Yes we do still do toy reviews around here, I know, crazy right? After a few days away from little plastic men, we jump right back into things with Darth Vader. However before we get to Vader I want to remind you that tomorrow starts Japanese Monster Week and we’ve got a ton of Kaiju goodness coming your way all week long. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at Anakin Skywalker himself, shall we?

Prior to George Lucas making the prequels, Darth Vader was probably the biggest badass in the history of badasses. I can’t think of a more ominous character from the late 70’s until the late 90’s when Lucas seemed intent on destroying the myth behind the man. From making Anakin an annoying and pervy kid to making him a loser teen to eventually an ineffective emo, Vader’s reputation has kinda been sullied in recent years.

I actually didn’t mind the prequels that much, but the damage done to Vader as a character was almost unbearable. Thankfully the iconic Darth Vader look is still menacing enough that we can almost forget the douchebag who’s supposedly underneath all that armor. Seeing as how I haven’t owned a Vader figure since the 1996 Star Wars Kenner toys, I decided to jump on this one when I saw him at TJ Maxx. I knew he was a few years old, but oddly enough the last few Hasbro Vaders I’ve seen either had odd articulation or a crappy sculpt. This one appeared to have decent versions of both, plus he was under $4.

I honestly don’t remember seeing this style of package before. Yes, I realize it’s an older package but I guess it must have been at a time when Star Wars didn’t command so much of the toy aisle because it doesn’t look familiar at all. I’m sure if you pay a lot of attention to Star Wars figures you recognize these packages, but it seems oddly new and fresh to me.

I like the package pretty well especially the dark colors, the blacks and the overall feel. It seems like it’s been ripped right out of deep space. The newer Star Wars cards are all very bright and colorful, but not so much here. Plus there is some dark purple accents that really make it look spiffy.

The back of the package shows off the other figures in the series, including a cool Hammerhead I’ve been wanting to buy for years. There’s a little bio kinda deal on Vader and a figure still. Also as you can see, it reveals what hologram piece you get with the figure. Mine came with Boba Fett, but I have no idea if he’s rare or if all Vaders came with that piece. I’m guessing the latter. He’s also in red and doesn’t much look like a hologram, unlike the hologram that came with Clone Wars: 4A-7.

When I saw this guy in the store I noticed that his arms were bent. I bought him specifically because in the package it looked like he had joints in the arms. I’ve noticed a lot the newer Vaders have swivels at the arm and I think that’s stupid…

Unfortunately when I got this guy out of the package I found out he does indeed have swivels. These swivels appear better than most though because he’s able to swivel his arms straight or bent. It’s not as good as actual hinge joints would have been, but I guess it’s alright.

The rest of the articulation is adequate but a little strange. The ball jointed knees for example appear to be almost a true ball joint, which means he can move his legs both at the top and the bottom. It’s an awful lot of articulation for the knees, when I’d rather had typical hinge knees so we can have hinge elbows. At least the ball joint would have made sense at the elbows, but I guess they can hide the joint better under the boots.

The other thing I was drawn to on this figure is the strong sculpt. You’d think a likeness such as Darth Vader would be easy to capture as an action figure but in recent years Vader’s look has come under a lot of scrutiny. With HD TVs and the internet fans have begun to pick out every little nuance in all the different Vader costumes and toy makers have become obsessed with meeting fan’s demands to make figures more accurate to screen specific looks.

“We meet again Yoda.”

Personally I just want a Vader that looks like Darth Vader, I don’t care if it’s Episode IV or V or whatever… Because of the increased attention to detail we’ve actually seen Vaders come out that look worse, IMO. Some of the figures have giant helmets, others have odd suits, it’s quite annoying. This Vader seems to be a decent middle ground with a nice amount of bulk and pretty big helmet but he doesn’t look disproportionate.

The paint work although minor is pretty solid. Mine has some silver on his shoulders which looks cool but I’m not certain if it’s supposed to be there or not. It gives his pads a sort of brushed metal look, but it’s heavier on one shoulder than the other.

On his back underneath his cape is a smaller skirt piece. I’m not sure if that’s accurate or not but I believe it is. This is all done with real cloth so it makes the figure look bulky but in a good way. Vader’s robes look pretty massive in the films.

Speaking of soft goods, the cape itself is really big. So much so that it weighs the figure down a bit and he has a tendency to fall over because of it. Still this isn’t no puny Kenner Batman cape, this is a thick, massive cape that’s very wide and looks great.

Vader comes with a red version of one of those weird flared lightsabers. I still don’t get the flaring, but whatever. This isn’t as bad as some versions I’ve seen. He also comes with the aforementioned Boba Fett hologram and then a bunch of weird metal boxes. What is this space junk?

I’m sure hardcore Star Wars fans know what this junk is, but to me it’s just diorama jibberish at best. His cape seems to be removable so that could be considered an accessory too if you want to get technical. Finally he has a nice Star Wars stand.

I’m guessing these guys were $5 or $6 when they came out a while back. I paid $3.99 at TJ Maxx and I’m totally cool with that. Either way he’s a pretty good value since he’s an iconic character, a good likeness and he’s got plenty of accessories (albeit pointless ones) and I can recommend him on that alone.

I am the night!

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Stand, Lightsaber, 3 Different Boxes
Value – 7
Overall – 7 out of 10

This guy is a full 7 and could go higher or lower depending on what you think of him. Is he the perfect Vader? I have no idea. He’s the best Vader I’ve seen on the shelves in some time, but maybe a better one is out there. Do they make a Vader with hinge elbows?!


Don’t forget to check in all next week for Japanese Monster Week and if you have good Vader figure recommendations, feel free to post a comment…

4 Responses to Star Wars: Darth Vader Figure Review

  • DrNightmare says:

    Man, that’s a lot of bitching for a decent figure you got for 4 bucks.


  • JudgeG says:

    Well, yeah, there is a Vader with hinged elbows. I’ll post a link to Rebelscum to show you.

    I like this one, personally.

    Oh, if you’re one of the people who has not seen the original Star Wars Trilogy and has been living under a rock, don’t click the link.

  • Thanks for the help JudgeG. Oddly enough I just saw that version last night. I’ve been looking for Vaders too, I mean not non-stop or anything but I’ve seen quite a few in the past few months and couldn’t find one with ball elbows. Thanks for the link.

    That said, I’m pretty content with this one. I may pick the other up just because down the line.

  • JudgeG says:

    No problem. I’m glad your satisfied with your little Vader man.

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