Friday, April 20, 2012

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,788: Darth Vader

DARTH VADER Lightsaber swinging action!
Discover the Force Movie Heroes
Item No.:
  Asst. 87752 No. 37754
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #MH06
Includes: Stand, card, die
Action Feature: Swinging lightsaber
Retail: $8.99
Availability: January 2012
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back

Bio: Darth Vader is the evil and much-feared military leader of the Galactic Empire. He seeks to bring young Luke Skywalker over to the dark side. As the two battle on a precarious outer walkway on Bespin, Vader reveals a shocking secret that shatters Luke’s world. (Taken from the figure's packaging.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' photo area.

Commentary: I don't quite get why Hasbro selected this Darth Vader for a reissue.  The original 2002 release of this mold was plagued with problems, not the least of which being that it was (and still is) marketed as an Empire Strikes Back sculpt when the helmet, gloves, and chest scream "I'm from 1977!"  This 2012 release does correct a few of the 2002 release's problems, but it doesn't answer the question why the far simpler and more fun 2005 release wasn't brought back out.  (The basic Revenge of the Sith carded Darth Vader has a swell cloth cape and swinging action.)

This figure has a button on the back of his belt which, when pressed, will swing the figure from side to side, letting him "fight."  The lightsaber (now a one-piece plastic item instead of a two-piece metal-and-plastic accessory) is sturdier, and doesn't fly out of his hand.  The cape doesn't fly off as easily, but since it is a removable plastic cape it will pop off during play eventually.  Also, it's worth noting the magnetic features are no longer present, his retooled left hand is now just plastic.  It looks better and sharper than the 2002 release, but isn't as fun. (Or fragile.)  Considering that the figure is a confused mashup of the first two films' Vader costumes, it's a neat curiosity-- but the 2002 release has a chunk of a Cloud City diorama, so clearly, it's going to be the better, and cheaper, option.

Collector's Notes: A relatively new release, this figure should be in a store near you right now.  But again, it's sort of a baffling pick as Hasbro has made far better kid-friendly Darth Vader action figures with fewer fundamental flaws and better sculpts.  The similar-but-better 2012 Vintage Darth Vader just hit, and yeah, you'll want that one instead.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,788: April 20, 2012

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