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Destroyer Droid

SWI: The Phantom Menace
by yo go re

As much as the fanboys like to hate on it, The Phantom Menance introduced a lot of cool stuff to the Star Wars universe. Yes, it introduced some crap, too, but it was worth suffering through the Gungans to get multiple flavors of soldiers in a mighty droid army.

Droidekas, or destroyer droids, Destroyer Droid are more dangerous and harder to stop than battle droids or super battle droids. Armed with twin blasters and programmed to destroy, they can surround themselves with a protective energy shield or curl into balls and roll into attack at great speed.

Well, we're still waiting for a Destroyer Droid that can roll into a ball, but it's only taken Hasbro nine years to give us the energy shield. Baby steps. Depending on how you count, this is only the third Destroyer Droid Hasbro's released - or maybe it's number 2.5? The first was part of the original Episode I line, while the second came in 2002's "Saga" collection; this newest version uses parts from both of those.

The majority of the body comes from the original release - it even has the "© 1998 LFL" stamp on the back. Considering the options, blast from the past this was the right way to go: there's plenty of articulation, but no action features (the second one had ridiculously large missile launchers under the arms). The DD stands over 4" tall, and moves at the knees (all three of them), hips (ditto), neck, shoulders and "wrists." Everything is a hinge joint, which limits some poseability, but is still accurate to the movies. The "spine" is bendy, but not enough that you can roll him in a ball, sadly.

The only bit of the Destroyer Droid that comes from the second release is the head: another fine choice, as sculpting and molding techniques had advanced sufficiently in the three years between releases tiny eyes! that the second figure's head showed a significant improvement. It was more detatched from the body, and had finer detailing in the sculpt. Together, these two separate figures make for one fine Destroyer Droid.

Destroyer Droids are made from bronzium, a super special made-up metal that totally isn't just a fancy space-name for bronze. Totally. The outer shell of the body is metallic brown, with some faint blue highlights, while all the internal bits are grey. His little "eyes" are red - unlike most droids, Destroyers don't have optical receptors, and instead "see" via composite radiation sensors. Nerd knowledge!

This Droideka - a name decided on late in the production, pachoo! pachoo! meaning that several lines in the film had to be re-dubbed - comes with a few neat accessories. First we have two red blast effects that fit on the ends of his double-barreled hands. These are new offerings, but they look really nice when they're in place - and hey, they blow the gigantic missile launchers out of the water. They fit tightly on the guns, and do a wonderful job of faking a firefight.

The main accessory, though, is the Destroyer Droid's portable energy shield. trouble bubble A rippling blue half-sphere, the shield is just under 4" tall - and if you've been paying attention, you'll know that means the Droid has to hunch down to fit inside. The shield does a decent job of depicting a transparent special effect in solid plastic, and if you get a second shell, you can make a complete ball of protection. You can even have the Droid's guns poking out though the various holes in the shield, so he can keep attacking.

When it comes to tough enemies, the Destroyer Droids have to be near the top of the list. Battle Droids may be kind of disposable, falling by the dozens any time they were attacked, but a single Destroyer Droid is enough to cause a Jedi to run away. Hell, that already gives them a better win/loss record than both the Rancor and a freaking AT-AT! [and don't forget the Death Star --ed.] We have to thank The Phantom Menance for giving us such a cool enemy, and thank Hasbro for a good figure of it. But we still need one that rolls up.


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