STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)
“R2-D2 is a tripodal computer repair and information retrieval robot, or astromech droid. As an R2 unit, he is equipped with navigational starfighter interfaces, plus extensive sensor packages and numerous devices to facilitate in-flight repairs: laser arc welder, circular saw, grasper arm, and fire extinguisher. He communicates through information-dense chips, beeps and whistles and seems to take pleasure in causing anxiety for his neurotic companion, the protocol droid C-3PO.”
More Star Wars? Really? Listen hypothetical reader, I have a lot of Star Wars figures, and I can’t just stop reviewing them for three months every year just because there’s a big explosion of new product. That would be insane. Almost as insane as writing an action figure review every single day for the rest of my life. Moving on. One major player absent from all of the new stuff I reviewed was astromech droid R2-D2, who for the second time in a row has been left out of the initial product launch for a Star Wars film. Fortunately, I have a whole back catalogue to fall back on. So, here’s an R2 figure.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
R2 was released in the first assortment of Kenner’s Power of the Force II line in 1995. While later R2s in the line would go for more scene-specific looks, this one is just a standard R2; no special bells or whistles. The figure stands about 3 inches tall and he has 3-ish points of articulation. I say “3-ish” because in addition to joints at his head and the tops of his legs, R2 also has an extending middle leg, which I guess is *sort of* articulation. This was the first time an R2 figure got the extending leg. It’s still sort of in a prototype stage, and isn’t as cleverly designed as later models, but it works well enough. R2’s sculpt was new to him, and it’s not bad. Most of the important details are there, and they’re nicely defined. He does end up a little skinnier than he’s usually depicted, but with all the wonky proportions that were going on in this line, I think it’s safe to say that R2 got off pretty easy. R2’s paint is passable, though not without a few flaws. Let’s start with the head: the vac metalizing, though inaccurate to the film, is certainly a cool feature, and helps him stand out. Of course, as is usually the case on vac metalized pieces, some of the overlying paint has had a fair bit of chipping. The body was mostly molded in white plastic, and, as you can probably see from the photos, it was pretty prone to yellowing. The overlying paint is fairly decent overall, though it’s important to note that the’ve left off one of the blue stripes that makes up R2’s “face.” I only just noticed that while writing this review, actually. Now I’ll never be able to un-see it; the sacrifices I make for these reviews. R2 included no accessories, but he does have a pretty nifty light-piping feature in his head, which illuminates his eye when you get the light just right.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
R2 was a gift from my parents, I believe on a Valentine’s Day? Since I was never much for lots of candy, they tended to get me a small figure of some sort instead, and that was R2. This was my first R2 (and I believe one of my earlier Star Wars figures in general), and he’s really the only one I had until well into the 2000s. Like the rest of the line, he shows his age, but he’s a fun figure, and certainly not bad for the time.