Star Wars Action Figures

Yodasnews Review:  Darth Vader – Kenobi Duel (30th Anniversary Collection)

By Jeff Gouse (SithLord0498)

 

FIGURE SPECIFICATIONS 

 

 

 

SCULPT – 4.5 out of 5 

Bottom line: Vader loses points here because the figure is not entirely accurate to the Episode IV suit design.  As many fans know, the Dark Lord’s armor changed from film to film, meaning that many collectibles end up becoming an amalgamation of various designs.  It’s very likely a pain in the neck for licensees, but this is still something a company has to account for if striving for accuracy. 

With this figure, the breastplate stretches far too low on the chest and is modeled after the version seen in Return of the Jedi.  Oddly enough, this figure is a repack of the Darth Vader included in the Episode IV collector’s tin 4-pack, so this is the second time within a year that Hasbro made the same mistake.  One would think that after so many years and so many Vaders that the boys in Rhode Island would get this right. 

Furthermore, this figure is not in scale with other figures.  Darth Vader towered over most characters in the saga, but this figure stands only a centimeter or two higher than the recently re-released Clonetroopers.  A puzzling issue because Hasbro has been doing such a good job in this area (making shorter Leias and towering Chewbaccas).  Additionally, this version has a removable helmet, a feature that would make more sense in a Jedi version (and possibly an Empire Strikes Back version). 

But even stranger, the face sculpt beneath the mask is a young Darth Vader, clearly modeled after Hayden Christensen.  Are they sure this is an Episode IV version??? 

When all is said and done, though, the figure only loses half a point because this is still one of the best Darth Vader figures out there.  The scarred Anakin head is highly detailed with three deep scars cut into the plastic.  The soft goods robes allow the articulation to function at its full capacity, and the removable helmet fits on snugly enough.  It can still shift and pop up, but it stays in place better than other versions of this feature.

 

  

PAINT APPLICATION – 4.8 out of 5 

A beautiful mixture of grays and pinks result in an exceptional pasty complexion on the scarred portrait, and the gashes in the face and cranium are an appropriately darker color—even if they aren’t as gory as they should be.  The various buttons and switches on Vader’s control boxes are cleanly applied, and the entire figure has minimal paint blemishes. 

However, two of the switches on the chest control panel are inaccurately colored.  Based on reference images in the book From Star Wars to Indiana Jones: Best of the Lucasfilm Archives, the top button should be blue (figure is green), and the last switch on the bottom row should be red (figure is once again green).

 

 

ARTICULATION – 4.9 out of 5 

This is absolutely the best facet of the figure.  Darth Vader, while not as agile as he was before his fateful battle on Mustafar, is still a physically imposing presence and needs to hold some dynamic poses.  This figure can emulate movements ranging from kneeling to wide-legged stances to propelling himself in the air.  Granted, the figure doesn’t actually jump, but you can always hang him by fishing line and put him in that pose. 

The only demerit here is the lack of a ball jointed neck.  Vader’s unique helmet design is the likely reason for its omission, but I’m confident that Hasbro could find a way to implement this type of articulation with minimal negative impact on the design.  It doesn’t need to have complete range of motion, but it should have enough to tilt the head slightly up and down.  This is so close to being a definitive Vader that the ball jointed head stands out as the one thing that is missing.

 

ACCESSORIES – 4 out of 5 

By far, the coolest looking accessory here is the display base.  This is the first time I ever remember seeing Kenobi’s empty robe rendered as a sculpted piece in the Hasbro 3.75 inch line.  Molded in a dark earthly brown, the base has shading painted onto it to simulate shadows.  Old Ben’s lightsaber is included as well, sculpted on the base in such a way that it looks as though it has sunk into the “fabric” of the robe.  It’s not a perfect effect, but kudos to Hasbro for such a creative accessory. 

The downside?  The foot peg is too short to effectively secure Vader.  The slightest bump, and Vader topples over like a short-circuiting Battle Droid. 

Other accessories include the removable helmet and ignited lightsaber.  Considering the context of the scene, this is pretty much all that could be included with the figure.  The only things missing are an unignited saber hilt and a peg hole on the belt on which to attach it.

 

 

“FUN FACTOR” – 5 out of 5

A super-articulated Darth Vader with an awesome scarred portrait underneath?  You’re better believe this is a fun figure!!! 

The articulation really benefits the figure in this category because there is so much you can do with this figure in terms of staging duels and/or dramatic poses.  Even the cape has some degree of malleability, so you can position it in a variety of ways.  If only it had a wire inside the seam like the robes on Sideshow’s 1/6 scale figures… 

 

OVERALL RATING – 4.64 out of 5 

It’s not entirely film-accurate and the display base doesn’t work so well, but this is one of the best Darth Vader figures that Hasbro has ever released.  Solid articulation, clean paint applications, a terrific Anakin portrait…this figure’s strengths easily trump its weaknesses, and it’s a definite recommendation. 

Plus, most collectors are burned out on Vader figures, so this is one of the easiest entries of Wave 3 to find in stores.  It’s a diamond in the rough but sadly will likely end up pegwarming just because “it’s another Vader…” 

Trust me though…buy this figure (unless you have the collector’s tin version of course).  It soars leaps and bounds above past Vaders.