Sculpt - ***1/2
While Vader stuck with the Johnny Cash look through out the films,
there were minor changes from movie to movie. This figure is based on
the original look from A New Hope.
I'm going to stick with largely
the head here, since I'll be discussing the armor in greater detail in
the Outfit section.
the course of the four films in which we saw Vader, the costume changed
in subtle ways, especially the helmet. This is supposed to be the
Episode IV helmet, but I'm not enough of an expert to get down with all
the hairy details.
I will say that it does look a
little off to
me in a more general way. The slope of the helmet seems a bit too
steep, without as much flair away from the jaw and neck. This tends to
accentuate the height of the helmet and forehead, but I think the
overall size of the helmet and head is pretty close to proper scale.
small detail sculpting on the helmet is excellent, however. The smooth,
cold eyes, the grill over the mouth, and even the slight texturing to
the grayer areas (which is really due to the paint, rather than the
sculpt) all lend a very realistic, screen-like appearance to the
thing everyone is going to notice right away is that this guy is HUGE.
He stands a full 14" tall in the costume, and while this might seem
extraordinarily large at first, in reality he's only slightly
oversized. He IS too big, don't let anyone tell you different, but it's
Prowse was around 6' 6" tall,
depending on who you
ask. Add in the funky helmet and big boots, and I'd say 6' 9" or 6'10"
was pretty likely when he was fully costumed up.
At 14" in 'true'
sixth scale, this figure would be 7' tall. However, that's a six foot
man coming out at just 12", and most modern sixth scale lines are a
little bigger than that. Normal Sideshow males tend to be closer to 12
1/4" tall, or even a smidge bigger, depending on what they're wearing.
To me that means this guy is
maybe...maybe a 1/2" too tall, max. I
can certainly live with that, and it's much, much preferred to being
Paint - ***
This category would be an easy four star
score, if not for ONE small issue. But while the issue is small in
size, it's larger in impact.
But let's talk about all the
first. Vader likes to keep a shine on his armor to rival any car in Jay
Leno's garage. There's a whole Stormtrooper battalion who's only job is
to wax his helmet. They don't like to talk about it much, though.
has given the helmet, eyes, greaves and other key areas a high gloss
finish that is even, consistent, and very reflective. This gloss finish
is offset perfectly with the more matte appearance of the boots, chest
armor and general clothing.
The small detail work on the
plate ("which one of these buttons do you press to call your mom to
come pick you up?") and belt controls is excellent, with clean lines,
no bleed and no slop. These small details are crucial to giving Vader
some color and to breaking up the consistent black.
I also like
the use of lighter gray in some areas of the neck and face of the mask.
In the film, the lighting created lighter and darker areas, but in this
scale it's hard to reproduce that. Sideshow has done a surprisingly
good job of using more than one shade of color to get the same effect.
if everything is so perfect, what's my beef? While it might seem minor
at first - the right fennel (that little post that sticks out from the
corner of his mouth) isn't painted silver. At all. It's not broken off,
it's just not painted. Yep, it's just one little dot of silver
paint...but it's right there, out in front, like a pimple on prom night.
appears as though this isn't an error, but done on purpose. Now, I've
never seen a still of Vader with one unpainted 'tusk', and it just
doesn't look right in person, so even if they did it for some obscure
film accuracy, I would have preferred that they not.
I normally don't add after a review is posted, but I'm making an
exception since this is such a topic for debate. Yes, the 'tusk' ended
up black at some point in the film. Somebody screwed up, somehow it got
black paint on it, and it didn't get noticed. It's supposed to be
silver in the movie, but there was a error during filming. I stand by
my score and my opinion - I'd rather they not perpetuate an error, and
had both painted like the Premium Format did. Your mileage may vary.
Articulation - ***1/2
I'm really liking this new body. Yes, it's new - for God's sake, the
thing is huge! - but without striping him completely down, it appears
that it's very much like the new armored body (for a great nekkid shot,
There's a couple notable
no floppy joints at all, alt least with mine. Part of this might be
that the more restrictive clothes means less trouble with the knees or
hips being floppy, but the arms and shoulders are nice and tight, able
to hold any pose without 'wilting'. That's a big plus, and I certainly
hope that translates into future releases with the smaller Pro body.
other big change is the hand attachments. This is NOT - I repeat, NOT -
a ball with posts between the hand and arm that can be removed, like
just about every other current sixth scale figure out there, including
the Pro. Instead, there is a post buried in the gloved hand, in a
perfectly centered position, that snaps into the forearm.
first glance, I was very happy with this situation. The hands pop on
and off cleanly, they stay in place, and it felt like there was far
less chance of damaging the pegs.
After swapping the hands a few
times, I did get concerned that the peg might eventually pull loose or
end up forced into the hand. I'm not counting this as a negative right
now, but more as a warning. Be sure the peg is lined up properly before
putting too much force on it - it really does pop in pretty easily when
it's in the right spot, so you shouldn't have to use your large muscle
groups to get it attached.
The outfit does restrict the
articulation more than usual, particularly with the neck, waist, wrists
and ankles. But after playing around with this guy for the photos, I
have to say that I'm excited with the potential of this new, much
Accessories - ***
Vader doesn't come packing a whole lot of stuff, but don't tell him
has the lit and unlit sabers, which are both scaled nicely to fit in
his gripping hands. The unlit version hangs on his belt by way of a
metal loop, and the sculpt and paint work on both is terrific.
Vader also has three extra hands, while the exclusive includes a
fourth. He comes wearing the two gripping hands, but also has a right
and left fist, to shake at his Stormtroopers in frustration. He rounds
things out with a choking hand, perfect for gripping poor Antilles by
The exclusive also includes a
'choking' hand, but this
one is for when Vader doesn't want to bother walking across the room to
kill you. This is is force choke hand, which can double as a general
pointing hand as well.
There's the usual display stand
but Vader stands great on his own, and so the only reason to use it is
for display consistency.
Outfit - ****
Darth Vader's sartorial style has always ran toward black and imposing,
and Sideshow has done a terrific job capturing the look.
Ignoring the gloved hands and
mask/helmet, which we've already
discussed in detail, the remaining outfit consists of the outer cape,
inner 'robe', boots, belt, shoulder armor and chest piece, cod piece,
and underlying 'jumpsuit'.
Every great look needs a great
foundation, and Vader starts out with his leather-like jumpsuit. It
fits tightly, but is stretchy enough to allow the arms and legs some
room for posing. It matches the look from the film quite well, and is
very high quality.
The thin inner robes drape over
and down the front. He comes with these wrapped over the shoulder
armor, which I *think* is the correct look for ANH. However, in later
movies, I believe he wore this piece under the armor.
cape is made from a soft exterior material, with a thin nylon liner.
There is no wire in the cape (something I would have really liked), but
there is a metal chain used to clasp it around his neck. This is not
normally visible though, since the chain and collar are tight enough to
rest underneath the neck of the faceplate. Again, I believe that's the
accurate look for ANH.
The shoulder armor is done in a
different way that is not movie accurate, at least as far as I know. As
I recall (and I'm sure a reader will correct me momentarily if I'm
wrong), the shoulder armor always went completely across the body as
one piece, from shoulder to shoulder. Sideshow has made the outer
shoulder sections separate pieces from the inner section that covers
the upper back and chest. This is one of those smart changes, altering
the costume slightly to better work in this scale. By doing this,
they've allowed a much greater range of movement in the shoulders, and
yet, when the arms are at rest at the sides, the overall appearance is
close enough to the movie to satisfy most folks.
Attached to this
armor is the chest control box, held in place with leather straps.
Below that, he wears his belt, complete with control boxes. The belt
connects in back with Velcro, allowing you to easily adjust where it
hangs and how tightly it fits.
Below the belt is his codpiece.
This is only held in place with straps on the sides, which attach in
back with Velcro, just like the belt. Again, it's easy to adjust, but
without any strap to hold it in place at the crotch, it rides up on him
constantly. It's a good thing that it's easy to adjust, because I found
myself adjusting it constantly. Playing with Vader's codpiece is not
one of my Star Wars fantasies, but may now be the subject of future
I've left the best for last -
his boots. There are
two parts to his boots, permanently attached to each other. There's the
tall, sculpted boots, made with a matte black finish, and then there's
the hard plastic, high gloss greaves. Sideshow always seems to do boots
well, no matter what character, and once again they've done Vader proud.
Fun Factor - ***
While this figure might be too expensive to give to an eight year old,
if you did, he (or she) could certainly put it through its paces. It's
a very sturdy figure, with quality materials and plastic. It's
certainly as sturdy as most mass market sixth scale toys, and it's a
fantastic example of a collectible that maintains its toy roots.
Value - **1/2
Yep, he's expensive at $125. And I really do think that other
characters at this price point require more accessories to really hit
an average value. But as the first character using the newly developed
body, and with the quality of the armor and outfit, I have to say that
the price felt about right. If you can get him down around $100, that
would be fantastic, but with the demand that I expect for this
character, it's probably unlikely.
And let's not forget that the
shrmipier Medicom Vader cost $150 or more, and that was 4 years ago.
Things To Watch Out For
The only thing to take care with is the pegs inside the wrists. I
didn't have any trouble with them, and you shouldn't either, as long as
you make sure they're lined up before putting too much pressure on
them. It shouldn't require the strength of David Prowse to get them on,
so if they give any real resistance when you push, reposition slightly.
maximum appeal, you'll also want to use a slightly warm iron on the
interior of the cape. The nylon material is sure to wrinkle in the box,
and you'll want to hit it with a quick pass to get them out.
Overall - ***1/2
There are minor nits that I can pick with this figure, and for me the
worst would be his slightly oversized appearance. But as I said
earlier, I'd rather have him slightly too big than slightly too small.
It's far more distracting to see a puny Vader on the shelf than one
that's simply a bit *too* imposing.
while he has issues, this is the best sixth scale Vader we've gotten to
date. The posability is there, the quality is there, and he fits in
well with the rest of the line. There's still a few figures that
Sideshow MUST produce before this line ends, but after all these years,
we finally have the single most important character in the series to
display on our shelves.
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/