Sunday 8 August 2021

Toybox REVIEW: Star Wars Black Series R5-P8 (Galaxy's Edge)

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Release Date: October 2020
RRP: $19.99/£19.99

When Galaxy's Edge was first announced to be coming to Disneyland (and later Disneyworld), one of the more frustrating things for Star Wars toy collectors was the subsequent announcement of Black Series figures that would not only be available exclusively in the parks but also that they would all be part of three-packs with older, far more common figures. However it seems Hasbro weren't completely heartless when it came to these characters, since a few years later these exclusive figures (Hondo Ohnaka, DJ-R3X and Commander Pyre) were made more widely available through a Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Trading Outpost promotion at Target stores (and standard Fan Channel exclusives in the rest of the world). They weren't the only ones either, as the range also included a couple of new characters that populate the world of Batuu. Hondo Ohnaka might not still have the pirate crew he had back in the days of the Clone Wars, but at least he still has his trusted Astromech droid R5-P8. R5 appears in the pre-show scenes of the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run attraction, helping Hondo prepare guests to pilot in Falcon in the latest of Hondo's business ventures.

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R5-P8 comes in the (now somewhat nostalgic) "phase three" style of Black Series packaging, albeit with a few little changes unique to the Galaxy's Edge range of figures. Gone is all the red text and highlighting, replaced with a textured brown that I suppose is somewhat reminiscent of the park's overall colour scheme. As well as some really nice artwork of the little Astromech on the front, there's a nice big "Transported from Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Trading Outpost" logo printed just beside the window. The usually red spine of the box is again done in that textured brown, with another Galaxy's Edge Trading Outpost logo at the top as well as a Resistance or First Order logo at the bottom depending on the packaging variant. Some people might say it's just a misprint, but the reasoning that Hondo and R5 just work for whoever's paying best fits them so much better. On the back of the box that artwork is printed once again, as well as a surprisingly length bio about the droid. R5-P8 might not have much of a personality onscreen, but they've done a nice job of conveying his personality here. Open it up and the figure is neatly stored on a moulded plastic tray, set against a black backing card just to get all traces of red away from the box design.

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R5-P8 is a repaint of the R5-D4 figure, which in turn is a remould (along with all the other Astromech droids Hasbro have released in the line) of the Black Series' original R2-D2 figure. Over the years many have complained about how the mould is under-sized and whilst that is definitely true, on its own at the very least the figure looks great (not to mention the fact that said mould was never going to be altered for such a minor character). The body has a slightly off-white colouring which goes great with all the weathering and worn detailing covering the figure, along with red accents and then a light cream head sporting R5-P8's distinct underbite markings. It's also worth noting that while R5-P8 did appear in The Clone Wars, this figure is specifically based on the Galaxy's Edge version of the droid. They are exactly the same other than one key difference - the Clone Wars version also had a blaster rifle mounted to the dome. It's a shame that this wasn't carried over to both Galaxy's Edge and in turn this toy, since it would have made R5-P8 that little bit more unique and wouldn't have been hard to accomplish on the toy itself.

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R5-P8 might not have any accessories included with him, but the figure actually has a number of different features built directly into the body. Turning R5's head clockwise will result in the central leg section slowly lowering down, until it's come down to a point where the figure can be posed on all three feet. You'll know when the leg has fully extended because attempting to turn the head will be met with resistance, and any further attempts to move it will result in it clicking as it rotates. The ambulatory struts on either side of the body can rotate a full 360 degrees, with the three feet able to tilt forwards and backwards to get your desired pose just right. Each of the feet also has two free rolling cylinders on the base too, allowing the droid to glide across smooth surfaces. On top of all that, opening the hatches on either side of the droids body will reveal a raising manipulator arm on either side - the usual machinery/door plugin on the left side, and a claw attachment on the right. These arms are both moulded in red plastic without any paint detailing, which definitely isn't prop-accurate and looks a little toy-like but goes nicely with all the red highlights on R5's body. Granted all of these features are just a standard part of the Black Series Astromech mould and not unique to R5-P8, but it's just nice to see these droids come with a lot of the features they have onscreen. 

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In the grand scheme of things Black Series R5-P8 is a relatively minimal effort repaint release from Hasbro, but as far as droids go it's a pretty left-field choice for fans of The Clone Wars and the perfect choice for expanding the Galaxy's Edge representation in the line. It's a shame that the version that appears in the park doesn't quite match the one that appeared on the show, but even with that little different R5 makes a fantastic companion piece to the Galaxy's Edge Hondo figure. The fact it wasn't a super rare figure you had to travel all the way to the parks (or pay an inordinate amount online) to get is a bonus too. The more casual Black Series collector may be able to skip this relatively easily, but for Disney Parks fans its a no-brainer and honestly, can you ever have too many droids?

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