If you haven’t noticed, I’m trying to work one Star Wars feature into each week when possible. I’m doing this not only because getting a box of my old vintage Kenner figures has rekindled my love for the stuff, but also because I have a heck of a lot of Star Wars figures sitting in a pile in the corner waiting to be opened. The 3 ¾” Black line has been hit and miss with me, but mostly miss. Nonetheless, it’s figures like Vizam that give me renewed hope. Today I’m opening Darth Vader because I really need another Vader figure… yeah, like I need a barbed kidney stone lodged in my urethra. Even after my great Star Wars toys purge from a few years back I still have tons of Vaders. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop me from picking up this one last Christmas when Amazon was practically giving them away with a qualifying order.
There’s the packaging and man do I love it. No, wait… love isn’t the right word. Oh yeah, now I remember… I friggin hate it because it looks like garbage. Normally we can rely on the clear view of the figure to help elevate the presentation, but here we have black Vader against a black card. It doesn’t help. I should probably note here that this is Vader from The Empire Strikes Back, specifically inspired by the “We’d be honored if you would join us” dinner party scene. But before you get the cold sweats and flashbacks to the scene specific figures of the Attack of the Clones days, fear not. The specificity of this figure mostly relates to the accessories. I hate to admit it, but even though I own a hundred Vaders in this scale, it’s been so long since I got a new one, I’m rather excited to check this one out.
And here he is out of the package. I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this figure before and I’m pretty sure I own it already. He’s got a few strange quirks about him, but I still dig him a whole lot. For starters, the use of soft goods here is excellent. The cape feels really good and falls about the figure as well as a 3 ¾” scale garment with almost no weight to it can be expected to. But it’s the addition of the second layer of cloth underneath that really makes this guy stand out for me, particularly the way it’s fitted under the shoulder cowl and belted. The cape comes attached via a hole that passes through the neck post, but I found it to fit better if you pass the post between the cape and the neck chain. The helmet looks pretty good to me, but I’m not one of those people who could point out all the differences from one movie to the next. It does have a very nice “new car” shine to it and that makes me happy.
The figure does have a couple of minor setbacks. First, the middle of his cowl seems to be pushed in. It looks like a bantha kicked him right in the plate there. I’m not sure if that’s a problem with just mine or with all of these figures, but it’s hard to ignore it. It doesn’t look as bad when viewed from an angle, but I can’t not see it when viewing the figure dead on. The other issue is the head, which tends to pop off rather easily. I tend to have to push down a bit when turning it to keep Vader’s noggin from separating. I think it has to do with the cape material being between the head and body.
The articulation here is Ok, but not great. The shoulders and elbows are ball jointed and there’s are swivels in the wrist and again in the neck. Vader can also swivel at the waist. Alas, Hasbro is really sticking to the T-crotch design and it feels rather backward when compared to the rest of the figure’s articulation. I’d blame it on this guy being a repack, but the T-crotch has also been plaguing the Vintage Collection too. Beyond that you also get ball joints in the knees and ankles. Vader isn’t exactly an action star, so he’ll still be able to do most of what I want him to, but I would have enjoyed the ability to get him into a wider stance.
Vader comes with three accessories: His lightsaber, a swap-out hand with effects part, and Han’s blaster. The lightsaber is pretty self-explanatory. It looks good, but it is one solid piece, so you can’t detach the blade for a deactivated hilt and even if you could there’s no place on his belt to peg it into.
The other two accessories are meant to recreate the dinner scene at Cloud City where Vader deflected Han’s laser blasts and then force-yanked his gun away from him. I give points to Hasbro for trying something here, but in all honesty I don’t think it works. Effect parts are often hard enough to pull off in larger scales and here it just doesn’t look anything like what it’s supposed to. As for the blaster… I recently realized that the Han that came with my Legacy Falcon doesn’t have his anymore, so I was able to hand it off to him.
There was a time when I thought I would rather stub a cigar out on my genitalia than buy another Darth Vader figure. And it’s very probably that this exact figure is already somewhere in one of my storage totes. Now, with all that having been said, I do like this figure quite a bit. It’s not perfect, and I’ll concede that’s kind of disappointing. How many decades has Hasbro been making Vader figures in this scale now? You’d think they could finally produce one that hits all the right points. An update to the T-crotch really would have been a welcome improvement and it takes a lot of effort to futz with his cape to make it look just right. Otherwise I’ve had some fun playing around with him, and now I think I’m going to stand him up on the shelf in front of my Imperial Shuttle because I have no idea where the Vader went that came with that ship. He was definitely worth picking up on the cheap.