Taking a break from the mainstream line Iím going to take a look at a Revenge of the Sith product that snuck out of nowhere and as soon as it was seen by collectors in the U.S. there was an instantaneous demand for import. What could spark this kind of reaction? Whoíd have thought an R2-D2 figure would!?
Care of StarWarsShop.com, fans in the U.S. were fortunate enough to get an import of the remote controlled R2-D2 figure once exclusive only to Asia. The packaging even retains the Japanese text, but the figure really didnít cost as much as one wouldíve perhaps thought. Given the prices some SWS.com or Target Exclusives as of late where weíre paying $15+ for a single rehashed figure, this import Remote Controlled R2 is a breath of fresh air to collectors, even at about $25 shipped.
So how does ďRC-D2Ē (Yes, I made that up all by myself) stack up against other R2ís in the modern line? Hell, does he even fit into the modern line? Well, Iím pleased to say this is a toy I havenít stopped playing with since I opened it, and it proves that the Asian Toy Market is just so much fun and more innovative than our own at times. You gotta love this kinda stuff folks! Read on to see what I mean, and yeah Iíll touch on what couldíve been better on this figure too because thereís always a nit to pick.
-Sculpt: Without a doubt this R2-D2 is on-par with any of the modern line, and it easily blends with other figures. Stand a C-3PO with him and heís great looking just sitting there before you tear up the tile with him, knocking Stormtroopers and whiney protocol droids (or farmboys) all over the place. The various panels and lines sculpted into R2ís cylindrical body are all there, some raised and some lowered, and they intricately show the myriad doors and gadgets hidden around the character.
I was actually surprised to see something that is to have so much functionality to it actually retain a lot of aesthetic appeal as well. RC-D2 is really comparable to the best astromech sculpts Hasbroís ever done and you canít ask for a whole lot more.
Some small flaws are there that I think are generally necessary to accept, but Iíll make mention of them here briefly anyway. Like for instance the ďhosesĒ on the feet arenít separate pieces like on the most recent astromech sculpts such as the VOTC R2-D2. Also, thereís a number of screws in the back of the figure for stability and access to the electronics inside should a problem arise. Thatís a necessity though, and I believe the feet hoses are as the feet have working wheels that are fairly large set into them for stability and all that, so itís safe to assume the hoses sticking in there would maybe inhibit the rolling of the droid.
Just comparing my RC-D2 to VOTC R2, I noticed that on the dome thereís a LOT more detail on the RC figure, which just really impresses me and makes me feel a lot better about the price. For instance the eyeport alone looks to have a lot more detail sculpted into it on the RC-D2 and its set off from the panel below it whereas it just blends in on the VOTC figure. The two halves of the domes seem to even fit together better on the RC-D2 figure rather than the VOTC R2. You got more than just a cheap looking astromech that can move with this figure. You get a nice looking figure to boot, and thatís a major plus.
-Paint Aps/Deco: The paint applications arenít the most elaborate but there are a number of different colors, and the application is well done all around with little-to-no paint bleeding or straying. It is what it should be then. Short of some ďcarbon scoringĒ or general ďdamageĒ to him, thereís really not a lot more you couldíve done anyway since R2 is what he is as far as his ďlookĒ.
The blues on the figure are vibrant and bright, but appear to be the right shade. The VOTC R2 Iím comparing him with seems to have a darker hue to its blue pieces and they look too dark to me actually, so I give the nod to RC-D2 as being more accurate in color I think. All the blues on the legs, dome, and body seem to be well applied and have no bleeding or straying from their ďlinesĒ that I can tell. The paintís a LITTLE thin in some places showing the white underneath but itís very minor and only noticeable to me upon close inspection.
The silver dome, while not painted, is cast in the accurate ďaluminumĒ color rather than a chromed dome, which I much prefer the aluminum look since it is what R2-D2 sported in the film. The chrome look is fun for nostalgia, but thatís what vintage collecting is for in my book, not modern stuff, so I like the accuracy there.
Hasbro made sure to paint the little silver highlights all over RC-D2 like he should have. Silver vents on the center of his torso, silver bits all along his legs, and all the paint is applied well without straying or bleeding again. It looks good and adds color to the figure. I really wasnít expecting all the little paint details like that. They even made sure to get the red circle beneath R2ís ďeyeĒ and one on the back of the dome too. Lots of paint detail, so this is definitely something worth displaying with the rest of the collection.
-Glass Eye Port: R2ís ďeyeĒ, or whatever it is, on his dome is actually a glass. Itís an LED too, but Iím assuming itís the receiver for the remote control. It lights up red when itís in motion, which is just great, and when heís not rolling the clear eye looks really ultra realistic. Something about it just looks especially detailed to me and I had to just cite this as a positive.
Itís a small thing but I just love this figure so much this had to get a nod from me.
-Availability & Distribution: StarWarsShop.com didnít make these tough to find at all. The pre-order went up on the RC-D2 figures and they were easy to get in and get your order set up. They shipped well too, arriving fairly quickly via Fed-Ex with no fuss or muss that Iíve seen, and they were packed very nicely too (though the packaging is very sturdy on its own it seems). I like it when a good toy is easy to find, so I applaud the efforts of SWS.com to bring this overseas exclusive to our doorsteps as they did. This is what a fan club store is all about I think!
-Packaging: The box this item comes packed in is very nice. While it wouldíve been nice to have a U.S. version with U.S. writing that I could understand, Iím not complaining about it in the slightest. The box is an oval shaped translucent orange package that was easy to cut open with a razorblade and retain for storage of the figure.
The packaging is a lot more than most anything we get here in the U.S. Itís even better than the VOTC I think. The figure and saber controller are held and displayed well inside, and look really nice. The orange plastic matches up well to the cardboard Revenge of the Sith Lava inserts inside, and the menacing Vader mask behind R2. The packaging makes the price that much more ďworth itĒ in my eyes and itís some of the only packaging for a toy Iím going to be saving to display the figure in.
-The Remote Control: Iím not sure how to list this thing. I guess itís an accessory, but not really since it doesnít ďgoĒ with the figure really. So Iím just going to take a little time to look at this piece since itís integral to the figure but not something Iíd really display with it in a diorama or whatnot.
Basically the remote is just a great little detailed piece. Itís not the classic ďRemote ControlĒ that comes with some toys (a box with some control sticks on it), but rather itís a small lightsaber with an ďon-offĒ switch, and 2 buttons to control turning/spinning and forward movement of the RC-D2 figure. Itís simple to operate, easy to hold and maneuver the droid with your fingersÖ I guess youíd say itís ergonomic? Even for adult hands it is easy to manipulate the buttons, so thatís a major plus for this little item I figure.
The control even features a fair bit of detail in its own sculpt and it looks a lot like Luke or Anakinís lightsaber. Itís a nice little extra that the control is appealing to look at and matches with the figure if youíve just got him sitting up on your shelf. Itís easy to see it and know that the saber has some ability to control the figure obviously, so thatís a neat bonus that everything matches.
The control also is the ďsound effectsĒ feature of the RC-D2 figure. When the buttons are pressed to move R2 around, sounds emit from the base of the controller. Thatís a nice little added realism to R2ís trek across your kitchen floor I think.
-Remote Controlled Action Feature: This is the meat and potatoes portion of this figure, easily. The whole reason everyone wanted this thing was because itís a tiny remote controlled R2-D2, and the feature does not disappoint.
The R2 moves on smooth fabrics (table cloth), tiles, flat surfaces (wood), etc. Also the dome swivels back and forth and the eye lights up as heís in motion. Thatís a whole lot going on, but does it work well? So far Iíve not had any major complaints about the features at all. The eyeís particularly neat because it sits colorless, and Iíve come to the conclusion itís also the receiver for the remote control, but when the RC-D2 is on the move his eye is lit up all read. Itís really quite fun.
The droid rolls smoothly forward, and he spins like heís whipping donuts in the Wal-Mart Parking Lot after midnight! Iíve even gotten him to topple because of the speed, which I think is amusing. I didnít catch him doing that one in the movies either, but itís still funny to watch.
The front wheel is the only one that reacts to the commands from the controller. The foot spins 90 degrees to turn the droid, and rotates back fixed forward for moving straight ahead. The concept is rather ingenious when you see it in action, and works very smoothly. The front wheel (the wheel on the center leg) is rubbery so it gets some traction and moves the RC-D2 figure right along the floor at a good pace.
Iíve had very few complaints I can find with the figureís RC features so far. Iíve noticed though that sometimes the function (forward or turning) youíre doing will sometimes stick and heíll keep rolling a couple inches after youíve let off the button, or continue spinning. Nothing major and heís not rolling along out of control.
My RC-D2 could use a line-up at the local garage too as he pulls to the left a little bit when heís trying to roll along straight. He almost reminds me of old footage of ILM guys trying to get R2-D2 to roll down the halls of the Tantive IV but then he falls over. Even the ILM droid pulled to the left it seemed so can I really complain that my $25 mini R2 does too?
Like I noted, it does fall over if you spin it around a whole bunch, but I think thatís more a positive than a negative. Itís easy to topple over if it hits something though, or hits a bump in some tile the wrong way. Itís really fun and challenging to try maneuvering the figure though, and I wish they came in different frequencies so you could have astromech races. Hell Iíd even customize one as a racer droid. I know that concept would go over well at my local collector meetings.
So in a nutshell, the Remote Control feature for this figure is every reason in the world to like it, much less the other positives. It rolls well, it turns, itís got sound and lights, and it wasnít really all that expensive ($25-ish shipped) considering itís an imported electronic RC 3.75Ē figure. Thatís really, a lot of figure crammed into $25 when you think about it. Iím actually going to compare it to these little mini-RC cars out there just to see what kind of prices they pull in since thatís about as close a comparison as you can find.
-Accessories: Of course thereís some negatives to every figure but thereís very few with this one and none of them have been a major impact on my opinion overall. Still they need to be mentioned, and the first one is a generally complete lack of accessories.
RC-D2 comes with the remote control, but nothing more than that. Iím not really sure what you could pack in with him though. Perhaps some orange cones for maneuvering around? Maybe a drink tray accessory wouldíve been neat to snap to his shoulders since thatís one of the scenes I remember him rolling around in most. Iíd have liked something but itís not a huge deal. Iím going to try adapting a Bar2-D2 tray to him I think, just to spice him up a bit.
-Articulation: Iím not sure what they couldíve done, though I think some articulation was possible with this figure really. I donít know what good articulation wouldíve been though, ultimately, as the center leg must be fixed for the RC feature so ultimately Iím ok with no articulation on this figure.
Yes, for the first (and likely last) time I am saying that articulation lacking is an ok thing. I mean, hey, we have how many R2ís now so itís not like they havenít perfected the droid really so Iím ok with this R2 being fixed.
The only moving parts on the figure donít move on their own (only via the feature, and donít try moving them as they feel fragile enough theyíd snap). The dome swivels during play from left to right via a motor, but it canít be moved by hand. The same goes for the center leg which moves to turn the droid and make him spin, but it doesnít move by hand, just during use of the RC feature.
Still itís impossible to really complain about the figureís lack of articulation, even if it couldíve maybe had shoulder joints and some pivoting ankles. Itís minor flaws since the main point of this toy is to make it roll around the floor and just have fun with it that way, and Iím more than happy with that since Iíve got Bar2-D2 to serve as a perfectly good basic R2 figure.
So there you have it, a review of a figure outside the mainstream line. You canít help but love StarWarsShop.com for importing this little beauty to us too. If theyíd focus on this level of quality for their exclusives instead of poor excuses for repaints from Hasbro, I think theyíd have a lot of backing from the fans as a ďfan dedicatedĒ place, but thatís just my opinion. I applaud them for hearing a million fanboys cry out in terror at the thought of trying to get this, then suddenly silencing them by coming through on importing RC-D2 themselves.
Iím honestly considering getting a 2nd of these droids just because Iíd like a custom painted astromech to roll around a Mos Eisley Diorama that isnít R2-D2. Yes Iíd shell out another $25.00 for another one of these, and yes Iíd take it apart and paint it. God I need help with this addiction!
The R2-D2 Remote Controlled Figure is without a doubt one of the most fun things to come out of all of the 2005 products weíve seen, and thatís up against some stiff figure competition too when you think about it. I simply canít stop chasing my cat Tarkin around with this figure! He has already knocked him over a couple times in anger. Maybe itís Tarkinís payback for the Death Star? I donít know.
If you have not ordered this, youíre wasting time you shouldnít be. Get an order in and tell them JediDefender.com sent you, because this is one figure you have to have. This is probably the last innovative R2-D2 figure weíll ever see, and boy he went out on a good note!