Yodasnews Review: R2-D2 (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Review and Photography by Jeffrey A. Gouse (SithLord0498)
Review Date: July 18, 2008
The Clone Wars marked the beginning of an era eclipsed by darkness and rebellious turmoil. Previously enjoying an age of peace and progress, the Republic and Jedi Order both became too complacent and self-assured of their advanced sense of enlightenment. As our own history has shown us time and again, that is usually the point where mistakes are made. ones that can spiral into cataclysm if left unchecked.
Interestingly enough, the inaugural wave of The Clone Wars Collection seems to mirror that rise and fall for Hasbro. After enjoying a renaissance of sorts with the 30th Anniversary Collection, the toy goliath appears to have become careless with the quality of their Star Wars brand. The first two reviews for this line (Yoda and General Grievous) demonstrated a lack of foresight in the design process and a drop in production quality. Despite this being its inception, the Clone Wars line is already teetering on the edge between success and failure.
Not all of the initial figures are disappointments though. There are some bright stars in the void, figures that could herald a saving grace for this collection if future waves contain items of their caliber.
Today’s review deals with one of those stars: R2-D2.
Granted, there isn’t much in Artoo’s design that could have been radically altered for the CGI animation, but those changes have been accurately transplanted to the action figure. Altered areas such as the more triangular/rectangular strips on Artoo’s “chest” as well as the small notch on the raised blue plate containing his photoreceptor match the CGI model, and all of the other notches, buttons, and scopes have been carefully and clearly sculpted. The vents on Artoo’s body are mostly accurate, and the bronze-colored tubes on each foot almost look separate and realistic. Artoo’s concealed thrusters and retractable middle leg have been rendered as plug-in attachments that eliminate the need for unnecessary mechanisms. Considering this is a mass-production action figure, making them removable and leaving small peg holes behind looks just fine. Furthermore, the panels which conceal his attachments sit flush with the rest of the figure when closed, making them look perfectly natural and inconspicuous.
PAINT APPLICATIONS: Excellent (Bordering on Above Average)
The bluish-gray dome appears to be too dark.
There. That’s it for the negative.
Hasbro’s painters did an outstanding job on Artoo. The five multi-colored squares on the back of his dome have been carefully applied with no disruptive bleeding. Moving around to the front, the blue and gray hues on the strips and rectangular sections have also been perfectly painted. The white molded plastic has a dirty paint wash that varies in thickness and intensity. There is one small area of bleeding along a partial edge of the white “lens” on the rear of the dome. However, it is insignificant amidst all the positives.
Considering the tri-pedal nature of astromech droids, no one can honestly hold them to the same standards as other figures with regards to articulation. So while Artoo has one less joint than General Grievous, Artoo scores an “Excellent” here as opposed to Grievous’ “Poor” rating. Why? Because this figure has all the articulation points that the character requires and it makes terrific use of it. By positioning both the legs and feet at varying angles, collectors enjoy a wide range of motion. Granted, most will stick with the basic orientations, but the options are there regardless. One possible option though is for diorama builders. Put Artoo’s thrusters on him, hang him by thread or fishing line, and position his legs and feet in different directions so that it looks as though he is changing course and heading while in “mid-flight”.
For as stellar as the aesthetics are, Artoo truly shines in the Accessories department. Past versions have included a feature or two here and there, but this version brings many of them together and in more efficient ways. While the cutting arm is missing, Artoo has his “grabber” arm and data interface tool. Unlike the plug-in versions seen with the VOTC R2-D2 figure, these two attachments are concealed within the figure itself, hidden by opening panels that sit flush with the rest of the figure (as mentioned earlier). The attitude jets found on the 30th Anniversary version make a return, and, like the TAC version, they are removable. Of course, no tricked-out Artoo would be complete without his concealed periscope, and it’s included here in all its glory.
If those weren’t enough, Artoo has one final surprise up his sleeve. Open the rear panel, and one will find a grappling hook. Small fingers or tweezers are necessary, but the hook can be pulled out to a length of several inches. That’s the hard part. Re-spooling the string is much easier. Just keeping turning Artoo’s dome like a dial, and the mechanism inside the figure winds it back up within seconds.
OVERALL RATING: Excellent
Things weren’t looking too good for Hasbro’s new Clone Wars line. One major character was severely hampered by an action feature whose innovation and invitation both wore out a long time ago, and another major character was just plain awful. True to his nature, Artoo came along to save the day by being one of the best figures in this initial wave. The aesthetics are top notch. The figure can move in all the directions needed. Last but certainly not least, the accessories are plentiful and cleverly incorporated into the figure.
R2-D2 is a bona fide recommendation for collectors storming retail shelves on July 26th.