Star Wars Black: Darth Vader (Return of the Jedi) by Hasbro

Alrighty, It’s Saturday and I’m running into overtime, but I promised to end this week with another Star Wars Black figure and so here we are to take a look at Darth Vader. Obviously, the Dark Lord of the Sith was on a lot of collectors’ 6-inch scale want lists and Hasbro didn’t take too long to deliver him. However, they did go the somewhat controversial route of giving us a Return of the Jedi version with a removable mask. Was it a good call or will I be crying for a do-over? Let’s find out together!

swb6vader1

There’s Vader in his box. As noted last time, Hasbro has done some tweaking to the SWB packaging, but it’s mostly just cosmetic. You still get a collector friendly window box that is happy standing on the shelf or hanging on the peg. To be honest, Vader doesn’t look all that impressive in his box, but I think that’s because he’s kind of all smooshed in there.

swb6vader11

With Lord Vader out of the box and properly fluffed, I’m digging him a little more. The first thing that strikes me about the figure is how well the soft goods are executed. I remember back when the line was first announced the use of soft goods was one of the selling points for me. How’s that been working out so far? Not so great. We didn’t even get proper Jedi cloaks with Obi-Wan or Anakin… just skirts. Vader here, features a cloth inner garment, which wraps around his torso, flows under his belt and forms a skirt plus a nice flowing cape. The cape secured around the neck with an actual chain and also secured to the shoulder armor. The soft goods are far from perfect, but it is pretty much the selling point for me with this figure. Maybe it’s just because I’m so desperate to see mixed media used in this line to some advantage.

swb6vader4

The sculpted detail on the rest of the figure’s body is fairly good. The suit has that great quilted leather texture and I dig the way the shoulder piece looks. Plus… oh, hell… I can’t do this anymore. How many Darth Vader figures have I owned over the years? I don’t even have a large Star Wars collection any longer and I’d still bet I have two dozen. The body sculpt here is passable, but is it better than some of the better 3 3/4” Vader’s. Not really. Regular readers should know my litmus test with the 6-inch Black line by now. Is the figure improved by the larger scale? Again, not really. The truth is there’s nothing here about the sculpt that really stands out as anything we haven’t seen before, but it’s certainly good work. Let’s move on to the portrait.

swb6vader3

So, when I heard Hasbro was going with a removable helmet, I expected a soft and squishy train wreck of a sculpt. We did not get that, but there’s still something seriously off about it and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Granted, I’m not a Vader helmet expert and I can’t tell you all the little differences between the costumes. The red eyes are certainly off putting, because whatever the truth is about the costume, they always looked black on screen to me. Overall, I was expecting worse, but that doesn’t make it particularly great either.

swb6vader14

Pop off the helmet and you get Anakin unmasked. Here again, I’m going to throw out a “meh.” It’s not bad, it’s not great, it just is. I think the sculpt on the face is actually pretty decent but it’s let down by the paint job. I’m particularly put off by the cartoony look of his eyes. What I do think is fairly impressive is the work they put into the little controls and doo-dads on the tray in front of his mouth.

swb6vader5

swb6vader6

Generally speaking, I don’t require a lot of articulation out of my Vader figures, but this guy features some competent poseability. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but alas no bicep swivels. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, hinges in the ankles and we even get some lateral rockers in those ankles too! There’s a ball joint in the waist and a ball joint in the neck. On the downside, those hip joints are pretty loose and sometimes Vader can’t support his own weight when doing those wider stances.

swb6vader8

swb6vader10

swb6vader7

Vader comes with his lightsaber and the blade is detachable so you can go for a lit or unlit look. The problem? There’s no way to attach the hilt to his belt. Seriously, Hasbro? How hard is it to put a peg and a peg hole on the figure? This kind of oversight really pisses me off, especially when they’ve released three Luke figures and all of them have had a lightsaber hilt that could attach to the belt. Grrr…

swb6vader15

swb6vader13

swb6vader12

Armed with the knowledge that Hasbro went for the removable mask, I was expecting this figure to be pretty damn terrible. Now that it’s in hand, I wouldn’t call it terrible, but rather pretty average. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that going for the removable helmet on the first Vader in the line shows poor judgement on Hasbro’s part. Granted, I’m not sure if my issues with the helmet are caused by the fact that it’s removable or if this is the sculpt Hasbro would have went with otherwise, but either way it isn’t all it could have been and that really sums up the figure as a whole. It’s far from the worst figure we’ve got in the line, but a character as important as Vader deserved better than this. Still, it certainly won’t be the last Vader we get in this line, so better luck next time, Hasbro!

Star Wars Black: Darth Vader (3 ¾” Scale) by Hasbro

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.

swb334dv12

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.

swb334dv1

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.

swb334dv14

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.

swb334dv13

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.

swb334dv4

swb334dv3

swb334dv5

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.

swb334dv11

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.

swb334dv7

swb334dv8

swb334dv10

swb334dv15

swb334dv17

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.

Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collection: Darth Vader’s Sith Starfighter by Hasbro

Holy hell, folks, we’re actually going to talk some Star Wars this week. It doesn’t happen that often here on FigureFan. Why not? Well, I hit overload on Star Wars a few years back and stopped collecting it with any real gusto. I even wound up unloading about three-quarters of my ludicrously huge collection to make room and generate a little extra cash. Obviously, I still pick up a Star Wars figure or ship here and there when it strikes my fancy, but I sure don’t focus on it like I used to. Nonetheless, I was taking a pass through my toy closet this week, looking for things to feature here during this slow week, and I thought I’d give Star Wars some much needed love. Let’s start out with Darth Vader’s Jedi Starfighter.

The ship came out boxed as part of the 30th Anniversary Collection. The packaging is ok, but it followed after the Original Trilogy Collection, which featured some amazing vintage-style packages that I don’t think can ever be outdone. The deco here gets the job done, but I think the best thing about it is the amazing artwork of the ship on the front. Look familiar? Sure it does! This Sith Starfighter is just another in a looong line of repaints of this heavily reused Jedi Starfighter toy. I first bought this style of ship back when it was originally released as Obi Wan’s Starfighter in the Revenge of the Sith line. I didn’t have any desire to own the slew or other repaints until this one came out. It’s pretty much an Expanded Universe ship as Vader never actually piloted it in the movies, but it seems logical enough that he would have made use of this design in the years before the Tie Fighter came into service. Despite being named as Darth Vader’s personal fighter, I actually use this as a general Sith fighter and wound up giving it to my Galen Malek figure.
I absolutely love the design of this ship. It’s intended to be a transitional design between the Jedi Starfighters seen in Attack of the Clones and the Tie Fighters that would appear in A New Hope. I really dig the segmented front window on the cockpit that would become the iconic Tie Fighter windshield, as well as the way the wings deploy to hint at the solar panel wings of the subsequent Imperial fighter design. There are dual barreled wing-mounted cannons as well as a firing torpedo on each of the wings. Underneith you get retractable landing gear, which supports the ship nicely, but only when the wings are folded up. The ship supports an Astromech droid and actually comes with a convincing enough dummy droid head that can be removed to reveal a socket that holds an actual Astromech figure. I always thought that was a cool option. The cockpit flips open and is roomy enough to hold most figures, but as I mentioned above, mine is reserved for Galen Malek.
Beyond the design of the ship, what really grabbed me about this particular release was the fab repaint. The ship is two-tone black and gunmetal grey, which just looks badass on this design. What’s more there’s some brilliant weathering done on the wing symbols and along the paintwork on the front of the hull. Granted, I don’t buy a lot of Star Wars ships these days, but I’ll still say that Hasbro could benefit from checking out some of this work and implementing it on their newer releases. Naturally, you also get a sticker sheet, which is great for me because applying stickers is something I always love to do. It lets me bond with my new toy.
The Sith Starfighter set ran me $20 back in the day. I don’t think it’s been re-released, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find on Ebay. Nowadays vehicles in this size class go for between $25-30, so even if the price is inflated, you’ve got some wiggle room before you’re paying more than it would be on the shelf today. It’s a great looking piece and loads of fun to display and play with. If you want a great little starfighter with an amazingly cool deco, this is definitely a ship you want in your collection. And screw Vader, I’m sure you’ve got a couple of other Sith figures kicking around that would like a ride of their own.