Droid starfighters, also known as vulture droids, battle Naboo N-1 starfighters. The automated fighters are capable of incredible maneuvers in space. On land, their wings become stilt-like legs for ground patrols. During the Battle of Naboo, huge numbers of vulture droids are deployed to attack the Naboo fighters guarding the planet.
In 1999, not too many people knew the correct scale of a vulture droid. On May 3, 1999 collectors were treated to what Hasbro called Trade Federation Droid Fighters and in a mid-size vehicle box that retailed for $19.99, you actually got three of them. That should give you some idea of how off the scale was. One of the droids was larger and was deemed a “leader” while the others were a significantly reduced scale. Despite the varying sizes and the debates surrounding the validity of all of them, the Vulture-class droid starfighter most recently released by Hasbro as 2009’s TCW Vulture Droid is the official size and scale moving forward. That vehicle brought an entirely new sculpt to collectors and Hasbro included significantly more mobility to it. The droid’s two wings split into four separately functioning “legs” and with the proper balance you can pose this vehicle to have humanoid form. It’s an excellent sculpt, but it isn’t free from problems. But it is certainly a great enough sculpt to include in the Walmart exclusive Discover The Force In 3D promotion. Fans have been waiting for a superior sculpt for the Vulture Droid based on its appearance in Episode I and now it’s available. And it looks great!
When Hasbro developed the all-new Vulture Droid sculpt for the blue phase of The Clone Wars line that saw release in 2009, they cleverly thought how to incorporate plenty of articulation in a droid/vehicle that seemingly appeared it should have much at all. The use of four ball-socket joints that attach to the four individual wing “appendages” (for lack of a better word) really give this vehicle the perfect amount of movement needed to pose it in movie accurate positions. Properly designed ball-socket joints give an infinite array of movement, and that has been expertly crafted into the vehicle here. As a bonus, each “arm” has double hinge-joints which give you even more planes to position the splitting wing appendages. The head also has two points of articulation. Unilateral swivel joints have been placed at the ends of the “neck stem” and the articulation point is jagged so that the head can maintain its angle once you pose it. Other less important points of articulation have been engineered here including the action feature buttons to fire missiles and the action feature button to pop up the head from its locked position.
The paint job is slightly throwing us off a bit. It definitely looks Episode I-ish, but it also seems a bit too light. We checked out stills from the film and the Vulture Droids overall have a much darker green hue to them. This one is almost pale by comparison. But lighting and other factors influence the way we see things. Hasbro put a little more effort into the paint job by adding carbon-scoring, instances of scratching and staining and the final products really comes across as very authentic. The “head” of the vehicle utilized the same color scheme as the body, but the photoreceptors are painted red and they stand out strikingly. We love the included articulation in the wings, but Hasbro must find a way to tighten them up. We nearly went mad trying to keep the legs swinging out from under us when we tried to pose it for the photo gallery. Hasbro should master all articulation points to ensure their functionality and utility before mass producing it. Or the quality control on the production line must be tighter. But something has to be changed because a great vehicle like this should fail because it can’t stand effortlessly. That being said, this is a wonderful movie-accurate version of the Vulture Droid. You’ll want multiples, but the cost may prohibit it.
Status: Vulture Droid is a rework of 2009's TCW Vulture Droid vehicle. This time the vehicle has been colored to match its appearance in Episode I.
Articulation Count: 19
Articulation Details: unilateral swivel head, unilateral swivel neck, 2 swivel main wing sockets, 4 double swivel "appendages", 4 ball-socket appendages, action feature button (head pops up), 2 buttons (to fire projectiles)
Accessory Count: 6
Accessory Details: 8 missiles (2 store in body and 4 store in the wings)
Date Stamp: 2008
Assortment Number: 39659/39657
Retail: $29.99 USD
Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on listings.