Partners, sidekicks, compadres, besties!
The "duo" has been a comedy staple from the early days of radio through those first "talkies" and well into the modern sitcom. Goerge had Gracie, Abbott had Costello, Laurel had Hardy, and Lucy had Desi.
One is often the more deadpan persona while the other is more expressive. Yes it's formulaic, but you know what? It works! So was it any surprise that George Lucas would infuse his seminal space opera Star Wars with a little bit of that formula? Enter Artoo Deetoo and See Threepio.
I don't think there's a six inch Black Series collector out there who didn't raise an eyebrow or mutter a "what?" when Hasbro showed off their See Threepio figure and saw that red arm. I thought, if Hasbro can afford to pack in an entire figure (albeit a small one in BB-8) with Rey then surely they can pack in a golden arm for 3PO. I mean seriously! R2-D2 was released in wave one all the way back in 2013 and he came packed in with practically every accessory ever seen on screen from telescopic periscope to hover jets!
Then late in 2015 Hasbro showed off their Walgreens exclusive version of the figure and I was both elated and infuriated. Elated that not only was there going to be a six inch See Threepio with two golden arms, but also a silver leg! Infuriated that this was another retailer exclusive where the retailer has absolutely no presence in Canada.
Being a toy collector in rural Canada means that frustration is just a part of the game. Especially where retailer exclusives are concerned. With no K-Mart, Target, or Walgreens to speak of that means that a whole lot of plastic awesomeness is either unobtainable or insanely marked up on the aftermarket.
Now i'm in no position to comment on how these "exclusives" are determined. All I can say is that i'm just glad that some of them have made their way to a Canadian retailer. Kylo Ren Starkiller Base and Rey Starkiller base were both K-Mart exclusives in the US and both made their way to market here through EB Games Canada. And while there is no word on whether the Walgreens exclusive Darth Vader Emperor's Wrath will be made available north of the 49th parallel; See Threepio is now (as of this writing) available at EB Games as well.
See Threepio comes packaged in the standard Black Series red and black packaging with the large window on the front of the box showcasing the figure within. Additionally there is a head shot of Threepio on the lower right corner. looking at the back of the box we have a short bio for the character as well as that same head shot we saw on the front. As a retailer exclusive there is no number on the box as there are with non exclusive figures.
I thought this figure was striking in the package, but even more so out of it. The first thing that grabs my attention is the figures deco. While Threepio is not vac metalized like his vintage counterpart, the gold colouring really does capture the essence of the character as he appeared throughout most of "A New Hope". Especially the scenes under the intense lighting conditions of the Tunisian desert.
But that's just the obvious "first glance" details. Turning this figure over in my hands i'm impressed, no, amazed at the amount of detail both molded in and in paint applications. From Threepio's tri-segmented eyes to the cabling in his mid section. The sculptors at Hasbro really put a lot of love into this one.
All of the elements that make Threepio, Threepio are here. The servo's of his arms, the Frankenstein like bolts of his neck, and that strangely awesome silver leg. Even the smallest details like the texture of the body glove worn by Anthony Daniels is captured. Look at those little "nubs" on his chest. At first you want to write them off as plastic slag from the molding process, but after looking at some reference photos you realize that these too are details from the costume. The point where the restraining bolt was attached to Threepio's chest.
With all the attention to detail in a six inch figure, there had to be a trade off. And that brings us to the weakest aspect of the figure, his articulation.
See Threepio has a ball jointed head allowing for a full 360 degrees of rotation. He can look up and down albeit with extreme limitation and he can move his head laterally just slightly.
He has combination ball swivels at the shoulder allowing full 360 degrees of rotation at the shoulder as well as full abduction of the upper arms.
Remember those awesome molded in servos at his elbows? well, sadly this is where the figure suffers the most. Because they are a molded in detail, this means that 3-PO has no articulation at the elbows whatsoever. I think the folks over at Hasbro had to find the balance between articulation and detail, so in order to preserve the overall look of the character the servos had to be molded in. I totally understand the decision too. I mean the servos are literally only millimeters thick and a little over a centimeter long, so making them functional would have been seriously expensive. And given how small they are, it's easy to imagine them breaking. So, even though it's a criticism, I really do feel like this is an acceptable "loss" because the "total package" really is exceptional.
He has hinge swivels at the wrist allowing full rotation, full flexion and full extension of the hands.
C-3PO has a ball jointed ab crunch that allows for limited rotation. And because of the way his hips are molded he has limited "crunch" yet a decent amount of hyperextension.
His legs are ball jointed. Again, because of the way his mid section and hips are molded he has limited range in every direction. This version of Threepio won't be doing the splits anytime soon! He has swivels at the thighs, and single hinges at the knee. Because of all that awesome molded in detail 3PO's range of motion does suffer. He can manage about 45 degrees of knee bend and oddly enough about 20 degrees of knee hyperextension.
Threepio's ankles have combination hinge swivels giving his feet full range both up and down, as well as good deal of ankle "rock".
Let's face it! This figure is just as flawed as the character it's inspired by, and you know what?. I love it! I don't care that he's not as articulate as the rest of my black series figures. Nor do I care that he's not vac metalized and ultra shiny like the vintage toy.
What I care about is that after three years, my Black Series Artoo Deetoo can finally be displayed next to someone other than Luke Skywalker. Posing these two comedy legends together feels like a homecoming of sorts. They look amazing together! Maybe it's the nostalgia I feel as a lifelong Star Wars fan, or maybe it's my excitement over not getting screwed out of another "retailer exclusive". What I can do is echo See Threepio's very own words from The Force Awakens and say "Oh my dear friend, how I've missed you".
Until next time fans....
...that's a wrap!