Is this the droid you're looking for?
I'd suppose that we all like droids. For some of us, I'd even guess that the droids are a collecting favorite. For me, I'll admit, I've always been a complete sucker for anything to do with C-3PO. When I was a kid my C-3PO figure lived in my pocket and traveled everywhere with me. I even remember having one of those C-3PO necklace pendants that I wore to grade school ... and wondered why some of the other kids thought I was a dork.
Today when a new C-3PO figure comes out, I get excited. When photos of the deluxe C-3PO with Escape Pod set started turning up, I got even more excited. Now, I know ... this new C-3PO is basically a repaint of the same figure from the AOTC droid factory set. I'm also honestly not a huge fan of that particular set or the figures that came with it. So why get excited about this new version?
Well, first off, like I said ... I'm a sucker for C-3PO toys. As simply "off" as the droid factory C-3PO seemed to be, it's nice to have another version of that particular sculpt that's painted so well and doesn't come with a magnet on it's head. Honestly, I'm impressed with this figure's paint job. Of course, I'd always prefer real chrome on a figure like this, but it's apparently something that Hasbro isn't doing anymore. So, we get gold paint with a nice wash of bronze colored rust. The eye sockets are painted a kind of bright yellow and on mine they're well done ... it looks cool. In general I think it's just about as nice a paint job as can be done here. As for the figure's sculpt ... well, it's good in many ways, but a little strange in others. The detailing is nice, seams, wires, mechanical hydraulic bits are all well done. The overall pose is good, but a little weird. When I first saw the Droid Factory C-3PO, I wondered, "What's with the pose?" It's what's called a "contrapposto" pose. The hips and shoulders are turned in opposite directions, and the weight is shifted onto one hip. It simply looks weird for a protocol droid I think ... a bit too relaxed. Yet, strangest of all, is this figures stumpy proportions. He's shorter than every other C-3PO figure. He has very short legs and it's a pretty obvious mistake as far as I'm concerned. Most people are 7-1/2 heads tall, that's normal figure proportion ... this guy measures out at about 6 heads tall, making him seem super shrimpy.
As far as how this figure feels, I'm happy to say that it's made pretty well. It's a sturdy piece, the limbs on mine are tight and the plastic is very solid. Considering that this figure is made to be taken apart and that it could easily be a wobbly mess, I'm really surprised that it's not. Also, the figure stands up very well on its own, something it has in common with most other C-3PO figures.
Then there's the Escape Pod ... really the main reason to pay the price for a deluxe set. For what it is, and for something that comes packed with a carded figure, I suppose it's pretty nice. I can remember always wanting one of these as a kid, and compared to the vintage version it's a real treat. In some ways it's very similar to the vintage pod ... it's very simple really, decent detail, decent paint job with some weathering and burn marks. It's scale is just as wrong as the vintage pod ... it's small and you have to stuff the figures in to make them fit, but again, it's nice to actually have a modern escape pod at all.
As for the most important thing, play value, I'm going to give this figure and this set a big thumbs up. In most cases, and definitely for something like this, I always have to think about just how happy I would have been as a kid to have had a toy like this. To me, that's what it's all about and this set has plenty of play value. As a kid, I wouldn't have cared about the fact that C-3PO is a little short or the fact that the escape pod is a great deal smaller scale wise than the one in the movie. I would have simply been happy to have a figure that looked as good as this, could stand on its own or could be dismantled and reassembled over and over again. I would have tossed the pod into the sand again and again ... and this one is perfect for that.
So, in all, I'm happy with this deluxe set. For sure it's not exactly perfect and if you're looking for a completely movie accurate toy, well ... this one isn't it. If you're looking for something that, as it turns out, is a very "fun" toy to both play with and display ... then I suggest you go out and track down one of these escaped pods right away.