Yodasnews Review: SSC Sith Probe Droid expansion pack (Regular Edition)
By Jeff Gouse (SithLord0498)
This is going to be much shorter than my usual Sideshow reviews because (obviously) there’s less here to cover. I toyed with the idea of making this an addendum to the Darth Maul review, but a separate release merits a separate review in my opinion. Granted, it was rather useless to make this a separate release, but that will not be a factor in judging this product. But Sideshow could’ve easily added another $5.00 to the price of Maul and included one probe droid, the sand base cover, and removable controller bracelet (especially instead of the sculpted one on Maul’s glove).
As for the droid controller bracelet, it looks virtually identical to the sculpted one on the Darth Maul figure. Therefore, I won’t be discussing it in this review. Its inclusion doesn’t really affect the expansion pack anyway.
On that note, let’s get started.
Packaging: 5 out of 5
At this point, there is little left to say about the packaging because Sideshow opted to use the 2006-style packaging from their actual figures for the expansion packs. One thing to note is that the box is slimmer this time around because there is only one tray here as opposed to two trays (figure and accessories). This was a good decision on Sideshow’s part because it keeps consistency for those of us who store the packaging.
Sculpt: 5 out of 5
This is the strongest feature of the expansion pack, which is a relief because its success or failure hinges greatly on its appearance.
The sculpt is top notch, comprised of several different pieces (much like Anakin’s mechanical arm). The individual droids are very light and seemingly fragile, but they do stand up to being knocked around. Yes, yes…I dropped one or two of them on occasion. Each droid has over a dozen dials of varying sizes, and all of them are neatly sculpted. The antennas are molded from a more rigid plastic than I had expected though. A softer plastic or rubber may have been better here to allow more flexibility in the event of a tumble. Still, it retains its upright orientation very well, which is more important. Lastly, the three “eyes” are made from a reflective plastic that successfully emulates the illusion of glass lenses in 1:6 scale.
The sculpt is just as good on the sand base, which is nothing more than a cover that can be slipped onto standard Sideshow figure stands. In fact, the “Inclusive Edition” of the expansion pack gave collectors an additional sand cover—perfect for those who want to stage a Maul vs. Qui-Gon duel with their figures. Instead of going for an extreme windblown effect, the cover has a subtle bumpy effect with a sandpaper texture to it
Paint Application: 5 out of 5
As with the sculpt, the paint applications are extremely well done. The droids are a base gray color with varying levels of black and silver wash applied over it. The black wash helps establish texture, and the silver paint adds definition to said texture. Those shiny highlights are most prevalent on edges where it gives the look of paint being scraped away to expose the metal underneath. The dials are also colored in shades of silver and copper, so the overall paint scheme is muted and accurate to their cinematic counterparts.
Considering it’s sand, the base cover’s deco is as good as it can be. It is painted in one base color and relies on the sculpting nuances to create natural shading. The effect is strikingly realistic.
Articulation: 4.5 out of 5
Yes, I know including articulation for a bunch of floating balls seems odd, but it is still an important category here. And even more surprising, it delivers better than expected.
The probe droids are attached in a hovering position above the base via three metal support rods of varying heights. They are packaged separately and connect to the base via a small adapter where the support brace would attach on a regular base. Therefore, you can mix and match which position you place each rod. Then, you attach the droid to each rod by plugging it into a small hole on the base of each sphere. To achieve various “flying arrangements”, you can pivot each rod like a swivel arm as well as rotate each droid 360 degrees. The only additional articulation that could have been included is making the support rods bendable to achieve full range of motion.
But for $25, what we get is more than adequate.
“Fun Factor”: 4 out of 5
Honestly, these droids aren’t all that fun. But then again, they were never meant to be more than a display piece. They are also a worthy companion to the Darth Maul figure. In those regards, then these merit an above average score in this category.
Overall Rating: 4.7 out of 5
For $25, the Sith Probe Droid expansion pack is a worthwhile purchase. Casual collectors will likely pass on this set, but they aren’t the target consumer base for this product. This set was designed specifically for owners of the Sideshow Darth Maul figures and/or Darth Maul fans in general.