Episode I Collection 2
Item No.: Asst. 84095 No. 84104
Includes: CommTech Chip
Action Feature: Push up the central leg, the rockets will deploy
Availability: May 1999
Appearances: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Bio: The astromech droid R2-D2 serves on board the Naboo Royal Starship of Queen Amidala. A multifaceted utility droid, R2-D2 becomes a hero in the struggle against the Trade Federation's invasion of Naboo. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)
Image: Adam's desk.
Commentary: One of the fun things about this hobby is that Hasbro (often unwittingly) makes a figure from a deleted scene like this R2-D2 from 1999. The robot is based on an alternate design for R2-D2's booster rockets, which appears on the DVD but not in the actual film. In later tales, we saw the rockets actually popped out of his shoulders rather than his body.
For the time this was a really impressive figure. R2-D2 kept the light-up eyeport which was on pretty much all of the modern R2-D2 figures (save for the awful 1998 pop-up lightsaber figure) to this point, and the painted silver head wasn't reflective-- a nice touch, given that it's apparently hard to get right. The torso sculpt is a little harsh, with lots of sculpted panels and lines exaggerated slightly compared to the later releases. This toy's main purpose is to highlight the jets for his hover mode, which all pop out when the figure's head is centered and you push the third leg up. Overall it's not a bad figure, but those big gaps in his body are hard to ignore and the figure has since been surpassed by better flying figures... and in the case of a 2003 version, worse figures. This one is mostly worth getting as both a deleted scene and a concept figure, a nifty idea that never really made the cut to the big screen. If you like that kind of thing, you should get this one.
Collector's Notes: This figure has never been repainted or repackaged. It was a good figure for the time, but it nearly immediately was upstaged by the superior (and significantly rarer at the time) R2-D2 with Holographic Princess Leia action figure. A packaging variant does exist, as there is a "thick bubble" and a "narrow bubble" variant.
Day 1,578: July 1, 2011