thought they understood a good philosophy in an easy visual message – bad guys fly the grey ships with TIE wings. Then that went away. Enter: Bad guys have vulture droid robot transformers looking things. No, they have wingless brown pod things. No, they have Tron looking solar sailer things. Rockets. Donuts. Whatever the **** they feel like.
For the first movie you had Doug Chiang drawing whatever retarded round looking anime wannabe jaggof design he pleased, with no evolution planned, and then hit this point in AOTC where Church/Tiemens take over and try to recover the fumble, with Lucas in the middle, approving anything he finds visually interesting.
So the whole thing is disconnected. Then the evolution comes screeching to a halt in the OT.
What a trainwreck!