Monday, June 13, 2011

Discoloring Already, The Arena Escape Padme Amidala Is Hardly The Best Figure In The Line!

The Good: Not a bad sculpt, Decent accessories
The Bad: Plastic discolors, Proportion issues, Balance issues
The Basics: A frustrating disappointment, this Padme Amidala figure initially looks good, but the plastic denatures and the faults in the sculpt make it hard to recommend.

Some Star Wars figures seem better upon their initial release than they do upon further inspection years down the line. There are often simple reasons for this: hype, later and better sculpts and/or manufacturing defects that only time reveals. In the case of the Arena Escape Padme Amidala action figure from the Attack Of The Clones action figure line, hype made this one popular and I suspect now there are better sculpts on the market. Still, what truly knocks this figure into the "below average" territory it finds itself in is a manufacturing defect that only time will reveal. This is the same defect that I reported on in the Kenner Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper Disguise (reviewed here!) with the discoloration of white plastic on Stormtroopers. On the plus side, the Arena Escape Padme confirms for me that the defect is in the plastic, not the paint and as a result, this Padme Amidala figure is a mixed bag of good and defective.

The Arena Escape Padme Amidala is Padme as she appeared in the Geonosis Arena battle scenes in Attack Of The Clones (reviewed here!). She is sculpted especially to draw and shoot her blaster while appearing to be able to kick. Her pose is a strong action pose and it is easy to see why this incarnation of Padme was one of the first. Arena Escape Padme Amidala is one of the essential Star Wars characters and this one could have been so cool, if only it was able to stand up unaided and was a better sculpt!

This 4" Arena Escape Padme Amidala figure is generally decent, but it would be even better if it both stood up and resembled Padme in terms of bust and general proportions. This Padme is a bit more buff and busty than the Padme Amidala of the film. As a result, in the action pose Padme has taken, it is virtually impossible for her to stand unless counterbalanced by her chain and it is impossible to pose her in a more reasonable pose than the action kick, half-jump that she is posed in now.


Arena Escape Padme Amidala in this form is the Senator from Naboo posed in a dramatic action moment during the Battle Of Geonosis from Attack Of The Clones. Her left leg is posed in a bent position and her right leg is extended straight. This makes it impossible for her to stand atop her Geonosis pillar or even credibly below it. She he has an action crouch working for her and it might be fine, save for other sculpting defects. Her arms are designed to be a part of one of the toy's features, but they fall pathetically short of looking right or providing decent play value. Padme's right hand can hold the blaster that comes with the figure and is designed to flip up when the waist is turned. The left hand is molded with the fingers spread open so she may slap an adversary and/or keep the chain which binds her from falling off at the wrist.

The Arena Escape Padme Amidala figure stands only 3 1/4" tall, because the character appears to be keeping a slightly lower center of gravity. Arena Escape Padme Amidala is appropriately coifed in her white top and white leggings and boots with her right arm, midriff and face exposed. The figure has such appropriate details as the tear from the Nexu on her back and some form of bone pick on her belt. As well, her bare arm has an armlet which hides one of the points of articulation! This figure is made of a combination of solid plastic, with her right arm being composed of the softer, more rubbery plastic that Hasbro began using for these figures around this time.

This toy is a decent sculpt, in the face area. The Arena Escape Padme Amidala looks appropriately like actress Natalie Portman. Arena Escape Padme Amidala is impressive in his coloring detail . . . to a point. The detailing on the figure's face is somewhat monolithic and the skin tones are nowhere near realistic. She has no rouge, for example on her cheeks, but her lips are accurately bright pink. As well, the fingers do not have fingernails molded into the sculpt.

The real sculpting problem - outside the fact that it is virtually impossible to keep her standing - is in the chest area. Padme's breasts are bigger than her head, which is nothing like the realistic proportions of Natalie Portman's Padme Amidala! As well, because of the flip gun function of the right arm, the bare arm looks awkward at the shoulder and the hinges are way too obvious. As bad are the legs at the groin socket. There is no way to get Padme to stand with the legs in the seamless look. Unfortunately, to get her to stand flatfooted, the legs stick out at awkward angles at the groin socket!

On the subject of the legs, Padme's legs are cast in white plastic, much like the Stormtrooper figures. Then, her boots are colored, apparently. The problem here is that Padme's legs discolor as time goes on. The white plastic denatures and now her legs to not match the plastic of the torso area where the white abdomen-covering clothing has been painted on. The result is a figure that looks ridiculous on far too many levels to recommend.


Arena Escape Padme Amidala, being a captive Senator, has three scene-appropriate accessories. This Arena Escape Padme Amidala figure comes with a chain, a Battle Droid's blaster and a pillar where she was kept chained. The chain is bound with simple rings around her left arm and this is an actual metal chain about six and a half inches in length! The chain ends in a larger ring which attaches to the top of the Geonosis pillar. The chain may be used by Padme as a weapon and its flexibility is pretty cool and a nice touch for those who like the figure!

The other weapon Arena Escape Padme Amidala comes with is a Battle Droid's blaster, like the one she recovered once she and Anakin were freed! This is a simple 1 5/8" black plastic blaster which is lacking in any coloring details, though it is a good sculpt of the weapon. Unfortunately, it looks disproportionately large in Padme's grip, but at least it is accurate.

For those who have seen Attack Of The Clones, one might remember that Padme was chained to a pillar. This Padme comes with a small pillar that she may be chained to. The four inch tall rubbery column is an added bonus for the Padme figure and it comes with an impressive amount of shading and coloring detail, including cracks and rings in the column's surface. As well this accessory breaks into two pieces and that is pretty cool, despite the fact that Padme's column did not so break.


The four inch toy line was designed for play and Arena Escape Padme Amidala is not bad in that regard. First, Padme has the "quick draw" hand function. Her extended right arm lowers when she is turned at the waist. Releasing the figure then causes her to whip around and raise her arm and if it has the gun in it, it looks like she is drawing the weapon quickly. This is a very cool function.

Still, the figure is not as playable as it ought to be. Most notably, with or without any of the accessories, it is impossible to get this Padme to stand up. The pose Arena Escape Padme Amidala is in makes for a ridiculously low amount of stability. She is gifted with only seven points of articulation and that is a huge letdown considering the overall quality of the figure. The lowered flexibility pretty much mandates collectors pose the figure in very set ways and have the accessories in Padme's hands if one wants to keep her standing. Arena Escape Padme Amidala, as an action figure, has joints at the groin socket, waist, right bicep, shoulders, and neck. There is no articulation in the knees and all of the joints are simple swivel joints, save the right shoulder which is a simple hinge. That joint is modified by the swivel joint in the bicep, which makes it possible to rotate the straight arm so she can shoot the gun with essentially different wrist positions.

The spring-loaded waist is fun and can be used to knock other figures over, but for those who pose their figures (not play with them), there is little to recommend this figure.


Arena Escape Padme Amidala is part of the 2002 Star Wars saga collection of four-inch action figures. This series of Star Wars action figures was fairly common and the Arena Escape Padme Amidala figure was #02 in that collection and was in no way shortpacked in the cases. As a result, Arena Escape Padme Amidala was pretty well available in the cases of this product and as a result is still widely available on the secondary market today. Still, because Padme is a popular character (and arguably because this one shows off her tummy) it has remained one of the more popular figures. As a result, this one has generally increased in value.


Arena Escape Padme Amidala is an interesting figure, but she does not come close to being as indispensable as a Padme in this costume ought to have been.

For other Attack Of The Clones line figures and toys, please check out my reviews on:
#10 Shaak Ti
#23 Yoda
Deluxe Yoda with Force Powers
Deluxe Nexu
Geonosian Starfighter
Hailfire Droid


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

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

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