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Bandai: S.H. Figuarts Star Wars C-3P0 and R2-D2

Oh friends and neighbors, the long and mighty search is over. I had what you might call an optimistic hunch that Figuarts would deliver the C-3P0 I have been waiting for. In the waiting period, I have ended up with every other Threepio figure to date, but none have made me think “I’m done.”

But I think I’m done. Which is a good thing, because Figuarts, and not Obi-Wan, was my only hope.

I am repeating myself here, but I only need one thing out of a C-3P0 figure: I need him to move not like a fully-costumed man on a movie set, but like a humanoid robot that exists in a galaxy far far away would, could or might actually move. I know that sounds like not one thing but a bunch of little things, but, for me, it’s not enough for him to stand and look pretty, or for his hips to only have T-crotch articulation because “that’s all he did on-screen anyway.” It’s not enough for his arms to be locked in that slightly bent position. It’s just not enough for him to be kindasorta. It’s not enough, and there’s no reason for it. But that’s how it’s been, so every other Threepio has fallen short in some area.

For my own sanity, I try not to get uber-picky with toys. The path to insanity and ridiculousness is expecting every toy to adhere to my own viewpoint on what makes a perfect toy. So a lot of times I reach an accord with “good enough” to “pretty damn good.” Not every domestic toy will be import quality, not every character will be presented in the exact way I’d like them to be presented. That’s life, that’s toys.

But my biggest pet peeve is a sense of “claustrophobia” with toys. While not technically, accurate, it’s that sense of “man, I really want to move his leg this way, but I just … can’t … do it. It’s why the Revoltech Spider-Man is the funnestest Spidey figure I have, because no mass-market Spidey has allowed him to move as freely as he needs to move.

“But Threepio isn’t Spider-Man.”

Said someone just now.

Quiet, you.

But this long-winded, rambling beginning is a lead-in to the declaration that, when a figure does achieve essentially everything I need it to do, that damned toy needs to have a parade in its honor. A better Threepio might actually be released at some point, I don’t know, but right now, I am as satisfied as a teenager on his first visit to a “special” massage parlor.

In other words, if I was being to subtle, Threepio is a happy ending.

Now, I don’t want you to think this is all about Threepio, because his little friend has also been beatified by the Figuarts Gods. We’ll be talking about him some later, but right now, it’s Threepio’s time to shine.

Speaking of shine, let’s take a look at his overall aesthetic before we start to break him down into his components. Threepio has a very nice sheen to him. He’s clean, so he doesn’t quite look as if he’s been shuffling his way along the Dune Sea, but he’s also not at pre-credits award ceremony levels of polished and waxed. This is a casual Threepio look, going about his business on a day-to-day basis, not getting into too much scrap and kerfuffle. No Jawas, no Jabbas, just regular Droid gold. That makes him a bit less screen specific, so it works well.

Threepio’s head:

The only thing I can point to about his head that is a shortcoming is that his eyes don’t light up. That’s not something I expect at this scale, but it does make me miss the light-piping that older toys used to have. How many of you held up your Super Powers Darkseid to the bulb as much as possible? However, he’d have to have an inaccurate port for the light to filter through for that to happen, so it’s not a problem.

His head is very accurate, and it moves quite a bit. There’s a ball joint that goes into his head, and one where his neck connects to his torso. Due to his collar section he’s not going to be able to look straight up and straight down, but he gets a very nice range of motion despite that. I know Andy Serkis gets a lot of justified acclaim nowadays for his motion capture work, but I hope people give Anthony Daniels his due for bringing so much life and personality to a character with literally no facial motion at all. It was all conveyed through the motion of heads and arms and slight torso work. He couldn’t even widen those eyes for surprise, it was all sold in gestures and words. “A thermal detonator!”

Threepio comes with two face plates that can be easily removed and swapped. One is dented, and one has the dent hammered out. Other than that, they’re obviously the same exact head. It’s not something that had to be thrown in, but it is appreciated nonetheless.

Threepio’s torso:

Threepio’s segmented torso design allows a natural break for articulation. He has a ball-jointed upper chest region and a ball-jointed lower region going into his crotch. He can lean back more than he can crunch, but it does allowed for a nice range of side-to-side coupled with the crunching, which, combined with the head motion, lends him a very nice dynamic range of motion

Threepio’s arms:

Threepio’s bicep-tube section slides onto a segment that runs through the spinning shoulder area. I know, that technical talk melted your face. What that all means is that his arms can spin 360 degrees at where the shoulder meets the torso, and where you would ordinarily find some kind of shoulder articulation like a ball or disc you can get a bit of up and down movement, all of which is exactly what is needed, no more and no less.

His elbows don’t get a very large range, but they also get exactly what they need. The piston is a floating piece that slides up and down depending on the positioning of his arm. It’s not a novel concept but it works very well without falling apart, which is more than could be said for the MAFEX.

Threepio comes with three sets of hands. He has the normal, resting hands, a set that are slighty bunched, and then another set with a quasi-grip to them. The slightly-gripped hands are the ones most suited to holding the communicator, as on screen you can tell that the thing was kind of wedged in there.

Threepio’s hips:

The hips are the make-or-break section for a C-3P0 figure. These function better than any previous Threepio hips. For me, “better than T-crotch” is a winner, but these do a bit more than that.

There’s a character-decent amount of lateral spread. He’s not doing full-splits, but he’s not going to need to do full splits, so just being able to maneuver without that claustrophobia I was talking about is good enough for me. The biggest deal is that the drop-down hips means that Threepio is capable of putting his legs out in front of him and sitting. Sometimes a Droid is just tired, you know? All that protocolling and fussing. A brother just needs to sit.

It makes me damn giddy, is what it does, and I know that probably is cause for heavier doses of medication.

Threepio’s knees:

Threepio’s knees are single-jointed and get 90 degrees.

Threepio’s ankles:

Threepio has ball-jointed ankles with a floating piece that covers up the joint, which means you get a very nice range without that ball being overly-visible. It’s a very effective solution to a possible problem that could have popped up due to the nature of his design.

Threepio’s accessories:

I’ve covered the face-plate and the extra hands. The only other accessory is his little communicator. Don’t take your eyes off of that thing, because it is tiny and is practically begging to be lost.

After this, I will be needing a 4-LOM immediately. And then the rest of the bounty hunters. Possible before 2020, please and thank you.

Next up, we have R2-D2. Artoo has had more success in various fields, but there’s always a hitch. The best two are MAFEX and the Bandai model kit, but the MAFEX came in a set, and you have to build the model, which is not for everyone. Hasbro’s was no good, and the Revoltech is too big.

And here we are again, with Figuarts giving us exactly the version we need.

Artoo features the same “ship-clean” aesthetic as Threepio, so he doesn’t look as if he’s been wandering around Tatooine or Dagobah.

Overall, Artoo is pretty basic. Figuarts focused on delivering an Artoo looks great and does the basic Artoo stuff without loading him down with a bunch of doohickeys. He does have a couple of nifty attributes.

First off, let’s tackle his articulation. I’m not breaking it down to head, chest, and so forth, because unlike other toys, Artoo is not a ninja, nor is he Spider-Man. His legs spin around, his ankles tilt forward and backward, and his dome spins. There. That’s your articulation breakdown for Artoo. Simple but effective.

He has a spring-loaded middle leg that drops down when you press on it and then snaps back in place when you don’t want it. He has wheels on his three feet. The wheels on the droid go ’round and ’round, ’round and ’round …

If you press on one of his plain blue panels, it changes the color in one of his scopes. If you press on the upper sensor thingy, the back scope will also change. The front goes from blue, to red, then mostly red with a small sliver of blue (mine must have a glitch, because it never gets a full color or even a full half and half there), and then silver. The back goes from red to silver, gold, and finally green

He has various chest gadgets, two that pop out from panels, and his two blue panels fold out, so he can do droid things.

They also included a few pieces that can be added to the inside of his feet. At first I thought they were jet thrusters, but apparently they’re parts that were added to cover Kenny Baker’s legs when he was inside Artoo. Somehow I never knew that was a thing, but here they are, immortalized in plastic. Random, but you can’t say Figuarts didn’t think of everything.

And that’s pretty much it for R2-D2. But the thing is, even as minimum as he is, I already want a full barrage of repaints from Bandai based around this Artoo mold. I want all those different astromechs that have been pumped out in black and red and green and on and on. Because it does what it needs to do, it looks great doing it, it’s the right size and it alleviates the need to go looking for another Artoo.

In the end, that’s all you can ask out of a pair of toys.

5 thoughts on “Bandai: S.H. Figuarts Star Wars C-3P0 and R2-D2

  1. I just wanted to know if anyone is having trouble getting the sh figuarts r2 d2 leg back out. Spring on mine seems to be stuck and is now stuck in the hidden position. I really could use the help here. Thanks.

  2. and mine are on the way. I love the Mafex ones, the colours are lush but I’m afraid to touch em, these will be the most tinkered with on the shelf. Didn’t even know you got an undented head, Figuarts are just the best! I coulda lived without the Kenny leg bits if I have to criticize, a Leia hologram woulda been cooler, but hey, I have the Bandais, I got that covered. (and just look at that sad, undersized hasbro R2, what were they thinking?!)

  3. These are the ones I’ve been waiting for! Can’t wait to get them, great review! I’ve been thinking of pulling trigger on black series now I think I’ll just get this one…and only have 1 3p0….lol but I’ll still have that other r2 d2…

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