The Black Series 3 3/4-Inch Basic Figures
Item No.: Asst. A5077 No. A5630
Number: Black Series #26
Includes: Lightsaber, hilt, easily lost head
Action Feature: n/a
Availability: August 2014
Appearances: Revenge of the Sith
Bio: After undergoing life-saving cybernetic reconstruction, Darth Vader stands on the bridge of a Star Destroyer to watch the construction of a powerful new Battle Station. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: Adam's photo lab.
Availability: Click here to buy it at Entertainment Earth now!
Commentary: I never went through life thinking I needed another Darth Vader, let alone one form Revenge of the Sith. At first I thought this was a mix of new and old parts, but it turns out I was wrong - it's actually the ultra-articulated Darth Vader you've always wanted. That's the good news. The bad news is that it also trips up an unforgivable feature, which is that if you turn his head it always will fall off. The assembly is terrible and once you have a figure that can lose its head easily, that's a bad figure. I don't even mean "it can pop off," I mean "I dare you to turn it and not have it fall off." The head holds the cape in place, and under the cape are two ugly divets that look like they were meant to hold the cape in place.
The sculpt is good, with rocker ankles, bend-and-swivel wrists, a ball-jointed torso joint that's amazingly well-hidden, and the ball-and-socket hips you all love. The knee joints are well hidden and if this came out with a good neck joint and a slightly better helmet sculpt, I doubt anyone would balk at buying yet another Darth Vader. Hasbro did a spectacular, wonderful job on the articulation here but "the head falls off if you look at it funny" is an unforgivable sin. The hands can grip the lightsabers, the textures are all quite nice, and he's appropriately skinny. The sculpted chain on the neck armor integrates nicely with the cape, and visually it's a nice figure - possibly the nicest looking Darth Vader ever if you never open it.
The inclusion of a newly-sculpted lightsaber hilt is baffling since it can't sit on the belt, and the belt is another part that irks me. The codpiece has returned, meaning if you aren't careful it can stick up and he'll be quite happy to see you.
Some people will love this figure, and Hasbro should be commended at getting it about 95%. But the problem is, that 5% is the wrong 5% to get wrong - no figure's head should fall off that easily, and we've had countless Darth Vaders since the introduction of ball-jointed necks that were all more or less OK. Since the cape flies off when the head goes - and the head, without the cape, still won't stay put - I want to suggest Hasbro reissue this one with a retooled helmet/neck peg down the road. And maybe a slightly larger, all-new helmet sculpt. They should be proud of most of this... but man, that's the wrong part to get wrong. In college I had teachers that auto-failed you if you did a report with someone's name spelled wrong, or if you left off certain citations. That's how I feel about this figure - it's mostly well-done, but I can't get past the head foul-up and have to flunk it.
Collector's Notes: These are available online right now and I got mine at Entertainment Earth. I have not seen it in stores yet.
Day 2,094: August 18, 2014