Friday, December 26, 2008

Figure of the Day: Day 923: McQuarrie Concept Darth Vader

Darth Vader McQuarrie Concept
30th Anniversary Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87500 No. 87302
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #3028
Includes: Coin, blaster, lightsaber, alternate helmet
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: September 2007
Appearances: Art of Star Wars books

Bio: Darth Vader was not originally supposed to wear a facemask. Ralph McQuarrie's concept drawing of Vader boarding the Tantive IV was based on the idea that Vader would fly through space to reach the ship, requiring him to wear a breathing apparatus. The facemask remained and has become a modern-day icon of chilling doom. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' couch.

Commentary: Back in the 1990s, Kenner had a poll on its site for future non--movie line expansions and McQuarrie concepts were on the short list. As such, fans have been crossing their fingers for a McQuarrie Concept Darth Vader action figure for ages, and now we got one! That's the good news. It's also good news that it was made in the modern era, where the figures are way better than they were in 1995. Sadly, Hasbro took a shortcut or two here and the final figure isn't as cool as it could have been, or as the Kotobukiya statue was. The main downer comes from the awkwardly posed arms and the swivel (not ball-jointed) elbows, which restrict movement. The figure's pose is a little gimpy too, plus the figure isn't exactly black. Parts of him are, but others are more of a very dark brown/grey color. This isn't to say it isn't a great figure-- far from it. Its cloth cape is cool and Batman-like, the decision to leave the blaster and holster in is superb, and the bonus interchangeable heads? Genius.

It's fun to futz with, but a little frustrating in that it's just a smidgen stiffer than other concept releases with even less articulation. Pose is important, and the figure qualifies as good enough. Not perfect, there's certainly room for improvement, but it's better than no McQuarrie Vader at all and the price is right.

Collector's Notes: This is one of those figures that adult fans loved, and so did the various flea market buyers. Hasbro's decision to make the packaging blue tinged (rather than red) set the McQuarrie figures apart. Even though they were made in good numbers, a lot of misinformed buyers assumed they were all shortpacked collector's items. They weren't. Today you can pick up this figure at or below original retail, and some out-of-the-way retailers still have them, in addition to some online ones.

Day 923: December 26, 2008

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i too was disappointed with the articulation in Vader (and Luke); it was next-to-impossible to pose them like the concept artwork and Koto statue, the main reason i got the pair.