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  1. #1

    I have held the new TVC Battle Droid

    At the Hasbro panel at Comic-Con, they mentioned a new, transforming Battle Droid with "more articulation", but didn't elaborate. Folks thought this was finally the end-all, be-all BD we had been waiting for, especially with Sideshow showing off a billion of their new 12" version. However, they didn't have the figure in their booth's displays, so that's all we knew...

    However, while talking with Hasbro chief figure sculptor Dave Vennemeyer, I noticed in his bag of prototypes and test-shots a non-Clone Wars Battle Droid. He confirmed it was a first-shot of the upcoming TVC figure, so I asked to check it out. It hadn't occurred to me to take photos, and Steve wasn't in the booth unfortunately, or I'd have photos for you instead of just words.

    The new BD starts out with amazing accuracy in its sculpt, even the underside of the head has sculpting that previous BDs hadn't tried, everything looks really good in the sculpt. And that's a first-shot, which means the factory shot this piece from the mold to make sure everything was on the up-and-up. The figure has 2 holes in its back, one for the regular backpack, and one higher and smaller which possibly is going to be the commander-style antennae (the panel mentioned it came with 2 backpacks, but the accessories weren't included in this test-shot so it was figure only).

    The new BD does indeed the cut-aways in the lower legs for the full transformation there. However, the neck telescopes in like the original OOM-9 figure rather than the fold-down of the movie. I asked Dave why, he said when they went to examine how that all worked, that ILM had cheated, there's a panel below the neck proper which folds in, but in order to fold in enough for transformation, ILMers had that panel essentially disappear through the back, there's no physical way to accomplish what they did. Hasbro's answer explains why Sideshow also went that route, although I think Sideshow copped out since they had more material to try a hinge joint the way the Hasbro 12" figure has.

    The last thing I noted about the new BD is that it really has no significant new articulation to speak of. The chest is still 1 piece, the wrists and forearms still don't rotate. The only "new" articulation was an ankle hinge joint, which we've seen on the CW Battle Droid figure but not on a movie version, and I seem to remember small ball joints at the shoulders and hips the way the CW fig has, but I'm not entirely sure - I didn't want to force the first-shot to check and end up breaking Dave Vennemeyer's work piece. The idea that the new BD can hold the blaster 2-handed the way it did in the movie, that's just not accurate from what I had seen. Maybe Hasbro has something else in mind, or isn't done with the mold, but I doubt that. As to the question of material, it felt like it'd hold up, but most I've owned have felt similar and wilted over time, so at this point I can't speak to that issue.


    So what should you take away from this post? Well, the new Battle Droid has superior fine sculpting, it can basically fold up into the collapsed version (the forearms can't wrap around, but that's a very small detail), and it seems to be pre-planned for a commander version down the road. There aren't a ton of new joints, and it still doesn't have the forearm articulation it should, but it is taking a few new joints from the Clone Wars figure. Were you to ask me if I thought you should army-build it, I'd say at $9 a pop it's probably worth buying 1 or 2 first to see if it's your type of figure before going whole-hog on it, but that those 1 or 2 figures you buy will definitely end up at the front of any existing Battle Droid squads you have set 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.

  2. #2
    That's very interesting on the neck situation. At least there's an actual reason for it aside from them just getting it wrong.

    It's frustrating about the lack of forearm articulation, as that was what I was looking forward to most on a new battle droid. At least the sculpting sounds good.
    My Photos and Reviews: SSG Toy Guide
    My Star Wars Fan Film: The Lazy Jedi
    Follow Me: Twitter | Instagram

  3. #3
    I think if Hasbro really tried they could give a movie version Battle Droid the same kind of articulation that the CW Commando Droid has.

    They're basically the same size.

    It can't hold a blaster with two hands but it's still loaded with articulation.

  4. #4
    I'm actually looking forward to this figure as I think the Battle Droids are some of the more enduring designs from the prequels. However, I'll likely just buy one at first and see what I think of it, then I'll pick up one or two more.
    "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

  5. #5
    I'm bummed that this sculpt still can't achieve the two-handed grip. It was the reason that the POTJ Security Battle Droid was one of my favorites and frankly, the BDs look pretty silly holding such a large gun with one hand, straight out in front of them. I think they almost always use two hands in the movies and it seems pretty basic that such a distinct pose should be the goal for an SA figure.
    Have: CW Yularen, CW Clone, everything from CW Slave I set except Slave I, TFU Shadow Stormtrooper x2, Evo Trooper, Saga AT-AT Driver, K-Mart Jodo Kast || Want: Vintage Fordo
    Thanks to TheDarthVader, Phantom-like Menace, TheRealDubya, Jediguy, Dark Marble, Umbra, Qui-Long Gone, CrunchyNug, GH_fan and jedikiss.

  6. #6
    Dave said that in order to get the legs to fold up on this figure, he had to thicken the legs a little, but it's unnoticeable to my eye, I felt they were perfectly acceptable-looking. That said, the thinness of the arms really wouldn't allow for any articulation as-is. I meant to ask Dave if he'd consider thickening the arms to put swivels above and below the elbow, and a hinge at the "wrist", but some other folks wanted his attention and I got sidetracked the next day. The point about the Commando Droid is a good one, it's got thicker arms to accommodate that articulation, but I don't think I'd mind seeing that. What do you guys think?

    DJ5, I totally agree with you on the Security Battle Droid, I have 3 or 4 of them for just that reason. I have a lot of BDs in my collection, and those are the ONLY ones that look right in gun pose.

    Frick, I just thought of another idea, instead of thickening the whole arm, what about a second set of swap-out arms? I know Hasbro doesn't like to do this, but they've done it in the past, and the BD is so cheap, it'd help bolster their mediocre single-card value. GAH! I really wish I had thought of that last month and said it to Dave.
    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
    Quote Originally Posted by JediTricks View Post
    Dave said that in order to get the legs to fold up on this figure, he had to thicken the legs a little, but it's unnoticeable to my eye, I felt they were perfectly acceptable-looking. That said, the thinness of the arms really wouldn't allow for any articulation as-is. I meant to ask Dave if he'd consider thickening the arms to put swivels above and below the elbow, and a hinge at the "wrist", but some other folks wanted his attention and I got sidetracked the next day. The point about the Commando Droid is a good one, it's got thicker arms to accommodate that articulation, but I don't think I'd mind seeing that. What do you guys think?
    I'm with you on thickening the arms a little. The elbow joint has always seemed a bit on the knobby side and so thickening the arms may help the joint blend in and give it the added bonus of the articulation. Personally though, the wrists hinging has never been a real need for me but that's probably because I don't display the BDs in folded mode.
    Have: CW Yularen, CW Clone, everything from CW Slave I set except Slave I, TFU Shadow Stormtrooper x2, Evo Trooper, Saga AT-AT Driver, K-Mart Jodo Kast || Want: Vintage Fordo
    Thanks to TheDarthVader, Phantom-like Menace, TheRealDubya, Jediguy, Dark Marble, Umbra, Qui-Long Gone, CrunchyNug, GH_fan and jedikiss.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by DarkJedi5 View Post
    I'm with you on thickening the arms a little. The elbow joint has always seemed a bit on the knobby side and so thickening the arms may help the joint blend in and give it the added bonus of the articulation. Personally though, the wrists hinging has never been a real need for me but that's probably because I don't display the BDs in folded mode.
    If the wrists cannot fold up, the hand cannot hold the blaster rifle grip and barrel the way it does in the movies. I can probably let that one slide with a "close enough" pose halfway, but it won't look as good or be as versatile. Still, having a very thin rotation joint above AND below the elbow is problematic (although they could go with a rotation joint just below the shoulder, which would lessen breakage potential), and what works for animated figures may not pay off for realistic - those arms are pretty darn thin.
    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
    Frick, I just thought of another idea, instead of thickening the whole arm, what about a second set of swap-out arms? I know Hasbro doesn't like to do this, but they've done it in the past, and the BD is so cheap, it'd help bolster their mediocre single-card value. GAH! I really wish I had thought of that last month and said it to Dave.
    The fact that they're doing something similar on Ponda Baba - hands and arms for every occasion - means that they're at least open to this sort of thing. Frankly I'd be perfectly happy with a battle droid that has the left hand permanently sculpted to hold the blaster as opposed to making sure it can go into the folded-up position. And now we already have a few versions that can fold, so why not give us one that can hold the blaster?
    My Photos and Reviews: SSG Toy Guide
    My Star Wars Fan Film: The Lazy Jedi
    Follow Me: Twitter | Instagram

  10. #10
    I have no problem with them making the Battle Droid's arms thicker for more articulation.

    They also need to do it for the CW version.

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