The Clone Troopers and assorted Droids -- mostly Astromechs -- keep coming out from Hasbro so quickly it's almost impossible to keep up. Consider this a fairly lengthy but hopefully enjoyable catch-up article on the subjects.
CLONE TROOPER - FIFTH FLEET SECURITY - Offhand I don't recall seeing these guys in Revenge of the Sith, but that doesn't mean they weren't in there someplace. When you get several hundred clones dashing across the screen, it's a little hard to make out troop markings sometimes, unless they're particularly obvious, and in the case of the Fifth Fleet Security Clones, they're not.
These Clones have mostly white armor, with just a few double stripes of dark blue here and there, mostly on their helmet, left shoulder and upper left chestplate, and on the left upper leg. There's a single strips on the lower torso, and smaller double stripes on the right lower arm and right knee.
The biographical information on the back of the figure's file card doesn't reveal a whole lot about this particular branch of the Clone Troopers, either. It reads:
Created From: Bounty Hunter Jango Fett
Assigned To: Republic Warship Security
Allowed To: Adopt Individual Names
A New Army Emerges - The clone troopers are the future of galactic
Well, I think some of that is a little harsh. Some clones have clearly shown emotional capacity, and technically speaking, they did remain loyal to the Republic. It wasn't their fault it became an Empire.
The figure is very nice. Hasbro seems to not be using the spring-action Clone Trooper mold that much for these, and I can't say as I object. Although technically supposedly designed to be a "quick-draw" action.
In the case of the Fifth Fleet Security Clone Trooper, it appears that the more-articulated Clone Trooper body has been used. The figure moves at the head, arms, elbows (including swivel), wrists, mid-torso, legs, knees, (including swivel) and ankles. One really nice thing about these Clone Trooper figures, which I'm sure Hasbro also appreciates, is that their sectioned armor design makes it quite easy to incorporate the articulation points in such a way that they work with the armor for the most part. I'm not saying that the articulation points are entirely invisible, but neither do they have any sort of adverse effect on the appearance of the figure.
There's a few scuffed areas painted on this Clone Trooper, a practice I could honestly do without, and you sort of wonder just how tough a job Warship Security is for this guy to get bashed around like this, but it's not too serious. The figure comes with a blaster rifle and an antennae backpack sort of thing that I strongly recommend gluing into his back.
This is one very impressive addition to the growing ranks of the Clone Trooper action figures, and I would certainly recommend him.
CLONE TROOPER - 442nd SIEGE BATTALION - this figure is a direct recoloration of the orange-trimmed Utapau Clone Trooper. The dark green trim is so far removed on the color spectrum from the bright orange that it's still interesting, and there's no reason to assume that another designated group of Clone Troopers WOULDN'T use the same color PATTERN as another, as long as the color itself was sufficiently different, and it certainly is here.
As with the Fifth Fleet Security Clone Troopers, I don't offhand recall seeing these in the movie. However, based on the bio-data on the back of the package, they were certainly assigned to one of the more significant planets that was mentioned in the prequel saga -- Cato Neimoidia. Remember Obi-Wan and Anakin discussing that right after they pulled the Chancellor out of trouble in "Revenge of the Sith" and had returned to the Senate Chambers?
The complete bio-data for this Clone Trooper reads:
Serves In: The Grand Army of the Republic
Mission: Secure Cato Neimoidia
Fight Against: Separatist Droid Army
Battle and Betrayal - As the Clone Wars rage through the Republic, clone troopers are deployed far and wide to combat the Separatist droid armies. The 442nd Siege Battalion specialize in planetary assault missions and are sent to capture Cato Neimoidia, a key Trade Federation stronghold.
The figure is essentially identical to the Fifth Fleet Security Clone Trooper. Obviously Hasbro is getting a lot of use out of these molds, but at least it's justified. There really are this many different types of Clone Trooper, and what the heck, it's a good set of molds. Well-designed, well-articulated, and not pre-posed. I have no problem with this.
The color detail work on this Clone Trooper is quite extensive. There are large straight-edged patches of olive green on the helmet, collar area, shoulder pads, upper arms, torso sides, lower torso, upper legs, knees, and near the ankles. There are also a lot of painted on dings and scrapes, unfortunately, but I've learned to live with this sort of thing as much as possible.
The figure comes with a good-sized blaster pistol, almost a rifle, and the antennae to be snapped into the back of the armor. Break out the Elmer's again!
Repaint of a previous Clone Trooper or not, this is an impressive figure in its own right, and any fan of the Clones should definitely add the 442nd Siege Battalion Clone Trooper to his collection.
HOLOGRAPHIC COMMANDER CODY - I haven't really gone in too much for the "holographic" figures in the Star Wars line. I've just never felt any great need to own a transparent blue version of anybody, although I'll admit they look fairly cool, complete with the little metal flakes or whatever they are in the plastic. It can't be that easy to come up with a design for a plastic figure that makes it look even reasonably like a holographic radio transmission, but these do the job quite well.
But, since it was a Clone Trooper -- technically a Clone Commander, I decided to make an exception. And I did have the standard-colored original, as well.
Commander Cody was assigned to Obi-Wan Kenobi on his mission to Utapau, and some conversation that he had with Kenobi when the Jedi boarded the Republic Warship indicates that the two had some history with each other, a generally favorable one, as well. Granted that kind of got forgotten when Order 66 came through.
And there is precedent to this figure. Commander Cody did send a holographic transmission to the Jedi Council at one point. Here is the bio-data for Commander Cody on the package:
Weapon: Blaster Rifle
Mission: Protect Obi-Wan Kenobi
Programmed: To Execute Secret Order 66
Conflict on Utapau - The battle-hardened Cody has fought beside General Kenobi many times in the Clone Wars, so it is no surprise that his 212th Attack Battalion is sent to Utapau to once more serve his friend. But this commander soon receives a secret communiqué from a far more sinister leader and quickly changes his allegiance.
The figure is good, but there was one thing I had forgotten about the original Commander Cody figure, which, since this Holographic version is based on the same molds, is also reflected in this figure. The lower legs are slightly preposed, and not evenly to each other, and the ankles are not articulated. This makes it rather difficult to get Commander Cody -- holographic or otherwise -- to stand up on his own. Granted these figures come with display bases, but I've never liked using those if it could be helped. It's not impossible to get Cody to stand up, but neither is it especially easy.
Worth noting is the fact that the figure has a removable helmet, and the "Jango Clone" head is underneath, of course. He also comes with a holographic blaster rifle.
The rest of the figure is well-articulated, although the arms do not move outwards as most Clone Troopers do. But it's still a cool figure nevertheless, and I'm glad to have it.
CLONE SERGEANT - This figure is actually from Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones. That's a movie we haven't heard from in the toy world for a while, since emphasis has been largely on Episode III, or the Classic Trilogy. So, why do a Clone Sergeant now?
To the best of my knowledge, the only previous time a Clone Sergeant from Star Wars Episode II has been available at all was in a special boxed set of Clone Troopers that was an online exclusive. Somebody must have figured it was time for a general release of this particular Clone.
In Star Wars Episode II, there wasn't the same diversity of Clone Trooper divisions that we saw in Star Wars Episode III. Most Clones wore basic white armor. Some had a limited amount of color trim, though, reserved to markings on their helmets and stripes on their arms. Indicators of rank, these stripes were red, blue, yellow, or green. Red and yellow were fairly easily seen in the movie. I don't offhand recall seeing blue or green in the movie, but they've been officially authorized by Lucas or whatever, so we'll say that they at least existed.
Most of these were available at retail in some form around the time of Star Wars Episode II -- except for the green-striped Clone Sergeant. So, it took a few years, but we finally have him outside of an exclusive set. And the fact that he's been dang hard to find even when the others in this assortment have turned up is likely proof of the fact that most people regard him as long overdue.
The figure, I must say, is truly superb. He is of the "Super-Articulated" body type, so that's pretty cool right there. His armor is clean -- no scuffs, scratches, or dirt painted on. The paint work is for the most part neatly done.
It's a little odd to see the "closer to Jango/Boba than a Stormtrooper" helmet, when we've gotten used to the "not quite Stormtrooper but almost there" helmets that were used in Star Wars Episode III, but this is what the Clone Troopers did wear in Episode II.
The green trim consists of a framework around the visor, the crest on the helmet, and broad stripes down both arms. There is one unusual little bit of paint on this figure, and I'm honestly not certain if it was deliberate or an accident. This is the only Clone Sergeant I have, so I can't compare, but there's a tiny little dot of red paint on the back of the crest on the helmet. I'm not sure what purpose this serves, assuming it's supposed to be there at all. If you look very closely in Star Wars Episode II, you'll see that the Clone Troopers have a little blinking LED on the back of their helmets, so I suppose this is supposed to reflect that.
The Clone Sergeant comes with a blaster rifle. The backdrop on his package card shows the battle in the Arena on Geonosis, which was pretty much the major debut for the Clone Troopers, who broke up the attempt to re-enact the days of Rome when Christians were fed to the lions in the Colisseum, using Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Padme as the main course for some nasty alien critters.
The data on the back of the card for the Clone Sergeant reads:
CLONE TROOPER - SERGEANT
Weapons: Blaster Rifle, Blaster Pistol
Trained In: Military Skills and Marksmanship
Engineered To: Be loyal to the Republic
THE RUMBLING OF WAR: The clone troopers make their first appearance on the planet Geonosis as the Grand Army of the Republic. All the genetic engineering and training have led up to this climactic moment, when the clones will prove their value as an effective and relentless fighting force against the Separatists and their droid armies.
Of course the notion of Special Order 66 wasn't even part of Episode II. Overall, this is a very cool Clone Trooper to have, and I'm glad to add him to my collection.
COMMANDER APPO - Commander Appo's markings are essentially identical to the blue-trimmed Clone Troopers that were part of the raid on the Jedi Temple, led by the newly-minted Darth Vader after Anakin pledged his allegiance to Palpatine. Commander Appo differs from the basic troops of this particular division, listed as the 501st Legion, in that he has the often-seen shoulder padding, with an additional belt with small pouches hanging from it under one arm.
The blue trim on the figure consists of a vertical stripe bisecting the helmet, blue shoulder armor, and a blue pattern on the chest. Commander Appo also has double blue stripes down the sides of both legs. The figure comes with a blaster rifle.
Commander Appo, although not specifically named in the movie, did have a speaking role in the film. He's the one who told Senator Bail Organa that he needed to leave the Jedi Temple, when the Senator came to investigate whatever was going on there. Of course, moments later, the Senator got more than he bargained for when a young Padawan, Zett Jukassa (played by George Lucas' real-life son) came out of the Temple, trying to escape the slaughter within, and was gunned down after dicing a few Clone Troopers with his lightsaber. Senator Organa, realizing there was nothing he could do for the boy, probably broke a few Coruscant traffic laws in getting his speeder out of the area as quickly as he could. Appo let him go. Hunting down Senators wasn't their objective.
It's a little easier to see this particular division of Clone Troopers as entirely villainous, since they were never seen fighting on the side of the Jedi. They first appeared AFTER Order 66 had been given, and frankly, as cool as the Clone Troopers' overall design may be, I'm not about to excuse a bunch of them that shoot kids. It's still a cool figure, though. Commander Appo's file data reads as follows:
Created On: The Planet Kamino
Wounded By: Padawan Zett Jukassa
Follows: Palpatine's Bidding
JEDI PURGE: A commander in the 501st Legion, Appo and his troops obey Palpatine's command to storm the Jedi Temple and eliminate all the Jedi inside. Shortly afterwards, Appo and a squad of his troopers follow Darth Vader to Kessel in order to deal with a small band of Jedi who escaped the initial purge.
I believe that last is a reference to the Dark Horse comic one-shot, "Purge", in which a handful of Jedi lure Darth Vader to the planet Kessel in order to eliminate him. Vader has been on a personal quest to find Obi-Wan Kenobi, despite the fact that Palpatine has told him he isn't worth bothering with. Appo and his Clone Troopers arrive in time to back up Vader, and then tell him that the Emperor demands his presence at once, whereupon Vader is given a fair chewing out by Palpatine for persuing his quest.
CLONE TROOPER - COMBAT ENGINEER - This is an interesting one. I don't offhand remember seeing these guys in Episode III, either, and to a degree, I think they may have been the creation of Hasbro, with a bit of a mindset of, "Okay, what color trim HAVEN'T we given these guys yet, and don't say pink!" The Combat Engineer looks like a standard Clone Trooper for the most part, but his trim pattern color is medium brown.
There's two somewhat unusual things about this particular Clone Trooper. For one thing, he has a removable helmet with the "Jango-Clone" head underneath. Now, we've certainly seen this before, so it's not THAT unusual. It just struck me as an odd Clone Trooper to do it with. The helmet, it should also be noted, seems to be a far more flexible plastic than previous removable Clone Trooper helmets. This actually seems to help it fit better, and stay put better, so I'm all for it.
Then there's the other unusual feature. There's a little armband sculpted onto the left upper arm. It's a very distinct band with what look to be two small pouches or something. Here's what I regard as unusual about it -- I'm not seeing it on any other recent Clone Troopers, or even some that go back a fair ways. I checked quite a few of my Episode III Clone Troopers. I'm not seeing this particular detail on any of them. Was this upper arm piece created specifically for the Combat Engineer? Given the fact that this is hardly a major character, or even that major a Clone, and given the cost of molds, that would strike me as highly unusual. But, also, not impossible. Ultimately, it's a nice little bit of additional detailing. I'm certainly not complaining about it. I just regard it as unusual.
The brown trim on the Combat Engineer's armor consists of a wide vertical stripe across the top of the helmet, and two areas of brown trim near the sides of the top of the helmet, plus an ornate pattern of brown that starts mid-torso on the figure, and includes a wide area that tapers to a narrow stripe ending at the belt, and two other wide areas to either side of the central one, that taper into stripes, and run down into curved lines that run to the top of the leg armor and off to the side. It's an interesting and certainly distinctive pattern.
The Clone Engineer, like thankfully most of the Clone Trooper figures made available these days, has a very high level of articulation, and I'd say it qualifies for the "Super-Articulated" definition. One of the reasons I like these Clone Trooper figures so much is that the articulation points can be largely worked into the configuration of the armor itself, so the articulation looks good on the figure.
The Combat Engineer comes with a blaster rifle. Hasbro must be turning these things out faster than they're making Clones. The Combat Engineer's file data reads as follows:
COMBAT ENGINEER CLONE TROOPER
Stationed on: Kashyyyk
Led by: Master Yoda
Assigned to: Heavy Artillery Units
BATTLE SUPPORT SOLDIERS: Combat engineer troopers are assigned to armored divisions with heavy artillery units such as HAVw-class turbo tanks, SPHA-T mobile turbolasers, and other massive war machines. Part of the 38th Armored Division, Combat Engineer Battalion, they are sent anywhere armored ground support is needed during the Clone Wars.
ELITE CORPS CLONE TROOPER - That's the official name, anyway. I (and a few others) have generally been calling them "Camouflage Biker Scouts" since -- well, that's what they look like, and that name "Elite Corps" wasn't widely known.
These guys were very definitely in Episode III. They were the main Clone Troopers seen during the battle on Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeworld, against the Battle Droids of the Separatists.
Unlike most Clone Troopers, that had that "almost Stormtrooper" armor and helmet, these guys indeed more closely resembled the Biker Scout troopers, first seen in the Classic Star Wars movie "Return of the Jedi", on the Speeder Bikes in the Endor forests. The Biker Scouts were somewhat more lightly armored than Stormtroopers, and their helmets were a distinctly different design, having a sort of visor around the eyeplate, and lacking the wide "jaw" area of the helmet.
The Biker Scouts have always been a favorite of Star Wars fans, and so when these Biker-Scout-like Clone Troopers turned up on Kashyyyk, but colored in a camouflage pattern, I'm sure I wasn't the only one who looked forward to an action figure of them.
No great surprise, the figure uses the same molds as a Biker Scout. However, there's nothing to really complain about there, because when the relatively recent "Vintage Original Trilogy Collection" assortment was released, the most popular figure in that assortment was a Super- Articulated Biker Scout. I consider myself lucky to have found ONE of those, and I only ever SAW one of those.
If waiting for this figure to be produced so that its molds could also be used for the Elite Corps Clone Trooper, then it was worth the wait. This figure is really outstanding. His visor is light green, much the same as the Clone Commander of this bunch, Commander Gree (as can be seen in both the movie and the action figure of this character). His armor is molded in an off-white, and extensively printed with a brown and green camouflage pattern that is perfect for the forests of Kashyyyk. I might've preferred that the armor be molded in green, but this isn't bad at all.
The "fabric" areas of the uniform are molded in brown, and the legs have grey camouflage imprinted on them. The figure's gloves are black.
The Elite Corps Clone Trooper is slightly more pre-posed than the average Clone Trooper, but not intolerably so, and he certainly has the high level of articulation that the best Star Wars figures are known for. About the only point on the figure that looks like it should move and doesn't is the waist. However, the mid-torso articulation is a good compensator for this, so it's not a big deal.
The figure comes, of course, with a blaster rifle. Personally, I'm hopeful of buying several of this excellent figure, but I worry that they may be in fairly short supply, as this is the last "Saga" assortment before the big 30th Anniversary push, and I don't know how available this figure -- or any Saga-packaged figures -- will be after that. Here's hoping I can track a few down before I have to really worry about it.
The Elite Corps Clone Trooper's file data reads as follows:
ELITE CORPS CLONE TROOPER
Led By: Commander Gree
Battle: Droid Armies
Part of: Grand Army of the Republic
COMBAT ON KASHYYYK: The specialized troopers in the 41st Elite Corps are deployed on the beach of Kashyyyk to battle droid forces invading from the water. Swarms of droids overrun the beach but the elite troopers hold them back, supporting their Republic leaders... until the Emperor orders the corps' commander to execute Order 66.
Yeah, and that didn't work too well against Yoda, either.
Still, whatever side you want your Clones to be on, it's an impressive part of the overall Star Wars action figure collection that just continues to grow. Indeed, there's two more Clone Troopers scheduled to be part of the first 30th Anniversary assortment. I'm sure I'll be reviewing them in the near future.
Now let's turn our attention to some assorted DROIDS in the series...
R5-J2 - This is an Imperial Astromech Droid of the R5-type, the ones with the more trapezoidal heads rather than the dome shape of the more prevalent R2's. Easily the best known R5 droid is R5-D4, the droid that Owen Lars almost bought from the Jawas before it popped its cork and broke down due to a bad motivator.
Of course, R5-J2 is based on the same molds, just given a different color scheme. He's black, with silver and tan trim. He's also a lot cleaner-looking than R5-D4, which admittedly was a bit of a wreck anyway. But I'll say one thing for the Empire -- they tend to be tidy, and they keep their robots clean.
R5-J2 has three legs, the side two of which are poseable for the somewhat leaned-back "rolling" mode that Astromech Droids are capable of, and each leg has a wheel underneath. Although the center leg is not retractable, nor poseable, it is removable, so R5-J2 can assume his upright two-legged stance if one wishes.
The toy has one feature that his Tatooine-marooned counterpart also featured -- turn his head and that faulty motivator unit pops up. Let us assume on this Imperial model that this is strictly for maintenance purposes and not the result of a defect.
R5-J2's bio-data on his package back reads as follows:
Model: Astromach Droid
Main Selling Feature: Cheap
Destroyed in: The Second Death Star
Ending Above Endor - The Empire toils to complete the second Death Star after the humiliating destruction of the first battle station by the ragtag Rebels. One of the droids on the station is R5-J2, who does about his duties unaware that its service will be very short-lived.
While I don't offhand remember seeing this droid in Return of the Jedi
One additional note. The biggest complaint I had about R5-D4 was how poorly the little circles that represented its eyes were painted. A certain amount of weathering on this toy was to be expected, given that the only time we saw it, it was already a pretty broken-down model. But the distinct knobs or whatever they were on the head looked as though they'd been painted by someone taking a brush and just slapping on some dark silver paint as best they could -- which wasn't very. There really was no excuse for this sort of thing on a significant detail area like this where a proper paint mask-stencil should have been made, and used.
Well, guess what? They finally got around to it in time for R5-J2. Yes, he's generally a much neater-looking robot overall. I'm not disputing that. What I have an issue with is that this is what should've been done in the first place for BOTH R5-D4 and R5-J2. And although neither of them is exactly what you'd call a major player in the Star Wars universe, R5-D4 is certainly the better known of the two, and deserved a neater paint job than he got.
I'm glad that at least one of them was neatly painted, though, and certainly, I would recommend R5-J2. There's something about seeing these high-tech fireplugs done in black, trying to look as Imperially sinister as possible, that's pretty darned amusing.
R4-K5 - The thing about an Astromech Droid is that, for the most part, it has no particular political position. R2-D2 might have been an exception, but really, an Astromech Droid is going to serve whoever purchases it and do what it's told or programmed to do, regardless of whether that person is part of the Empire, a Jedi, a bounty hunter, or whatever.
And certainly both the Empire and the Rebellion both used Astromech Droids. It would be inappropriate to regard these Empire droids as evil. They most likely don't care one way or the other. They're just doing what they're programmed to do. The socio-political beliefs of whoever it is they're working for don't enter into the equation.
With R4-K5, we have an interesting situation. This droid apparently belonged to Darth Vader before he was Darth Vader. I think that R4 was the droid who was assigned to Anakin Skywalker's Jedi Starfighter while Anakin was still a Jedi, even though he sometimes used R2-D2. When Anakin became Darth Vader, everything about him became Sith -- including the Starfighter (a toy I am very interested in owning), and for that matter, the droid. And R4 was repainted to match the darkness of the Sith.
I don't believe a "pre-Sith" version of R4-K5 exists, except perhaps as an attached piece in a Starfighter toy, and I'm not 100% certain about this history, but as far as an independent action figure is concerned, we'll have to settle for the Sith-only version.
Of course R4-K5 has the same basic shape as the best known of all Astromechs, R2-D2. But the head is silver, and the body is a very dark grey. Most of the trim is black, with a bit of solver elsewhere besides the dome. If it weren't for a couple of spots of red here and there on the figure, I could take a black-and-white picture of this figure and no one would ever know that it wasn't a full-color shot.
This is a surprisingly complex little toy, as well. It probably hasn't been all that easy for Hasbro to keep the Astromechs interesting. There's only so much you can do with them. You can give them limited accessories. There was one R2-D2 that if you pressed a button on him, a light on his dome lit up and he made some of his electronic squawking noises. But still, as an action figureroughly 2-1/2" in height that looks like a cross between a fire hydrant and a high-tech trash container on legs, there are limits.
Most astromech droid toys have wheels underneath their feet, and their side legs can move so they can be positioned back a bit. And it's fairly common for that third leg that comes out of the center of the main body to be a detachable piece. But interestingly, that's not the case with R4-K5.
This little guy actually has a fairly involved -- action feature, for lack of a better term. You turn his dome around and his center leg gradually retracts. You can continue to turn the head even once the leg is retracted and it will continue to move without damaging the figure or the mechanism, although it will make a clicking sound. Turn the dome the other way, and the leg extends.
The toy has a copyright date of 2004, so I'm sure this has been used before, no doubt on a version of R2-D2 that was released sometime, but not too long before Episode III. I don't own that particular R2-D2, so this feature took me a little by surprise.
R4-K5 is nicely articulated, as far as it's possible to articulate one of these droids. His dome turns, regardless of the leg mechanism, his side legs move, as do the "ankles", and as does the "ankle" of the third leg, and he has small wheels underneath all three legs. Really the only downside is that the wheels keep the figure from standing all that well when he's just on TWO legs. He can stand, but he tends to want to lean either forward or backward very slightly. He's probably better off staying on all three legs.
The paint work is excellent on the figure, really very well done and nicely detailed. I won't say he looks entirely evil. I think it'd be nearly impossible to make one of these droids look evil. But he is nicely painted. His file data reads as follows:
R4-K5 - DARTH VADER'S ASTROMECH DROID
Used To Be: A Jedi's Droid
Now Is: A Sith's Droid
Looks Good In: Black (this was the best they could come up with for this!?)
DARKNESS FALLS ON THE GALAXY: When Anakin Skywalker falls to the dark side and becomes Darth Vader, he casts off his entire past. To further enbrace this change, he repaints his starfighter black and chooses a black astromech droid to replace his former droid companion R2-D2. The outer darkness of his fighter and droid mirrors the inner darkness of the new Sith Lord.
Anyway, if you like Astromech Droids, you should definitely add this guy to your collection, regardless of who he works for.
R4-M6 - There's an additional assortment of Star Wars action figures out there, comprised of the tail end of the "Saga" collection numerically. For all other stores, the Saga collection ends at "069", A Jedi named Yarael Poof. For Wal-Mart, that collection extends a little further, to "074", and includes a new version of Aurra Sing, a large alien named Kitik Keed'Kak, a two-pack featuring Nabrun Leids and Kabe, another alien named Labria -- and an astromech droid named R4-M6 who seems to have proven to be the most popular of the lot. He belongs to Mace Windu. And he's purple.
When Samuel L. Jackson declared that he wanted Mace Windu to have a purple lightsaber, I doubt he suspected what the result would be. Most Jedi lightsabers are green, blue, or yellow. Sith lightsabers tend to be red. Purple was basically unheard of, but George Lucas went with it, and Mace Windu is now forever associated with the color purple, which admittedly is not a particularly prevalent color in the Star Wars universe.
A while back, Target offered a special boxed set of figures that featured Mace Windu, a Clone Commander, and three Clone Troopers. The Clone Commander and the Clone Troopers all had purple trim on their armor. Now we have R4-M6, a purple Astromech Droid.
I suppose it would've been possible for Hasbro to have made this droid mostly white, and just given him some purple trim, much like R2-D2 is mostly white, with blue trim. A lot of astromech droids are like this. But they didn't do that. By golly, if Mace Windu was going to have a purple astromech droid, then that droid was going to be seriously purple.
Although the droid's dome is silver, the trim on the dome is purple, and so is the entire body of the droid. There's a little bit of silver trim on him, but some of the other painted trim is -- a darker shade of purple. You sort of get the impression that they're having a little fun at Mace Windu's expense. This is one exceptionally purple astromech droid.
R4-M6 uses the same set of molds as the other astromech droid I have reviewed in this article, R4-K5. As such, he has the same interesting "action feature" -- turn the dome around and the center leg retracts into (or extends from) the main body of the droid.
I suspect that manufacturing R4-M6 was a relatively simple matter at the factory. Once the run on R4-K5 was done, they just switched colors of plastic and broke out the purple paint. Although there is a little extra detailing on the figure. The crossbar arms on the very front of the figure are purple, but with a silver outline. That would've taken an extra application of paint not only over R4-K5, whose arms are simply black on dark grey, but over any other astromech I've seen, since I've never seen this "outline" detailing before. Nice touch.
My only mild gripe with either of these astromechs is that the side legs are molded from a very flexible plastic. I checked some other astromechs, and while their legs do tend to be molded from flexible plastic, it's not nearly so to this degree. The problem with that is that this sort of plastic can warp a bit in package of there's a long period of strain on it as a result of the packaging (or those cursed transparent rubber bands that they harness them in with), and one of R4's side legs is veeeery slightly curved as a result of this. It's not especially severe. But I do think it was preventable either with more careful packaging or somewhat more rigid plastic. Just an observation.
This Wal-Mart wave is not easily found, and R4-M6 is, along with Aurra Sing, its most popular member. But then one would expect that a purple droid is going to be fairly easy to spot:
R4-M6 - MACE WINDU'S ASTROMECH DROID
Manufactured By: Industrial Automaton
Equipped With: Holographic Projector
Ready For: Combat
STARFIGHTER SUPPORT: The stalwart R4-M6 provides technical support in Mace Windu's Jedi Starfighter. R4 droids provide assistance to Jedi pilots as onboard astrogators, technicians, and communications specialists and are outfitted with various tools for utility and repair.
Notably, the corner logo on R4-M6's card, which denotes which movie or part of the Star Wars universe a given character comes from, does not denote him as being part of Star Wars Episode III. Instead, he's listed as a Clone Wars character. Reportedly he was actually in the Clone Wars series, but it must have been so briefly that I just don't recall it.
But, that's okay. He's still a cool toy, and I'l glad to have him. Now, lets steer away from the fireplugs for a moment.
BATTLE DROIDS - first introduced in Star Wars Episode I, the Trade Federation's Battle Droids were sent down to the surface of Naboo, and ended up in a pitched battle with the Gungan army. The Battle Droids almost looked like robotic Gungans. They had long heads, narrow bodies, and extremely skinny limbs. The only possible explanation for this was that it made them harder targets to hit, but they were still almost laughable -- until a couple of thousand of them start opening fire on you. Then they're a lot less funny.
The Battle Droids remained in service to the Trade Federation, and as such the Separatists, throughout the Clone Wars, and were certainly one of the main enemies of the Clone Troopers. But there hadn't been any recent figures of them that I could recall, until a two-pack of them was recently offered.
Two figures in a single-pack? For the same price? Okay, they were skinny, but they weren't exactly midgets. I'm always up for a bargain. So I snagged them.
These Battle Droids have unusual markings. Most of the Battle Droids from previous movies were either a sort of ivory color, a very pale tan, or, as in the case of Episode II, a sort of brick red in color. These guys are camouflage patterned. They're mostly dark olive green, with large straight patches of light tan, reminiscent of their original color, on them. The figures have a 2002 copyright date on them, so I'm certain that they were part of a collection either associated with Episode I or Episode II. Still, the basic design of the Battle Droids remained unchanged throughout the prequel movies, so it still works here.
The figures are not as well articulated as some Star Wars figures, but it would probably be very difficult to articulate such narrow elbows and knees. The figures are poseable at the head, arms, and legs. Each one comes with a blaster rifle, and has a removable backpack.
It's not easy to get these figures to stand up on their own. They have fairly small feet, and are somewhat topheavy. But it's also not impossible, either. Good thing, seeing as how the set includes ONE display base that only has ONE footpeg in it. One of these guys is either going to have to keep his balance really well, or just sit down or something.
The file card for the Battle Droids reads as follows:
Considered: Powerful, Expendable Hardware
Manufacturer: Baktoid Combat Automata
Always Carry: Blaster Rifles
KASHYYYK CONQUEST: The Separatists send in waves of battle droids in their attempt to conquer the strategically important world of Kashyyyk. The droids are painted with special markings to help them blend into the dense jungle foliage. The fierce Wookiee warriors, joined by the formidable Yoda, resist the droid onslaught with all their might.
Of course, none of the Battle Droids made it beyond the Clone Wars. Once Palpatine had established the Empire and eradicated most of the Jedi, the Clone Wars were superfluous, and the Separatist leaders were killed by Darth Vader, who then gave the order for all Battle Droids to be shut down. Specifically what happened to them after that remains unknown. They were never seen in the Classic Trilogy. One might assume that the Empire has excellent recycling capabilities. They'd almost have to, to build some of the massive stuff they've got.
So there you have it. Plenty of Clone Troopers, and plenty of Droids.
But all are worthwhile additions to any Star Wars collection. Get 'em
while you can, because now that the 30th Anniversary product has started
up, I would expect the remaining Saga collection to disappear rather
quickly, and these are all part of the tail end of it. But they all
definitely have my recommendation!