R2-SERIES ASTROMECH DROID Black Dome with Orange Markings, a.k.a. R2-Q5
Star Tours Droid Factory Customizable Figure
Item No.: ???
Includes: Head, 2 legs, torso, central third leg, optional hat
Action Feature: Comes apart
Availability: May 2015
Appearances: Return of the Jedi
Bio: These figures do not have specific packaging or configurations. As such, we will be treating each dome as a unique "figure" as that part is the most plentiful. There were 25 domes in the 2012 series and 25 domes in the 2015 batch so far. While Hasbro had said they didn't design the first batch, they included Hasbro copyrights. This batch does not - markings read "© DISNEY" and "© LFL" as well as "China" on each leg.
Image: Adam's photo lab.
Commentary: While not identical to any existing figure, the R2-Series Astromech Droid is strikingly similar to 2001's R2-Q5. The layout and colors are almost identical, but the faded orange is much more vibrant and a couple of other things changed. The holo projectors on the dome are slightly different, as this build-a-droid version has painted silver interiors on the front one and the one on top of his head - R2-Q5 2001 had silver on the front and back. Other than that, they're pretty dang close, except the 2001 version is incredibly glossy and therefore more accurate. Since the 2001 version's feet was pre-sculpted-wires protruding out, each is pretty good but not perfect. I'd give the 2015 black droid the edge on being gorgeous, but the 2001 release the edge for authenticity. In other words, there is still room for improvement on the droid who would be R2-Q5.
The body of this configuration was retooled from the pre-2015 editions. The lower holes on the R2 body were removed, so you can't make a four-armed droid anymore. You'll note that the little boxes in the middle of the body are now painted with silver vents, rather than black with silver outlines. The black matte plastic body has orange markings, plus a couple of silver boxes for good measure. It works well with other domes in the collection, of which three. By and large the paint applications mimic the Hasbro Power of the Jedi R2-Q5. Other than those vents, you won't see a difference.
Each leg is new - actually, it's only one leg. Disney had issues keeping enough matching right and left legs during the 2012 run, so I'm sort of happy that they found a clever solution to the issue. This pair of legs is black plastic with silver markings where the toe wires used to be present.
The central black foot for this (and all the other) colors is now unpainted, while the 2012 batch had silver markings around the bottom of the foot.
It's an interesting one. It's different enough - not glossy, more vibrant - where I could say it could function as a new droid in your displays or dioramas. It's also R2-Q5ey enough to substitute for the droid had you skipped the 2001 version. I like it because of the colorful panels, but you may prefer to get it with the R4 or R5 domes to add some variety to a non-completist shelf. It's $13 worth of neat, but it does sting a little that we used to get a part with each $8 figure a few years ago. I'd still buy other new ones if Disney makes them, though.
Collector's Notes: I got this from my pal Shannon who was cool enough to get me a set from Disneyland.
Day 2,175: August 13, 2015