|Character Design||Ralph McQuarrie|
Review by JoshB
Bandai’s 12PM Chogokin C-3PO is an impressive toy. It really is Bandai at the top of their game, creating the ultimate Star Wars collectable.
The toy comes packaged in a gorgeous gold metallic slipcase with an abstract design as opposed to photos of the toy inside. When you remove the slipcase you are presented with a beautiful rendering of C-3PO’s torso. A cloth tab helps you open the lid and it reveals a Styrofoam tray with C-3PO resting inside, fully assembled.
In the package is
- 4 extra hands
- Restraining bolt
- Stand arm
- Battery tool
When you first lift C-3PO out of his cozy coffin, you are immediately struck with how heavy this is. Every place your fingertips touch is cool metal. C-3PO weighs about 2 pounds, but it feels like more.
To activate the lights, pop off the back of the head and pull out the clear tab. Turn the switch to ON and the lights activate. With the back cover off you can see the thickness of the metal in the head. It’s impressive. Even the back panel is metal.
The head has a wide range of motion due to dual ball joints in the neck. As he has no facial expressions, this movement is crucial to capturing his expressions and the figure emulates them perfectly.
The shoulders are swivel joints with a mild clicking action. They don’t make a noise, but you can feel them click in increments as you move them. Just below the shoulder the upper arm connects on a ball joint.
The elbows on C-3PO are amazing. I don’t think anyone has ever made one with fully articulating elbow pistons. Not only do all the pistons work, but the bases of each piston slide up and down each arm. It’s incredible.
The torso is expertly detailed with touches not often seen on representations of the character. Look closely at the detail on the small protrusions on the chest, or the circular pattern on the stomach. Examine the individual wires on the exposed section of the torso. Each wire is a unique, standalone piece that moves slightly as the figure moves. Insane.
Check out the back panel and look at the symmetry of the indentations on the vertical panels. It’s a detail I never noticed before but it’s represented accurately here. The waist has two joints that provide a sufficient range of movement. Both the upper and lower torso are entirely diecast metal.
The legs do not have typical hip joints as do most 1/6 scale figures. Instead, there is a slight joint that is covered by the thigh panel that allows for a minimal range of motion – this also is true to the original costume. In keeping with the detail of the original, you also get the limitations of the original. There’s a reason why C-3PO always shuffled, and it’s due to these joints.
The knees are glorious. The hinges are solid metal and have a satisfying detent that clicks each time you move it. The entire legs, including the vertical pins on the outside of the knees, are metal.
The feet have limited motion but are on ball joints. True to the original costume, the feet and lower legs are different colors, and even are somewhat asymmetrical. I knew about the colors, but never noticed the different patterns on each leg and foot until now. If anything, this toy has made me more familiar with the nuances of the original costume.
The included restraining bolt attaches to the chest magnetically, over the small bump on the right of the chest. The magnet is in this section only, so the bolt will not adhere anywhere else.
A comlink is also included and can be held in one of the more closed hands. The extra hands all pop on and off easily. It would have been nice to have seen a small amount of articulation in the hands, but I’m willing to accept the sacrifice in exchange for accuracy in this case.
The stand is really nicely done as well. A golden nameplate sits on a plastic base that has a hint of the corridor of the Tantive IV in the back. A long metal support arm connects to a set of adjustable claws that grip around the waist of C-3PO. The instructions say to be careful not to tug on the wires with the connector.
Speaking of instructions, the included booklet is excellent, and is in both English and Japanese. There are sections on the history of C-3PO, the character and costume design, as well as the development of the Chogokin. Japanese Star Wars scholar Seiji Takahashi lends his expertise to the development of this figure, ensuring accuracy against the original costume in the Lucasfilm archives. To read more about the development and research into this figure, check out these English articles by Takahashi:
There’s one more secret to be had with this release – C-3PO is modular! That’s right, you can tear threepio limb from limb just like he was on Cloud City. It’s interesting to see each individual component and the diligence that went into each. Unfortunately, all the connectors are different so there’s no chance of making a mutant droid by swapping parts around.
If you are a Star Wars fan and a Chogokin fan – this is a match made in heaven. The only downside to this is the cost. At $399 USD it’s not cheap but if there’s any consolation, I think it’s worth it. It’s got twice as much metal as the DX Soul of Chogokin Mazinger Z. When you pick it up and you feel the weight in your hand, you know you made the right decision.
As for the future – how cool would it be if we got an R2-D2 in this line? Well that all depends on how well this one does. I for one would love a diecast, 1/6 scale R2 with all the gimmicks and lights. Imagine these two next to each other on your shelf? Make it happen!
|Posted 22 February, 2013 - 14:35 by JoshB|