Monday, December 27, 2010

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,444: R2-B1

R2-B1 Astromech Droid
Episode I Collection 2 Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 84128 No. 84105
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Droid Harness, CommTech Chip Stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Early 2000
Appearances: The Phantom Menace

Bio: A blue astromech droid sporting yellow trim, R2-B1 is one of a fleet of mechanics on the Naboo Royal Starship. It risked its circuits to perform repairs while under heavy incoming fire. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' desk.

Commentary: The 2007 remake of this 2000 R2-B1 was meant to correct the fact that it did not really fit in with the style of the other droids. Both versions are a little off for different reasons. This 2000 release was an odd duck because it had a chrome dome (which was largely phased out by 1999) an only 2 legs rather than all 3. In many ways this figure was another evolutionary step in making the perfect Astromech droid toy, but the 1999 Royal Starship pack-in R2-R9 was significantly better in many ways. The main thing this figure had going for it was a cool blue dot in the middle of its holo projector and, let's be frank, striking coloring. Just look at it. Since it only moves at the head and legs, there's not much here-- the sculpt is on par for its time and the size isn't too out of whack for what was considered normal during the final days of the CommTech era. There's nothing I would call terribly wrong about the figure, but it really was a step backward given what we got in other droid figures just a year earlier. Since it looked cool and was hard to find, it sold well and was probably worth considering a success. Of course, we as a group have short attention spans and the 2007 version is loaded with articulation and was easy to get. As such, the original fell out of favor, and odds are the only people who are really interested in it remember what it was like when it first came out-- exciting, new, and blue.

Collector's Notes: This figure was never reissued, but the mold was used to make R2-D2 for an exclusive Toys "R" Us X-wing Fighter a couple of years later. At one time this figure (and its companion in the assortment, TC-14) were expensive and desirable. Today, arguably, they are neither. It costs around $10, which is more than most figures from Episode I in 1999-2000, but adjusted for inflation it's really not all that impressive.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,444: December 27, 2010

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