Posted by Rich on October 21, 2013 at 12:59 PM CST
The journey from prototype to production wasn't kind to R2-D2. Robust paint details, intricately defined body panels and even overall scale were compromised from the time the figure was revealed in February to its August arrival at retail.

While I can see where people take issue with the production changes made to this figure, I still don't think it turned out that bad--at least not as bad as everyone is making it out to be. In fact, I think it's a pretty well designed figure and had Hasbro not revealed a superior prototype at Toy Fair to draw comparisons from, I believe everyone would be singing the praises of the production figure.

One major complaint about R2 that seems to be ruffling a lot of feathers is the scale. Looking at countless reference photos posted across the Internet, I can see where it's an issue, but I don't have a problem with it. To me, it's not that big a deal in the overall design of the figure. In my opinion, the opening compartment panels look better than on the prototype, the interchangeable leg stabilizers / rocket boosters are a neat way to satisfy prequel / original trilogy crowds and the dome accessories included are a good choice (though the packaging of the lightsaber tends to warp the shape). In posing R2 alongside the other wave one figures, I thought the size was fine, but something else was bothering me.

So what's my issue with this figure? What I can't seem to overlook are the inexcusable paint applications to my figure and just about every other one I've seen at retail. It's sloppy. The blue trim on the dome spills over onto the silver, the removable panels on my figure are scuffed up and the red processor state indicator on every figure I've seen misses the mark. That's just not acceptable for a figure considered collector grade. When Hasbro's 4-inch figures have better paint applications than the 6-inch, someone needs to fine tune the spray guns at the factories and make sure the paint masks are properly calibrated. I get this is the first wave and there are going to be some kinks that need to get worked out, but paint was the last thing I expected to be an issue.

All-in-all I think Hasbro did a decent job with R2. Would I prefer to have a figure that resembled the prototype? You bet! That figure looked incredible. Do I think the production piece warrants the criticism and is the "piece of junk" a lot of people are making it out to be? Not at all. I think once you spin R2's dome a few times, open a compartment door to extend the computer interface arm or pop off a dome panel to swap in the periscope, you'll agree that this is a pretty solid figure.

View the photo archive entry for Hasbro's The Black Series 6-inch R2-D2 figure.
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Next September marks the twentieth anniversary of Hasbro's Kenner The Power Of The Force action figure collection. The line introduced a new generation of children to the wonderful world of Star Wars toys and ushered in the modern collectibles we all enjoy today. Our ever-inquisitive Probe Droid is actively searching all corners of the galaxy to find out if there is interest in products that commemorate this very significant 1995 release.
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