Updated: Nov 26, 2018
Review : R5-D4
Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro)
Wave/Series : 40th Anniversary, Gamestop (US) Exclusive
Released : April 2017
Price : $24.99 (US price only)
The mainstream 40th Anniversary series from Hasbro is based on the first 12 Star Wars figures put out by Kenner in 1978. Hasbro have added two further figures to the 40th Anniversary series (at time of writing) with the Luke X-Wing Pilot sold at Celebration, and the figure we are looking at here, R5-D4.
R5-D4 is exclusive to US retailer Gamestop, although collectors can order outside of the US as Gameshop do relatively fast and efficient international shipping. Be warned that Gamestop do not calculate import tax in the same way Amazon would do - when ordering you may still have to add further import costs on when your parcel reaches your country or residence.
R5 is presented on the same card design as used across all the other 40th Anniversary figures. It is not a direct scale up from the original 3.75" Kenner figure card, but is sized appropriately for the 6" scale figures. The card art and design is a direct replication of those 1978 cards with a colour image of R5 from the movie to the right hand side of the blister. Be warned that Kenner often reversed these images for the cards so when you compare you figure to the card there may be some visual variances. Around the card is the double tram-line silver trim which runs and connects to the Star Wars text and with the original Star Wars logo in the top right corner - the one with Luke holding his light saber aloft. Each figure in the range has a different colour for the name plate and for the backing colour of the figure. For R5 this is a solid bright red, which is of course appropriate.
There is a silver foil 40th Anniversary logo top left and to the bottom right the original Kenner logo. The only addition on this release vs the other cards in the 40th Anniversary series is the "Only @ Gamestop" over-sticker. This is placed above the Kenner logo and is obviously placed by hand as mine wasn't straight. It can be removed if you are careful.
Round the back, and the rear design is identical to the other 40th Anniversary cards. The 12 released figures are shown, each in their corresponding colour box. Under this is an image of the Legacy Box set stand . This is all enclosed in another double tram-line frame with the Star Wars logo at the top. Above this and to the right is a subtle Black Series logo.
The rest of the cardback is turned over to copywrite and safety notices and it finishes with the Disney and Hasbro logo's bottom right. It is odd perhaps that R5 himself is not referenced on the card, but I assume using the same design will save printing costs.
Out of the pack and R5 sits in an inner plastic tray. There are no packed in accessories.
R5 stands 3.5" high (89mm) and is a direct re-use of the body and legs of the original Astromech release - R2-D2 from 2013. The body has been reused since then on the Imperial Astromech R2-Q5 and within the 2016 Toys R Us Droids 3-pack. In this 3-pack the R5 dome was introduced and has therefore made the release of R5 a possibility.
The overall sculpt and design of R5 is very good. The dome is taller obviously than R2 and includes the various eyes and lenses and is then trimmed in a thin red tram-line. On the top of the dome are 8 individual panels, although unlike R2 none of these open. R5 also sports a silver aerial which sits on the top and to the left of his dome. This is quite slim and delicate, but to protect it it is a rubbery plastic and mine did come bent over slightly.
Just under the main dome is a recessed ring and here there is a ring of rectangular panels which seem to be a highly reflective 3d sticker. These are lovely and capture the whole spectrum of light as you rotate the head. The head ends with a silver ring and we are then into the barrel of the body. There are both blue and red trims and panels here, a lot of which are identical to R2-D2. Around the back are three more red panels and some additional silver and blue details.
All of these panels are neatly painted, all on top of a white cast body. However, the colouring is much improved to R2 as the white isn't bright and too "new". There is also some subtle weathering throughout R5 with sandy drybrusing to dirty him up and make him look like he has just rolled off that Jawa Sandcrawler.
The legs are also identical to R2, but the base wires at the feet are a deeper bronze. The side pieces are a deep blue and there are silver details to both sides.
Articulation is always going to be restricted on a droid and for R5 it starts with the head. This rotates a full 360 degrees. When you turn it anti-clockwise it also lowers the third leg from the dome section. Rotating it the other way and the leg will stay in the position it is in, the dome will click as you move it this way - this doesn't seem to do any damage, but just be gentle.
This third leg is the same coloured plastic as the rest of the droid and carries some blue and red detailing. There is still a large embossed CE mark on the right hand side of the leg.
The legs also hold a hangover from the original R2 mold in that the two trims on the leg still pop off. These were originally designed to swap with the booster rockets on R2.
The two legs are articulated where they connect to the dome. These can be rotated all the way round if you wish, but in the main will be used to position R5 in a standing or travelling pose. To aid this there is also articulation on the foot so that this can remain planted to the floor at all time. There is a similar joint on the central 3rd foot. All three feet are also on tiny rollers so R5 will actually roll when pushed.
The other articulation is hidden in the two long red panels to either side of the main body. These pop open and within them are articulated arms. To the left (as you look) is a welding torch with blue tip. To the right is a manipulator arm with orange trim and silver claw. These are both hinged at the top and can then we swung up and out of the main body of the droid.
Like all the Astromechs in the Black Series, there is no escaping that R5 is a little short vs his on screen counterpart. For me this is only noticeable if you look for it, I don't mind how these guys look on display with the other figures. If scale does bother you, then I would suggest the more size accurate Bandai kits might be a better choice for your display.
To sum up, and R5-D4 is a great addition to the Black Series and with the Jawa incoming he will look great lined up with R2. The issue for R5 is that he is too iconic a character to be tied into an exclusive, and unless Hasbro get him out in the standard packaging at some point in the future then this will be a release that will once again frustrate fans, particularly those overseas. If we assume you can get R5 at somewhere near the RRP, then I would look at the beauty of the card and the improvements that Hasbro have made vs the original R2. There are also negatives, like being a tad too small and not having anywhere near the accessories that came with R5.
Taking all that into account I will be scoring the Gamestop Exclusive R5-D4 a 3 out of 5.