Who got excited for a Battle Droid action figure right before The Force Awakens? I did.
The latter half of the summer of 2015 was a fun time for Star Wars collectors. Force Friday brought a ton of new products from a wide range of companies, primarily pushing The Force Awakens. As the Black Series began rolling out a huge selection of six-inch TFA figures, SH Figuarts announced…the battle droid?
Yes, the battle droid–to go on sale less than one month prior to the release of The Force Awakens.
I think I was one of maybe four people who got really hyped by this announcement. Prior to this moment, I considered myself a Black Series collector supplementing with imports by upgrading a few characters. But after this moment I realized that the SH Figuarts line was starting to take shape into a release pace and breadth of catalog that was very appealing to my style of collecting. Up until that point the Figuarts line consisted of the following four figures (in order of release): Imperial Stormtrooper, Darth Vader, Jedi Luke, and Darth Maul. With Luke releasing in August and Maul releasing in September, I would have expected nothing but The Force Awakens figure announcements from a line like this. I was convinced that Maul would be the only prequel figure for a long long time. I imagined they would announce the First Order stormtrooper in August and maybe two more The Force Awakens figures in September. But with just over a month before Force Friday, Tamashii Nations announced the clone trooper and battle droid.
Looking back, this was a collecting turning point for me. SH Figuarts would cover the entire saga, not just the new movies and main characters. By putting out troopers from the prequels, they convinced me that they would be making just the right variety for my tastes. SHF would eventually become my main goal as a figure collector, and the Black Series would take a back seat. I had never intended to be a completionist with the Black Series; there were just too many figures and too many duds to chase them all. But Figuarts started to feel like it had just the right level of consistent quality, reasonable pacing, and character selection that could satisfy a new-ish collector.
I do love Doug Chiang‘s Battle Droid design, and I am an unapologetic prequel fanboy, but my enthusiasm had as much to do with what this figure said about the SH Figuarts line as it did with the figure itself. Which turned out to be quite an excellent figure. SH Figuarts’ typically high level of sculpt, detail, and articulation are all there. The paintwork is precise, mostly in the subtle weathering that help to make it look less like a piece of plastic and more like solid metal. However, it does feel a bit frail and I wish the hip joints had a wider range of motion. But overall the SH Figuarts Battle Droid lives up to my own personal hype.
Born in 1976, Bill Drewnowski grew up surrounded by Star Wars, the likely reason for his love of a great story. Now a father living in New England, Bill teaches high school English, including courses in science fiction and fantasy. Bill enjoys collecting books, posters, action figures, trading cards (including a huge Magic the Gathering obsession), and of course all things Star Wars. His favorite book is Moby Dick by Herman Melville. You can follow Bill on Twitter @DorkLair and Instagram @TheDorkLair.