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Darth Vader - Deluxe Exclusive
Sideshow Collectibles

Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow


When any list of the world's greatest fictional villains is created, you know who is going to win. It's not even a contest. Even after Lucas did his best to ruin the mystic and malevolence with the three prequels, the Original Trilogy Darth Vader remains a fan favorite.

Vader has been done to death as an action figure, of course. Every company that's had the license has taken a whack at him, some with better results than others. But when it comes to sixth scale, the outcome has been surprisingly...well,let's just say that I find their lack of quality disturbing.

Sideshow did do a nice version about 4 1/2 years ago, but those intervening years have been big ones in the market, with sculpts and paints getting crazy realistic, and the quality of the articulation, outfits and accessories racing up right alongside.

Sideshow has revisited the character, this time with a 'deluxe' release. It includes a crap load of extras, including several light up features and a newly designed body.

This upgrade costs an upgraded price as well. He'll set you back $250 at most retailers, although you can shave a little off that with some work. There are two versions: the regular release you'll find at most retailers and the Sideshow exclusive. The exclusive is the same initial retail price, but includes one extra accessory, and is the figure I'm reviewing here.

There's also a ton of photos here, so be sure to scroll all the way down to the end of the review to see everything.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow

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 is 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 impressive villain.

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 this category.

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 positive) that 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 days.

All the usual articulation is here, and it works relatively well, considering the restrictions of the outfit.

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 stances.

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 scaled.

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 swap hands.

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 well 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 section.

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 trained eyes.

The detailing on the chest and belt is excellent, and the codpiece, shoulder armor, and greaves all look 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 are easy 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 Vader.

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 box.

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.

Score Recap:
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.

- Unmasked Collectibles comes in at just $240.

- Big Bad Toy Store has the regular version at $250.

- Things From Another World is also at $250.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
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 oustanding Bossk as well. And IG-88 was just before that. The Battle Droid and STAP is cool as well, along with the double pack of Droids.

- 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 chair, Lando Calrissian, he Shock Trooper, the first Darth Vader, the Utapau Trooper, the Imperial Stormtrooper, Captain Antilles, Ki-Adi-Mundi, Obi-Wan in Clone Armor, Aayla Secura, Tatooine Luke, Han Solo,
Commander Praji, Palpatine/Sidous, ANH Obi-Wan, Ilum Padme, Leia and Bespin Luke, the Holo-chess set, Sideshow's Asajj, a terrific figure, Yavin Luke, the Endor Troops, Jabba the Hutt and his throne, Bib Fortuna, Jedi Luke, Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, Bespin Han Solo, regular Anakin Skywalker and Kit Fisto.

- I also have guest reviews of the SDCC Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, Emperor Palpatine and his throne, and Qui-Gon Jinn.

- and if you're a fan of Vader, check out Sideshow's Premium Format statue, or Medicom's sixth scale version

Discussion:
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Darth Vader deluxe sixth scale action figure by Sideshow


This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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