View Full Version : Hailfire Droid Review
09-20-2003, 12:44 PM
I just got my Hailfire Droid today! I love it. Here's my review.
The detail seems pretty accurate, except for the paint and the missile colors, which are just a tad bright. It has weathering on the wheels and everything, which gives it that cool "Rolling through the dust" look. I love the photoreceptor eye, it's just as scary as I had hoped it would be. There are also a few stickers but they don't make a whole lot of difference. The size is good enough for me, the wheels are nice and big and it appears to be in scale with the other CW figures and ships, from what I can tell. It is very impressive looking, especially fighting a Republic Gunship. On to the missiles, there are 32 of them, which is pretty cool, although it seems like they'd be easy to lose. Each side has 16 missile tubes-8 on each side fire, 8 on each side are for storage. The missiles fire when you push the backs of them, and they fire pretty far. However, sometimes they tend to fire on their own, and with the distance they fire it just makes it that much easier to lose them. But, that doesn't detract from the overall Droid. Just a risk. Also, the red plastic rods stick out of the backs of the tubes, but unless you are really picky it can be overlooked. The best part is, by far, the wheels. They are a bit stiff, but that makes them seem stronger and everything. They click and grind as they move, which makes for a great effect, it sounds very mechanical. They are also in proportion with the main body from what I could tell. There is also a moveable dual blaster cannon that you attach to the bottom. It doesn't do anything but it does move up and down and side to side, and it's rather cool. These droids would make great army builders, too, three of them together would look amazing in a diorama. Overall, I think this is a great, great deal for $20. Much better deal than the screen scenes, which go for the same price, and they're only three figures! I am very glad that Hasbro did justice with one of my favorite "vehicles" of all time. I give it a 9/10, despite the flaws; it just looks (and sounds :D ) so damned cool, and it is worth every cent you pay for it. Go get it!
09-20-2003, 10:04 PM
I assembled mine today and was very pleased with the way it looked as well. The size, detail, and value are a few of the reasons I'm seriously considering getting another. The droid does seem to operate on it's own like Darth Sidious said. I was sitting on the computer a few hours ago when one of the droids missles fired across the room on it's own and it sailed pretty far. Overall I'd say this vehicle did meet and in some cases exceed my expectations. I'd give it a 9.5/10 only because of the bright red missles. Very cool :cool:
10-10-2003, 02:48 AM
....yeah the missles are a bit bright, but the sturdy construction and excellent detailing and the workable parts make this a superior entry in the collection. It does look good posed with othe figures (mostly droids). It's also one of those cool toys you can't walk by without wanting to roll it or play with it for a moment. Good job, Hasbro!
10-10-2003, 12:21 PM
OK ... I'm sold then.
I'll just have to go find one now.
10-11-2003, 11:01 PM
OK ... I'm sold then.
I'll just have to go find one now. The burbank TRU had 2 this morning at opening
03-04-2004, 09:19 PM
A little late to the party, but since it's still on shelves...
32 missiles to pick up? Oh boy! One of the more unique designs to come out of Episode II, the Hailfire Droid is one of the only wheeled vehicles in the Star Wars universe. Not exactly a vehicle, not exactly a figure, this droid's shape seemed to be a challenging design to translate to toy form, but Hasbro's finally tackled it in their Clone Wars line. This is one of the AOTC droids I've been very curious to see as a Hasbro toy, and the awesome Lego version only furthered that interest.
This is the standard Clone Wars packaging with the white, blue, and orange battle-ravaged scheme which I don't care for all that much. The graphics don't stand out from the other vehicles in the CW line, being roughly the same colors and backgrounds as the others - which I don't think are too exciting - and the box is the same size as the rest making it harder to spot in a crowd. The windowless box is pretty heavy compared to the others in the line, most of which is the actual toy, so that is a plus... unless you're shipping it.
Inside is a cardboard tray holding the toy down in several unassembled sections via 8 twistie ties and a cardboard sleeve taped to the tray holding a baggie; the twisties are taped to the back of the tray to make it easier to slide into the box, but this also makes it harder to remove the twisties. Besides that, there's an instruction sheet, a small sticker sheet, and a Clone Wars short story collection the size of a comic book. The instructions are fairly clear, using text alongside black and white art with red arrows to explain what's what, the only weak point is a lack of showing what makes the left and right wheels different from each other. The sticker sheet is copyrighted 2002, so I wonder how long this set has been waiting to be released.
The bulk of the sculpt on this droid is good work, sharp and crisp details with neat lines. The main pod of the droid is just right with slick, accurate detail work and cut-outs around the eye; I especially appreciate the lack of screw holes here. The wheels are fantastic work too, dead on movie-accurate; they're around 20% too small, but it's easy to overlook that. The drive hubs that contain the wheels are a little bulky, but have a good shape and plenty of detail; however, there are a lot of screw holes showing. The pod's gun looks adequate, although there should be a single central barrel instead of 1 on each side.
The missiles are thin and generic; their launcher tubes are unfortunately extra thick to accomodate the springs inside, and there's 2 too many launchers compared to the movie version. The large struts that connect the droid pod to the wheels are the poorest part of the design, they're bulky when they should be rather trim, have almost no detail at all, and set the pod back too far; they also don't allow the wheels to change angle and aren't long enough, so droid comes off narrower than it should.
Since it's a droid, I'm reviewing the pose potential, but since it's a big, rolling, vehicle-type droid, there aren't many pose possibilities really so it doesn't factor in highly. Because the pod is too far back, the Hailfire Droid rests on a flat surface with its nose up slightly, balancing only a few millimeters above hitting the rear of the hub, but this isn't too bad becaue it lends a "racing forward" look. Without the positionable wheels, alternate poses from the movie are limited to just angling the various weapons.
Paint & Deco: 4.5/5
Although not terribly complicated, Hasbro has done a good job on the paint of this big machine. It's tough to get a lock on what colors were used in the film, but the paint here manages to recreate that accurately giving the "machine of war" look. The main color is a dark olive, then dull bronze, some uses of butterscotch, and a few splashes of red to keep things alive. The black and red on the pod's vents aren't applied as nicely as seen on the prototype on the box, but it's not messy, just lacking in subtlety. The red of the eye and its secondary eye dots are nice work that looks difficult to accomplish, kudos there.
The wheels have tan overspray apps that come every 3 inches or so and then fade into the green. At first they seemed random and sloppy but upon closer inspection, they're pretty specific - especially at their starting point - and represent this design on the movie version. The stickers are small and barely noticable, but they do add a little computer-techy element to the sides of the hubs and are made to fit in specificly-cut slots so it's not hard to apply them (always a plus). The only coloring I don't care for are the red missiles, they stick out like 32 sore thumbs and even more so out the back - this is probably to make them more visually exciting to kids and easier to find when they fire accidentally, which they will... often .
First, a list of what features the Hailfire Droid actually has: rolling wheels, movable gun, rotating launcher tube pods, and firing missiles. Also, I think the rotating circles on the drive hubs and the positionable plates at the front of the droid pod could be considered minor features too.
For me, the rolling wheels were the main feature of this toy. When not attached to the droid, each wheel rolls along pretty well on carpet and rough surfaces (though hopeless on smooth surfaces), causing the circles on the hub to rotate too which is a fun little addition; however, when attached to the droid, the wheels no longer roll nicely at all, they stutter and disagree almost to the point of total frustration - my guess is the angle causes rubbing and gearing issues inside. While not a total washout, the problem is very annoying and certainly hinders play factor.
The small panels at either side near the front of the pod swivel forward some, this can change the character of the "face" a little, though keep in mind that these panels can slide off their pegs unnoticed and go missing - especially when you pick this toy up from the pod - so keep an eye on 'em. The pod's gun rotates at the main point and also hinges up and down at the mid-point. The rotation joint on mine is very loose, often sliding to one side or the other and becoming a nuisance.
The biggest "play value" feature of this toy is the missile launching gimmick. There are 32 missile tubes but only half of them fire, the lower ones are "storage tubes" -- which seems to mean that Hasbro designed all 32 tubes to fire the missiles then decided to save money by not adding springs to half of 'em. (I bet it'd be easy to add the missing 16 springs and their grommets to the lower tubes if you had a donor set.) Anyway, the missiles are fired by pushing down on the back of the projectile thus sliding the notch off the back of the tube, it's a very simple design since there's no trigger mechanism and you can push down on several to fire all at once.
Unfortunately, that "simple design" often leads to accidental launchings - in fact, while writing this review, one whizzed by my head and ended up behind a big piece of furniture. Between that and the lower tubes having no spring to hold the missiles into place - so they just slide out when you tip it forward - Hasbro really should have included several extra missiles in this set. Even if everything goes according to plan, after firing all the missiles you now have 16 missiles to pick up and reload, and each missile only goes in one way due to a tab, making that process a real chore - I find rotating the launchers up makes it faster to reload, but sometimes rotating the launcher back causes missiles to take off.
Overall Grade: B
At $20, this set feels a little overpriced, especially when the 2 main features can be more annoying than fun and there will be a lot of time spent tracking down errant missiles. As a display item, it's a little easier to accept and has enough heft to feel like a worthy collectible (but consider removing the launcher springs for permanent display purposes lest a speck of dust settle on the end of a missile and send it flying). I don't think many of these will make it to clearance as they have been slowly disappearing from stores, so you might want to pick one up soon.
03-04-2004, 09:23 PM
Glad I kept this puppy in his cage then. The Lego one sounds 20x better.
I still love this toy, but the wheels are the biggest dissapointment by far. I don't understand why the thing can't roll well. You almost need to put on a pair of cleets and grip them into the carpet, put two hands on the thing, and push as hard as you can to get it moving. But seriously when I first saw the toy I imagined that you could atleast give it a good push with one hand and it would roll half way across a room on the carpet.
I recently purchased the ninja turtles lines Battle Shell. And that thing must have ball bearings or something because it rolls wonderfully. Super smooth across carpet or smooth floors. If only the hail fire droid could perform as well. But atleast hasbro made the thing, i'm happy to have it none the less.
03-09-2004, 08:43 PM
I think it's either weak tolerances causing looseness that allows rubbing or the system was designed to roll upright only and they didn't take the camber into effect.
03-10-2004, 05:14 PM
I've held off so far on getting this toy, but reading the (laregly) favorable reviews makes me think I should grab one. Thanks for the info.
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