That's an amazing price! I already received mine yesterday, but get this, apparently today at 1pm it was on Lightning Deal for $22! That's insane for the amount of product you get! $30 is definitely nothing to sneeze at, but $22 is lower than a Class-2-fleet vehicle.
So, a few notes about the Republic Attack Shuttle (RAS for short):
- The nose door is attached wrong, the holes should be facing out, it's easily remedied but looks like a misunderstanding going back to the original photography and carrying through the instructions;
- Speaking of the instructions, they mention but do a poor job highlighting that the hinged guns flanking the cockpit which end up on the top of the tower, those retract to be more accurate;
- The landing legs are fairly close to "permanent" once installed, if you wish to remove (and I do), it'd be wise to round the friction stops down before installing;
- The wings are pretty tough to install, the instructions make a point of this, and it's quite necessary, so the key is to find a leverage point and angle which will work with it, then be quite deliberate (or, possibly just unscrew the wing a little, it looks like that may be going on);
- The pilot control panel is hinged, you can flip it up all the way 90 degrees to apply the inner sticker;
- There's a light gray DC-15A rifle attached to the inside of the port wing's interior, it's very easy to miss at first glance on the off-white wall;
- The sounds change from mode to mode, it's easy to miss but pretty neat.
I guess I'll give a few thoughts on it...
From a collector perspective:
The RAS is a pretty big ship, technically it's not surprising why it's $80, yet just like the Imperial Shuttle before it, there's not a lot of "body" to the footprint, leaving it feeling less than all it can be. The scale is way off, like 1:2 or even 1:3 maybe, but aside from the canopy, there's nothing terribly out of proportion to the overall design. This is not a troop transport type of vehicle, in original configuration it holds 2 in the cockpit and probably another 5 or 6 in the body, although you could conceivably double that, removing the port pop-up blaster gives you comfortable seating on a bench for 3, and the rest is standing-room-only so you can just put more figures next to each other. Oddly, there's no way to get in or out of the main body in original configuration, the entertainment has them going through the hatch in the nose but here that merely opens to access to the front pilot seat.
The exterior details are fine, lots of screw holes on the starboard but nothing I'd consider deal-breaking, and the transformation is less than obvious, with only a few little hinges in the wings and a few hexagonal holes for the movable pop-up guns. The landing legs are non-removable/retractable, they're mostly hidden by the wings when deployed, but I'd still like it if they weren't there for flight. The wings snap to flat and then past flat to flight configuration quite nicely, although the starboard gun door often will liberate itself when you do that, but those doors do indeed close which was a big worry for me originally. The wings raise to a slightly-outside-vertical position like it's signalling a touchdown, I thought this was wrong and they should be inside-vertical, but I've found enough evidence to support Hasbro's design being from the entertainment, so it's all good, and the wings stay vertical quite well, no drooping here (the hinges are independent of each other, so no mis-geared angle problems like the old Imp Shuttle). The main features if you leave the vehicle as-is are the movable wings, opening cockpit and front hatch, and the blister cannons flanking the cockpit rotate around with a missile launcher on each - unfortunately, the launcher acts as the second cannon in the pair despite being way too large, and removes the ability to swing out the way they do in the entertainment, so they only rotate on the X-axis.
The paint is ok, there's enough of what's supposed to be there that it doesn't feel like a whiff, but the lack of weathering is still a big problem in the Clone Wars line with the use of wide expanses of white in the designs. Here, the off-white plastic isn't the ugly problem it was on the V-19 Torrent, but it's still white enough that a lot of sculpted detail gets lost at first glance. There's something about CW vehicles that make them seem less authentic to the SW universe, and unfortunately the RAS is among the suffering of that issue, but it's cool in its own rite, and there are some nice SW touches like the engine nozzles. The ship sports about 20 stickers, going from pretty small to medium. The interior stickers may require a pair of tweezers and some patience, but I don't think there's a single NECESSARY sticker here, all of them are nice to have (except the one in the roof of the canopy, that one actually covers up some nice sculpted detail, I didn't use it) and the ones inside the wings do help bring that area to life, but that's not a collector-focused area anyway, so the collector could get away with only applying the ones in the cockpit and main body.
The interior is accessible in this mode via a hatch built into the top just for flight display, which is a really slick touch since they could have left it with the lift-up tower as the only access, especially with the hatch housing a pull-out missile launcher. Inside the body, the details are VERY Star Warsy, and every wall and bulkhead and even the facade door in the back would feel right at home on a Star Destroyer. It's all dark gunmetal gray plastic, but a lot of the surfaces have sculpted controls or paneling, and the few stickers inside bring it more to life. The interior also sports the only lights, a pair of red LEDs which signal the alert status, it's a nice touch but feels like there could have been another light crammed into the exterior. The interior of the cockpit is white plastic and is an oddity, it's a pair of standing seats in front of each other, you have to bend the figure's legs and knees partway to get them to fit, but they're still standing. Yet it looks alright as it is, it gets away with it, and the interior is chock full of sculpted tech detailing; that said, I did have to spread the figure's arms out to the side to keep him from rattling around in his seat.
The figure is a new-helmet, new-body phase-I Clone Pilot whose paint is essentially Oddball, except with black logos on the shoulders. I don't love the new body for pilots, the lack of mid-torso jointing and the tight hip jointing limits their sitting potential, but at least there's not much sitting required for this cockpit. As I mentioned above, Pilot here comes with a long rifle which is stored in the wing, the rifle is odd in that it's light gray.
As a collector, this thing is a hard pill to swallow at $80, it's a lot like the Imperial Shuttle in weaknesses in that it really can't hold as many figures as its large, unwieldy footprint demands since the wings really take up a lot of budget. And since it's not from the movies, it's also not as easy to find a place for in a pure-collector collection. But it isn't bad, and if you dig the Clone Wars, it's a lot easier to enjoy as a collector because it's in so many episodes, and despite its transformation potential, there aren't any significant visual compromises hampering it.
Now, as a "fun" perspective:
The RAS is big and heavy like an expensive SW toy should be, yet it also feels fairly solid in vehicle mode despite every major element transforming. It's not bad to whoosh for an adult, but I cannot guess whether it'd be possible for a kid, though I doubt it. The vehicle mode is your standard modern SW vehicle, and as mentioned above, it has space for 2 in the cockpit and another handful in the interior. But it definitely will need parental assistance with assembly, I have already seen a number of reviews online from casual consumers decrying the difficult wing assembly (although I do think they're being a bit over-the-top considering they don't want it to be flimsy junk nor do they want to spend another $40 in a larger package that will more likely result in broken parts).
Transformation is quite detailed, there's something going on pretty much everywhere. The back becomes the front of the base, the part that the enemy faces, so first you pull out the pair of white cannons out from the engine. Then, a slider built into the top releases the tower so you can pull it up. The tower uses a heavy, loud ratchet to stand upright or go past upright - there's enough play in that joint that there's never a perfect upright, but either before or past the point it'll stand well and won't look too far off - then a missile launcher hinges out of the now-front on an arm, and can be angled up, down, or straight. Out the top of the tower, the pair of cannons slide out and reveal a hinge and rotation joint on either one. Laying the wings flat is easy, each hinge has a specific stop for it, and it's flush with the vehicle's landing legs, then the face of each wing is pulled up to act as an armor plate behind which to hide plenty of troops, and at the plate end there's a flip-around cannon to aim at the enemy. Panels aside the main body are spring-loaded, pressing each one's corresponding button sends them open, and from inside spring out a large missile launcher on a long arm on either side. The cockpit can be lifted straight up and set aside to reveal the main body's fold-out boarding ramp. The cockpit becomes a scout craft, with fold-down wings and a drop-down thruster engine, and a blaster behind the canopy is hinged to be used here, as well as a hole behind it to sit a figure to act as gunner - the gunner station is simple, but there's actually a little sculpting in there despite not really being able to be seen.
So, what you are left with once the RAS has transformed is actually quite a decent operations base, reminds me a bit of the original GI Joe A Real American Hero HQ Command Center. There's the armored walls with a cut-away to shoot out of, and inside each wing-wall is some sculpted detail, a number of foot-pegs, and a wall rack designed to accommodate 6 rifles. The main body has the 2 spring-up missile launchers, which have control grips and a small platform, and they are designed to fit in any of the 4 larger holes in the body and wing-floor on either side of the vehicle. There's the main body with a wide computer panel in the command center area, and the boarding ramp can also fold up to close the small doorway leading to the command center. Then there's the tower, which has a platform in the middle to control the big missile launcher or to fire out its opening, and another right above at the top that to view the battlefield. And then you have the recon fighter, which is a nifty vehicle with its small wings and underslung engine.
Transforming back to vehicle mode is the same experience in reverse, although a couple elements have to be done in the right order for clearance, but they're obvious when you get there and nothing feels like it's going to break off or be a flimsy problem (the foot platforms on the spring-up guns can be slid out easily, but they slide back in and can be angled to catch again) - the tower even sports a break-away joint if something goes horribly wrong. The cool thing is, once you've transformed everything, the vehicle mode can now sport extra weapons, the pop-up missile launcher on the top, the cannons out the back, the big spring-up missile launchers, and cleverly enough, the cannons in either wing are designed to lay flat if deployed in vehicle mode, so the Republic Attack Shuttle really becomes a true "Attack" vehicle where it hadn't been before. So it's a lot of fun in a single package
... And that's before even mentioning the electronic sounds, of which there are many. There's buttons on the port side with icons for the various sound types they control - clone trooper, flight mode, big battle, and blasters. Moving the port wing to any of its 3 positions creates its own sounds, and changes the sound profile of the other modes, so in flight mode it's about a flying battle, where in base mode it's about foot attacks and such. Each of the springing panels holding back the pop-up missile launchers has its own sounds as well, and lifting up and closing down the tower create their own sounds too. Inside the main body, the twin alarm lights only light up for appropriate sounds and activities, not just blinking all the time like older toys would. There's like 30 different voices taken right from the show, nearly all of which are clone trooper dialog, some being Battle Droids as well. The thing can talk and talk, playing out its own battle scenarios, and it's not always clear what a button press will offer in those situations, but thankfully there's also a nice fat OFF switch on the starboard aft top. There's really almost too many lines, but there is some clever intentions going on to use them as wisely as possible what with the modes controlling which lines are allowed when. 3 AA batteries go into the underside next to the speaker grille.
The play value here is definitely more exciting in its play potential as a vehicle that lands and turns into a battle base and a smaller vehicle. While it's a very nifty item overall and great for someone with a lot of Clone Wars figures to fill up the action with, it still feels like a bit over-the-top in pricing at $80, an MSRP of $65 would have felt like a home run for the casual consumer market. The electronics are extensive, clever in the way it works with various modes, but for my tastes there's too much focus on dialog and drawn out scenarios rather than open play - I would have preferred battle sounds and dialog come more from my choices than from the designers' - and I really would have liked to see flashing cannons or engines or even a landing light on the exterior, the alarm light simply isn't enough on its own, cool though it may be. But there's plenty going on here, and it makes a meal out of an otherwise boring shuttle concept, so in that respect I think this is a strong item.