Friday, August 31, 2012

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,883: Darth Vader (Dagobah)

Power of the Jedi Collection 1
Item No.:
Asst. 84445 No.  84472
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: n/a
Includes: Lightsaber, Force File
Action Feature: Removable head, removable faceplate, lightsaber, cape
Retail: $6.99
Availability: Fall 2000
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio:  Taking the form of Darth Vader , the Dark Lord of the Sith, this spirit is the embodiment of the dark side of the Force. It dwells in a cave on the swamp-covered planet of Dagobah. Although defeated by Luke Skywalker in combat, its unmasked face revealed that Luke has yet to master the ways of the Force and become a Jedi.   (Taken from the figure's Force File.)

Image: Adam's desk.

Commentary: How is it possible I missed this one until now?  Darth Vader has taken many forms in this line, including no fewer than 3 Dagobah-specific "spirit" figures based on a short sequence in a cave.  This was the first and unquestionably best of them.  A new mold, the figure had 10 points of articulation with no ball joints and a sculpt that will still be impressive today.  The lines are clean and the design crisp, with glossy and metallic paint over a translucent smoke plastic that Hasbro has never beat.   His lightsaber is still astonishingly bright over 10 years later, when many of the 1990s-era sabers were pink or clear before the year 2000.  The most amazing detail at all is its action feature, a head you can cut off to roll around on the swampy marshes of Dagobah.  As an added bonus, the face mask pops off to reveal the ghostly apparition of Luke's own face under the helmet.

But wait!  There's more!

This is the first and I think only instance of the mask having clear red lenses on the mask.  Even shining a bright light into the lenses won't reveal the eyes of the figure underneath, so it's not at all obvious that the head or the mask can come off.  Considering the big bulky buckets figures wore in the 1980s, it's astonishing just how good this figure truly is.  Even today, our clone troopers are good, but probably not this good.  If the figure has one sculpted flaw, it's that, in all seriousness, the helmet may be a little undersized.    Hasbro has-- and sometimes still has-- a fear of making Darth Vader look like Dark Helmet, and at times the head is a smidgen smaller than it should be.  That's OK though, it still looks beautiful and is the gold standard for Dagobah Spirit Darth Vader figures.  This is probably the figure from the Episode I/Episode II hammock that aged the best, I might regret making that generalization later but having it in front of me now, it's just fantastic.

Oh wait, one last flaw.  Lightsaber.  The hilt's silver paint on my sample scraped off before I opened it.  Since his hand covers the "damage" i've not bothered to track down a second one or repaint it, but let's face it: nothing's perfect.  It comes damned close though, and the fact that it's only worth $4-$5 on eBay means that you're a putz if youd have a major credit card and don't already own this figure.  It's worth it.  Not in a "I like weird old toys" way but this is a genuinely good collectible with deco that, to date, hasn't entirely been surpassed.

Collector's Notes: Just prior to this figure's release, Hasbro was still going back and forth on if it should be a magnet or a peg.  Due to cost-cutting (during the "expensive" era of $6.99 figures) the peg won out, which is unfortunate because the magnets they would go on to use in 2002 worked pretty dang well most of the time.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,883: August 31, 2012

1 comment:

Philip Ayres said...

Top, top figure. Love mine.