Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Star Wars Figure of the Day: Day 1,855: Darth Vader

DARTH VADER  Finally on a new 1978-style cardback!
The Vintage Collection Basic Figures
Item No.:
Asst. 37499 No.  37508  
Manufacturer: Hasbro
Number: #VC93
Includes: Lightsaber
Action Feature: n/a
Retail: $9.99
Availability: April 2012
Appearances: Star Wars

Bio: Celebrate the legendary Star Wars saga that changed the universe forever! This collection brings to life the incredible story of good versus evil that captured our imagination and took us to a galaxy far, far away. Iconic Star Wars heroes and villains are captured with incredible detail and premium features to commemorate each epic tale in the Star Wars saga. May the Force be with you!  (Taken from the figure's packaging.  No specific character information.)

Image: Adam Pawlus' photo area.

Commentary: One of the problems I have about this line is I have to explain to people (not you people) what's new.  This Darth Vader figure is a brand-new sculpt for 2012, and people don't believe me when I tell them this.  "Are you sure?" they ask.  "Yes!"  I say.  "OK, so the lenses are painted brighter, the right hand has this neat "Force" pose, and it's the first and so far only Darth Vader with ball-jointed hip joints."  They respond "but it looks just like the other Vintage one, doesn't it?" and I have to say "OK, yes, but not really.  See, the armor is based on the original Star Wars, which means his robes are over his shoulder armor, the lines on his gloves run in a different direction, and there's a green light on his chest."  At this point they shrug, because they weren't into the minor details so much as they were trying to confirm that this was a thing they could ignore or reuse a photo for it or something.

I'm really not sure what to take away from this figure.  It's the best-ever Star Wars Darth Vader, but it's not the best, finalest-est figure.  The hip joints have exquisite mobility, but this codpiece looks something like a diaper.  The helmet doesn't have a ball joint, nor do the wrists.  Hasbro developed a "wire" cape that can be posed around 2008, but has yet to use this accessory with Darth Vader.  This figure also lacks a lightsaber hilt to plug into his belt, or a hole for said belt.

I don't want to dump on this figure, because it's still quite good-- it's just not the best Hasbro is capable of doing in 2012, nor is it necessarily $10 worth of Darth Vader when we received a similarly articulated figure, complete with "dead Kenobi" accessory, removable helmet, and a metal coin, in 2007 for $7.  The main thing this new figure has going for it is a better sculpt and hip joints, plus the really cool cardback.  Which, I think, is why most fans are really interested in this one, I don't understand why Hasbro didn't just repackage the existing figure and call it a day to save a few bucks as this one is clearly improved, but not significantly so.   He has a little more personality, though, and a little personality goes a long way.

Collector's Notes:  For some odd reason this one remains hard to find.  This reason, of course, being the line's unwavering popularity measured against assortments which don't necessarily result in stores getting a lot of new product that sticks around.  If the price is right, it's worth getting, particularly if you keep it packaged.

--Adam Pawlus

Day 1,855: July 24, 2012

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