The Good: Decent color/sculpting details, Good balance
The Bad: Vastly overproduced, No special feature
The Basics: Arguably the least ambitious figure of the entire Vintage Collection line, the R5-D4 is a perfectly average astromech droid without any flairs . . . or issues.
Up until it began to discolor, the Power Of The Force R5-D4 action figure (reviewed here!) seemed to be all that fans of the obscure astromech droid would need as far as action figures go. So, the fact that R5-D4 made it into the Vintage Collection toy line, a line of figures that has the definitive sculpt of a good number of Star Wars characters, was somewhat surprising. The fact that it was added to the Vintage Collection line without any conceptual flairs – the droid could easily have been molded with a pop-off head and panels that sprang open – is even more surprising.
For those not into obscure Star Wars droids, R5-D4 was the droid Luke Skywalker and Uncle Owen tried to buy with C-3PO in A New Hope (reviewed here!). When this red astromech droid exploded, C-3PO suggested Luke take R2-D2!
The 4" R5-D4 is the simple astromech droid without any flair or additional playability features.
R5-D4 is a three-legged, barrel-shaped droid that stands 2 7/8" tall to the top of the antenna atop the droid's head. This is essentially a red version of R2-D2, but with a flat head. This version includes sculpted details such as the flexible tubes on the feet and hinged “ankle” joints.
This toy is a decent sculpt, kept in perfect scale to other droids in the line. The barrel-shaped droid is augmented on the legs to feature depth on the supports that make it look much more practical and functional than on prior sculpts. The antenna on the top of its flat, rotating, head is made of a softer plastic than the rest of the droid, but it does not look added on, which is nice.
R5-D4 has a white and red color scheme and this is a “clean” version of the droid, so there are no weathering marks or burns. This R5-D4 is a masterwork of detailing that is consistent with the quality of other Vintage Collection figures. Contrasting elements like the silver coloring for the “eyes,” ports and leg struts are beyond what prior R5-D4 figures possessed.
R5-D4, barrel-shaped droid who would otherwise explode, comes with no accessories, which makes sense because it does not have the ability to grip anything.
The four inch toy line was designed for play and R5-D4 is good in that regard. The figure is as well-articulated as it possibly can be given that it is a barrel-shaped droid with two limbs. R5-D4 is exceptionally well-balanced, thanks to articulation at the “shoulders” and ankles. Flatfooted, R5-D4 is well-balanced and manages to stay up even on surfaces that wobble, largely because of the third leg at the front of the barrel. Outside that, R5-D4 lacks significant articulation to make it interesting.
Unfortunately, this version of R5-D4 does not have a head that blows off. The closest thing to a playable feature it has is a removable third foot. The center foot may be popped out to make one pretend like it has retracted up inside the figure.
R5-D4 is part of the Vintage Collection four-inch series, a series of Star Wars action figures that was common-enough. R5-D4 was overproduced, appearing in multiple cases. This figure is VC40 in the Vintage Collection series and its price peaked quite a while ago; its value is now depressed to where it is likely to remain. This is a poor figure for investment, as opposed to enjoyment for droid enthusiasts.
Found inexpensively, R5-D4 is a decent enough toy, though it is unextraordinary and likely to be sought only by the most obsessive of Star Wars fans.
For other Vintage Collection figures from A New Hope, please check out my reviews of:
VC53 Bom Vimdin
VC57 Dr. Evazan (Cantina Patron)
VC65 TIE Fighter Pilot
VC94 Imperial Navy Commander
For other toy reviews, please be sure to visit my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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