R4-E1 Astromech Droid Pack Series II
The Saga Collection Entertainment Earth Exclusive
Item No.: Asst. 87055 No. 87057
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: January 2006
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back
Bio: Resides in Mos Eisley on the planet Tatooine and is owned by the smuggler BoShek. (Taken from the figure's box.)
Image: Adam Pawlus' slab of cardboard.
Commentary: While there are a variety of reasons to make a figure, "because it's funny" is justification for a tiny number of new toys every year. The droid R4-E1 was one of them. The reason behind the astromech packs-- "let's take existing molds and add new colors"-- is obvious enough, but the droid selection took on a life of its own. "Let's do this one because it's in the 12-inch line!" And that's why there was an R2-A6. "Let's do this one because the Imperials need a droid!" And there's your R3-T6. "Hey, I know, let's make BoShek's droid!" That's why you have this one. I've heard varying stories as to the reason for Hasbro producing a BoShek action figure, many of which come back to a combination of "because you elevated his fame in your column" and "we were in a meeting and said we could make enough of this to sell through." As BoShek became a bit of a sore spot, I figured what the heck-- let's do one more and make his droid. It's not like there were a lot of red astromechs at the time, so this one seemed like a good choice.
The figure is based on the R4-M9 mold originally sold in-- you guessed it-- the wave with BoShek from 2002. No changes were made to the figure's sculpt, but the coloring is significantly different. There are loads of red and silver panels, plus other little cream colored painted details. He has articulated "feet," "shoulders," and a retractable third leg as well as the rotating dome. Sadly, by 2009 standards the figure is a little dated. We've since received a superior mold with the 2008 build-a-droid figures, but it seems unlikely Hasbro will want to revisit this fairly obscure and generally in-jokey toy. While most fans don't need a reason to buy an astromech repaint, we'd say this one is worth a shot if you do Mos Eisley dioramas or just like making sure everybody's favorite balding mutton-chopped spacer has a buddy.
Collector's Notes: It took a while, but these sets are (seemingly) totally sold through. Your best bet is eBay and various collector shops.
Day 947: January 29, 2009