HEAVY BATTLE DROID Star Wars Battlefront II
The Vintage Collection 3 3/4-Inch Action Figure
Item No.: No. F2711
Includes: Rifle, smaller rifle, backpack, antenna
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: June 2021
Appearances: Star Wars Battlefront II
Bio: The Heavy Battle Droid was a modified version of the B1-series battle droid, being equipped with firing programs to help in combat. (Stolen from Wookieepedia. There is no bio.)
Image: Adam’s photo lab.
Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!
Commentary: One of the good thing about droids, they’re easy to do as retailer exclusives with variant deco. GameStop had this guy as a 6-inch figure, but the 3 3/4-inch Heavy Battle Droid was a shared “fan” exclusive at most online retailers (and not big box stores.) It takes a good Battle Droid mold from 2012 and adds a lot of metallic red paint plus a bonus blaster for a small upcharge. Is it worth it? For one, sure. For army building… that depends on how much you love games.
The package isn’t as robust as what you get in the 6-inch line, and it seems like the 3 3/4-inch scale is increasingly meant to be for a niche audience. The paint job on this one looks better than his bigger companion, as he’s molded in a black plastic and slathered in a metallic red that really pops. There are some silver scuffed bits in there too, and it’s subtle. It’s hard to explain just how much better it looks – a droid molded in red plastic looks nice, but one painted red on top of that looks like it’s the real thing. A movie prop (or CG model) usually has paint over whatever raw materials are used, and this isn’t a benefit just for action figures – if you collected Transformers or die-cast cars, fans typically put a premium on die-cast construction. A lost art it may be, but it’s really all about paint and weight, and the weight is not all that important. If you take a plastic toy car and completely coat it with paint, the eye can’t tell the difference. (A scale, of course, can.) A few extra pennies turns a cheap toy into a premium collectible, plus it has other fringe benefits. For example, white paint doesn’t yellow like white plastic does. If Hasbro spent a few extra cents in manufacturing, yellowed Stormtroopers wouldn’t be an issue. That’s why the extra paint on this Battle Droid looks superb – it’s more than color. It’s texture. It’s an amazing form of visual trickery, and I am all for it.
The mold itself is The Vintage Collection mold we’ve seen in other colors before, and it’s fine. It’s not a huge improvement over the 1999 mold except for two things – one, there’s a bit of a ball joint in the shoulders and hips so they can pivot in addition to swivel. Two, it can curl up into the ball pose so you can deploy it in that MTT you regret skipping 10 years ago. There are no wrist or forearm swivels, no waist joints, and it’s not quite as fancy as the 6-inch armature. You can probably still squeeze some good poses out of him with the small and larger blasters, but it’s worth noting that the spindly limbs won’t hold up to gravity forever and you will want a display stand with upper body support. A disc with a peg will only be good for a short period of time before he sags and warps. That’s not a knock on Hasbro’s design – if they used stiffer plastic, there’s a good chance the limbs would snap. If they had no articulation below the hip, it might stand up, but fans wouldn’t like that. The 1999 models seemed to be the most durable, but at a cost of mobility and accuracy in the sculpt. It’s a design that wasn’t made with the very best 3 3/4-inch toys in mind, but it’s still a good translation of the concept. Sadly I don’t think swivel wrists and forearms will work at this size… but maybe someday they’ll skip the joints entirely and just give us swappable arms for a future Battle Droid toy. (Despite collectors’ requests, articulation is overrated in some figures – 2004 Dagobah Luke’s swappable arms were definitely the right move, for example.)
I like the gear – the extra Stormtrooper-style rifle is nice, the default Battle Droid blaster is obligatory, plus you get the backpacks and the antenna to plug in the back. The extra gear has nowhere to stow, so keep track of it carefully.
Having not played the game, I can only say I like the figure. (If I knew a small one was coming, I’d probably have skipped the 6-inch one.) I doubt this is going to be an essential addition to any collection, but it’s one I like a lot because it builds out the galaxy with something I don’t already own. We get so many reruns, updates, and remakes of existing toys that sometimes a repaint of a new battalion or model of droid can be exciting, and the vintage packaging doesn’t hurt either. If the mood strikes you, get it. (If it’s on sale, get that army started.) Collector’s Notes: I got mine from Entertainment Earth.
Day 2,888: January 6, 2022