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Aqua Droid

SW: The Clone Wars
by yo go re

Battle Droids look adorable and awesome. But when you bulk them up to Super Battle Droids, they start to look stupid. How do you bring them back around to looking cool? Shrink them down so they're even smaller? No! Well, yes, since that's how we get the Commando Droids, but also "no," because by going even bigger than the Supers, you get the Aqua Droids!

Aqua droids battle Obi-Wan Kenobi on Kamino. These underwater droids are part of a Separatist plan to destroy the facilities that supply the Republic with clone troopers. Their legs adjust for land or sea mode, becoming feet for ground missions or rotating into propulsion fins in the water. They have retracting heads to become streamlined for swimming underwater.

This figure is a re-release of one from last year. It originally came out at the same time as the "season two" Ahsoka Tano, a figure so rare that it might as well be mythical. Ahsoka never showed up on the pegs, and the Aqua Droid wasn't much easier to find. The other three figures in that series (El-Les, some Clone and another Anakin)? Yeah, you could find those no trouble - still can today - but the two cool figures were nowhere to be found.

The Aqua Droid is a big beast of a figure, by Star Wars standards. He tops out over 4½" tall, so he towers over almost everyone else. The head is shaped somewhat like a hammerhead shark's, though it still has hints of the distinctive "snout" that makes a Battle Droid face so likeable.

The chest has the same shape, making a nice parallel above and below the neck. The limbs are sleek and pointed, making it easier for them to cut through water, and the spinal pillar appears to be split segments. The body is greyish blue, perfect for hiding in deep water, and there are a few light blue accent stripes. He's armed with a single blaster cannon on the back of his right arm, which can be removed if you want a smoother look.

Aqua Droid's articulation is mostly great, but he does suffer from that most vexsome of action figure faults: things that are sculpted to look like joints, but aren't actually joints. Hate that. Yes, it's a fiscal necessity, but we still hate it. In this case, it's his wrists, which absolutely look like hinges, yet are solid. Anyway, moving on to the good stuff, he has a swivel neck, double-shoulders (swivel/hinges at both ends of the tube connecting body and arm, and another swivel in the middle of it), swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge hips (though no matching joint where the strut meets the leg), hinged knees, and balljointed ankles. Nice stuff, even if one of the shoulder joints is a bit loose. Since his torso is so much larger than his lower body, it's slightly hard to find a balance point for him, but that's why there's a figure stand included.

For maximum underwater maneuverability, the Aqua Droid has a second mode. He's a Transformer! Okay, it's not that extensive: the head drops down to be flush with the chest, the arms lower so they don't stick out wider than the torso, and his feet fold together to form propellers. Now, the design makes it clear that the torso "rings" are also supposed to collapse down into a solid, seamless form, and the legs should come together, but the toy doesn't do that. Of course, it's been 13 years and we still don't have a Destroyer Droid that can actually roll into a ball, so first things first.

The Aqua Droid was way too hard to find the first time he was released, so it's great that Hasbro put him out again. There are some flaws with the articulation, but this is still a fun figure.

-- 06/24/12

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