Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Destroy The Republic With Episode 1 "Destroyer Droids," Even If They Aren't Perfect!

The Good: Cool sculpt, Decent detailing, Interesting enough accessory
The Bad: Balance issue, Inability to transform
The Basics: The Destroyer Droid is a powerful weapon for the Trade Federation and a cool toy for fans of Star Wars toys!

George Lucas is an innovator and he deserves a lot of credit for creating any number of concepts or creatures to thrill audiences with. But when one thinks of George Lucas and all he has done for cinema, one seldom takes the time to contemplate all of the problems he had made. So, for example, in innovating digital characters, most people fail to consider how such innovations affect things like the toy manufacturers. And yet, when one sits down to consider such things as the Destroyer Droid action figure, at least the original one produced by Hasbro as part of the "Episode I" figure release, it is hard not to look and see just how much of a headache Lucas created by working with characters that could not possibly exist in the real world.

The Destroyer Droids, powerful, shielded robots that are utilized by the Trade Federation as the powerhouse of their armies in The Phantom Menace (reviewed here!) were digitally-created robots that excited fans when they first rolled onto the screen as giant wheels and unfolded into heavily-armed droids that were virtually impossible to stop. The Destroyer Droids, unlike the easily-disposed of Battle Droids, had built-in weapons, shields and could not easily be stopped, even by Jedi. In the prequel trilogy, Destroyer Droids pop up as staples in the Trade Federation army which help mow down the clone armies and the Republic. They are a useful tool in Palpatine's subtle plan to destroy the interstellar democracy and they make for an excellent toy.

This 4" Destroyer Droid figure, then, is essential for any Star Wars toy enthusiast. The problem, of course, is that because the Destroyer Droid never existed in the real world, it was remarkably difficult for Hasbro to render as an action figure in the real world. Moreover, despite the initial quality of the Destroyer Droid, Hasbro would later released more complicated, accessorized or better-balanced Destroyer Droid action figures than this one. Still, when building an army, one can never have too many Destroyer Droids!


The Destroyer Droid is sculpted in steel-gray plastic with detailing on any portion that would have appropriately been the outside wheel portion. But herein lies the problem for fans of the series; this Destroyer Droid illustrates its lack of ability to fit into the real world by not having any clear way it could have been the wheel to begin with. It is impossible to compact or arrange the Destroyer Droid into its more mobile wheel form and as a result, this Destroyer Droid is completely limited to marching forward and shooting.

That said, the Destroyer Droid looks exactly like they did when unfolded in The Phantom Menace. All of the guns look menacing and the wires and tubes look realistic for their function and placement. This looks like a wicked robot that would cut down anything that moved before it!

The Destroyer Droid figure stands a full 3 3/4" tall, which makes it disproportionately small compared to the other figures in this line. It ought to have been larger as these droids are pretty big in the films. This figure is made of a combination of hard plastic - the leg supporting sphere and upper portion where the head clips on - and has soft plastic arms, legs, spine and head.

This toy is a decent sculpt, capturing the mass-produced droid quality of the robot warriors, including such things as the three lasers on what would otherwise be considered the droid's chin. The detailing on the painted portions like the head, gold accents on the laser hands and the shading on the leg sphere are pretty amazing.


The Destroyer Droid, being a mass-produced weapon of unspeakable power, requires no real accessories. As a result, this figure comes with only the standard CommTech chip for this series of figure. For the "Episode I" figure line, Hasbro toyed with action figures that spoke to those who took them out of the package. Thus, each figure came with a chip that featured an image of the character and a voice chip. When placed on the CommTech reader and read, the CommTech player would play dialogue from the Destroyer Droid on it. This chip has noises of the lasers and explosions that were made by the digital character, so it sounds perfectly like Destroyer Droid.

Other, later Destroyer Droid releases, had things like launching hand missiles and plastic shields, which were cool. This one, however, just sits, attacks and falls over.


The four inch toy line was designed for play and the Destroyer Droid is a mixed bag in that regard. The Destroyer Droid figure is generally well-balanced on its tripod legs, but the pointed feet fold inward at times, which makes the Destroyer Droid fall right over. Thus, the Destroyer Droid must be posed quite carefully to avoid tipping and as one plays with it more, it becomes much more likely this top-heavy figure will tip right over.

In addition to its balance issues, the Destroyer Droid is a poor figure as far as posability goes because of its very nature. This is not a dextrous robot, it is a lumbering laser cannon that blows things up. Still, it is graced with eleven points of articulation and Hasbro gives it a good try with this. The Destroyer Droid, as an action figure, has joints at the three groin sockets, feet, two shoulders, wrists and neck. The head rotates up and down, which is realistic for this droid, even if it is not terribly exciting. The elbows do not straighten and that is the biggest posing letdown. Still, the simple joints at the legs, shoulders and wrists give the Destroyer Droid about 180 degrees (in two planes!) worth of firing poses.

As far as play goes, this is the ideal Destroyer Droid for kids who have an imagination as they must imagine the lasers and shields this powerful robot uses to slaughter their Jedi!


The Destroyer Droid is part of the final 1998 "Episode I" collection of four-inch action figures. This series of Star Wars action figures was less overproduced than the initial run and as a result, figures like Destroyer Droid are quite a bit harder to track down than their first wave counterparts. As a result, Destroyer Droid may be found, but it might require more effort than some of the other figures and it will likely be more expensive than the original issue price. In other words, this Destroyer Droid is a fair investment and is ideal for collectors and investors, as well as children who actually want a Destroyer Droid to play with!


The Destroyer Droid is a good action figure hampered more by problems of bringing this virtual character into the real world than the demands of the figure on the person playing with its imagination!

For other droid figures, please check out my reviews of:
2010 Saga Legends IG-88
2009 Legacy Collection R2-X2
2006 Saga Collection General Grievous


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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