Review : C-3PO
Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro)
Wave/Series : Walgreens (US) Exclusive 2016
Released : November 2016
Price : £29.99*
*Currently this item is not sold directly in UK. You can purchase via independent retailers, like our preferred Black Series suppliers Kapow Toys and Star Action Figures. This is an imported figure so the price is approx £30 plus delivery. We will update this review should C-3PO receive an official UK release.
If you follow my reviews, or indeed the Star Wars Black Series range, then you will already be aware of the annoyance of fans (including myself) around this release of C-3PO. After waiting an age for a C-3PO figure in the 6" scale, Hasbro have struck a deal that makes the original trilogy C-3PO an exclusive to Walgreens in the US. For UK customers this is a double blow as the only Hasbro Walgreens exclusive to officially make it across the pond was the original Prototype Boba Fett.
Why Walgreens coulldn't have been given a C-3PO variant like the Jabba the Hutt translator version, or a Protocol Droid variant like K-3PO is beyond me. I guess as collectors we should remain hopeful that at some stage Hasbro will work this Original Trilogy C-3PO into the main range, perhaps as a 2-pack with a re-release R2-D2 or perhaps as one of the variants I mentioned above - Jabba's Translator, disassembled Cloud City version etc.
The box is standard fair, with a grey scale image to the front corner which again feels more detailed (or is at least bolder) with some artistic stylization of the lines in the image. This image is different to the one used on the main release, a nice touch for Mint-in-Box collectors especially if you consider Hasbro could have easily re-used the box.
Like other exclusives, the red spine is devoid of any numbering. In stead the top section is a bar code type affair and under this sits the character name. The character name - used on the front, side and round the back - is simply C-3PO. There is no story/film specific bracketed text, so I guess this is a general release for C-3PO and will be suitable for any display from Revenge of the Sith through to Return of the Jedi.
Round the back and the bio paragraph sits over a blown up version of the same C-3PO image. Another decent touch is that this bio is not a word for word replication of the main release. This is in itself unusual as other characters with multiple release (Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor) have simply had the same bio used on every box. The difference here I guess is how specific to The Force Awakens the main release bio is, so this version talks more generally about C-3PO and his involvement in "some of the galaxies most thrilling battles". It also uses the trademark "fluent in over seven million forms of communication.
C-3PO is one of the few Black Series figures to date to be packed with absolutely no accessories at all. This further insults the fans who will be paying upward of £21 for this figure, particularly when you consider what could have been included, at least with a Original or Prequel Trilogy C-3PO. He stands a touch shorter than most 6" figures, putting him in scale with his peers like Luke and Han. It also makes him scale well when up alongside the Black Series R2-D2.
The actual design and sculpt of the droid is pretty nice. The lines are clean and the panels smooth and nicely proportioned. The head captures that quizzical look of 3PO, particularly when it is cocked to one side. The eyes don't feel big enough and with not much surface area to paint this stops them looking illuminated, or at least a variant gold to the rest of the head. Instead you see a dark centre pupil and a touch of lighter yellow round the lens.
Had you read my standard Resistance Base C-3PO review you will know I had some issues with the colouring used on C-3PO. Having now had that, and this C-3PO for a week or two now my position has mellowed a touch. The gold is not perfect, it lacks a little bit of sheen - but I wouldn't have wanted a full vac-metal C-3PO (see Bandai's model) as this kind of represents 3PO at the end of A New Hope only, I want the dirty, weathered 3PO we have through most of the movie. To that end the gold isn't a bad base coat, the issue is that they haven't taken the next step and weathered the figure. A quick dark wash would have massively improved the look of 3PO and tied him in to a lot of the Trilogy scenes.
The silver leg is included, a detail missed on a lot of 3PO figures. Like the gold finish of the rest of the body, this silver paint is not high sheen. A dark wash here would have improved the leg no end and brought out the detail and lines of the sculpt.
The tummy section is nicely detailed and is sculpted detail that is then painted, not just painted wiring. It is also a different setup to the Force Awakens C-3PO, another nice touch considering a complete re-use would have been the easier option. Each wire is neatly picked out with blue, red, yellow and green all across a flat black background. Down the arms are the hydraulic rods and bolts that aid in 3PO's movement, these are a bit soft and not as crisp as other parts of the droid - most probably as casting them in harder plastic would have left them open to snapping too easily.
Articulation was never going to be great, it isn't on the real costume after all. We start with the head which sports then new pivot ball joint. Despite the neck rings this joint allows the head to tilt back and forward, and it also rotates a full 360 degrees. The arms are only jointed at the shoulder and then again at the wrist, the elbow is fixed. These shoulder joints sit in a shoulder collar which you initially think will stop the arm being moved too much. However, this collar around the shoulder does actually move and can be rotated, and doing so the arm can then be raised and lowered more. The hands rotate at the wrist, and with a peg they also bend, almost to 90 degrees to the lower arm.
The torso is ball jointed just under the upper chest piece, this means the joint is hidden, but allows for a wide range of movement and this allows 3PO-esque poses to come more easily as he quite often pushed out his groin and leans his shoulders back when you look at him on screen - particularly when he is walking. The ball jointed hips won't move much as they are held back by some overhang on the top of the thigh. They can go wider if you wish or out to the front for an almost sitting position. After dropping the elbow articulation, Hasbro have also gone single joint on the knees. Now this is nicely engineered to match the way the characters costume works, it does only allow for a slight bend and the hydraulic peg that connects top of the knee to the shin is fixed and just juts out when the knee is bent. The articulation ends with the standard ankle rockers, and these are easy to adjust and C-3PO stands pretty well.
All of this articulation does already feel loose and wobbly, and I would imagine C-3PO will start to flop and fall over in the very near future.
I scored the Resistance Base C-3PO a 2 out of 5 score. That figure had the same flaws as this version, but the red arm (which has since been tweaked by Hasbro) was a pretty disappointing element that scored the figure down. If we assume you can get this figure at retail RRP in the US, or under £30 here in the UK, then it is a reasonable attempt at an Original Trilogy C-3PO. I am going to up the score to 3 out of 5, and put it out there that the figure is probably only a decent wash away from looking the part and scoring further up the scale.