View Full Version : Hasbro's surprising indifference to the original three "other" droids

10-29-2003, 01:13 AM
My excitement over R1-G4 has got me thinking alot about droids lately. Watching ANH the other day sent my mind reeling to the vintage days. Back before the "Empire" --- back when there were only 18 Star Wars figures. (Imagine! Being a completist for a mere. . . Forty dollars.) As a wee little child of eight -- it came as no big surprise that three of the second wave were mechanical beings.

Power Droid
Death Star Droid

Who didn't snap these up instantly? These three figures rocked. They were so dang cool! I remember having great difficulty tracking down R5-D4 especially.

And yet --- despite the early faith placed in these timeless Classic characters --- they have not faired well in the modern line. Far from it.

A brief (out of order) overview of recent history. . .

1999 at last gave us a Power Droid, now renamed Gonk! Droid if my memory serves correctly. And while this figure was pretty dang cool and pack-in to the best Jawa to date --- it was not TRULY a new version of the vintage classic. Instead it is a very precise replica of the Power Droid seen repeatedly in the Sandcrawler. Meanwhile, the vintage appears to be based on the Power Droid seen roaming past Aunt Beru as she calls up to remind Luke to make sure that the new translator speaks bocce. (the white stripe best exemplifies this.) Somehow, I just always thought we would eventually get another powerdroid and that this long lost vintage version would be redone, but no. Nothing yet.

Then there is the Death Star Droid. Of course everybody knows that the Kenner version was inaccurately named --- but they probably just figured that "Sandcrawler Droid" didn't have quite the same marquee value --- so they fudged things a bit. Hasbro later corrected this and their modern Death Star Droid is, in fact, glimpsed in the Death Star. A novel concept and a great figure. The black paint job is most groovy. But it is, nevertheless, no RA-7. Of course we have all seen prototype pics of this and it is supposed to be coming with the Sandcrawler. . . But as of yet nothing is confirmed. And so, for now, another vintage classic is unjustly ignored.

Which brings me to R5-D4. Um. . . do I even need to elaborate? Suffice it to say that no character in the Star Wars universe played such a crucial role (had R5 not broken down, R2 stays with the Jawas -- Imperials get him and the secret plans -- thus ending the story!) and received such shoddy toy treatment. The horrid POTF2 version still haunts collectors to this day. He has been rumoured numerous times. Then pulled. Heck he even cameos in Episode II and still he gets. . . Nothing. And he is a heck of lot easier to spot in the film than say. . . a certain yellow R3 droid. Star Tours R5-D2 is nice, but, well, he just isn't R5-D4. And exploding motivator aside, poor R5-D4 does not deserve to be so cruely left behind!

Why no love, Hasbro! Why no love for the droids of my youth?! Don't take this thread the wrong way, I am really not completely obsessed (well. . . okay. . . maybe a little) but I just thought that there was an interesting (perhaps, sinister?) pattern here that I have not yet seen addressed.


kool-aid killer
10-30-2003, 10:07 AM
What yellow R3 droid are you talking about? Could you post a link to a pic?

I would like to see a better R5-D4 too. Take away the cheesy missile firing action feature and the rotating blasters on the side of his legs and it would be a better figure. Perhaps a new mold would work best. But i dont think we need a new Gonk droid, ones enough. I would prefer they rerelease TC-14.

10-30-2003, 10:15 AM
I'm with you. For the most part, I've been happy with the droids we've gotten. But too often, they are given secondary status as cheaply made pack-ins with some other figure. Droids are the Oompha Loompha's of the Saga. Without them, nothing would get done. :)

10-30-2003, 11:54 AM
NIce metaphor Stillakid.

Droids are awesome. I still have the original 3 vintage ones. Power Droid is a little messed up, missing the rubber pievce from the top of him. Droids are one of the coolest things about SW. And those three droids are some of the best secondary characters out there. Hasbro...Give em up. There has been demand for them for awhile. Now all we need is the supply and basic laws of economics are completed

Dark Marble
10-30-2003, 12:06 PM
I guess it is kind of interesting to think about. It is always this push and pull between what has been translated from the original line and what hasn't. Like mark2d2 said, there was a power droid in the original line and a "gonk" droid in the new line. However, not every one considers the gonk to be a true to form translation from the original line. This seems to be a popular sticking place with all collectors. What is considered a true figure translation from the vintage line to the modern line? I know right now that the debate is on about the imperial dignataries. We are getting two of them, but neither is based on the figure from the vintage line, so have we got our translation?? I think so, but not everyone would agree.

Still I see the point, especially on R5. As a big collector of pilots and ships, I live variety in my astromech droids. I would really like to see R5-D4 finally get a definitive figure.

10-30-2003, 02:30 PM
It just seems so silly to overlook this one droid. I just don't understand it. Oh, well... eventually we'll get an R5-D4 worth its importance to the saga.

10-30-2003, 03:29 PM
What yellow R3 droid are you talking about? Could you post a link to a pic?

The R3 I am referring to was one of the four Preview Figures for ATOC.

Regarding the Power Droid versus the Gonk!:

Don't get me wrong, the Gonk! is a great figure. But he is obviously not based on the vintage toy at all. The white side stripe, the rubber antena . . . Clearly the vintage was modeled after the droid wandering behind Beru as she calls up to Luke from the courtyard.

I would love to see this droid made --- not only as a vintage fan, but also because who couldn't use another unique and totally different Power Droid?

The Imperial Dignitary is another excellent example of this. A burning question. . . Why does Hasbro seem to go out of its way NOT to recreate some of the classic vintage figs? With the Dignitary they went so far as to make two different figures! And frankly, neither is as noticeable or half as memorable as the vintage character IMOP. R5 has been hideaously "disfigured." ;) Announced -- then at the last minute, replaced by R4-M9. And finally, a semi R5 comes out as R5-D2 in the Star Wars line.

A curious pattern is emerging here.

kool-aid killer
10-30-2003, 08:20 PM
Oh, that droid. I always thought he was lime green instead of yellow. But droids are very cool figures. I would buy just about any repaint of R2 that Hasbro tries to pass off as a different astromech droid.

10-31-2003, 02:52 AM
Well you know I have to chime in. I have been screaming for R5D4 forever. I waited patiently as each time he was announced, he was pulled and replaced with another droid. I need to see this little guy get the respect he deserves from the makers. Gimme him and CZ and I am set. Oh and R6 and R7 would be nice, but just dreaming when it comes to the EU.

10-31-2003, 06:14 PM
Mark you hit the droid right on the generator. I want all the old droids. Next year they are going to make massive ammount of figs that we are salivating for. they are releasing jabba assortmets. Ewoks and Droids, not to mention a Hoth group. Lets just pray and petetion for a Droid assortment. How's that for a fairy tale. Pray for CZ, and a silver Ra-7 Droid.

10-31-2003, 07:38 PM
I'd like a new R5-D4 so we can then get repaints of him to give us R5-M2, the imperial R5 unit and any other R5 droid in any of the films.

Goddammit I missed out on the commtech gonk droid because the box wasn't in good condition. If I had a time machine I'd go back and beat the crap out of my 1999 self for passing it up.