Packaging - ***1/2
The package is very Hot Toys-esque, done in a standard shoe box style.
Take off the lid and there's a cardboard slip cover, underneath which
a set of plastic trays. These trays hold everything safely, and there's
no twisties, bands or ties to annoy you. It's completely collector
friendly, and very sturdy.
I also like the embossed Vader helmet on the front cover, which is hard
to see in photos, but looks great in person.
Sculpting - ***1/2
The first important note is that Vader was a big guy, and this is a big
figure. He stands almost 14" tall, and will tower over most other sixth
scale figures. He should - that's part of what made him such an
This isn't the first time
Sideshow has done Vader in sixth scale. More than four years ago they
released the version from A New Hope. That figure was without any
lights, and had far fewer accessories, but the real difference was in
If you look at the small details
in that earlier figure,
like the work on the chest controls or the belt, you'll notice
how far the realism of the sculpting has come. Everything is
sharper, more precise, and much, much more realistic.
The second portrait of the
injured and old Anakin Skywalker is also fantastic, and there's a ton
of detail in the skin texture and exposed mechanics. That sort of
detail work carries over to items like the additional mask, which has a
ton of small details even on the inside, where it wasn't necessary -
but much appreciated.
There's a ton of hand sculpts
too, and they work to create a wide variety of classic poses.
It's these same hands however that pulls down this score by a
half star. The gloves flair out quite a bit, which makes the forearms
look skinny. The outfit doesn't help here, since there's not a lot of
arm padding, and while the flair does make it easier to swap hands, it
also makes the arms look odd from certain angles.
Paint - ****
While there's not a ton of paint ops, there's some critical small
detail work. I'm happy that both of the silver 'knobs' are painted,
even though some fans might complain. This is a Return of the Jedi
Vader, and I'm pretty sure (no, I'm not quite a big enough nerd to be
in this flick both were undamaged. So it's true to the film, and it
just looks better overall.
The black helmets also look
excellent, with a nice consistency to the color and the glossy finish.
The tiny details on both the outside and inside of the separate mask
look terrific, and the detailing on the chest piece and belt is good.
Articulation - ***
This is a new body, designed for the larger character. Sideshow has
done this before with figures like Jaws from James Bond, but of course,
this is a much better body than what they were selling back in those
All the usual articulation is
here, and it works relatively well, considering the restrictions of the
The ball jointed neck (which is
actually two ball joints), has some tilt and lean action, even with the
rather tight fit between the shoulder armor and the helmet.
The shoulders lift up past the
chest, thanks to the articulated shoulder armor, and the legs can take
very deep stances. The ankles have ball joints which allows the foot to
remain flat on the floor, a huge plus when trying to get realistic
Unfortunately, the body didn't
flow and pose quite as naturally as I'd like. It still seemed stiff in
a lot of poses, lacking in a natural fluidity. Even getting him to
stand up straight had its issues, and I found that he had to lean
slightly forward most of the time to remain standing. Still, by the
time I'd spent an hour or so messing around with him, I found that I
could get the poses I wanted for my display, and plenty of them.
Accessories - ****
Darth Vader isn't a guy that carries a lot of stuff. Sideshow managed
to come up with some great extras though, and plenty of them.
He has to have a lightsaber of
course, and there's both the unlit hilt and the hilt with red blade.
The unlit hilt has loops on either end that can be used to hang it from
his belt. Both have excellent, detailed sculpts, and are properly
Vader has to be able to hold his
saber, and make a few classic gestures. He was right handed, and it's
obvious - there are only three left hands, but a whopping eight right
hands! Every hand has it's own wrist peg too, making it much easier to
The three lefts include one
fist, and two gripping hands. Those are handy since it is possible to
hold the hilt in both hands at once.
The right hands have a fist too,
as a couple different gripping hands with the wrists at a slightly
different angle. There's several gestures too - a pointing finger, a
force choke hand, a crushing gesture - all designed to capture classic
scenes and poses.
The exclusive includes that 11th
hand, and it's another right. It's actually two pieces that make up the
severed right hand showing the internal wires, tubes and electronics.
It's an excellent sculpt with terrific detail and great paint. Since it
comes in at the same price as the regular edition, you might as well
grab this one if you can.
Now that might be it for most
Vader's, but not this one. He comes with a second complete head sculpt,
with the mask removed and showing off his scarred face of Anakin and
the internal mechanics of the suit.
The heads swap easily, but take
a little care with the shoulder armor and cape. Don't put pressure in
the wrong spot, our you'll regret it.
He also comes with a separate
helmet and face mask. These are NOT intended to fit over the sculpted
face, but instead go on the 'Meditation Chamber' display base. This
base lights up with a bright red LED, highlighting the top of the mask.
It looks great, and makes an excellent addition to the display.
These two pieces can also be
held in his hands when he's wearing the nekkid face portrait, making
for an excellent pose.
Like all Sideshow sixth scale
figures, he comes with a display base, but not the usual basic version.
Instead, this one is a large, round base with a bright red light up
Imperial symbol. More on all these light up features in the proper
Outfit - ***1/2
This is a very complex outfit, one of the coolest costumes ever created
for the screen.
It starts with the helmet of
course, which looks in scale thanks to the wide shoulder armor. I'm
betting serious fans can find nits to pick with the helmet and mask -
there are nuances in every film - but it looks terrific to my less
The detailing on the chest and
belt is excellent, and the codpiece, shoulder armor, and greaves all
great. When I first pulled this guy out of the box, both the belt and
codpiece were riding pretty high on his body, but they
enough to adjust and get into a position that looks right to you.
I love the cape, which flows
over the shoulders perfectly. You can drape it in front or behind the
arms, and while there's no wire in the edge, that's actually a good
thing here. Without the wire, the thin, high quality fabric is allowed
to hang much more naturally.
The underlying body suit is well
tailored, but it does tend to bunch up a bit in the legs, both at the
inside of the thighs and at the top of the knees. This, and the lack of
padding on the arms, were my only real
issues with this otherwise excellent costume.
Light Feature - ***1/2
This guy has a lot of lights - more so than you'd even expect with
Obviously, his lights on the
belt and chest control panel work. There's a small battery pack on the
back of the belt that also has the switch, which works great and is
well hidden. It's a good design, since it's not hard to get to and yet
is very well hidden.
However, the chest lights are
very dim. They also flash, which is cool, but makes it tough to see
them in photos. While the green lights on the belt are easy to see even
in room light, the chest requires a very darkened room.
Along with those assumed lights,
there's also two more. One is in the large, round display base, and the
other is in the smaller display base designed for the helmet and mask.
These both have bright red LED's, and look terrific. The battery
compartment is on the bottom, and the switches are on the back edge in
an easy to reach but well concealed spot.
There are slits cut around the
outside edge of this thick base, which allows the red light to show
through. It's a nice touch, and looks great in a darkened room.
All three light up features have
included batteries, which is important at this price point. I don't
know how long they'll last, but at least they work right out of the
Fun Factor - ***
You'll be swapping hands and working poses for hours with this guy.
While he's certainly not a 'toy' in the strictest sense, he's a whole
lot more fun than a statue or other static pop culture collectible.
Value - **
I've been pretty hard on Hot Toys lately, due to their average price
rising above $200, often around $220 these days. This guy is $250, and
I'd be remiss to ignore the cost.
Of course, Vader is on a new,
larger body that created additional cost - at least for now - over a
usual sixth scale figure. More importantly, it has not one but three
light up features.
I'd say this guy is worthy of
that $200 - $220 price tag, but at $30 more loses a half star off
average. That's assuming you're talking about the exclusive with the
extra accessory. If not, you can drop another half star here.
Things to Watch Out For -
Take a little care swapping heads, since you could put too much
pressure on the shoulder armor or damage the edge of the cape if you
aren't paying attention. Otherwise, this guy is good to go!
Overall - ***1/2
There are times when 'updated' versions of sixth scale figures get
released, and collectors have to wonder if they are really necessary,
or just a money grab. There needs to be more than just an improved
sculpt, or a better paint job - there needs to be a real improvement
across the board.
That's what you get here.
Improved sculpt, improved paint, improved articulation, improved
costume, a butt load of very cool accessories, even multiple light up
features - this is a deluxe figure that is entirely worthy of the label.
That's not to say that the price
is fully justified. $200? Absolutely. $220? That's pushing it. $250?
Ouch. But every company is pushing the top end of pricing in the sixth
scale market right now, and it seems like collectors are still able -
and willing - to pay it. It's hard to argue with that.
Put this Vader with your
Snowtrooper or two, or maybe a few Stormtroopers, and you will have an
outstanding replacement for any previous sixth scale version.
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ****
Light Up Feature - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - ***1/2
Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:
- Sideshow has the exclusive
for $250 but on wait list, and the regular
at the same price, in stock.
Collectibles comes in at just $240.
- Big Bad Toy Store has the regular
version at $250.
From Another World is also at $250.
- or you can search
ebay for a deal.
Other Sideshow Star Wars releases include Yoda, who they did more than once, Padawan Obi-Wan, and
the E-Web Blaster
and the matching Snowtrooper.
- Sideshow also released the
as well. And IG-88
was just before that. The Battle
Droid and STAP is cool as well, along with the double pack of
- other reviews include the Tusken Raider, the Bepin Luke (from Hot
Toys), Sideshow's Boba Fett, the big Dewback and Trooper, Figrin D'an. the Sargeant Clone Trooper, Yoda, the Gammorean Guard, Admiral Thrawn and his command
Calrissian, he Shock
Trooper, the first Darth
Vader, the Utapau
Trooper, the Imperial Stormtrooper,
in Clone Armor, Aayla
Luke, Han Solo,
Obi-Wan, Ilum Padme,
and Bespin Luke, the Holo-chess
Asajj, a terrific figure, Yavin
Luke, the Endor
Troops, Jabba the
Hutt and his
throne, Bib Fortuna,
Luke, Darth Maul,
Han Solo, regular Anakin
Skywalker and Kit
- I also have guest reviews of
the SDCC Anakin Skywalker,
Palpatine and his throne, and Qui-Gon
- and if you're a fan of Vader,
check out Sideshow's Premium
Format statue, or Medicom's sixth
Want to chat about this
review? Try out one of these terrific
forums where I'll be
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