One of the first new figures in the OTC line is R2-D2 from ESB, specifically from when he got eaten and spit out on the swampy planet of Dagobah. I had long known that this "new" figure was in reality a dirtied-up version of the electronic Power F/X R2-D2 (Jan '97) from the old POTF2 line - which itself was recycled into the Saga AOTC Sentry R2-D2 (April '02) where it got some new legs and new sounds - but somehow felt like this was a possible buy; little did I know that the sound effects in this new figure were so much better than either previous version.
I was pretty hard on the Saga packaging, it didn't really suit my fancy until the total redesign near the end, and even then it still had some elements I didn't like. The OTC packaging is a lot more attractive from the front, it's based on the classic vintage SW packaging designs and has a lot going for it. Each figure has an image in the background making each card a mini-diorama, and this R2 is no exception, standing in front of the X-wing sinking in the swamp over his base/stand. The bubble has a sticker on the front with the figure's name, and there's an attractive bubble insert with the movie title on 1 side and the info on the other (set number, accessories, features). This particular bubble also has a big "Try me!" sticker on the front leading to a hole so you can hear R2's electronic sounds... barely, he's quite hushed in all that plastic. The tray even has sound waves embossed above the figure's head which was used before on the Saga Sentry R2, it's a nice subtle addition.
Inside the bubble is an instruction sheet on battery use and safety, always handy, and a micro-catalog - the catalog would be cooler if it had more than 1 new figure (Yoda), the rest are rehashes from previous lines, but better a catalog than no. The tray has no twisties, but does use 1 annoying clear-band to hold the figure in.
I dislike the back of the, the design is unattractive and reminds me far too much of the Target-exclusive Clone Wars Animated figures' packaging which doesn't fit at all with the rest of the packaging's look. Also, the card itself is of a thinner stock than the Saga line, which could be a problem for MOC collectors. But the attractive front view of the figure is such a treat that it makes up for all the shortcomings.
Considering this is an 8-year-old design, it holds up pretty well against modern R2 figures - that's probably saying more for how little R2 figures have advanced than this actual design though. The dirt paint hides a lot of this figure's sculpting issues though, so it gets some help there. The battery hatch in the back is looser than on my other electronic R2s, but it's not a big deal. Just as before, the design of the electronics doesn't allow for the dome to rotate, so the stalk-eye is centered with the main radar-eye off to the right; also, the radar-eye is still an LED and technically pointing the wrong way if you're a stickler.
Using the modern legs does give R2 the more accurate detailing there, and Hasbro finally removed the middle leg leaving a plug in its wake (something I did when I cut off F/X R2's leg 7 years ago). The feet still have the rollers, but now also have footpeg holes too. The one thing I don't like is that they stamped big numbers into R2's underside, something you don't see on other figures. Still, compared to other R2s, this one ain't so bad if you can accept the non-turning dome.
Dagobah R2 has 4 points of articulation: hips, and ankles. Without the third leg, this articulation is more usable than you'd think. Still, without dome articulation, R2 somehow feels incomplete.
Only in the Lego universe is R2-D2 a disco king; in ours, he's barely mobile, much less poseable. Still, R2 can stand on his tippy-toes if he has something to lean on (like for example Yoda's hut window... oh that's right, we don't have a Dagobah playset - thanks a lot Hasbro), and he can sort of walk/shuffle the way he does in the movies. If he could rotate his dome, he'd do almost everything a 2-legged R2 in the movies can be seen doing.
Here's one area where OTC R2 really differs from other incarnations of this electronic droid figure. This R2 is covered in muddy brown paint, he's a messy slob! The paint in some areas looks a little too streaky like it was painted on rather than natural, and the legs underneath the mud is a whiter shade of plastic, but generally it all looks pretty good. The mud paint covers everywhere, even on the inside of the legs, and Hasbro molded the ankle pins in brown instead of white which looks much nicer (R2's unpainted white ankle pins have been a sore spot for a while with some figs). The whole thing is simple, but very effective.
There are a few spots on the body where paint was missed or sorely limited such as the bends in the legs and the holes in the shoulders, but they're not major issues. I really like how the dome looks, it's silver with a light dirty coating; the dome has a red LED instead of that orange one the Saga fig had, it looks nicer. And Hasbro didn't cheap out, they painted the figure as a normal R2 before applying the mud paint.
This R2 comes with 1 accessory, a Dagobah base/stand that interlocks with other Dagobah figures from this wave. I don't have them yet so I can't report on the interlocking feature, but this brown woody base is well-sculpted and -painted, not to mention almost the size of the figure itself. What else would this figure come with, free mud?
Normally I don't review features on the figures, but this R2 has a dandy feature. The previous electronic R2 figures had the same features, light-up LED eye and a speaker in the top which, when you pushed a button on the body, cycled through various R2 sound effects. The previous versions, F/X & Saga, used synthetic sounds to simulate R2's speech patterns - they were good but didn't really sound all that great... but this OTC version tosses that out the window and uses actual audio clips! Yes, you can cycle through 7 different pieces of R2's actual dialogue rather than cheap imitations, and when you hold down the button R2 screams just like when the swamp monster found him less-than-tasty. As nice as the other versions were, they just don't compete with the real-deal here. While the figure was muffled in the packaging, once freed he's just the right volume.
Some day, I'd really like Hasbro to be able to make an electronic R2 with movable dome (or accurate sculpting), but until then this is a really good version of the plucky little droid. Having real sound effects adds a great deal to the value of this figure, and the packaging looks terrific. If I were a kid I could definitely see carrying this R2 around with me everywhere, he's a great little figure with fantastic sounds and the muddy paintjob just adds more realism. As a collector, this figure is a joy, and even fans who aren't way into the figures will get a kick out of this one for their desks.