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Beaker and Bunsen Honeydew as C-3PO and R2-D2

Star Wars Muppets
by yo go re

In 2008 Disney released a six-pack of PVC figurines featuring the Muppets dressed up as Star Wars characters. Then, in 2011, they did a series of two-packs featuring articulated toys.

Remember when C-3PO and R2-D2 escaped the battle above Tatooine in an escape pod? Well, now relive the adventures with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker as they portray these two classic Star Wars characters. Can Beeker [sic] stay out of trouble long enough for Bunsen to complete his secret mission? Join them on their adventures throughout the galaxy! "Secret Mission? What plans? What are you talking about?"

Now, I get why they did it, based on personalities and body types, but it's still kind of silly that C-3PO is being played by the guy who speaks unintelligibly and constantly needs someone to translate for him.

Beak-3PO was one of the original PVCs, so no surprise he's been promoted to a real figure - the design work was already done, so it would be silly to throw that out and start all over. It really is a nice blending of the two characters: he has Threepio's posture, with the permanently bent arms, but Beaker's big splayed feet. The figures are significantly smaller than Palisades', so Beaker just stands 4½" tall - we're not quite sure what size DST's upcoming Muppets line is going to be, but it seems these will be closer to those.

Between the PVCs and the real figures, in 2010, Disney had a set of pins based on the Star Wars Muppets, but there were a few design tweaks - for instance, instead of having a metallic yellow face, like the PVC did, Beaker had exposed pink skin. This figure gives you both options, thanks to the inclusion of a second head. The neck peg is large, and allows easy swapping.

Beaker has a swivel neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel wrists, and a V-crotch. His elbows don't move, because they've got C-3PO's pistons running across them, and his knees are merely decorative. There are lots of mechanical details, including panel seams along all the limbs, a circular pattern on the torso, and a data port on the back of the head. He even has the exposed wires in his belly! This really does walk the perfect line between two characters.

Beaker's bare face isn't the only thing to come from the pin set: there were six PVC figures and 10 pins, so some things had to be made up, inclusing R2-Honeydew, here. The toy isn't an exact copy of the pin design, but it certainly hits all the high points. Of course, there are only so many ways to combine R2-D2 and a Muppet, but still.

The tubular body is classic Artoo - in fact, it's just about the same size as the Black Series figure's. Bunsen's arms stick out the sides, and instead of shoes, his feet are the same quadrangular shape as the little astromech's. He appears to be wearing a track suit under the metal: you can make out the legs of his pants, and his sleeves are plainly visible. The suit is light blue, with darker blue stripes down the outside of the arms and around the cuffs.

Bunsen's head is buried deep within R2's familiar dome. So you can still make him out, there's a translucent blue "window" panel over his face - it's hinged, allowing you an even better view. If that wasn't enough, you can slide the entire thing off, leaving him bareheaded. Unlike the Palisades version, his glasses aren't glued in place: they fit into holes behind his ears, but it's a bit loose; good thing wearing the dome holds them in place.

With the dome on, he breaks the 3½" mark. His articulation is almost as good as Beaker's, lacking just the hips. His skin has a slight texture, and you can see his shirt and necktie at the top of the tube. The details on the body are perfect, with all the little panels and vents that you expect to see on R2-D2. What's really impressive (on both figures) is that they didn't skimp on the paint - everything that should be painted is, even on the backs of the figures. But then, that sort of thing wasn't as overlooked in 2011 as it is today.

This is a fun little bit of corporate synergy - there are also figures of Disney characters dressed in Star Wars clothes, but SW and the Muppets have a much longer history together (ever since they were babies, in fact). Melding Bunsen and Beaker with R2-D2 and C-3PO is a brilliant stroke; our only complaint is that more people won't have a shot at getting them.

-- 01/03/16

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