Review : C-3PO
Star Wars 6-Inch Hero Series
Wave/Series : Aldi Exclusive (UK) / Walgreens in US
Released : December 2017
Price : £6.99
Pro's : Great sculpt, good basic colouring and fits in with Black Series range
Con's : very limited articulation. Hollow and lightweight.
As well as producing the successful 6" Black Series range of Star Wars figures, Hasbro do produce and distribute a budget series of 6" figures. These limited articulation figures share similar qualities to the 12" Hero series. They were predominantly made for the Far East market as well as discount stores in the US and of course the UK, where Aldi stores have become the retailer of choice.
These first hit UK stores in 2015 in line with The Force Awakens release. The first set of figures included Stormtroopers, Snowtroopers, Finn, Kylo Ren and a Darth Vader. A second set was released in December 2016 as part of the Rogue One merchandising, but didn't contain any Rogue One figures - instead we got figures of Rey (Force Awakens), Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker, Darth Maul, Han Solo and Kanan Jarrus. The only Rogue One figure we are aware of is a Deathtrooper which has only been circulated in Canada.
In 2017 we have a new set, this time just the four figures, and these went on sale in Aldi on the 10th of December for the £6.99 price tag which is unchanged since 2015. In the US these have been on sale in Walgreens since September. The 2017 set includes re-releases of Rey and the Stormtrooper. We then get two new figures - Captain Phasma and C-3PO.
Like the previous two years, the figures are packed in a small window box. It uses the white backdrop and red highlighting as is used for all The Last Jedi product - but there is no direct reference to The Last Jedi. All four characters are due to appear in the movie.
The box front includes a half window, through which we see the top half of C-3PO against a red card backdrop. Under this sits a large red Star Wars logo and then a black section wraps the bottom of the packaging. This carries the character name as well as the age rating and the Disney and Hasbro logo's.
The left hand spine of the box carries a further red Star Wars logo and a nice illustration of C-3PO. While a nice picture, it is not as dynamic or eye catching as the illustrations that were included on the 2016 releases.
The other spine is made up with various notifications and safety markings. This is the same on the bottom half of the box back. Above this is a red section which contains some basic text about 3PO - very reminiscent of what we see on the Black Series. This text appears unique to this release, although it does use the same first line as the Walgreens exclusive Black Series C-3PO.
The box top has a hanging tab attached. This appears to be factory installed rather than at the retailer - particularly as Aldi and Walgreens both merchandise these on shelves or in baskets and not on pegs.
The figure is accessed by the top flap which is taped down at either side. The figure slides out attached to a three sided backing card. The ties round the figure are elasticated rather than being twisty ties. There is a printed safety notice which sits behind the figure.
Threepio is a pretty impressive figure considering he is part of the budget range. The gold colour is as good as we've had from Hasbro and the head and body all feel well sculpted and proportioned. The tummy wiring is a sculpted element, not just painted and has some paint detail on selected wires - three in red and one in white, although the white one is a touch messy. The eyes are a nice yellow with a central black dot.
The figure comes in full gold colouring, there is no silver leg or red arm. There is also no head dent, although this was missing on the Black Series version also. By all accounts this appears to be the look Threepio sports in The Last Jedi.
His weight is noticeable in hand, he is very light and almost certainly a hollow hard plastic - this could make him brittle and not particularly robust for play. It does however make him a great base for custom painted Threepio variations or other protocol droids? I expect Aldi will sell out of this figure before the others.
Articulation is not a strong point of these figures and you get four points of articulation across the figure. Interestingly the head is ball jointed and not a simple rotating joint, this means you can mimic the head movements of Threepio - tilting it to one side or having him look down.
The arms are articulated at the shoulder only, and these simply rotate round. The 4th joint is hidden under the chest section. This allows the upper torso to be rotated.
You can see what a good job has been done on the colouring and sculpt when you compare the 6" basic figure against the Black Series C-3PO figure. The height is the same and the sculpt is pretty similar. Ignoring the obvious articulation advantage of the Black Series, I would be hard pressed to choose my favourite on the looks alone. This means Threepio can be slotted into a Black Series display without drawing attention to himself as an "inferior" product.
For £6.99 this release is a good option for that Last Jedi Threepio - and as I said earlier, for customisers it is a great base for further Threepio versions or other Droids?
In summing up, what we have here is one of the nicest basic 6" figures released to date. It fits in well with the Black Series and will be a great base for other figures if you are into customising. When weighing up the price and value for money we have to consider that the price has not changed in 3 years, while the Black Series has gone up by a fiver. However, we've also been spoilt with Black Series figures in Home Bargains for less than the £6.99 this figure costs and that has perhaps skewed our view of price vs product.
If you are going to pick up one figure from Aldi this Christmas, then get the C-3PO. And don't hang around as I suspect this figure will disappear sooner than any of the others. I score the budget range 6" Threepio a 4 out of 5.