Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,866: Darth Vader

DARTH VADER  Light-Up Lightsaber Blade!
Discover the Force Movie Heroes Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 36563 No.  37287  
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #MH20
Includes: Stand, card, die, cape
Action Feature: Lightsaber lights up
Retail: $8.99
Availability: May 2012
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio:  Darth Vader is a master of the lightsaber.  Many years have passed since the Sith Lord has fought someone who can also wield the legendary weapon of the Jedi and the Sith.  Calling upon his powerful connection to the Force, Vader ignites his lightsaber to battle young Luke Skywalker.  (Taken from the figure's box.)

Image: Adam's photo area.

Commentary: In a year with no fewer than 5 unique versions of this character in circulation, each Darth Vader needs to be distinctive and different.  This one is, walking the line between decent toy and decent collectible while also exposing just how kids sometimes ruin everything.  My main beef with the figure is its action feature.  It works well-- the lightsaber is nice and bright red, it's embedded in his arm, and the button in his belt buckle was a nice touch.  Heck, I'm even OK with the slightly bulkier proportions needed to house the electronics.  My problem, as a collector, is that the battery is not removable.  Should it die, I cannot replace it.  Should it leak, I will not be able to do anything about it.  It's stuck in the figure unless I buy a spare, crack it open, and reglue it-- and I'm tempted to do this.   Safety, shmafety.

the figure itself is pretty good although it's doing more than it should to satisfy the needs of the fan.   This figure was designed to light up in the hands of children, and can be posed nicely.  I appreciate that his left arm has ball-jointed elements, but why does he have knees?  Even the hip joints are rendered worthless by his waist cape, so knees offer little to no use to fans of any age.  It's not like he can sit, or crouch, or be placed in a vehicle.  He's going to stand and light up, period.  While I guess it's nice, it probably just added some cost to a figure where cost-cutting is more essential than ever.  His sculpt is good and similar to the 2012 Battle Packs version, the detail is great, the plastic capes look good, and Hasbro probably never has done a finer series of Darth Vader sculpts.  I still think the battle pack one is better, without the electronics and all, but this one is good too.  I do have fun fidgeting with it and I like the light-up feature a whole lot.  As a kid I'd want to have one of these, and it's a big improvement over the hunchbacked 1998 light-up Electronic Power FX Darth Vader figure.  Of course, that was before everybody decided/realized that Darth Vader has different looks between Star Wars and other films.

Collector's Notes:  At two per box I've been seeing a decent stream of this one.  For $9 it won't knock your socks off, but it's good enough to buy if you're still collecting.  I enjoy it and I'd be sorry if I missed it.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,866: August 8, 2012

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