Most helpful critical review
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Not the best Darth Vader ever made.
on 8 July 2014
I am a HUGE Star Wars fan, have been since 1978 when a small wide eyed child watched this movie that changed and shaped my life for ever.
My first Star Wars toy was the original 12" Kenner Darth Vader that I still have in the collection, minus his Lightsaber. He managed to survive all the destructive things that a kid could throw at him, and is still here is decent enough condition. The have been many 12" Vader figures since then, with the exception of Sideshow and Real Action Heroes versions there have been non that have managed to capture the simple robustness and quality of this vintage figure, and this figure is no different.
I am a Darth Vader collector with a fair few items in the collection covering 3 3/4 figures, 12" figures, 32" statues, soft vinyl kits ans so on, so when this was released I wanted one at the right price. As with all the other 12" figures in this line, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Clone Trooper (of which I own also), this is just the cheapest and most basic of quality there is in ANY moden Star Wars toy. They even lack the accessories and unique box design of the original 12" figures from nearly 40 years ago!
The box could not be any tighter, the usual wire that holds the figure to the backing card is now replaced with string, and the usual separate backing card is now a fold out part of the box. The figure when out of the packaging has 7 points that includes the neck that rotates at the base of the helmet through the horizontal, the shoulders rotate through the vertical 360, both gloved hands rotate 360 and the right hand has the lightsaber moulded into the hand and the legs swivel at the hips through 90 degrees. The whole thing looks cheap and plastic, like something that you would find on a market stall or a pound shop toy. The figure is based on the looks of the Return of the Jedi costume with the chest plates silver decoration but is missing even paint detail where the cape chain would be. The helmet is somewhat undersized for the body, and the helmet has suffered the usual "health and safety" treatment having been cast in soft vinyl that is all well and good but it does not gloss finish and from what I see of these figures in box, the flared sides of the dome are usually deformed or bent inwards, as is mine on the left. No amount of heating with hot air or water and rapid cooling in water will straighten this flare out. The face plate of the helmet is not too bad, with the proper paint applications on the two tusks and the "nose" above the triangular "mouth" piece.
The torso is whole plastic, even the fabric tabard that run done the side of the torso is moulded, all be it in a different surface texture. The body suit is the correct ribbed patterning and the chest plate and chest box are quite nice, as is the best and control boxes. The arms are one single piece and the hands rotate. The Saber is a part of the hand and the blade has to be placed into the hilt of the Saber. The waist / cod piece area is moulded whole to the body are the legs can be swivelled upwards to 90 degrees. The cloak underskirt is moulded onto the back of the legs and is slip up the middle to enable the legs to move. The gloss tone of the leg and boot is of one texture instead of the silk body suit and gloss armour shins.
There is a soft goods cloak, which is not bad, but suffers from a lack of width on the shoulders, it does not reach round far enough so the cloak is forever behind the arms, and the curve of the cloak gives the illusion of shoulder pads, due to how the cloak is packed in the box, it will be creased on release so a little rub over with a low heat iron with flatten it out nicely. The whole figure is, on a flat surface, quite stable and is well capable of standing on it's own. The saber can be placed out of the way by rotating the right hand towards the body.
Any there you have it. Speaking as a collector, and especially of Darth Vader items I'm probably being too critical of this particular item as it is not aimed at the adult collectors market, and seeing that the new movies are due to be a great future influence in the years to come, these are basically gap filler item to keep the franchise going until 2015.
I'm probably being a little more negative than I should be on this item, but absolute great for kids to have to get them into the movies and hopefully inspire them as much as the original 12" did to me. Not an item made with serious collectors in mind, as are the other figures in the series so best avoid unless your a dedicated collector.