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Han Solo & R-3PO (Droid Factory)

SWV: Empire Strikes Back
by yo go re

In order to complete the Build-A-Droid C-3PX, you had to spend $60 on figure two-packs: a bitter pill to swallow if you already had any of the figures they offered, but not quite as bad if you didn't.

The Alliance's command center on Hoth includes the diverse tactical expertise of the impetuous Han Solo and the protocol droid R-3PO.

The Han Solo in this set is, as implied in the bio, wearing his Hoth outfit: a thick parka with a fur-lined hood, heavy gloves and insulated boots. The mold is the same as the one released in the 2007 VTAC (Vichyssoise Trout Anchovy Crepes or something equally stupid, I don't know) line, proving yet again that anyone who got suckered into paying $12 for retro packaging is a twit. There have been some changes made, however, so it's not 100% re-release.

The most obvious difference is the head. The original plans for the VTAC figure included a variant head, but that was eventually scrapped. This is that head. The VTAC figure had his hood down and a removable hat, while the Droid Factory version is wearing his hood up - obviously this is when he was outside looking for Luke. The hooded head is a single solid piece, so the hat stays on. To make up for it, though, the set includes a removable pair of goggles; and because the designers were very clever, you can have your Han wear them either over his eyes or pushed up on his forehead. Neat!

Another change is that Han has been repainted. One of the things Star Wars fanboys love to argue about is whether his Hoth jacket was brown or blue, and this figure chose blue. It has chosen poorly. The coat seen in the movie was brown. It was made from brown threads woven to form brown material, brown when he started wearing it, brown when he finished wearing it, brown brown brown brown brown. Not blue. You know why it looked blue? Because movies have this little thing called "lighting," and when you shine a blue light on a brown coat, it looks blue. The lights were blue, the coat was brown. And since this figure represents Han outside, where the lights wouldn't be on him, he should have been brown.

Han includes his familiar blaster (it fits in the holster on his hip) and a pair of electrobinoculars. The binoculars' strap is a solid molded piece of the accessory, so no movement there. The figure is 4" tall, thanks to his furry hood, and articulated at the neck, shoulders, elbows, gloves, waist, hips, knees and ankles. Most of those are balljoints, too, for maximum range of motion.

The droid in this set is R-3PO, a name that means nothing to anybody. That isn't to say he's unknown: just that nobody knows what he's called. Perhaps you know him as the red C-3PO seen wandering around Echo Base. Ah, now he's familiar!

Basically just a fancy bit of scenery, a surplus C-3PO costume repainted and tossed on an extra, R-3PO wasn't named until 1996's "Hoth Limited" expansion to the Star Wars Customizable Card Game. From there, it was only a matter of time before he was given a personality and a historically pivotal role in the history of Star Wars, just like every other three-second background character. In R-3PO's case, that meant he was moody and temperamental, and was used to uncover Imperial spy droids embedded with the Rebellion. Oh, and he has a tattoo on his ass that reads "Thank the Maker." Yeah, that makes sense.

This figure is the same as the Ewok Throne C-3PO, just molded in red instead of yellow. The figure is detailed fairly well, but this isn't the best 3PO body ever made. The details are all there, it's just that some of them look soft. The figure isn't solid red, even discounting the yellow eyes and the wires in his abdomen: there's a darker wash on the red bits, giving him an aged look and some depth. They didn't include his tattoo, though.

Articulation is above average - for a 3PO, at least. The head has a balljoint at the lower end of the neck, and can be removed with some effort. The shoulders are simple pegs, and can pop out. The torso is a full balljoint, with both x-y and swivel movement. The hips are swivels, as are the thighs: yes, you can turn this droid's legs for some reason. Finally, the knees are hinges, since the original directive was to sit in a chair. I don't know what purpose the removable bits could possibly serve, but I do miss the advantage of elbows or wrists.

R-3PO doesn't have any accessories, unless you want to count the Build-A-Droid part for some reason: he and Han come with the left leg.

I readily admit that the only reason I bought this set was that I wanted to assemble C-3PX - for once, the BAF really did sell the figures it was included with. However, both Han Solo and R-3PO are good toys, and ones I didn't already have, making this set a decent value.


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