The Good: Good sculpt, Accurate coloring and accessory
The Bad: Balance issue, Inability to use accessory
The Basics: With very limited uses, the TC-14 figure from The Phantom Menace is entirely average and is only recommended for Star Wars fans who love the protocol droids.
There are very few Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace figures that I did not get when they were first released and I found myself coveting. In fact, one of the only ones I have kept over the years has been the Destroyer Droid (reviewed here!). Oddly, one of the ones I had a secret longing for over the years was the TC-14 figure, which made it all the more disappointing when my wife surprised me by picking one up before I got my job at the comic book shop. TC-14 is an entirely average Star Wars protocol droid and because my play does not use a whole ton of Droids, I more or less needed this for the CommTech chip and have relegated it since to the background positions in dioramas.
TC-14 is actually one of the characters that has an early part in The Phantom Menace (reviewed here!) including lines! TC-14 is the protocol droid who brings Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn drinks when they first arrive on the Trade Federation blockade ship. It is actually TC-14 who recognizes the men as Jedi Knights and she walks out of the room as the Jedi are gassed.
The 4" TC-14 figure is pretty much a luxury droid for fans and the real benefit is more for collectors than play enthusiasts; this figure was short-produced and thus has remained more valuable in the secondary market than virtually every other The Phantom Menace action figure.
TC-14 is sculpted in shiny chrome-silver plastic with detailing on the abdomen and in the eyes. TC-14 is very clean, so her silver color is unblemished and her mirror finish is broken up only by the torso section where wires are visible - and painted yellow, red, white, blue and green over the black background - and her eyes, which are the standard bright orange-yellow of the protocol droids.
TC-14 stands 3 3/4" tall and is a decent sculpt, capturing the mass-produced droid. She looks virtually identical to C-3P0, save that she is bright silver. Her proportions are correct and outside her voice, there is nothing that would indicate the robot is a woman. This Episode I droid is a fairly decent sculpt. Details like the struts from the bicep to forearm are molded into the droid and older sculpts did not have that level of detail. While the legs have great detailing at the knees, TC-14 is a very stiff droid.
The TC-14, being a service droid, comes with her tray and a drinking container. The tray is a 1 1/8" wide flat silver disc with two handles on either side. On the top are two tiny shot glasses molded into the surface. There is also a small peg, which allows the drink container to be placed securely on the tray. TC-14 is molded with hands that can hold the tray, but that is pretty much all she can hold.
The drink container is a solid silver-colored bullet that has a very phallic appearance. Standing 3/4" tall, the drink container is too wide (1/4" in diameter) to be held by any figure I have yet found.
As well, 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 TC-14 on it. This chip has the voice of TC-14 saying "I am TC-14 at your service. This way ambassadors," "We are greatly honored by your visit," "Make yourselves comfortable," and "My master will be with you shortly."
The four inch toy line was designed for play and TC-14 is poor in that regard. TC-14 is exceptionally poorly-balanced and there is almost no way to get her to stand up and stay standing, despite being placed flatfooted on numerous surfaces around. On the plus side, she does have holes in both her heels, allowing her to plug into any number of playsets that have pegs to keep her standing upright.
In addition to its balance issues, the TC-14 is a poor figure as far as posability goes because of its very limited range of motion. She is graced with only five points of articulation and Hasbro phoned it in, despite the source material being pretty inflexible. TC-14, as an action figure, has joints at the groin socket, shoulders and neck. All of the joints are simple swivel joints and the elbows do not straighten or bend.
TC-14 is part of the 2000 Episode I collection of four-inch action figures. This series of Star Wars action figures was the least-produced of the The Phantom Menace figures. As a result, figures like TC-14 are quite a bit harder to track down than their first wave counterparts. As a result, TC-14 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 TC-14 is a fair investment and is ideal for collectors and investors, despite the fact that TC-14 has appeared in a later release without the CommTech chip.
TC-14 is fine for the die-hard enthusiasts, but isn't worthwhile for casual Star Wars fans. All that gets it up into average range is its collectible value; otherwise, it is pretty much a wash.
For other Star Wars droid reviews, please check out my takes on:
Attack Of The Clones Hailfire Droid
Power Of The Jedi FX-7
Power Of The Force R2-D2
For other toy reviews, please check out my index page on the subject by clicking here!
© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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