Box Sides (click to enlarge)
ESB Box (click to enlarge)
STAR WARS DROID FACTORY. Help the Jawas build R2-D2 and hundreds of other droids! 33 interchangeable droid parts build up to 5 robots at one time, including an R2-D2 with 3 legs or a 4-wheeled robot that rolls. Movable crane snaps onto platform and carries parts from "supply" to the "assembly line"; specially designed ramp allows the Jawa action figures to "roll out the droids"! Figures not included. Ages 5 and up.
Source: 1980 Alden's Christmas Catalog
An intriguing hybrid of action figure toy and construction set, the Droid Factory was one of the more unique Star Wars playsets. It came with tons of parts, as well as "blueprints," which allowed kids to build a series of weird-looking droids. By far, the coolest of these droids was the three-legged version of R2-D2, a figure which many collectors view as a part of the standard set of vintage action figures.
Due to its large number of parts, the playset is tough to find in a loose, complete state. The orange tube, metal rods and many white rubber pegs are among the parts most frequently missing. In 1980, the Droid Factory was issued in an Empire Strikes Back box for a brief time. This issue of the toy is, of course, distinguished by its ESB logo. But, interestingly, Kenner also used a different photo for the box front. Whereas the Star Wars box depicted only Jawa figures attending to the various droids, the ESB version adds both Luke and Ben Kenobi to the mix.
Later, the base and crane of the Droid Factory were recycled for the two Jabba's Dungeon playsets, released in 1983 and 1984 as Sears exclusives. The bases of the later sets are distinguished by slight variations in molded detail, as well as by different colors: gray and tan, respectively, as opposed to orange. A playset under the name of Droid Factory was also issued in the U.K. by Palitoy, but it was vastly different from its U.S. counterpart.
First Issued: 1979 (SW packaging)
Re-issues: 1980 (ESB packaging)
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