8012 Super Battle Droid is one of nine Technic Star Wars figures released between 2000 and 2002. Having seen it come up as today's random set I couldn't resist digging mine out of cold storage and taking a few photos.
It's an interesting set in many ways and one that today's mecha designers at LEGO could learn a thing or two from.
Two things immediately hit you upon seeing it: its height -- about 32cm -- and striking colour scheme.
Many of the Technic parts are cast in the ultra-rare colour metallic sand blue (Bricklink: Metal Blue) and appear in this set for the first and last time. In fact, at least 20 of the parts in the set are unique to it. LEGO's published inventory is not complete but you can view it here and if you sort by the 'Elements in sets' colum the unique ones will be shown at the top of the table.
Unusually for models of this type there's a good level of detail on the back, including shoulder blades, spine and coccyx.
A lever at the top of the back swings the right arm via a mechanism inside the body. Cool for play, perhaps, but it hinders posing the arm as it won't stay put once moved.
The is an impressive number of points of articulation: shoulder, elbow, hips, knee and ankle, each of which can be angled and twisted, through the use of three key parts: Technic Rotation Joint Socket with 3L Liftarm Thick, Technic Rotation Joint Ball Half with 3L Liftarm Thin and Technic Rotation Joint Ball Loop with Pin with Friction. This family of joint parts had a very short lifespan from 2002 to 2004, and appeared in only around a dozen sets.
Hips can be twisted, knees angled and feet positioned flat on the ground, thanks to the versatile joints.
The flex pipes don't look great when the joints are bent, and at extreme angles they have a tendency to come out of the piece at their ends.
Some really weird and unnatural poses can be created!
Technic and Star Wars combined, what's not to like! I think it's fantastic. It's great looking model with a 'no expense spared' colour scheme, and it's a shame we don't see Technic models like it nowadays rather than the endless stream of cranes and cars.
The level of articulation is unparalleled and something today's LEGO designers should aspire to.
It's definitely a set worth hunting down if you don't already have it. As the Random set of the day article says, "If you want to add it to your collection you might find it for sale at BrickLink or eBay." Even MISB examples can be had for a reasonable price.