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Why would two totally different R4-series astromech droids both be called R4-M9? And why would Hasbro release them in the same line look? As you already know, Imperial astromech droid R4-M9 was a very long-awaited figure in the Star Wars basic figure line. That dream became a reality in early 2002. The droid was seen on the Tantive IV after the Rebel Fleet Troopers had been defeated by Imperial Stormtroopers and it surprised most Star Wars fans to see an Imperial astromech droid that wasn’t black. For reasons unknown, the name R4-M9 was used for a second time to designate the droid seen in the Star Tours attraction at the Disney theme park. While the original R4-M9 figure set a precedent in the basic figure line, the Star Tours R4-M9 brought the same sculpt to the table but with an all-new paint job. But how in the world can these two differently colored characters be the same droid? Maybe there is a backstory somewhere in there that we may never know. Interestingly, this Star Tours figure marks only the second R4-series astromech droid that has been made for the 3.75” scaled figures line. Overall, the figure came out pretty good, but we’re stuck on the reused name, and it’s something that laughably sticks in our craw.
We found it interesting that the Star Tours figures were packaged in the Power Of The Jedi line look. Egregiously prices at $10 each, these droids are out of the price range of many Star Wars action figure collectors. It’s a shame that Disney charges so much for their souvenirs and merchandise. But that’s what these droids are going to cost you, and you’ll want to pick them up because they’ve been done very well. Again, the sculpt is excellent. R4-M9 comes with six points of articulation which include a swivel dome, two swivel legs, three hinge-jointed feet and a sliding third leg post. The third leg isn’t perfect, however. The post that slides in and out is much too long for the body cavity of the droid. As a result, the third and center foot will not go all the way up into the body, and it’s unable to lay flatly. Admittedly, this “defect” is a little bit annoying, and it does detract from the figure a little bit. It seems like a very simple fix would have remedied that issue: a shorter leg post. Other than that we have very little to complain about with this sculpt. The articulated feet give so many extra angles at which to pose the droid, and it’s a tremendous benefit to have this flexibility. Older astromech droid sculpts never looked right when the third leg was down, whereas you can easily get R4-M9 in a screen-accurate position, even though this droid was just a prop as you waited in line for the Disney ride.
The paint job is very interesting on his new version of R4-M9, and we would be remiss to say we didn’t like it better. This time the droid receives teal-colored details and a few different patterns that are completely different from the original figure. What’s more, Hasbro has painted them on cleanly which gives the droid a very streamlined appearance. The same old light port is here, and while we’re not big fans of it, it thankfully has been disguised well and doesn’t obstruct the aesthetics of the sculpt. The Star Tours collection of figures are more than just simple repaints in many cases, but R4-M9 is one of these simple repaints. Ironically, R4-M9 from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope looks nothing like R4-M9 from Star Tours, so it does feel like you’re getting two new figures here. And technically you are. If you can get past the price for the same exact figure that cost less than $7, then you’ll get another fine astromech added to your collection. What we hope for however is that Hasbro continues to bring new R4-series astromech droids into the basic figure line. They do look fantastic, and Hasbro seems to create them very well. If you’d rather wait and see what other astromechs Hasbro will release then, you can do that too, but don’t cry when you can no longer find the ones they did release. (Editor's Note: Wookieepedia now lists this droid as R2-D7.)
Status: R4-M9 is a repaint of 2002's POTJ R4-M9 figure.
Articulation Count: 7 points
Articulation Details: swivel dome, 2 swivel legs, 3 hinge-jointed feet, slide-out third leg
Accessory Count: None
Accessory Details: None
Date Stamp: 2001
Assortment Number: 10242
Retail: $9.99 USD
Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on listings.