Vault Review: Star Wars
Black #04 R2-D2

It’s probably a bad sign that I only have three Star Wars Black six inch figures, yet I’m pretty enamored with the line.  I’m not saying the line is perfect, because there are definitely a couple of things that can be improved.  But aside from a couple of minor complaints, I’m amazed at how collector oriented this mass retail line is.

If any one figure demonstrates this, it has to be R2D2.  Out of all the first wave figures, he was the one I was least excited about.  Sure he looked good in all the pictures, and he even came with some extra accessories, but I felt like his limited droid articulation really put him at a disadvantage in a line full of super articulated humanoids.  Boy, was I wrong.

But let’s start with the sculpt.  R2D2 is probably one of the most recognizable robots in history, so it’s easy to overlook all the small details because we all have a picture of him in our minds already.  While the new six inch version looks exactly like you’d expect, the various panels, vents, wires, and doodads on the figure are much more noticeable.  Another thing I really like about the design is that you get a lot of separately sculpted pieces that have been added on, instead of them trying to fit it all into the body’s sculpt.  This makes him feel more like a real assembled robot.

While the outside of the figure looks great,  Artoo also has a bit of engineering  that adds even more to the sculpt.  His body has two long panels on each side, just in front of the legs.  These panels can open slightly to reveal his two small “arms”.  The left arm is his little mechanical claw, but I’m not quite sure about the right side.  I think it’s supposed to be his computer interface, but it doesn’t quite look right.  Both arms are articulated with a swivel joint, but have to be coaxed out of their homes.

The other bit of engineering that sealed my love for this little figure is his third leg, or rather how his third leg works.  Instead of just pulling it down and pushing it back in, Hasbro developed a sort of action feature that lowers or raises the leg depending on which way you turn his head.  This feature works like a ratchet, allowing the head to keep turning even after the leg has stopped.  I wouldn’t go so far to say that this action feature was a necessary addition to the figure, but it’s definitely a nice sign that the people making the line are putting the work in and not just giving us the cheapest product possible.  Continue to page 2…

27 thoughts on “Vault Review: Star Wars
Black #04 R2-D2

  1. I’ve really enjoyed this guy, the only complaint is that he looks a little too pristine. I’m debating what kind of wash it would take to dirty him up a bit and make him look more the the droid that “has seen a lot of action”. R2 needs some carbon scoring!
    Any suggestions out there on what might work best?

    1. I definitely wouldn’t mind a dirtier R2, but I have the feeling Hasbro may make one eventually. It may take a while to get to him, but dirty Tatooine R2 seems just as viable to me as the Sandtrooper or Luke’s many outfits.

      Wish I could help you with a costumizing tip, but I’m not quite sure how you’d make those kind of marks. Maybe one of our readers has an idea?

      1. If you want all the details to pop, a mechanical pencil is prefect. It’s not 100% accurate, but it gives it a much nicer look than the plain white sculpt we got and does give a pretty dirty appearance.

    1. I tracked mine down at Target, so you’ll have there and Toys R Us to do your hunting so far. Good luck!

    1. Me too! It’s nice to see a large US company bring some credibility to the term “adult collector”.

  2. I was hoping that Hasbro would combine the three Artoos from the vintage line (original, sensorscope, and pop-up lightsaber) into one figure and it sounds like they came through. He really does look nice. I only wish that modern Artoos retained that cool clicking sound the vintage figures made, just for old time’s sake.

    I’m also hoping to finally see hooded Jawas wearing soft goods in this line for what would be the first time since 1985. I miss those cloth-cloaked critters!

    1. You’re in luck! That ratchet joint on his head does make a clicking noise after the leg is all the way up or down. I lost my vintage R2 a long time ago, and I entirely forgot about that noise. Glad you reminded me. I think the Black figure might be paying homage to that…

      I’m really interested to see what the Jawas will look like, and if they’ll come in a two pack.

  3. I’m glad you reviewed this guy, because I really love him. I’m hoping more people realize how great he is based on this review. As was said in the Sandtrooper review, the “dirty” effeects are really well done! They might be my favorite part of it, in fact. It’s so well done, in fact, that I actually thought mine was dirty out of the box. I had to pause for a second to determine what had actually happened. I really love this guy, and I’m very excited and hopeful for the rest of this line. I’m dying for some Bounty Hunters on my desk!

    1. Thanks Paul!

      We have Boba Fett and Greedo coming, so that’s a good start. I personally can’t wait to see General Grievous. He’s never really had a perfect figure, so I’m putting a lot of hope into the Black version.

  4. Artoo is one of three Black Series figures I’ve seen at retail, and since my funds were limited, he’s the one that got left behind. The rest of the line is pushign it at $20 a figure, but Artoo is half the size with little of the articulation. He’s a necessary character, so I’m sure I’ll eventually get him, but he’s not as good of a value as the rest of the figures. I’m sure I’ll feel the same when Yoda gets added to the line. Maybe they could’ve given us a Yoda/Artoo double pack to make it seem a little less like we’re getting swindled.

    1. I had these same feelings also. I really bought him because he’s one of those necessary characters you have to have hanging around on a Star Wars shelf. But like I said in the review, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice he turned out.

      As for the price tag, that’s just the nature of the beast. I don’t think I’ve ever ordered a new Japanese figure that costs less that $25, so maybe I’m used to the expensive adult collectables market. I guess it really just comes down to what kind of toy you want. There are the “trading figure” two packs that have 5 POA, limited paint and limited accessories for about $10, or the Black figures which are much larger, super articulated, detailed sculpts and paint, and usually a few accessories for about $20.

      $20 seems like a lot of money when you first compare them to the $10 two packs, but the Black figure is just so much better for only ten more dollars. I know some people don’t agree with me, which is fine because it’s their money and their decision. But I do really feel like the extra $10 is worth it.

    2. I’ve had the same concerns about Yoda. There’s no way that I would ever pass up a 6″ scale Yoda figure, but I hope that Hasbro has something in mind (interchangeable Ep. 4 and Ep. 2 costumes and headsculpts maybe ?) to make the $20 price a little easier to endure.

  5. I still can’t see myself pulling the trigger on this one.
    I love R2, and still have the OT version (sans barrel sticker, and most of the silver on his dome) and the EpI with chirping sounds, which even that would be a push in this version’s favor. Sure, he comes with a handful of attachments, but your joke about Boba’s drink makes me wish they had also included the drink tray from Jabba’s barge.

    I can only guess they’re saving those two features for future (re-)releases?

    Or maybe if he had come as a 2pk, like James suggested, he would be a “must get”, whether it be Yoda, Jawa, random access panel, holo-Leia, or R5/gonk/mouse droid, just *something* else to make it appear he’s worth the same cost as the 6″ fully articulated figures?
    (then again, wasn’t there a whole line of like 8″ astromech droids in a variety of colors?)

    and is it too early to ask if the spare w2 Han hands can be swapped onto another figure, like Greedo? I’m looking at both of those for customs, and we know the heads are poppable, but will those hands be easily swappable? (or require some dremeling/filling?)

  6. Great review and pics, as always.

    This Artoo’s turn-head-drop-third-leg feature has been used before, starting in 2005, with the Sneak Preview ROTS R4-G9, and used quite a bit in the 4″-scale line since. Bloody nifty, though.

    As for carbon scoring, I can think of two ways of doing it. First: airbrush. Pros: obvious and easy. Cons: Aibrush equipment ain’t cheap and easy to maintain, and it might not work well on smaller-scale figures

    Secondly, put a small dab of black paint or ink on a paper towel, let it sink in a bit, then smear it across the figure. Pros: cheap and easy. Cons: might take a bit of practice to get the desired results, messy fingers.

  7. I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by my R2 😛 Little nitpicky issues, like his antennae not being retractable, make me feel like a little more effort could have been put into him. However, I’m just going to assume that the retractable leg and spinning head would have conflicted with other moving appendages. Don’t get me wrong, I love this line and I love my R2, but I also can’t help but feel that he would have been better as a build-a-droid character, allowing for us to get another full-sized figure; one that I would have no problem paying $20 for.
    Oddly enough, Maul and the SandTrooper, who were the two I was looking forward to the least, have blown me away, as did pilot Luke.
    After some introspection, maybe the fact that 3 of the 4 Artoos I’ve seen had scuffed and smudgey paint, while all of the other figures I’ve seen have been pristine, has possibly left a bad taste in my mouth. Overall, I hope that my opinion does not dissuade anyone else from buying an R2 if they want one. Despite my negative feelings, R2 is still a fun and well-made figure. AND, like Vault said, R2 is an important addition to any Star Wars shelf.

    1. Ughhh, again, yeah, I’m being nitpicky, but I have my R2 next to my PC right now, and I had forgotten how the blue pieces on his dome (the ones that are removable so the lightsaber and other accessories can be attached) don’t seem too secure or stable. They fit into their designated slots comfortably, but still feel as if they could easily fall out and get lost if the figure were to fall (or in all likelihood, have another fell on him and knock him over). In all honestly, yeah, I’m just being obsessive, and given the opportunity, I’d pay $20 for him all over again. BUT, it would still be a painful purchase, lol.
      Again, he’s a great figure, but IMO, not as great as the other three in this wave.

  8. I was a little uneasy spending $20 on R2, but once i set him next to look it seemed a little more worth it. They look great together and I’m sure he will look great next to his gold buddy soon enough.

    I’m also concerned about all the little pieces that he comes with. I have a small sealable baggie that I have the extras in and have promised myself to put whatever is not in use in it. I hope this works.

    I wish R2 came with a light up eye and a couple of his sonic sounds (which has been done before on a smaller version), it would have pushed him over the top and made his price a bit more comfortable. I can’t wait to see more of the Black line as it grows.

  9. I’ve got R2 on the way along with 3 Sandtroopers. Cost me just over $25 per figure (that’s shipped to Australia, too) from Amazon. Absolute bargain for us non-US folk, as these figures have shown up in specialty stores here for $50 and are due to chain store release next month and are expected to be around $40 per figure. Which is absolutely nuts.

    So, hopefully, Amazon keeps getting each wave in.

    As for R2, he looks a bit underwhelming. Maybe could have done a C3PO/R2D2 2 pack for $30. It’s not like I really need any accessories with these two.

    I have to say, Luke and Maul look amazing. But I have to be selective with this line. I’m not a Star Wars nut, but grew up with the OT. I’ll be sticking with core characters. I wasn’t going to get the Sandtrooper at all but once I saw his gear could come off and he’s basically a dirty Stormtrooper, I had to grab some. 😛

  10. I haven’t seen it in person, but it doesn’t look to me too different than the large R2D2 from about 10 years+ ago… Is it?


    My son grabbed it for a quick play and it took us 10 minutes to find one of the tabs as it just fell straight out. >_<

    I really wish they'd engineered for his extra parts to actually extend from his head, like the two on his torso do.

    He's pretty cool though.

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