The Black Series 40th Anniversary Return of the Jedi or 2023 Window Box Line Look The Mandalorian Packaging
Item No.: Asst. F6853 No. F7075 and Asst. E8908 No. F8351
Number: #32 - Star Wars: The Mandalorian
Includes: Four arms, two scopes
Action Feature: Neck extends for on-board arm storage, retractable third leg, opening ports for scopes in dome
Availability: September 2023
Appearances: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Mandalorian
Bio: As Luke Skywalker ushers Grogu into his Jedi training, he's accompanied by R2-D2 who is particularly enthused to encounter the foundling. (Taken from the The Mandalorian box packaging.)
Image: Adam's photo lab.
Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!
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BanDai did a similar figure a few years ago, and what it tells us is that Lucasfilm apparently does not have a definitive R2-D2 schematic. For those of you who bought that Incredible Cross-sections of Star Wars, Episode I - The Phantom Menace: The Definitive Guide to the Craft book, you know that R2-D2 has an extendable neck so his head pops out of the top of the ship. BanDai went with a five-piston version, while Hasbro's is one big extending piece. In terms of toy functionality, Hasbro's has a slight edge because you can store the figure's extra arms in there, if you want. The dome rotates on the extended neck, and two of the panels on his dome are removable/easily lost for you to use with the included periscope and sensorscope. What's more, R2-D2 has a third leg with an unusual feature - a foot that not only pivots, but swivels. We never get those. They managed to cram a lot in here... but not everything. More on that below.
The dome has two pop-out panel slices. Sadly neither hinges up like in the movie, so R2-D2's periscope with the blue top looks like it belongs, but the sensorscope just looks like a piece fell out. It's good, but not perfect. Maybe the next one will be perfect, but it might also be at a higher price for the extra bells and whistles. (Confidentially, if Hasbro made an R2-D2 that does everything at a deluxe price, maybe incorporating some die-cast metal, I'd probably buy it.)
If you never got the first R2-D2, or its various reissues or deco variants, I would recommend this one. $25 or so ain't bad, and the added play features make it genuinely worthwhile. The action features are more subtle this time, and the size may be more to your liking. I just wish it was as good as it could possibly be - it's so much better, but short of budgetary reasons (or maybe a new variant with different legs next year) there's nothing really keeping those arm rockets off the toy. I shouldn't dump on it for what it isn't, particularly since what it is, is better than the 2013 version. According to the inflation calculators, $20 from 2013 would be $26.42in 2023, so you might even look at this figure as, in some ways, a decent deal. Also Hasbro still hasn't done a "disk drive" in the modern era - the 12-inch figure from the 1970s had Death Star plans you could cram in the back, but nobody has worked with the diskette from the original movie yet. Free unrequested feedback for the next one: plans, lightsaber, maybe some drink trays, and booster rockets.
Collector's Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.
Day 3,087: December 5, 2023