Topless Toy Chest: The R2-Unit Droid Factory at Disneyland

By Luke Y. Thompson in Cartoons, Movies, Toys
Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Credit the tag-teaming of Gallen_Dugall and Someguy for coming up with the name. There were cleverer offerings, but this struck me as the one that would accidentally lead the most pervs here, and that's crucially important.

Okay, so I went to Disneyland this week, as part of a scouting trip for my upcoming honeymoon there in September. And as you know if you've ever been there, the marriage of Lucasfilm and Disney was a strong flirtation long before it was made official. Pretty sure this li'l guy I picked up, for example, was produced last year prior to the big announcement:

DuckMaul.jpg

I know I should probably find him appalling, but he mashes up my favorite Disney character with one of my favorite-looking Star Wars guys, so I couldn't say no.

Still, I'm not here so much to talk about him...



Any Star Wars collector is familiar with the term "Droid Factory" - it was initially a vintage playset where you could construct your own from a set number of pieces, then got revived as a build-a-figure concept a few years back.

Now, Disney's doing it almost like Lego. They have huge bins of R2-unit parts, and you can mix and match any you like, from selections of right legs, left legs, center legs, bodies, heads and hats.

That last option is the most controversial from a fan standpoint, but fun for a casual collector. Want your droid bedecked like Goofy or Captain Jack Sparrow? You can do that. How about a green baseball cap that says "Yoda" on it and has Yoda ears on the side? Of course.

The color palette is fairly limited - I assume no pink is available to make the charity figure of R2-KT from a few years back retain its value. These also don;t have the more sophisticated R2 accessories like booster jets, Jabba drink tray, pop-out tools or anything of that nature. The legs do all have tiny wheels in the bottom, however.

Julia and I each built one another's - if you're part of a geek couple, this is one of the best affordable gifts I think you can do for each other. Because then you can put them in a 2-pack, and get an (included) sticker sheet to add custom names:

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Single packs are available too.

As figures to play with, these are probably a bit high, costing a couple bucks more than a standard figure. As custom keepsakes, they're a wonderful way to go. I'd like to see more color options added down the line, and suspect there will be refreshes from time to time.

At another Disneyland store, I found something I'd been wanting almost three decades - the one that got away. Or at least a new version of him.

Hooter.JPG

That's Hooter, from the movie "Captain Eo." (Sorry, can't resist what I'm about to say...) He might be the only hooter Michael Jackson's ever touched.

Back around '88 or so, I went to EPCOT with my dad, uncle and cousins. My cousin, who I must preface by noting is a wonderful person, was bought a toy at pretty much every store. If I mentioned anything I liked, on the other hand, my dad would say, "Buy it." Which I took to mean my own money.

Even he was impressed with the plush Hooter, but I decided saving was a better strategy at the time. Only later, when we were home and I complained to my dad that my cousin got everything and I got nothing, did he say, "Well, if you had wanted that Captain Eo creature, I'm sure we could have gotten it for you."

Years go by. Captain Eo disappeared, then came back after Jackson's death to celebrate his legacy. New T-shirts came to the stores. I did not see a new Hooter.

The other day, there weren't even any Captain Eo T-shirts to be seen in the main sci-fi stores. Word is it may be time for it to leave again. But on the way to the bathrooms, we passed the Space Mountain ride-photo sales booth...and what do you think they had?

Yep, that's where Hooter was. Tucked away in the corner of the Space Mountain stand. And now he is mine. And since he's probably about to be discontinued again, I'd say I got him by a nose.

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