R2 Guide

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Figure Guide & Foreword:

R2-D2 “solid dome” was one of the first 12 figures Kenner produced. He debuted in the Early Bird kit promotion and being one of the most popular characters, enjoyed high demand and a long production run. The solid dome version of the figure was side-lined in the 41 back era for the Sensorscope version of the same character.
 
In this guide, I’ll present to you the factory correct figures as best as I have found in my research. There’s many decades of fraud and misinformation to set right with this particular figure. As the figure disassembles with no consequence, dealers and collectors have been “improving” their figures for years by obliviously mixing them up for better conditioned parts.
 
As well as that problem, there’s the myths. Don’t look for a specific loose “Early Bird” R2-D2 figure – EB sets are sourced from different factories. In the guide below you won’t find a “golden dome” R2 – it’s degradation of the dome lacquer. The “dimple dome variant” needs to go away, as it’s simply a short shot of plastic resulting in a malformed crest to the dome. There’s no NCOO Solid dome R2. It’s a Sensorscope R2 body swapped in, plus the timeline is wrong as solid dome R2 wasn’t made in the NCOO era. If the parts are mixed up to what you can see below, it’s a Frankenstein.
SPECIAL THANKS: This guide took me YEARS to complete. I couldn’t have done it without the help of these fine gentlemen (in no particular order) Nick Eppinga, Stefan Callear, Thomas Walsh, Dennis Hall, Trent Sutton, Ahmed Boukarrouh, Jon Meade, James Gurney, Wolff Lipinski, Jon Freeman, Tim Emmerson, Mike Ritter, Nick Rees, Nik Botkin, Javier Ruilopez, Raúl Sánchez Schel and Mac Dunbar-Bickmore.

COO Family I:

Unitoy/ Poch

UNITOY with their typically low QC produced the widest variety of Kenner R2 paint variations from a single source. The trend is that their earliest figures, which can be found in “Early Bird” kits or on 12a/b/c backs, feature the dark blue domes and soon evolve to mid blue for the remainder of their run.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • Very dark blue w/Halftone sticker (SW era)
    There’s an interesting early 2-part sticker variant, which has a halftone pattern in the wedge area. This very early Unitoy figure is found with mid-blue legs.

     

  • Dark blue dome (SW era)
    The next version of the dark blue dome R2 has a one part sticker and revised artwork with no halftone pattern. I can only guess it was an early production decision to streamline the process down to a single sticker.

     

  • Mid blue dome (ESB era)
    A last proper Unitoy release is the solid dome ESB era 41bk figure, with mid blue domes and mid-blue legs. This is where I’ve found the rarer, mould family 5 R2-D2 figure, which exists for no reason I can discern.

     

  • Small wedge sticker (Transition from solid dome to Sensorscope)
    The “small wedge” figure features the updated Unitoy Sensorscope sticker on a standard solid dome R2. The legs are also the darker blue which returned for the Sensorscope R2 figure.

In the late Trilogo era, solid dome R2’s re-appear on Meccano 65bk and French Trilogo cardbacks. These MIHK COO figures have the traits of the late ESB Unitoy or Poch R2s. Small red eye, very light blue dome, mid-blue legs, dull dome. I can only speculate if they’re one of these two possibilities: Unitoy overstock (albeit very late) or Spanish Poch-era overstock figures.

POCH figures are a combination of Asian exported Unitoy or Kader parts from the late ESB era. Some parts were painted in Spain, but many also pre-painted in Hong Kong. These figures featured above are examples only and many different combinations are possible. 

Poch R2s can sometimes have the smaller wedge Sensorscope sticker as the two figures were produced in the same era. Darker splotches of paint are a result of heavy paint pooling around the edge of the dome spray mask.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • Typical Poch R2-D2
    This figure is characterised by a bright blue, but dull chrome dome, a crimson-red eye (not necessarily small) which can appear purple if underpainted with a blue dot. The legs are a glossy mid-blue and has a mist/splattery appearance to the paint application.

  • Mixed-up Poch w/Unitoy? leg paint
    Same features as example 1, but with dark blue-green (Kenner?) legs which is close to what can be found on the early Unitoy R2 figures. I haven’t yet found a Kenner R2 with this exact leg paint colour, but feels unlikely to be Poch either.

  • Mixed-up Poch & Unitoy/Kader parts & paint
    This figure is an odd one. It has a typical Poch dome, typical Kader painted legs (commonly found on Poch R2s), however the torso is shot in a harder plastic than the typical Unitoy R2. I speculate this could be a plastic test shot from the Unitoy factory that just happened to be sent to Spain. Under magnification and UV, the plastic doesn’t match other PBP, Lili Ledy or Kenner hard plastics.

To identify an R2 confidently as Poch requires more of a combination of certain traits. I’ve seen Unitoy figures with plastic burrs, messy paint, lighter blue legs, paint overspray, light blue dull chrome domes and small/large crimson eyes – which have been the most commonly used Poch tells in the past.

COO Family II:

Smile

SMILE R2 has a dark blue dome from the outset, which was changed in the 12bk era to an electric mid-blue dome colour. Smile R2s consistently have a large crimson eye. The legs have minor mid-blue variations, but this colour scheme remains consistent through Smile’s entire solid dome run, through the Sensorscope era, and finishing with the Pop-Up R2.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • Dark blue dome (early SW era)
     The first version has a dark blue dome and glossy darker-blue legs.

  • Mid-blue dome (SW era)
    This SW-era figure transitions to a lighter “electric” blue dome. The legs are a slightly lighter shade. The sticker grey becomes incrementally darker.

  • Mid-blue dome (ESB era)
    Same as mid-blue SW era, but the legs return to a darker shade. The sticker evolves again and the wedge is very nearly gone.

COO Family III:

Kader/ Lili Ledy (Regreso)

KADER was arguably the largest producer of solid dome R2-D2s. Their earliest dark blue figure was commonly featured in “Early Bird” sets and 12bk era cardbacks. The Kenner directive applied here too and thus the mid-blue dome & leg figures started to appear in the 12bk era and remained their main version till the end of Kader R2 production on the 32bk card.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • Dark blue dome (early SW era)
     The first version has a dark blue dome, large crimson-red eye and matt, mid-blue legs.

  • Mid-blue dome (SW  & ESB era)
    This figure transitions to a lighter mid-blue dome. The legs remain the same matt, mid-blue throughout the Kader line.

POCH were supplied Asian produced Kader parts to build some of their R2 figures. See above in the Unitoy Family I section for more information.

The LILI LEDY R2 sticker is a unique artwork that was produced and utilized solely in Mexico. Refer to the sticker guide for details on the A, B & C type LL stickers.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • REGRESO 1977 HK Purple-blue dome
    This transition figure retains the dark purple-blue dome from the Retorno era. The torso is now the Kader 1977 HK mould. Production continues with the glossy light-blue legs. A or C type LL stickers.

  • REGRESO 1977 HK Dark blue dome
    (missing in the above image)

  • REGRESO 1977 HK Light blue dome
    This is the most “standard” Lili Ledy R2 figure. Light blue-green dome, with glossy light-blue legs. C type LL sticker.

  • REGRESO 1977 HK Light blue dome
    Same as previous, except features the A-type LL sticker.

  • REGRESO 1977 HK (PBP exclusive?)
    Same as previous, except features the B-type LL sticker.
    The PBP released R2 is a Lili Ledy made figure which was imported from Mexico and carded in Spain. Very few MOCs have survived, but it seems those surviving feature the LL “B-type” sticker. This suggests the B-type sticker MIGHT be exclusive to the PBP released Lili Ledy R2. This is most likely to be a print batch which had a more greenish hue to the grey paint instead of the plain light grey found on the “C-type” sticker.

COO Family IV:

Lili Ledy (Retorno)

The LILI LEDY R2 sticker is a unique artwork that was produced and utilized solely in Mexico. Refer to the sticker guide for details on the A, B & C type LL stickers.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • RETORNO 1978 NCOO Purple-blue dome
    This version has a purple-blue dome, large crimson eye and Lili Ledy’s trademark glossy, light -blue legs. The sticker is only printed in two colours and has no grey separation. Lili Ledy received the R5-D4 No COO 78 torso mould from Kader in Hong Kong to produce their ESB era “Retorno” R2-D2 figure. The COO removal is thought to be done by Kader in the early Jedi era. After a short period in Mexico, the moulds were returned to Asia and the next time this torso appears, it is reunited with the R5-D4 figure on the very late era French Trilogo Meccano cards and Meccano baggies.
    Refer to the Astromech mould flow chart for a graphical explanation.

COO Family V:

Unitoy

This UNITOY solid dome I have only found in the ESB era 41bk figure. It features mid/light-blue domes and mid/light-blue legs. This is where I’ve found the rarer, mould family 5 R2-D2 figure, which exists for no reason I can discern. Perhaps this torso was intended for R5 and they had spares leftover to utilize. These F5 Solid dome figures are poorly made and commonly feature loose domes/joints, messy paint, and very little colour consistency. Looking in overview, we know in the 45bk era was where a great number of legacy characters were re-assigned to factories elsewhere and it feels as if these F5 R2’s were assembled quickly to clear out older stock and free up warehouse storage.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • Mid-blue dome
    Dull dome. Very small red eye. Gaps around the underside of the dome. Mid-blue ESB era legs.

     

  • Light-blue/green dome (ESB era)
    Dull dome. Larger crimson eye. Double blue paint application on the eye. Gaps around the underside of the dome. Mid-blue ESB era legs.

     

These figures featured above are examples only. Due to the low quality control, plus the likelihood of using up spare parts, different paint colours & combinations are possible.

COO Family VI:

Taiwan

TAIWAN R2-D2 was a 12 back figure only. As with the other lines, Taiwan debuts with a dark blue dome. Despite the high quality manufacturing in the Taiwan figure line, their spray booth operation across all figures had little regard for consistency, and as a result, there’s 2 or 3 shades of mid to green-blue on their domes. Taiwan R2 features a three-colour sticker with a halftone (grid) pattern on the wedge.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • Dark-blue dome
    Large orange-red eye. Light-blue legs.

     

  • Mid-blue dome
    Large orange-red eye. Light-blue legs.

     

  • Green-blue dome
    Large orange-red eye. Light-blue legs.

Droid Factory Playset:

This figure is part of the Droid Factory playset Kenner released in 1979. Many collectors choose to have this figure included in their loose figure run, so I’ll include here in this guide. There’s no shared parts between the droid factory and the solid dome R2. This Droid Factory version is a unique sculpt, which includes a removable third leg and is designed to be completely disassembled. The sticker is also different to the standard R2 in that the artwork was drafted in reverse. There’s minor sub-variations of the Droid factory sticker with a straight or wavy line in the top-centre. Palitoy drew their Droid Factory sticker art differently again to the US released Kenner version.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • Kenner: Wavy Line Sticker
    The top, central blue rectangle has a wavy top.

     

  • Kenner: Straight Line Sticker
    The top, central blue rectangle has a straight top.

     

  • Palitoy: Wavy Line Sticker
    Unique sticker. The top central blue rectangle has a very wavy top.

Wind-Up R2-D2:

Taraka, Japan

This figure isn’t part of the Kenner line, but as with above, some collectors choose to include it as part of their collection.

The Takara wind-up R2 was released in 1978 in a baggie with a JAPAN COO. These were also released on a bi-lingual (French/English) language cardback in Canada. The “Takara” stamp was removed from the torso rear, and later on the figure was altered again to a No COO version. There’s some minor sculpting difference to the dome and chrome buttons on these variations. I’ll include more examples in the image when I can finally obtain and document them fully.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • Japan COO with Takara stamp
    Smaller dome rim. Larger chrome buttons.

  • Japan COO without Takara stamp (missing)
    Smaller dome rim. Larger chrome buttons.

  • No COO without Takara stamp (missing)
    Larger dome rim. Smaller chrome buttons.

Astromech Mould Flow chart:

It helped to map out the movement of the Astromech torso’s in a flow chart form to follow where the moulds were at any given point. This charts represents an extensive number of MOCs I’ve been able to confirm, however I’m sure there’s others not featured and I’ll update as I find them. I’ve chose NOT to include smooth sealed MOCs which we believe were packed in the USA from unsold overstock figures and so not helpful in this instance.

Stickers:

The standardized solid dome R2 sticker is a 3 spot colour print with blue, black and grey.

The first Unitoy version was a 2-part  sticker and featured a halftone pattern in the black colour separation. This was quickly changed to a 1-part sticker featuring no halftone pattern. Don’t confuse this sticker with the Taiwan version which also has a halftone pattern on the wedge. This must have been an early production decision to streamline the process from applying two stickers, down to just one. (Having said that, other factories retained the two stickers through the whole run).

Subsequent Unitoy stickers were a single application. They progressively printed in a darker shades of grey. These are the versions that were predominantly used for the Poch version of R2-D2. Some Poch R2’s can be found with the “small wedge” Sensorscope sticker.

For the Unitoy Sensorscope figure, the black separation on the sticker is altered to feature a smaller “wedge” design. Similar to R5-D4, some solid dome R2’s were also shipped with this small wedge sticker in the transition period between the two versions of R2.

The Smile R2 sticker has a darker “wedge”. The grey progressively becomes darker from their initial dark blue dome figure through to the Pop-up version. There’s a subtle revision of the sticker artwork in the Jedi era.

Kader R2’s were limited to the SW and ESB eras, so in that relatively short span with no major sticker variations noted.

The Taiwan R2-D2 sticker uses a halftone pattern over the wedge to represent a darker grey effect.

Lili Ledy created their own unique sticker design. The artwork layout is the same across all LL stickers. There’s two main versions: One with blank rectangles (Type-A), and the others with blue rectangles, plus either green-grey (Type B), or light-grey shades (Type C) in the other panels. The paper stock used for the Ledy sticker was a low grade matt type, and being very porous resulted in extremely poor durability from playwear and age.

The PBP released R2 is an Lili Ledy made figure which was imported and carded in Spain. Very few MOCs have survived, but it seems those surviving feature the LL “B-type” sticker. This suggests the B-type sticker may possibly be exclusive to the PBP released iteration of the Lili Ledy R2. This is most likely to be a separate print batch which happened to have a greenish hue to the grey paint instead of the light grey found on the other “C-type” sticker. It seems that the paper stock used for this version was of a more durable quality with a glossy finish to the surface.

Glasslite used a sticker artwork based on the Kenner art, but is in fact unique to their factory. This applies to both their regular Pop-up R2 as well as their Droids version. Both are subtly different to the Kenner versions.

Takara released all three of their Wind-up walking R2 figures with a transparent plastic sticker on the front and back.

The Droid Factory Playset was issued with a sticker sheet that included the decal for the R2 figure. The sticker is different to the standard R2 in that the artwork design was printed in reverse. There’s minor sub-variations of the Droid factory sticker with a straight or wavy line top-centre. Palitoy drafted their Droids Factory sticker art differently again to the US released Kenner version.

Repro stickers have been in circulation for decades now, and the most recent versions have even been designed to artificially mimic the yellowing effect of the ageing process. In the making of this guide, I saw dozens of figures sold on eBay as vintage, priced as vintage, but in actuality had reproduction stickers applied purely to dupe unsuspecting buyers.

Screw & Sculpt details:

With all figures, each part and accessory is specific to a factory. This is no different with R2-D2, as every part, screw and sticker used to produce the figure also being specific to a particular vendor.

EPMs and gate scars are the most effective way of confirming the origins of R2 parts. For more information about what these terms mean, please refer to my 101 REFERENCE GUIDE.

Parts can easily be swapped around and  for decades this has been done, and done incorrectly. If you have an R2 which has anything different to what’s shown here, I’d take a look at the other parts on the figure using my sculpt detail guide to see if the R2 has been tampered with. These Astromech figures have been messed around for decades by sellers/collectors looking for the cleanest example and indifferent/ignorant to the fact they’ve created a Frankenstein figure.

Just as an aside, this screw detail graphic also can apply to the Unitoy and Kader R5-D4 figure.

Some early Lili Ledy R2s can be found with brass screws/washers as an alternative to the stainless steel versions featured in my graphic.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

COO SHEET

FIGURE GUIDE

   I:  Unitoy
   II: Smile
   III: Not used for R2SS
   IV: Not used for R2SS
   V:  Unitoy
   VI: Unitoy

ASTROMECH TORSO FLOW CHART

STICKER GUIDE

SCREW & SCULPT DETAILS

Figure Guide & Foreword:

From the 45bk period, a more interactive version of R2-D2 was released with an extending Sensorscope to replicate the characters actions in the swamps of Dagobah. This figure remained in production through to the Power of the Force/Trilogo era where it was upgraded to the Pop-Up version.
 
In this guide, I’ll present to you the factory correct figures as best as I have found in my research. There’s many decades of fraud and misinformation to set right with this particular figure. As the figure disassembles with no consequence, dealers and collectors have been “improving” their figures for years by obliviously mixing them up for better conditioned parts.
 
As well as that problem, there’s the myths. In the guide below you won’t find a “golden dome” R2 – it’s degradation of the dome lacquer. The “dimple dome variant” needs to go away, as it’s simply a short shot of plastic resulting in a malformed crest to the dome. If the parts are mixed up to what you can see below, it’s a Frankenstein.
Special thanks
This guide took me YEARS to complete. I couldn’t have done it without the help of these fine gentlemen (in no particular order).
Nick Eppinga, Stefan Callear, Thomas Walsh, Dennis Hall, Trent Sutton, Ahmed Boukarrouh, Jon Meade, James Gurney, Wolff Lipinski, Jon Freeman, Tim Emmerson, Mike Ritter, Nick Rees, Nik Botkin, Javier Ruilopez, Raúl Sánchez Schel and Mac Dunbar-Bickmore.

COO Family I:

Unitoy

UNITOY production continued unchanged from their solid dome figure with mould families 1 & 5 to produce their Sensorscope torsos. Unitoy reverts from mid-blue, back to the dark-blue leg paint of the original 12bk solid dome figure. The sticker in this era is reworked, most noticeably now featuring a smaller wedge design. In the 65bk Jedi era, the MIHK is removed leaving us with the No COO torso.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • Mid-blue legs MIHK
    Made in Hong Kong COO

  • Dark-blue legs MIHK
    Made in Hong Kong COO

  • Dark-blue legs No COO
    Same as the MIHK dark-blue legs, but the COO has been removed.

COO Family II:

Smile

SMILE factory continued with the paint application used for their solid dome figure. The main variation in this line was the short-lived use of a hard white plastic in the 77bk era. Read up more on the KENNER HARD TORSO figures in Wolff’s detailed guide on this site.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • Smile R2-D2 Sensorscope (soft torso)
    Can have slightly darker or mid-blue legs with a matt finish.

  • Smile R2-D2 Sensorscope (hard torso)
    Torso drum is shot in a visibly harder, more detailed plastic.

    Mid-blue legs with a matt finish. This colour combination can be found with either soft or hard torso plastic torso variations.

COO Family III:

This torso was used for Kader/Lili Ledy R2-D2 Solid Dome & R5-D4, so not relevant here.

COO Family IV:

This torso was used exclusively for Kader R5-D4, so not relevant here.

COO Family V & VI:

Unitoy

As with the Solid Dome R2, the reason for the existence of the Unitoy Family 5 torso is a mystery. The other F1 mould worked perfectly throughout the run. F5 could just be a spare mould that was picked up by chance and ended up randomly going into production from time to time.

There’s an additional Family 6 mould  family, nicknamed the “12 o’clock NCOO” which continues to elude me on a MOC or baggie, so I can’t add any concrete information about it. I believe this is a very late POTF era torso mould, as no country of origin was ever stamped alongside the date. Torso aside, this figure has the same sticker, parts and paint style as it’s Unitoy siblings from the era.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • F5 Unitoy R2-D2 Sensorscope MIHK
    Made in Hong Kong COO. Dark legs, small eye, dull dome.

  • F6 Unitoy R2-D2 Sensorscope “12 o’clock” NCOO
    Dark legs, small eye, dull dome.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

R2-D2 pop-up Lightsaber COO V3 sheet coming soon

Figure Guide & Foreword:

R2-D2 was again updated in the late Trilogo/ Power of the Force era, to remove the Sensorscope and include a full length removable green lightsaber to recreate the scene with Luke Skywalker over the Sarlacc pit in Return of the Jedi.

In this guide, I’ll present to you the factory correct figures as best as I have found in my research. There’s many decades of fraud and misinformation to set right with this particular figure. As the figure disassembles with no consequence, dealers and collectors have been “improving” their figures for years by obliviously mixing them up for better conditioned parts.
 
As well as that problem, there’s the myths. In the guide below you won’t find a “golden dome” R2 – it’s degradation of the dome lacquer. If the parts are mixed up to what you can see below, it’s a Frankenstein figure.
Special thanks
This guide took me YEARS to complete. I couldn’t have done it without the help of these fine gentlemen (in no particular order).
Nick Eppinga, Stefan Callear, Thomas Walsh, Dennis Hall, Trent Sutton, Ahmed Boukarrouh, Jon Meade, James Gurney, Wolff Lipinski, Jon Freeman, Tim Emmerson, Mike Ritter, Nick Rees, Nik Botkin, Javier Ruilopez, Raúl Sánchez Schel and Mac Dunbar-Bickmore.

COO Family I:

Smile/ Glasslite

This figure, and the Droids era cartoon version of R2-D2 were solely produced by the SMILE factory in Hong Kong. As the popularity of the line slowed, these late era figures had their scale of production decreased and only a single factory was required to meet the demand.

Above you can see following variants (left to right):

  • Kenner 1977 No COO
    No wedge sticker. Bright chrome dome. Mid-blue legs. Kenner EPM sabre.

  • Kenner Droids 1985 No COO
    Kenner Droids sticker. Light grey plastic dome. Blue-purple legs. Kenner EPM sabre.

  • Glasslite 1985 No COO
    Glasslite sticker. Silver painted dome. Dark-blue legs. Glasslite EPM sabre.

  • Glasslite Droids 1985 No COO
    Glasslite Droids sticker. Light grey plastic dome. Dark-blue legs. Glasslite EPM sabre.

A new dome and torso sculpt was required to accommodate the sabre due to it’s longer length. The paint application carried on in the same colour schemes as Smile used for their Sensorscope figure. Continuity from Sensorscope era with the “no wedge” sticker.

Despite the many modifications from the original solid dome figure, the date stamp remained as “1977” for the original Pop-Up R2-D2. When the droids version with it’s new visual appearance arrived, the date stamp was altered to now read “1985”.

The most common version of the Pop-up sabre features an EPM on the hilt. There’s slightly harder to find version which doesn’t include an EPM on the handle and is a lighter green colour. This sabre has been found on POTF era cards. We can only guess the real reason, but speculate that the ejector pins were added to the amended tool to improve efficiency. The legitimacy of the no EPM sabre hasn’t been accepted by some for many years, however this sabre has been found in 3 examples from trusted sources: A POTF R2 bubble broken in transit, a U-graded figure and identified on a POTF MOC by a well established R2 collector, so I feel it should be mentioned here.

A few years later, circa 1988, Brazilian toy manufacturer GLASSLITE acquired the moulds to produce their own version of both the regular Pop-up and Droids figure and the accompanying sabre. The sticker artwork is unique to this factory. The Glasslite dome is sprayed in silver as opposed to vacuum metalized like the Kenner version.

Glasslite were not as particular when assembling the figures, so sometimes these figures can be found with mixed up domes from their regular and Droids Pop-up versions.