As toy prices rise and competition for fans' money gets tougher, we're seeing an increase in the number of store-exclusives. Target seems to be leading the pack, especially when it comes to Hasbro exclusives, but Wal*Mart has recently gotten in on the act with six "Droid Factory" two-packs. Each pack includes one human (or at least one organic being) and one droid, as well as a piece of the series' BAF, C-3PX.
Though he came off the assembly line as a standard 3PX-series protocol droid, C-3PX was reprogrammed and rebuilt by his master to serve a darker purpose. While an exterior view reveals nothing more than a reassembled chassis and plating, scores of weapons are concealed within the recesses of the droid's body. A large number of smuggling compartments are also incorporated into the droid. Sensor-baffling material lines these compartments to conceal any contraband or weapons the droid may be carrying. His photoreceptors were also upgraded to allow him to see in infared, thereby changing their color from the normal yellow to a menacing reddish glow.
In 1994, Dark Horse comics started a series of comics focusing on everybody's favorite lifemates, R2-D2 and C-3PO. The title, Droids, was set before the original trilogy, and saw the pair having goofy little adventures, one of which saw 3PO being mistaken for the assassin droid, who was wandering around the same spaceport. That was C-3PX's first appearance, too, so the cover was pretty shocking: here's a droid we assume is gentle, effeminate C-3PO, loaded down with guns and ready to kill.
C-3PX is broken down the way you'd expect: leg, leg, arm, arm, torso, head. Each is rubberbanded into the back of the package, held in place against a diagram of the full robot,
so you know what parts you're getting and what's left. Assembly is easy, with the pieces just plugging into one another simply. There are no springs or tension clips, so you can disassemble him again if you want to.
Once together, the droid stands 3¾" tall, and has great articulation. His head is a true balljoint (though it sits a little too low to have a complete range of motion), the shoulders, elbows, torso, knees and ankles are balljoints, and the hips and wrists are swivels.
That means tons of poseability, which he'll need to eliminate any particularly crafty targets. The figure is sculpted well, with all the details that led to him constantly being confused for C-3PO - he even has the wires in his belly and the pistons on the insides of his elbows.
The figure only has five guns exposed: one on each forearm, one on his left hip, right thigh and left shin. That's taken directly from one of the panels
in the comic, not that anyone would have really noticed if the sculptors had improvised - after all, with 83 weapons inside him, they all have to pop out somewhere. The blasters are each detailed very nicely, looking just like Star Wars tech should, and we even see the panels that opened and the hinges that extended to get the guns out in the open. Very nice work!
C-3PX is molded from beige plastic,
then given a coat of gold paint, as you can tell when you flex his joints. His eyes are red, and he has his identifying black X on his forehead - it should be a sculpted element, not just painted on, but Hasbro is probably hoping to reuse this head mold in the future. The stomach is painted black, but the wires remain gold. Judging by 3PO, there probably should have been a few different colors of tubing in there, but more paint apps mean more money, and for a BAF piece, that just seems unlikely.
If you want to build C-3PX, it's going to cost you $60 - but for that price you also get a Luke Skywalker, a Han Solo, a Darth Vader and three recognizable aliens, plus six new droids, meaning that each figure is only actually costing out at $4.62, a price that looks mighty nice these days. None of the figures are straight re-releases, either: everything gets some minor changes to help make the price easier to swallow. If, like me, you don't have any of the figures included in this line-up, then it's definitely worth picking them up to get this golden assassin droid.