Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Action Figure Review: Red Squadron from Star Wars: The Black Series Phase III by Hasbro

    It really isn't an exaggeration to say that there are nearly as many store exclusives released for Star Wars: The Black Series as there are standard releases. Hasbro seems to really be trying to gain retailer support for the line by offering retailer exclusives far and wide and today's release, the Red Squadron droid set, is an exclusive to Amazon.com. This set has been a bit of a pain to pick up as it appeared only for short intervals. I finally managed to grab one though and while I'm always happy to add new figures to my Black Series collection, I do have to admit that this set is fairly disappointing. Off the bat, I'll just remind everyone that the astromech droids for the Black Series are woefully undersized. Considering that the line has been going for 5 years now I doubt Hasbro is ever going to fix this. We already have 9 astromechs in this scale, so at this point it would be just weird to have astromech droids in two scales, right? The second thing I'll mention is that these figures are 100% repaints. That's just kind of the way it is with astromech droids, though, as rarely do they look much different from one another other than having unique paint jobs. I know that might make this sound like a less than impressive set but maybe it is. Of course, it's also the only way to get these droids and serves as a companion piece to the Toys 'R Us 2016 exclusive 3-pack which features three more astromech units from the Battle of Yavin. Let's check out Red Squadron, starring R5-D8, R2-X2, and a repainted R2-D2 after the break...

 The Facts: R2-D2

Height: 3 1/4 inches

Articulation: 6 rolling wheels, 3 hinged ankles, sliding middle leg, swivel side legs, 2 hinged chest panels, 2 hinged interior arms, and a swiveling dome.

Accessories: 3 removable dome plugs and 2 removable leg panels.
 The Facts: R5-D8

Height: 3 1/2 inches

Articulation: 6 rolling wheels, 3 hinged ankles, sliding middle leg, swivel side legs, 2 hinged chest panels, 2 hinged interior arms, and a swiveling dome.

Accessories: 2 removable leg panels.
 The Facts: R2-X2

Height: 3 1/4 inches

Articulation: 6 rolling wheels, 3 hinged ankles, sliding middle leg, swivel side legs, 2 hinged chest panels, 2 hinged interior arms, and a swiveling dome.

Accessories: 3 removable dome plugs and 2 removable leg panels.

Non-Scalper Price: $60 for the set of three droids. 

* Both the new battle damaged R2-D2 (left) and R2-X2 (not shown) are repaints of the original R2-D2 from 2013.  Other than not including the great complement of accessories that figure included, the two R2 units in the Red Squadron pack are exactly the same, so check out that older review for all of the details.

* The third droid in this set, R5-D8 (left), is really just a repaint of R5-D4 (right) from the 40th Anniversary Collection. Heck, the only real difference between these two is the absence of most of the blue on R5-D8. R5-D8 even seems to have the exact same paint mask as R5-D4, as his painted on wear and tear is in the exact same spots as the previously released droid.

 + Thus far Hasbro has only had R2-D2 out for sale in series 1 of Phase 1 of the Black Series in 2013 and as part of the 40th Anniversary Collection last year. I'm totally OK with getting a second R2-D2 with some variant paintwork and this one doesn't look too bad. While the intention was to give R2-D2 the battle damage he sustained during the Battle of Yavin, it also may very well appear like he's a bit muddy from spending some time on Dagobah, too. I think R2-D2 looks just fine and will make a nice companion figure for Luke Skywalker in his X-Wing Fighter Gear.

+ All of the droids (R2-D2, R5-D8, and R2-X2) still feature the opening chest panels with the articulated data port and claw arm and the extendable/ retractable third leg on the bottom. These features work well and do make these droids quite a bit more fun to play with than you might think.

 - Unfortunately, Hasbro has chosen to not include the accessories with these figures that previous releases have had. While the original R2-D2 included a bunch of accessories, most other releases of R2 units have only included the two scanners (life form scanners and visual scanners). Hasbro has given these guys nothing except the removable plugs for the dome and the side panels on the legs. That's kind of lame, right?

 + The first new droid unit in this set is R5-D8. R5-D8 is Jek Tono Porkins' unit and flew along with him as Red 6 at both the Battle of Scarif and the Battle of Yavin. As I mentioned above, R5-D8 really is very, very similar to R5-D4, so I don't have too much new to say. He's a nice looking R5 unit with sharp, clean paint apps and just a bit of weathering. I'm most excited for this guy as he gives me hope that someday we will get Porkins in The Black Series. He's always been one of my favorites, believe it or not.

+ Last, but not least, is R2-X2. Since he shares the same sculpt as all of the other R2 units, including R2-D2, there's not too much new to say about this guy, either. I like his green color but he doesn't have a ton of painted detail. That's just the way the droid was designed, though. R2-X2 was part of Red 10 with Theron Nett and, like R5-D8, perished in the skies above Yavin during the assault on the Death Star. Bummer.
 - Hasbro tried to give R2-X2 a bit of wear and tear, but it looks more like... mud.

   You know what, though? That's not even the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that R2-X2 is supposed to have a white and green dome, not silver and green. Do you know what I do before I do a Star Wars review? I check Wookiepedia. Do you know what Hasbro needs to do before making a Star Wars toy? Check Wookiepedia! They're usually on it but here they messed up.
   While the paintwork is solid here (the Toys 'R Us 3-pack had some problems) the lack of accessories and slightly higher price make this set feel less impressive than the previous set which was already fairly average. Here's the deal: These sets of very specific astromech droids are absolutely made for collecting completests or for folks who get giddy over getting random "blink and you miss 'em" characters from Star Wars. I'm in both of those categories, so I guess I'm the target demographic, but this is still a very Eh and a 1/2 set. Unless you can't live without these guys they are easily skippable.

If you're looking for more R2-D2 reviews then make sure to check out my reviews of the Micro Machines Classic Characters set, the R2-D2 Playset from Hasbro's Micro Machines revival, the Micro Machines Royal Starship Repair playset, the C-3PO Mini head, the Black Series R2-D2, the POP! R2-D2 (Jabba's Skiff) #121, and the Micro Force R2-D2.

These are the first figures of R5-D8 and R2-X2 that I've reviewed. For more Star Wars: The Black Series Phase III figures check out the following:
442nd Siege Battalion Clone Trooper, 212th Attack Battalion Utapau Trooper, Coruscant Guard ---(Phase II), and 501st Legion Clone Trooper 4 pack
Admiral Ackbar and First Order Officer
Ahsoka Tano 
AT-AT Pilot 
Baze Malbus
C-3PO (Resistance Base) 
Captain Cassian Andor (Eadu) 
Captain Phasma
Captain Phasma (Quicksilver Baton)
Captain Poe Dameron
Chewbacca (Target Exclusive)
Chewbacca (The Force Awakens)
Chirrut Imwe 
Clone Captain Rex (HasCon Exclusive)
Clone Commander Gree
Clone Commander Wolffe 
Constable Zuvio
Darth Revan 
Darth Vader (Emperor's Wrath)
Death Star Trooper
Dewback/ Sandtrooper
Director Krennic 
DJ (Canto Bight)
Elite Praetorian Guard
Elite Praetorian Guard (with Heavy Blade)
Enfys Nest's Swoop Bike/ Enfys Nest
Finn (First Order Disguise)
Finn (FN-2187)
Finn (Jakku)
First Order Flametrooper
First Order General Hux
First Order Snowtrooper
First Order Snowtrooper Officer
First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter
First Order Stormtrooper
First Order Stormtrooper Executioner 
First Order Stormtrooper (with Gear)
First Order TIE Fighter Pilot
Gamorrean Guard
General Leia Organa
Grand Admiral Thrawn (SDCC Exclusive)
Grand Moff Tarkin 
Guardians of Evil 4-Pack
Guavian Enforcer
Han Solo (Exogorth Escape)
Han Solo (Solo)
Han Solo (The Force Awakens)
Hera Syndulla
Imperial AT-ACT Driver
Imperial Death Trooper
Imperial Death Trooper, Captain Cassian Andor, and Sergeant Jyn Erso (Jedha) 3 pack
Imperial Hovertank Pilot 
Imperial Shock Trooper 
Imperial Royal Guard 
Inferno Squad Agent
Jaina Solo (Legends)
Jango Fett
Kanan Jarrus
Kylo Ren 
Kylo Ren (SDCC 2016)
Kylo Ren (The Last Jedi) 
Kylo Ren (Starkiller Base)
Kylo Ren (Throne Room) 
Lando Calrissian (Solo)
Lando Calrissian (The Empire Strikes Back)
Luke Skywalker 
Luke Skywalker (Jedi Master) 
Luke Skywalker (Jedi Master)- Ahch-To Island
Maz Kanata 
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Force Spirit)
Obi-Wan Kenobi (SDCC 2016)
Phase 1 Clone Trooper Commander, Phase II Clone Trooper, Imperial Stormtrooper, and First Order ---Stormtrooper Officer four pack
Poe Dameron
Poe Dameron and First Order Riot Control Stormtrooper
Princess Leia Organa 
Qi'ra (Corellia)
Qui-Gon Jinn
R2-A3, R5-K6, and R2-F2
Range Trooper
Rebel Trooper
Resistance Tech Rose
Resistance Trooper
Rey (Island Journey)
Rey (Jakku) & BB-8 
Rey (Jedi Training)
Rey (Jedi Training)- Crait
Rey (Starkiller Base) 
Rey's Speeder (Jakku)
Sabine Wren
Sandtrooper Sergeant, Crimson Stormtrooper, Lieutenant OXIXO, and R2-Q5
Scarif Stormtrooper
Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader 
Sergeant Jyn Erso (Eadu)
Sergeant Jyn Erso (Jedha)
Stormtrooper (With Blast Accessories)
Supreme Leader Snoke (Throne Room)
Tobias Beckett
Tusken Raider 
X-34 Landspeeder & Luke Skywalker (SDCC Exclusive) 
X-Wing Pilot Asty 

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