The Legacy Collection (US Target Exclusive), Revenge of the Sith (Japan Wide Release, pictured)
Item No.: Asst. 85173 No. 85665
Manufacturer: Hasbro (US), Tomy (Japan)
Includes: Lightsaber remote
Action Feature: Beeps, moves, lights up
Retail: $16.99 (US), $20 (Japan)
Availability: 2009 (US), 2005 (Japan)
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith
Bio: R2-D2 is a robot. (Whatever, man.)
Commentary: I originally planned on not covering this figure, but since Hasbro brought it out to the USA it's now part of the line. R2-D2 here was released in Japan four years ago, but is just now making the rounds in the USA as a Target exclusive. I expect it to sell through while his brothers struggle, as R2-Q5, R5-D4, and R5-X2 were also brought to the USA.
This item is less an action figure than it is the ultimate in executive toys-- this is what you want on your desk. Sure, kids will dig it, but who doesn't want a little droid they can have zooming around at their beck and call when boredom strikes? It's a very fun little figure, despite being the "old" astromech style-- you'll notice its size and sculpting are patterned after the droids produced by Kenner and Hasbro from roughly 1999 onward. The "wires" on the feet are flush with the appendage, the various panels are engraved slightly differently, and the dome isn't quite right. Tomy did a wonderful job making sure this figure looked just like the action figures of its day, which would be great if Hasbro didn't have an entirely new and improved sculpt ready to go at the same time. Oh well, can't when them all. R2-D2 has excellent deco with a vibrant blue and red to highlight his features, plus the white plastic is pretty gosh darn white. The mini lightsaber allows the figure to go forward, backward, and beep and boop all the while.
Collector's Notes: Aside from some minor changes, the US and Japanese releases are functionally identical. The differences are minor enough that anyone who bought the Japanese one will likely have no reason to pick up the recent US release. If you're a collector on a budget I'd advise against getting all the various versions-- but since there's no regular figure of R5-X2 yet, you may as well get that one. R4-P17 was also released in Japan but has not made it to the USA as of yet.
Day 1,059: July 6, 2009