STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)
“A red astromech droid, R5-D4 thought he’d found a home when the Jawas sold him to Owen Lars, along with the protocol droid C-3PO. But R5’s motivator blew as he rolled away from the sandcrawler, forcing the Jawas to take him back in exchange for R2-D2.”
The Mandalorian has had a number of returning characters from elsewhere in the Star Wars mythos, some big returns, and some rather small. On the small side was a character that’s easy to miss in both of his on-screen appearances. A little less so in A New Hope, where R5-D4 is notably the astromech whose head blows up, prompting Owen and Luke to buy R2 instead, but it’s not like he gets name dropped there, or anything. His reappearance in The Mandalorian almost feels like it could just be a similarly designed droid, until we see the back of him, revealing a small scorch mark where his motivator would have blown all those years prior. It’s a nice little touch, and a welcome return for a character most people don’t even know exists. As another astromech, R5 is prone to getting toys, since he can frequently make use of R2 parts. That was the case for today’s offering, which is the Black Series version of the character.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
R5-D4 was released in 2017, as part of the vintage-carded-styled A New Hope 40th Anniversary sub-set of Black Series figures. R5 was a GameStop exclusive, but was also available through Think Geek, due to their partnership at the time. It so far marks his only time getting a Black Series release. The figure’s just over 4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation. His movement set-up is the same as R2’s, which tracks, since he’s largely the same collection of pieces as R2. Like I said, frequently makes use of R2 parts. It’s film accurate, so it’s not like it’s a bad idea or anything. The notable change-up here is on the head, which swaps out R2’s dome for the more cylindrical set-up that R5 had going on. It melds well with the pre-existing parts, and is generally a pretty nice piece in its own right. R5’s paint work was notably a bit better than the basic R2 we had at this point, since in addition to getting a pretty solid selection of base color work, he also got a little bit of accenting on the white sections of the body in order to make him look a little grimy from being on Tatooine all those years. It’s actually pretty minor, and a very good sample of work from Hasbro, especially for this era. The weirdest part is the one stripe of reflective coloring on the head, which is actually a decal. I’m not sure why, but it doesn’t look bad, and it’s in a spot where it being a decal’s not going to be quite as detrimental. Unlike the first two releases of R2, which had a ton of accessories, R5 is barebones, with nothing beyond just himself in the package. It definitely feels light, but then again, I have no clue what exactly you would give R5. The ’90s opted for missiles, but that’s out of place these days, I suppose. What a shame.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
R5 is a figure I came very close to buying new. I saw him at the Think Geek in a mall in Seattle in the summer of 2017, and thought very seriously about buying him, since I’ve always liked him and all, but money was tight at the time, and I had already bought other stuff that day, so I wound up passing. I never saw him again, and always kicked myself for not picking him up. So, when this guy came into All Time a few months back, I jumped at the chance to get him, especially after his return appearance on The Mandalorian. He’s not a figure that does a ton new, I suppose, but that’s just generally R5. He’s still pretty darn nifty, and a little bit more unique than just another R2. He’s a real sleeper figure for me. You don’t expect to be all that impressed by him, but he’ll catch you off guard, in a rather subtle sort of way.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review. If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.