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  1. #1

    CW Castas with Speeder Bike, ARF Trooper with Republic Scout Speeder

    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.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  2. #2
    Thanks for the reviews JT. I had passed on the Castas and bike set at Toys R Us where it was priced at $19.99. Of course, they have the "class II" vehicles priced at $27.99, so everything is more there. I am especially excited to hear about all the features on his bike. This actually sounds worth picking up if I can find it at Walmart or Target. The Clone Speeder is very tempting as well. As far as price goes, I think at $15 both would be an easy buy (along with the battle droid and Grievous sets), but at $17 it seems a bit steep. It is amazing what just a couple extra dollars does to your perception of value.

  3. #3
    Well, the news of Kithaba's delay took quite a bit of wind out of my collecting sails, so I decided to just order Castas off of Amazon - since I'm having no luck whatsoever finding him in stores. All together I paid about $25 for him, after shipping. Considering where gas prices are and the fact that my nearest Target is 44 miles to the southwest and my nearest TRU is 50 miles to the north, I might have actually saved money on this deal.

    The bike is okay, but I didn't buy the set for the bike. I too was thinking that it was a shame there were so few features on the vehicle, but after reading Castas' "bio" on the back of the box, I started rechecking the bike for hidden weaponry and that's when I found the hidden blasters. Pretty cool, but like I said, I don't really care about the bike.

    Castas himself is awesome! Definitely worth $25 to me just for the figure alone. The only thing lacking is ankle articulation, but that seems to get left out a lot on CW figures. The headsculpt is dead on to the cartoon as are his overall proportions. His lopsided shoulders might be a bit exaggerated, but that can be minimized with some creative posing. I tried placing him on the bike when I first opened the set, but didn't spend too much time futzing with it as I'm not planning to display him with the bike at all.

    I liked Castas from the moment I saw him in the Clone Wars cartoon. He was a total surprise to me since I was only watching the episode for Bossk and wasn't expecting to see a Klatooinian in the show - especially not one with such a talkative and memorable role. Sure he was kind of cowardly and good-for-nothing, however, I think that was just a result of old age and the fact that he's obviously had a hard go at it in life. I'm betting he was pretty hardcore back in his heyday (about 20-30 years earlier) and was probably hired by Aurra on that reputation alone. Maybe he had been out of the game too long or just had a string of bad luck; but I think his contrary demeanor was a result of a low-point in his life. Unfortunately, it also ended up being the last point in his life. I'm currently loving the fact that Castas has so little backstory because it gives my imagination lots of freedom to fill in as many of those blanks as I want. It's also very rare that a new Star Wars figure will spark my imagination the way this Castas figure has - that alone is worth $25 to me.

    Anyways, I've only purchased a handful of figures this year, but Castas is definitely in my top 5 for best figure of 2011. He might even be number 1 on that list, but I don't want to be hasty - since I've only owned the figure for just over 36 hours now.
    "To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence… When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." - C.S. Lewis

  4. #4
    His right-shoulder shrug is WAY exaggerated, I was monkeying with the figure today and it's the set's biggest problem in my eyes, everything else could be forgiven but that.


    Sure thing, sonofsokol. I had seen the Scout Speeder and Droid ship at TRU as well, and their $20 pricetags for these little sets is INSANITY. I have actually seen a few new figures at TRU in the past that I ended up putting back, I think TRU's increased pricing has been hampering my feelings for the line in general, that on top of the already ridiculous new SRPs that had me rethinking collecting already.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  5. #5
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
    His right-shoulder shrug is WAY exaggerated, I was monkeying with the figure today and it's the set's biggest problem in my eyes, everything else could be forgiven but that.


    Sure thing, sonofsokol. I had seen the Scout Speeder and Droid ship at TRU as well, and their $20 pricetags for these little sets is INSANITY. I have actually seen a few new figures at TRU in the past that I ended up putting back, I think TRU's increased pricing has been hampering my feelings for the line in general, that on top of the already ridiculous new SRPs that had me rethinking collecting already.
    I've got Castas posed with his right hand on his holster, so it looks like he's preparing to quick-draw his blaster. Which I think the shoulders accentuate really well.

    I'm not sure if I agree that Castas' shoulders are over-exaggerated, but I have that episode in my iTunes library, so I'll take a second look and see if you're right.

    EDIT: I attached a screengrab from the episode. If anything I think Castas' head is way too small or his shoulders are too wide (or a combination of both), but the shoulder shrug looks about right to me.
    "To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence… When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." - C.S. Lewis

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by bigbarada View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've got Castas posed with his right hand on his holster, so it looks like he's preparing to quick-draw his blaster. Which I think the shoulders accentuate really well.

    I'm not sure if I agree that Castas' shoulders are over-exaggerated, but I have that episode in my iTunes library, so I'll take a second look and see if you're right.

    EDIT: I attached a screengrab from the episode. If anything I think Castas' head is way too small or his shoulders are too wide (or a combination of both), but the shoulder shrug looks about right to me.
    The "draw" pose is how I had my Castas posed as well, it's the only one that makes any sense for that much shrug (the figure is twice the shrug of what your screenshot shows), but it doesn't work on the bike because of the way the holster lines up. The only pose that works on the bike is a "left turn" kind of pose, and it doesn't really look that great.

    Castas' shoulders are way too big, but his head is also too small, compare it all to his waist (it's difficult because the figure doesn't have the same forward hunch many screenshots of him do).

    As for the shrug, he doesn't always wear it: http://images.wikia.com/starwars/images/0/0d/Castas.png

    (I have more of him not shrugging, but it's youtube video and I can't get good screenshots, just look him up.)
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  7. #7
    I don't know, it doesn't seem that exaggerated to me.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    "To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence… When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." - C.S. Lewis

  8. #8
    That shot is pretty misleading, there's a lot of angling to minimize it, the right shoulder is notably closer to the lens, it's shot low so that the torso is higher up and further back. Here's how he looks on mine, 3 different head-on angles...
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/594/imag0238a.jpg/
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/11/imag0239a.jpg/
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...mag0240al.jpg/


    BTW, I translated the aurebesh on the bike, it reads "Dog Faced Bounty Hunter", which is a little too silly for me.
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    "In Brooklyn, a castle, is where dwell I"
    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
    That shot is pretty misleading, there's a lot of angling to minimize it, the right shoulder is notably closer to the lens, it's shot low so that the torso is higher up and further back. Here's how he looks on mine, 3 different head-on angles...
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/594/imag0238a.jpg/
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/11/imag0239a.jpg/
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images...mag0240al.jpg/


    BTW, I translated the aurebesh on the bike, it reads "Dog Faced Bounty Hunter", which is a little too silly for me.
    I wasn't posting the photo in an attempt to win any arguments, I was just posting it to show how much I like the figure. But now that I look at it, I can see how it could be interpreted that way. In any case, I have the episode in my iTunes library, so I can go through it frame by frame whenever I want. I still don't see this figure's shoulder shrug as an overexaggeration. I will probably never put Castas on the speeder bike that he came with as the figure is the only reason I purchased the set. However, maybe they should have given Castas a ball-jointed midsection to help correct for his shoulders.

    In any case, seeing photos of Castas at TF in February took me completely buy surprise as I thought the window for getting this figure made had come and gone. So I'm just glad to see him in the line even if he does have flaws. I don't really see myself buying too much more from the CW line until Hasbro gets around to making some of those Trandoshan hunters.
    "To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence… When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." - C.S. Lewis

  10. #10
    I picked up the Scout Speeder from Target for only $5.08!!!

    Apparently the SKU got tied to the old DCPI for the old packaging vehicles + figure sets (like the Cad Bane speeder).
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