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  • Writer's pictureMephitsu

Review: Star Wars Black Series R2-D2, Galaxy Collection Wave 14, The Mandalorian (Disney+)

“I don't know what all this trouble is about, but I'm sure it must be your fault.”

R2-D2 was one of the launch figures for the Star Wars Black Series back in 2013, and since then the same basic Astomech body has spawned a number of Artoo variants as well as other droids from the saga. This original 2013 body was always a bit small compared to the onscreen prop, and so in 2023 the Hasbro team went back and redesigned their Astromech figures and released a new, more accurately sized, R2-D2 figure. This was first seen in the Summer of 2023 as a Return of the Jedi 40th Anniversary carded release. It has now been repacked into the Galaxy Collection boxes and released as part of Wave 14 in late 2023.

The Galaxy Collection release of R2-D2 has been branded into the Mandalorian packaging with the deep orange accent colour on the artwork and text. R2 is numbered 32 in the Mando collection. This decision demonstrates the power The Mandalorian has in the current era of Star Wars and its power to sell. The decision is however odd considering R2’s fleeting appearances in Season 2 and Season 3, and the lack of any depth of Galaxy Collection figures across any of the Original Trilogy movies. This release would have been better served expanding the collections of A New Hope, Empire, or Return of the Jedi.

R2-D2 in this release is identical to the one in the 40th Anniversary packaging in terms of sculpt, decor, and the included accessories. The main body of the droid is cast in white plastic with blue painted panels, and silver component parts set around the body. The legs are executed in a similar fashion, and also feature some bronze painted wiring at the base of each foot. The dome is a metallic silver finish with more blue panels as well as a red indicator up front near the visual sensors, and a green indicator around the back. This is a very ‘factory clean’ R2 with no further weathering or paint apps. 

R2 still features the ability to be posed with two legs, or three with the additional central leg still held up within the body. This no longer winds down courtesy of rotating the head and has to be pulled out by hand by way of two small recesses on either side of the leg within the main body of the droid. This third leg is unpainted and simply left in the base white plastic.

Articulation is limited, as we’d expect on an Astromech, to just 6 points. These are at each of the three ankle joints, the two pivots where the outer legs meet the body, and the rotation of the dome which can move a full 360 degrees. Stability is OK, but not as good as the original figure thanks to some sculpted wheels at the base of the outer legs which end up making R2 rock a bit too much when standing - a flat-based foot would have been a better option. 

R2 features a number of opening panels on the front of the body, each much trickier to open than the extension of the middle leg piece. The two blue panels at the top will require a very long nail, or some slim implement of sorts to get them open. The two larger white doors that run vertically down either side of the body are slightly easier. The upper panels have no other function once open, but these two larger lower doors expose some inner workings of R2 and a series of three plug-in sockets behind each door. Into these slots one of the four included tools - a data probe, a terminal probe, a manipulator arm, and the welder he used to repair C-3PO in Empire. These slot into any of the six available slots for whichever scene or configuration you want to replicate. 

Further configuration is available on the dome with one of the blue panels (mid-right as you look at the dome) also coming away with some delicate fiddling. A further slot under this panel can accommodate the other two accessories - the scanning probe from Hoth, and the periscope from Dagobah. 

There is then a very neat new addition to this R2 in terms of how to store these accessories. While the old dome used to wind down the central leg, this new larger Astromech sees the dome pull upward, bringing with it an inner compartment of the droid cast in a silver grey finish. It is surrounded with indents, each corresponding to one of the tools or scopes and these can be slotted into the storage positions and the compartment returned back into the body. A word of caution here that these slots are slightly different sizes depending on the tool. There is then a flaw if any of these come loose while within the droid body, then they can - and will - jam the mechanism. My R2 has already got jammed up in this way as the periscope has slipped and locked the whole central mechanism.

There is no doubt that this 2023 R2-D2 is a big improvement size-wise on the original figure. It also ensures none of the features from the original are missed with all of the included tools and scopes and the various opening panels. The storage mechanism too is a neat touch. Articulation is as good as we will ever get on an Astromech, but those feet really needed to be flat to eliminate the rocking motion. The paintwork is okay, and I am sure we will get more weathered and dirtied R2 to reflect some of the scenes in which he has partaken. My only real issue with the figure is the choice of packaging and putting R2 in with The Mandalorian collection rather than allowing boxed collectors to extend their Original Trilogy series further - particularly as this R2 is most clearly aligned with The Empire Strikes Back considering his various tools and parts. If you are buying to display loose, then it does not matter which version you buy.

Keep Track of all the Star Wars Black Series figures from Hasbro at our comprehensive

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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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