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Review : Star Wars Black Series Gaming Greats Heavy Battle Droid, Battlefront 2


The Heavy Battle Droid was released in April 2020 as part of the new Gaming Greats sub-line of the Star Wars Black Series. The Gaming Greats line is exclusive to Gamestop in the US, and via the Fan Channel worldwide. It brings new 6 inch characters from the various Star Wars video games media.

Packaging 3/5


The Gaming Greats line follows the same design dimensions and layout as the Phase 3 packaging. There is a new cut in hexagonal insert to the side of the window that labels this as a Gaming Great release. This icon is repeated on the side spine - there is no numbering.

The box highlight colours are individual to the figure, with the Heavy Battle Droid having a glossy bronze colour on the side spine, card backing and used for the Gregory Titus artwork. This all serves to give a very interesting packaging variant for MIB collectors. The choice of colour for the highlight colour is however perhaps too close to the colouring of the droid and he is a little lost inside the box.


Like other video game releases we have the game icon on the front of the box just under the artwork. The Heavy Battle Droid is taken from EA's Battlefront 2. Of course outside of the video game medium, these logo's are not used on any other Black Series releases. Round the back of the box is a short bio in keeping with the Droid and the game.


"Star Wars : Battlefront II features Heavy Battle Droids, modified B1 Battle Droids armed with heavy blaster rifles and shield emitters to deflect most incoming enemy fire"



Paint & Sculpt 4/5


The sculpt is excellent for the Heavy Battle Droid, with good proportions and accuracy to the shape and build of the panels and the arm & legs. There is no obvious bulking up of the skeletal structure on the droid with the entire upper body connected to the hips by the same single point we see on screen.


Paint work is two tone, matching what we see in Battlefront 2 from the Heavy Droid skin. The main body is a brown colouring with a grey arms and legs as well as a grey midsection. The paint is applied neatly, with further apps on top to create silver paint scratching and peeling.



The Heavy Battle Droid is a repaint of the 2019 B1 Battle Droid release. The Gaming Greats line as a whole is a repaint/tweak line from the main range and with the Battle Droid sculpt now in Hasbro's arsenal, it will become a template for many more figures.


The darker colouring variant paint app does make this version of the B1 look a lot better than the original which was cast in a single colour and had limited paint apps.



Accessories 3/5


The Heavy Battle Droid has three separate weapons, which offers some level of army building if you wanted to go down that route. We start with the heavy blaster which essentially gives the figure its name.


This Heavy Blaster is actually a First Order weapon, the FWMB-10, which in the Battlefront 2 game is used by Heavy Gunners of the First Order. It is a direct reuse from the 2017 First Order Stormtrooper set. It is cast in black plastic and retains the white highlights that all First Order weapons use.


The blaster itself is tricky to slot into the droid hands, having been made for a First Order Stormtrooper. You have to angle the grip in sideways then spin it so the droids fingers take up the required firing positions. The top handle is articulated so it pivots back and forth - this slips into the left hand easily enough. Posing is OK, but the weight of the gun vs the relative skeleton form of the Battle Droid means it cant really support many poses without the aid of a stand.


The obvious other issue is of course why Hasbro have chosen this gun, when the Heavy Droid should be using an E-5C? While this would have needed a new sculpt, it would keep the figure accurate to the game and more importantly the Clone Wars era.


The inclusion of the First Order is related to the feature in game where you can equip other Heavy Blasters outside your characters era. If this was the only option for the figure I might have preferred them to move away from the game and to paint the panels of the blaster the dark brown to match the droid?



Weapon two is a DLT-19 Heavy Blaster, previously released with the Sandtrooper figures and also with Dengar and 4-LOM among others.


This blaster is cast in rey plastic with no other decor. It its easily into the hands, and being lighter is easier to pose with the droid not having as many stability issues.


Once again we have another out of sync gun for the Clone Wars era Battle Droid as this is the weapon of choice for Imperial Heavy Gunners. But again, it can be equipped by the Battle Droid so the choice is justified to a degree.



Weapon number three is the standard blaster rifle for B1 Battle Droids, the E-5. This is of course a re-pack from the original Battle Droid, and was also used with Padme Amidala. The weapon is well cast, but this version misses out on the dry brushing which added some additional detail to the original Battle Droid version.


The fit for this one into our droids hands is good, with the ability for single hand posing as well as two hand grips. Again, it is not wholly accurate to the game - but is consistent with the Clone Wars era B1 droids, and works well for army building general troops in this colour scheme.



When not in use the E-5 can plug into the droids main pack, as seen on screen. The backpack itself is removable and can be swapped out for the slimmer Command Droid aierals that are also included and have been repainted to the colour scheme of the droid.


The pint apps on both are very good and neat, with further scratching on the larger backpack. Fitting of the two packs is tight and secure, with the aerial version leaving an exposed hole on the unused side.


The full back pack is consistent to what we see in the game, but it is quite impressive the alternative was retained in the pack.



While I cannot complain over the volume of accessories for our Heavy Droid, accuracy has gone awry on this release. I would have preferred a single - more accurate - weapon to the three we have. I'd also have perhaps liked to see some innovation with an effects piece in translucent blue that could clip to the weapon to recreate the shield option in game.

Articulation 3/5


Joints on our B1 Battle Droid are unique to the figure as ball joints are not used, and the figure has more traditional singular directional pivots in various locations. All in all there are 20 points of articulation.


Head : jointed neck - top and bottom, jointed rear head piece

Body : torso pivot joint

Arms : pivot shoulder, bicep swivel, pivot elbow, wrist swivel, wrist joint

Legs : pivot hips, single pivot joint knee, ankle rocker


The articulation will get your droid into various poses including two handed weapon poses and marches. He will also fold down to his deactivated/travel position which is pretty cool.



Articulation and stability has always been an issue with any B1 figure, specifically the ability to stand. It has plagued most of the 3.75 line as well as more recent larger figures like the Bandai Snap Figure Kit.


This new version for 2020 does have sturdy feeling joints - particularly the hips, and is easier to stand in neutral poses than the predecessor. As stated the larger weapons do over balance him, and for more action orientated posing I would still recommend dropping him onto a stand - the one I used was a Protech Vintage Figure stand - and even with the stand the posing is awkward with the legs not wanting to hold the figure up straight.



Summary


It will be interesting to see how the Gaming Greats line develops. It does feel like a line destined for repaints only, and while this is not necassarily a bad thing - there does need to be some added value for collectors. In the case of this Droid, Hasbro threw in an arsenal of weaponns - but sadly that was then an issue when none of them were the one the Heavy Droid actually uses in game - they didn't even bother to recolour the First Order weapon to try and blend it in.



The paint job is certainly superior to the original B release and the joints feel sturdier - although a stand is required for most poses outside a neutral stance, and an absolute must if you want him to wield that oversized First Order blaster.


I do also like the subtle changes to the packaging and the varying colours for the box designs, although in this case the choice is so close to the original figure he is lost in the box for anyone displaying him in packaging (which am sure many will).


Price is also a factor in my final score, wth the Gaming Greats being priced around £5 more than a standard figure. For this price I do want to see where the value is in the set for what is a repaint of an existing figure? Bearing all this in mind, I score the Gaming Greats Heavy Battle Droid 3 out of 5.




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About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...

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