Friday, July 8, 2011

Unbalanced And Odd, The Mustafar Panning Droid Is A One-Figure Playset!

The Good: Good concept, Decent detailing, Good articulation.
The Bad: Lame accessory, Absolutely terrible balance!
The Basics: The Mustafar Panning Droid is more accessory than figure and it is unnecessary, save for those fleshing out a very full lava world!

When I picked up the Mustafar Lava Miner figure (reviewed here!) from the Star Wars 30th Anniversary action figure series, I knew just how good my wife was as a saleswoman. My wife set up the comic book shop I worked at with me and she was responsible for putting up most of the Star Wars action figures. It was she, then, who carefully positioned the Mustafar Lava Miner next to and in front of the Mustafar Panning Droids. So, the moment one removed the Mustafar Lava Miner from the peg, there was the accompanying droid staring one in the face from two pegs. It's my wife's fault I had to buy this figure, then!

For those unfamiliar with the Mustafar Panning Droid, it appeared near the climax of Revenge Of The Sith (reviewed here!) on the planet Mustafar. As Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi began their climactic battle across the lava flows, the Mustafar Panning Droids were the hovering robots that drop their buckets of lava to fly the two Force-attuned combatants around the lava flows.

The 4" Mustafar Panning Droid figure from the 30th Anniversary Collection is the only version of this very obscure figure to hit the market.


The Mustafar Panning Droid figure stands only about 1 1/4" tall when it is off its stand accessory and on its own. The Mustafar Panning Droid is little more than a 1 5/8" in diameter platform above a headstalk. Imagine the robot from Short Circuit's head under a cymbal and you have the essence of this droid. The Mustafar Panning Droid is supposed to levitate, so it has very little in the way of a body and two sets of arms, though one set could be used as feet with chicken leg joints as their model. The arms are thin and barely hold anything, though they terminate in prongs that allow the droid to attach to the platform accessory and to the bucket accessory.

As for the coloring, the Mustafar Panning Droid is cast in a faded, dirty metallic brass color which looks very realistic. The figure is far from monotonal, looking like it has been weathered and beaten up on from the heat, smoke and circumstances of Mustafar. It matches perfectly with the Mustafar Lava Miner down to the fact that the blobs of cooled lava on the top of the Mustafar Panning Droid perfectly mirror the goop frozen to the outside of the Mustafar Lava Miner's bucket!


The Mustafar Panning Droid is a pretty simple droid and it comes only with the lava bucket and platform accessories. The 1 1/4" tall by 3/4" in diameter lava bucket is empty, unlike the bucket for the Lava Miner. This bucket matches the droid in color and depth of shading so many fans will not realize it is detachable or an accessory! The longer set of droid arms feature prongs which slide into the slots on either side of the bucket and allow the Mustafar Panning Droid to carry it. Unfortunately, carrying it upsets the figure's balance.

The other accessory easily overwhelms the Mustafar Panning Droid. It is a 3 1/2" long by 2" wide by 1 1/8" tall metallic colored platform that is attached to a lava geyser. The platform is a simple block that fits the Mustafar decorating motif with simple lines that look industrial interrupted only by cooled lava on the corner of the platform. The platform is suspended above the play field by a translucent orange plastic lava geyser that I'm betting looks pretty incredible under a blacklight! The Mustafar Panning Droid can attach to the platform accessory only indirectly; there are two very subtle holes in the lava that allow the droid to attach to that point, not the actual platform. Unfortunately, when one attaches the droid to the platform, it tips over. There is no way to attach the droid to the platform and have it not tip over without it looking utterly ridiculous. Fortunately, the platform features three pegs that allow up to three figures to stand on the platform at a time. With three on the platform, the Mustafar Panning Droid may be attached and even have a figure on its head - attached via the two pegs it has on its head platform - without the accessory tipping over. Had the designers just put one more lava vein on the base, the balance problems would have been eliminated.

Like some of the 2007 30th Anniversary Collection figures that appear to have been intended for the 2006 Saga Collection, the Mustafar Panning Droid features a stand. The stand is a 2 1/2" wide by 1 1/2" deep by 1/8" tall stand that is gunmetal colored with the name Mustafar Panning Droid on the front. There is no way to attach this droid to this stand.


The four inch toy line was designed for play and the Mustafar Panning Droid is mediocre-at-best in that regard, with some serious playability issues. The Mustafar Panning Droid has poor balance on its own or when attached to the platform accessory. All stances on its own look inorganic and it would have been nice if it had come with a translucent stand which allowed it to appear to levitate.

The Mustafar Panning Droid is articulated with simple swivel joints at two points each for both sets of arms. These roughly translate to shoulder and elbow joints and the articulation is just that simple. Because of the foot pegs on the top of the droid and the accessory this is much more a support piece than a cool toy on its own.


The Mustafar Panning Droid is part of the 30th Anniversary line that was released in 2007. The Mustafar Panning Droid is 30th Anniversary Collection figure #08. The Mustafar Panning Droid was fairly uncommon and this whole set was not widely released, so it is still sought after today. Given that there has only been the one casting of the Mustafar Panning Droid, despite the fact that it is an obscure character, it might well be a decent investment figure, especially in conjunction with other, cooler, Mustafar figures.


The Mustafar Panning Droid average-at-best and only recommended for fans who love droids or those who are truly fleshing out the whole fiery world of Mustafar. Or for those who cannot afford the other, giant accessories, one supposes the Mustafar Panning Droid is all right.

For other figures from Revenge Of The Sith, please check out my reviews of:
2011 Vintage Collection VC46 AT-RT Driver
2010 Saga Collection SL09 General Grievous
2009 Legacy Collection BD47 Commander Bacara
2008 Legacy Collection BD20 Saleucami Trooper
2006 Saga Collection Episode III Heroes And Villains Collection General Grievous
2005 Revenge Of The Sith Collection 62 Neimoidian Warrior


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

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

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