Thursday, October 8, 2009

Figure of the Day: Day 1,127: Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker)

DARTH VADER (really, Anakin Skywalker)
30th Anniversary Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 87500 No. 87542
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #0802
Includes: Lightsaber, display stand
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $6.99
Availability: February 2008
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith

Image: Adam's back yard.

Bio: Now a Sith apprentice, Vader rejects Obi-Wan's pleas to turn away from the dark side. Instead, he attacks Kenobi in a devastating lightsaber duel on Mustafar. Destruction is Vader's only thought, but in the end, he is the one who lies near death on the black sand shores. (Taken from the figure's package.)

Commentary: Hasbro's decision to make incremental improvements is simultaneously maddening and fantastic. In some cases, it means that if you're building an army, you get more and better figures as the collection grows. In others, like Darth Vader here, it means you get one more freaking Anakin that renders your previously fantastic Evolutions figure old and cruddy. Hasbro upgrades that 2005 release with a much improved face paint job that's so good, it almost looks like a new head. The other significant change is in the waist area, as the hips of the figure can now swing outward. For whatever reason, Hasbro did not change the swivel elbows to ball-joints, which probably means another upgrade in a few years is likely. My money is on 2011.

As Anakin/Vader figures go, this is as good as they get. You will not find a better one, the deco is sharp, the articulation is 14 points and nearly perfect, and the cloth around his legs hide the extra clunk of the new joints. If you're from the future and can buy a better figure, you should-- but if this is still the best of them, well, get it. It's going to be worth less than ten bucks, and it's totally worth it. The added scar adds to it, and the improved eye deco makes a big difference. He may be a hair too pale, but the overall result is still easily worth your time until Hasbro decides basic figures should retail for $10 and upgrades them accordingly. Again, my money is on 2011.

Collector's Notes: This figure is still in circulation on the Saga Legends packaging. The figure was sold in the blue and white 2008 style and the 2009 orange and white style. Presumably, it'll be on whatever comes next too. If you want one, it's not going to be hard to get. Prior to the figure's release, Hasbro contemplated adding in a Mustafar lava duel accessory-- either a droid or a platform, depending on who you ask-- which was pulled out and sold separately as a seemingly successful carded figure.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,127: October 8, 2009

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