Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Figure of the Day: Day 494: R2-D2 (Launching Lightsaber)

R2-D2 Launching Lightsaber
Power of the Force Flashback Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 69680 No. 84043
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, flashback photo
Action Feature: Press button, saber launches
Retail: $5.99
Availability: December 1998
Appearances: Return of the Jedi

Bio: Though small and unassuming, the astromech droid R2-D2 has proven to be a pivotal figure throughout the quest for freedom in the galaxy. Whether delivering Princess Leia's message to Ben Kenobi or accompanying Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing fighter as he delivered the fatal blow to the first Death Star, Artoo's actions have become legendary within the annals of the Revel Alliance. But unknown to his compatriots, Artoo already had plenty of time and experience at the center of action. Many decades earlier, he served on board the ship of the young queen from the planet Naboo. Even then, he displayed an unmistakable knack for helping others out of dire circumstances. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.

Commentary: As an update of one of the original vintage-era Power of the Force figures, we all had high hopes for R2-D2 here, as he had an actual spring-loaded launching lightsaber. In theory, that's some exciting stuff-- one of the panels on his chest was a very well disguised button, which, in theory, could result in a figure with a completely hidden action feature. In theory, that is. The end result is one of the worst figures ever made by Kenner or Hasbro, because there's just so much wrong with it. For starters, the sculpt has a fully extended third leg that's swelled up something fierce. The figure has two points of articulation-- each leg is jointed, and that's it. The dome can't move, and for that matter, it's not painted very well. This figure was the first modern-era non-vac metal domed figure, and it seems like someone forgot how to paint for a while here. The figure's silver paint is uneven, and you can see spots of white. This isn't an issue of aging, they were all like this on release. The "dirt" is crappy, sub-par even for its day, and just looks like someone threw some reddish brown specks on it. In other words, it just looks sloppy. The blue paint on the front panels is hit and miss, the "eye" sculpt seems off, and that's ignoring the fact that this is a figure from 1998, before Hasbro really hit their stride on how to make a rockin' astromech droid. In short, this figure was bad when it came out, and several years later, I look at it and try to remember why I'm too much of a packrat that I can't burn these things. Sorry, anonymous Hasbro employee(s)-- I mean you no personal disrespect. It's just that this figure sucks so much.

Collector's Notes: If you're a collector, take note: don't buy it. I know some of you have to collect them all, like me, because you don't know any better. Since some of you do know better, take warning, and save your money. You could spend it on something good, like a nail to drive through your big toe. I have hopes Hasbro will revisit this particular action feature again some day, and hopefully the end results won't make me sad to be a fan.

Day 494: September 12, 2007

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