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Review: Star Wars Black Series R5-D4, Galaxy Collection Wave 15, The Mandalorian (Disney+)



“R5-D4 is as good as the day it came back from serving in the Rebellion.”


R5-D4 is enjoying the limelight at the moment, returning on screen to the Star Wars saga after nearly 40+ years as part of The Mandalorian. He even went from a bit part in Season 2 to a wider role supporting Din Djarin in Season 3 and the quest to retake Mandalore. It is no surprise then that R5 has made his way onto the Star Wars Black Series release rota for the first time since his very limited exclusive carded release in 2017, and is also taking advantage of the new resized Astromech body that we first saw on the R2-D2 Return of the Jedi 40th Anniversary release earlier this year.

The late 2023 release of R5-D4, with the new body, is part of Wave 15 of the Galaxy Collection. He arrives alongside Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati from Ahsoka, Starkiller from The Force Unleashed, and the Mandalorian Fleet Commander from Season 3 of The Mandalorian. The box packaging uses the deep orange accent colour for The Mandalorian figures and R5 is number 33 in that series sitting between R2-D2 and the Mandalorian Fleet Commander.

The new R5 figure uses the same body and legs as R2 cast in white plastic and with painted red, blue and silver panels. There is no further weathering which I would have liked in terms of reflecting R5’s history on Tattooine firstly with the Jawa’s and latterly with Peli Motto. The dome section is new, recreating the differing upper dome of an R5 unit. It is similarly cast in white plastic with red twin tramlines around the top of the head, red painted panels and grey and silver component optical sensors and controls. R5’s aerial sits atop the head in grey plastic with a black centre section - and beneath the main dome, the neck features those reflective panels although this time they are done in silver paint and not via a holographic sticker. 

Like R2, R5 also features the central third leg which pulls down from the main body manually. It is cast in white and has no additional decor. The legs feature the bulk of the six points of articulation with joints at each ankle, and the two side legs also pivoted where they meet the main body. R5 stands securely on all three legs but does wobble a little when posed with two thanks to the sculpted ‘rollers’ beneath each foot. 

R5 also features the same opening panels on the body as R2, two upper red panels that are a nightmare to find the edge of to prise open, and a similarly tricky pair of doors running vertically down either side of the main body casing. The upper set features nothing inside other than some inner grey workings, while the two doors reveal a trio of slots on either side into which you can insert the included tools that come with R5. 

I was very pleased to find these tools are not all exactly the same as the R2 release. We have a trio of probes each featuring some paintwork on the main shaft in either gold or bronze, with one of them also featuring a black section. You then also get a pair of tool accessories featuring black painted component ends. There is then a sixth smaller piece which I am embarrassed to say stumped me for a bit. It turns out it is a ‘bad motivator’ and R5 features a removable red panel on the top of his head and this motivator can be slotted into the socket beneath to recreate the scenes from the Lars Homestead. 

When not in use, these component tools can all be stored in the internal storage bay which is revealed by pulling up the dome of R5. Inside we have the same grey droid innards as R2 with slots all the way around into which the various tools can be stowed away.

Considering the investment into the new Astromech body and its various features, it was inevitable that it will see heavy use in the months and years to come. The release of R5-D4 makes perfect sense for the Black Series considering this new updated sculpt, but also in terms of the rarity of his original release and his role in the more recent Mandalorian season. What we get is a very well-proportioned droid, with neat paintwork but perhaps lacking in wear and tear that we would usually associate with R5-D4. The additional tools are a good feature, especially as these do vary from what was included with R2. And the inclusion of the bad motivator feature is a very welcome nod to Original Trilogy fans and collectors. Well worth picking up now as I am sure this one is not going to hang around (although it was confirmed via the ‘pipeline’ that another version is coming in 2024 in a pack with Pelli Motto’s Pit Droids).




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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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