STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)
“Inside the Imperial Death Star, R2-D2 uses one of his many mechanical assets to rescue his Rebel companions from certain death within a rapidly closing trash compactor.”
As I was mentioning last week, droids make up quite a subset of the Star Wars universe, be they background, or even main characters. Of note are C-3PO and today’s focus R2-D2, who have appeared in every film in the franchise to date, making them the real connective tissue that holds things together. Being as frequently appearing as they are in the films, they are similarly pretty frequently appearing in the accompanying toy lines, usually with some sort of gimmick to help set them apart from prior releases. Let’s dig into what makes this specific R2 so unique.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
R2-D2 was released in 1998 as part of Kenner’s Power of the Force line. He’s the second R2 to be released in the line, following the more standard version from ’95. The figure stands 3 inches tall and has 3 points of articulation. This R2 was a totally new sculpt. It’s not terribly different from the initial figure, but it’s different enough to be noticeable. Unlike the prior R2, he doesn’t have the retracting third leg, or any third leg at all. Instead, he makes use of the extra space in the torso to add a slightly different gimmick: a retracting datalink arm. It’s a cool enough feature, though it would probably be cooler if it hadn’t immediately broken on mine. Maybe I’m just too rough on my toys? He’s also got another built-in gimmick, a pop-out scanner in his head dome. That one works a lot better, and is probably my favorite part of this particular release. The paint work on this guy is a definite step-up from the prior figure. He keeps the chromed head (this was a wonky licensing thing with Lucasfilm, despite its inaccuracy), but corrects the missing third blue stripe on his “face.” He also gets quite a bit of weathering on his lower portion. While he’s *technically* a New Hope R2, this added dirt means he pairs quite well with the ESB Dagobah figures, which is another plus in my book. R2 is packed with both a grasper arm and a saw arm, both of which can plug into the front of the figure. He also included a Freeze Frame slide depicting R2 and 3PO on the Death Star, though I somehow managed to misplace that one.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I really only had the need for one R2 growing up, so this guy got left out. He’s one of the ones I was more interested in when I started to go back and fill in the holes in my collection, though, and wound up as part of one of my earlier splurges of PotF figures back in 2018. He actually sat packaged for a good while before I finally got around to opening him. Issues with the datalink aside, I think this guy was the best of the R2s offered up by this line.
Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy. They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.