After 5 years, I finally got a hold of these guys last month.
Good to hear, Jesse. Even though they're not the best figures in the Episode I lineup, they are unique characters and as such, I'd have a major headache if I didn't have them in my collection. That's what insanity can do to you.
As for something mentioned earlier in the thread, one of my hobbies in keeping mental notes on the contents of particular waves, and how difficult they were to locate. TC-14 and R2-B1 were part of the final assortment of Collection 3, which was a very small assortment unto itself. In fact, TC-14 and R2-B1 were the only figures in their "wave" and were only the fourth wave of Episode I Collection 3 figures overall.
Wave One (which shipped en masse and sat) was the May 3, 1999 wave, which included Boss Nass, Valorum, Gasgano, Ki-Adi Mundi, and Mace.
Wave Two (which shipped slightly less en masse, but with even more of Wave One shipped again, making that worse) included Tarpals, Ody, and OOM-9.
Wave Three (which shipped sparingly) only included one figure: Adi Gallia and (again) more reships of waves one and two, making that problem even worse.
Then they get around to Wave Four. Not only was it the last wave of Collection 3, they shipped even more figures from the first two waves mixed in with 2 each of the new figures. Stores were choking on C3 so much by that point that if they got any of this wave at all, it was only a case or two at most.
So, the droids were pretty much the victim of the Hasbro case cycle: Overproduce and overship the first wave, continue to devote the majority of the case space to these figures and only include 1 or 2 new figures a wave, create a glut, and then blame retail for overordering and the consumer's inability to find action figures.