Sunday, March 25, 2018

Road to Solo: Royal Starship Repair from Micro Machines: Star Wars Episode I by Galoob

    I've recently announced that one of my goals for Action Figure Barbecue is too have the most comprehensive archive of Star Wars Micro Machines reviews on the web and today I'm making another step towards that effort with a review of one of the more difficult to acquire Episode 1 Micro Machines playsets: Royal Star Repair. As best as I can tell, the Royal Starship Repair was released later in 1999 as part of the second "wave" of Episode I product.  By the launch of the Episode line Galoob was now owned by Hasbro and, unfortunately, it suffered the same problems as Hasbro during the Episode I launch: Too much product on shelves. There was so much stuff on shelves that most of these sets were ordered in limited numbers and thus are hard to track down today. Having completed all of the playsets from the Original Trilogy, I've begun procuring Episode I sets when I can and this one was a huge check off my list (I have two sets left to pick up and one to complete!). Much of Episode I takes place onboard the Naboo Royal Starship, Queen Amidala's modified J-type 327 Nubian starship, so this makes perfect sense as a deluxe playset for the line. Let's take a closer look at this very cool playset after the break...



 The Facts:

Dimensions: 17 inches long by 8 inches wide

Includes: Ship playset, desert base, mountain, 6 microfigures, Darth Maul w/ Sith Speeder, a Jar-Jar Binks in a chair accessory, hypderdrive unit, playset connector, and two finials.

Year of Release: 1999/ 2000


 * One of the only complaints I have about the actual product Galoob's Episode 1 Micro Machines line is that they began cutting down the number of figures included with each release. The Royal Starship Repair actually comes with a decent amount of figures including Qui-Gon Jinn, Padme Naberrie, and Anakin Skywalker. Qui-Gon looks very similar to the Qui-Gon from the Jar-Jar Binks/ Naboo set but is a different sculpt. The sculpts are all solid; not as good as Galoob's later original trilogy work but better than their earlier efforts.

* The final three microfigures are three droids which the packaging just refers to as R2 units. The guy on the far left is clearly R2-D2 and the other two are R2-R9 (red and white) and R2-B1 (Blue and yellow). I wonder why they left oput R2-N3? They're cool little R2 units although a bit larger than previously released ones. R2-D2 looks a but bulkier because he has a little metal ball bearing in him that helps to trigger an action feature. We'll get to that in a minute, though.

 * Rather than a traditional vehicle, the Royal Starship Repair comes with Darth Maul on Bloodfin, his custom FC-20 speeder bike. Darth Maul is not removable and is actually the same model included with Collection VIII and with the Tatooine Desert playset.
 *The playset comes in two major pieces: A desert base and the Royal Starship itself. The Desert base is a simple flat plastic base not too different from the original Micro Machines Star Wars playsets that serves as a place for the Royal Starship to land. As far as I can recall the Royal Starship is the only Micro Machines set that features a larger vehicle playset setting atop a smaller one.


* The large mountain in the background is a separate piece that is attached when assembling the set. It adds a bit of a backdrop to the scene and maybe gives a figure a cool place to chill on. You could easily use this base for an Episode IV Tatooine scene if you chose to.

* An interesting feature that Galoob introduced to both the Micro Machines and Action Fleet sets for the Episode I line were these little plastic connectors. The idea was that you could attach multiple playsets together to create a bigger play environment. This piece can attach to four different points on the set.

 * The base has one play feature that recreates Darth Maul's attack on Qui-Gon Jinn and Anakin Skywalker. There are foot pegs for Qui-Gon and Anakin and a larger peg for Maul. Once everyone is in place pull the tab located along the bottom edge on the right side of the set and...
 * Darth Maul will zoom towards Anakin, Qui-Gon will turn, and Anakin will drop to the ground. It is a very scene specific feature and it's cool to see it included here. It's very clear when comparing the authenticity of all of the Prequel toys to the authenticity of the Sequel Trilogy toys that Lucasfilm used to give the toy companies unlimited access while now Disney keeps them largely in the dark, which kind of sucks.

 * Here's the Royal Starship itself. It's a very cool looking piece. Now, this picture shows off the starboard side of the ship which isn't open. I kind of wish the ship had included a cover so you could make the ship look normal for display, kind of like the earlier Slave I or Rebel Transport Playsets.



* Be careful with the finials on the stern of the ship. They can get warped fairly easily. One of mine came out of the box in excellent shape while the other was bent. 


 * The Royal Starship locks onto the base and looks fantastic. It makes for a fairly impressive looking scene. Let's take a look at the interior starting with the front...

* The very front of the ship feature's Queen Amidala's mobile thrown room. There is a cool, modern pattern on the floor, three chairs along the starboard side, and a throne with Queen Amidala regally upon it at the front. She isn't removable, which is kind of a shame, but she is wearing her very cool black traveling gown.

* The second room features an interior room of the ship with a table, various consoles and devices, and a sculpted Jar Jar Binks sitting in a chair, asleep. Jar Jar is not removable from the chair.


* Jar Jar's chair does feature a hinged base, allowing him to tip backwards. The chair detaches fairly easily, though, so be careful not to lose it.


* The next room features the slide out boarding ramp, allowing for easy access to the ship. This is a cool feature that works wonderfully.


* When you close the boarding ramp the door from the loading bay to the room with Jar Jar also closes. Extend ramp and the door opens back.

* The next section is fairly large and features two stories. On the bottom story is a rounded compartment that opens up to "hide" a microfigure. There is also an unusual looking ridge on the ground which is where the T-14 Hyperdrive sits. More on that in a moment, though.


* Slide the little gray switch and the rounded compartment opens to reveal a figure. Maybe this is actually the refresher on the ship? Make sure you knock before you pull the switch, I guess.


* On the second floor you have the bridge with who I'm guess is Ric Olie in the pilot's chair. There are a couple other spare chairs hanging around, too.


* The little peg on the floor is activated by the switch seen below the figure of Padme. Sliding the switch causes the figure to move across the floor, turning a bit as well.


* The last room is quite large and features the droid bay where the ship's onboard astromech units hang out. There are two pegs on the floor which R2-R9 and R2-B1 can hang out on, Slide the grey lever and they spin around in circles.


* There is also a working lift between the droid bay and the bridge. A tab slides the lift up and down.


 * I particularly love the little harnesses for the astromech units in the droid bay. They fit in there perfectly and look really cool as a group.


* Remember when I mentioned the hyperdrive? When you move the switch in the droid bay that causes the astromech units to spin around you also raise and lower the hyperdrive unit.


* The hyperdrive unit is actually removable! Even though the package states this I wasn't sure it really was. It takes a bit of force but then it pops in and out fairly easily.


* The droid bay features a working lift tube to allow the R2 units easy access to the ship's hull just slide the lever on the left side up...


* And an R2 unit can pop out on the top of the ship. How cool!

* Remember way back at the beginning when I said R2-D2 had a little metal ball bearing inside? That's because there is a magnet inside the starboard hull. Move a switch underneath the hull and R2-D2 can move about the outside of the hull to repair damage, just like in the film when the Royal Starship escapes the Trade Federation's blockade of Naboo!
   The Royal Starship Repair is a very, very cool playset. I do wish it had the ability to "close-up" into a regular looking starship but that doesn't detract at all from how fun it is as a playset. There are lots of rooms and fun little interactive features. This is absolutely a set I wish I had owned as a kid because of how many play opportunities it offers. It's a Great and a 1/2 piece and well worth tracking down if you're a Star Wars Micro Machines collector with an interest in the Episode I product. Don't sets like this make you wish that Galoob/ Hasbo had continued producing Micro Machines throughout the prequels?


Interested in more Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker stuff? I've checked out quite a few plastic renditions of Anakin Skywalker over the past few years including smaller Anakins in the Micro Machines Classic Characters pack, the Star Destroyer/ Space Fortress Transforming Action Set, and the first set of Episode 1 Micro Machines, the Black Series Titanium Darth Vader, the 6 inch Black Series Anakin Skywalker, Darth Vader, the 40th anniversary Legacy Pack Vader, and the Walgreen's exclusive Darth Vader (Emperor's Wrath), the Centerpiece Series Darth Vader, the Hero Mashers Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker Vs. Darth Vader 2 pack, and the Jedi Speeder with Anakin Skywalker, the Funko POP! Darth Vader [Bespin] #158, and the Hikari Minis Darth Vader.

If you also love Darth Maul, I've reviewed a few other figures of him including the Hero Mashers spider Darth Maul and the Sith Speeder & Darth Maul set, the Black Series Darth Maul, a micro Darth Maul from a set of microfigures from the Episode 1 Micro Machines line, the Rebels POP! Darth Maul, and a Mystery Minis Darth Maul.

If you're craving more Jar Jar Binks, check out my review of the Jar Jar Binks Hero Mashers figure and the Episode 1 Micro Machines Collection III set with a microfigure Jar Jar Binks.

The only other appearance of Queen Amidala/ Padme in any of my reviews is as a non-removable figure in the Micro Machines Naboo Temple Ruins playset.

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 Black Series R2-D2, the POP! R2-D2 (Jabba's Skiff) #121, and the Micro Force R2-D2.

The only other Qui-Gon Jinn toy I've reviewed is the Black Series Qui-Gon Jinn.

This is the first set I've reviewed which features the Royal Naboo Starship, R2-R9, R2-B1, and Ric Olie.

If you're looking for more Micro Machines: Star Wars Episode I items, check out the following reviews:

Collection I
Collection II
Collection III 
Collection IV
Collection V: Gungans 
Collection VIII
Naboo Temple Ruins


4 comments:

  1. I've recently announced that one of my goals for Action Figure Barbecue is too have the most comprehensive archive of Star Wars Micro Machines reviews on the web

    Kudos for the resolve, but good luck acquiring the Action Fleet E-Wing and TIE Defender for less than a king’s ransom...

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    Replies
    1. I've seen quite a few of both of those on E-bay but, you're right, they do get fairly pricey. Fortunately, I'm planning on sticking to actual Micro Machines and not Action Fleet. I still have some of my original Action Fleet sets but I'm not planning on completing the line. When it comes to Micro Machines I'm least optimistic about finding the second set of the Expanded Universe themed sets. Those get crazy pricey!

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    2. Ah, I see. I mostly skimmed the article the first time around and assumed that you were focusing on the Action Fleet sub-series since, in terms of scale and design, the Royal Starship is essentially a really, really big Action Fleet set rather than a traditional Micro Machines playset (lack of semi-articulated mini-figures notwithstanding).

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    3. I still remember seeing the EU sets in Toys R Us back in the day and wondering what the heck a “Sun Crusher” was, or why a TIE Fighter appeared to be facing off against a blue Velociraptor, LOL.

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