I very nearly didn't buy Castas w/ Bike, the set is $17, looks small, and the box back says there are NO features beyond movable handlebars. I was going to put him back when the Republic Scout Speeder set came up on clearance, so I figured I'd split the difference, get 1 set on sale and the other not, balancing out to a reasonable price between the 2.

Castas w/ Bike it turns out has features that Hasbro seems to know nothing about, despite clearly building them in. There are slide-out cannons on the outrigger engines, the hand grips are articulated in 3 directions, the foot pedals are hinged at the top for a "racing forward" pose, and there's a drop-down landing leg. Granted, none of those are "major" elements, but all are fine additions to a relatively simple speeder bike design and certainly should have been called out on the packaging. The bike is pretty cool, it even balances on the pedals without needing the 3rd foot when Castas is riding it in the right position. The movable grips are impressive, so much range makes for better posing, but even better is that the pedal assembly hinges back on friction bumps for that racing pose. The pedals have footpegs, but they're angled forward which is odd, requires basically bending them into the foot to get them aligned, it works for now but I worry they'll eventually fail in the foot's peg holes. The bike has a lot of paint details, including a bunch of aurebesh on the front which I haven't translated yet.

Unfortunately, Castas himself isn't quite right for this vehicle. He's a tad oversized making him look like a linebacker on a kid's bike. He's pretty well articulated, so if you are creative enough you can minimize the size issue, but the hip side-hinge sticks out hitting his holstered pistol, and he doesn't have ankle articulation so the legs can't go quite as far as they should for a speeder bike pose. As mentioned, he has his pistol and it is very Clone Wars in style, a little chunky and simplistic, but not in a bad way (except when the leg joints hit it when it's slipped into the holster). Castas is running a significant hunch on his right shoulder, I know the guy wore it sometimes in his episodes, but not always, so it is awkward to find a pose that works on the bike with it (I still haven't), and it's so significant it's like he's pounding steroids only in that 1 area.

Overall, Castas w/ Speeder Bike is a decent set, but feels overpriced, you don't get that much even with the features Hasbro doesn't mention, which is a common problem with these Class 1 Fleet vehicle w/ fig sets.


Republic Scout Speeder w/ ARF Trooper starts with the figure - a repaint of the existing ARF figure, the wrist pegs on the one I opened aren't seated so well, and the location of the control grips forces them out further. The ARF's coloring does somewhat fit the AT-TE and other figures, but it's not a standout job here, just some red markings and Republic symbols on the shoulders. He sports a standard CW blaster (not the rifle or the little pistol).

The Scout Speeder is meant to compliment the Clone Swamp Speeder from the movies (the one that's on shelves now, basically a desk with 2 Laz-e-Boys and a fan). This is a smaller thing with 2 fans, a roll cage (that's why it doesn't have glass in the canopy, I asked Mark about that at SDCC) and a movable gunner platform on the back. The thing has decent paint and sculpting, it has wheels on the underside, the canopy hinges forward, and the fans can be swiveled a bit. It has 2 long cannons, 2 short cannons, and 2 greeblie things, all of which are intentionally interchangeable (called out on the packaging). The inside of the canopy has a tab to attach the figure's blaster to, this is pretty slick, but most folks won't know it's there because it's not mentioned on the packaging. The gunner station doesn't move that much, just 10 degrees or so in either direction, but it has a foot peg, grips, and even a pre-applied sticker for a targeting screen. Both sets of grips are the thicker type that can't really be used by SW figures without stretching their hands, these keep popping up here and there in the CW line's vehicles, kind of annoying. The seat is fairly reclined, the ARF has no trouble using it, but I don't know if a less-articulated figure could make any use of it (I haven't tried though).

I didn't like this vehicle at first when I got it, there's a lot of ideas thrown at the wall trying to stick without enough central concept, but it has plenty going on, just nothing quite "wow" factor. It did finally grow on me though when I found the storage for the blaster, all the ideas are there for fun and are trying to be organic to the SW universe, it has the right idea even if it's a little awkward.

Overall, there's nothing wrong with the Republic Scout Speeder with ARF Trooper, it's not a standout star either though. The interchangeable weapons is a nifty touch, and the gunner station at the back makes it more than what it seems to be. Aside from the oversized grips, the vehicle has good paint and sculpted detail. The figure is ok, but I'm starting to feel ARFed out.



Both these sets highlight a problem with the Class 1 Fleet pricepoint though, that $17 is way too much money for what you get. These are nearly at the Starfighter-pricepoint (that pricepoint is now $25 and called "Class 2 Fleet", I believe, but still pretty close) yet you don't get even half the product as those vehicles, and the figures too often aren't worth the heavy buy-in when CW figures are still going for $7-$8. It's funny, if these were $15, I'd probably like them more (anything in the line which isn't a rehashed vehicle from a previous line is true here, yet we keep getting more BARC Speeders), but that extra $2 makes them feel like a kick in the teeth. I turned down the Grievous set because the wheel bike's wheel doesn't move, I paid nearly the same price for the movie wheel bike and it did move and came with a figure! This pricepoint just feels like it needs to try harder than it can, which ends up as a frustrating purchase unless the item is truly amazing.