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Review of Darth Vader and Jedi Luke Skywalker - Star Wars Black

Hasbro
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 2.75 out of 4

Star Was Black Vader & Jedi Luke action figures by Hasbro

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Introduction

The Star Wars Black series of 6" figures have had a few more releases than normal lately, particularly with a couple retailer exclusives hitting about the same time. But the core line has remained true to the concept of not flooding collectors (and kids) with more figures than they can handle, and the last wave for 2014 (which is technically the first wave of 2015) is hitting stores now.

This wave includes the previously reviewed Chewie and Sandtrooper, and tonight's pair of Darth Vader and Jedi Luke. You should be able to find these at the usual suspects, although online stores - and Walgreen's - seem to be getting them first. They will run you the usual $20 a pop.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Star Was Black Vader & Jedi Luke action figures by Hasbro

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Packaging - ****
I've said how much I like these basic black boxes before, but it's always worth reiterating.  The simple design has a classy look, and they are completely collector friendly. Unlike the Sandtrooper, there's no rubber bands (or twisties for that matter) to hold them down, and you can easily remove the figure and accessories with no damage to the package.

Star Was Black Vader & Jedi Luke action figures by Hasbro

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Sculpting - Vader **1/2; Luke ***
There's good and bad here with both father and son, but the sins of the father are greater.

Luke has a decent portrait, particularly for this scale. Remember, this is a 6" series, making Luke about 5 3/4 inches tall and Vader about 8.

The paint could do more to support the Luke sculpt - more on that in a minute - but above the neck is pretty good. Below the neck he suffers from some issues we've seen in other scales, like long-ish arms, and a body a bit too small for his head. These aren't glaring issues, but enough to hold him back from hitting the higher scores.

Vader is a bit more of a mess. While I like the detailing on the texture of his suit and the use of soft goods for his cape and 'skirt', the helmet is all kinds of wrong. From the huge cheek 'bones' to the helmet all the way down on his shoulders to an extra wide 'mouth', the entire thing is a knock off version of poor Vader. And don't even get me started on the huge chain!

The cape is sewn to the shoulder armor, so removing it is not really an option. The helmet is removable, and underneath is a Sebastian Shaw head sculpt. It's reasonable, although the detail work is pretty soft and undefined, much like it is on his chest plate.

Star Was Black Vader & Jedi Luke action figures by Hasbro

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Paint - Vader **1/2; Luke ***
Once again, Luke is reasonable but not exceptional. The colors are pretty basic, and even what few details there are - like the folded shirt, or highlights on the belt - are somewhat sloppy and uneven.

Worse, he's got some funky eyes that give him a look of unhappy surprise, but not too extreme. This isn't a "oh my God, he's my father?!?!" look, but more of a "she's my what?" sort of expression.

Vader exhibits the same moderate slop, especially on the chest, but the killer is his eyes. Or at least his eye lens in the helmet. Obviously, they should be black. and just as obviously, they are not. While the paint work on the hidden head makes up for it a bit, the eyes are so important and so glaringly incorrect that he can't quite recover.

Star Was Black Vader & Jedi Luke action figures by Hasbro

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Articulation - ***1/2
Both figures have plenty of articulation, enough for even a die hard joint junkie.

There's the decent ball jointed neck, ball shoulders and hips, ball (pin/post style) elbows and wrists, cut waist, cut thighs, double pin knees, and even pin/rocker ankles. You should have no trouble getting reasonably realistic, flowing poses, and they should be able to maintain them long term.

Perhaps more important for a line that could actually get into the hands of a kid, these joints are all sturdy and solid. I noticed less of the soft plastic with this pair, especially Vader, making the joints less likely to tear or rip.

Star Was Black Vader & Jedi Luke action figures by Hasbro

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Accessories - ***1/2
Both figures come with two true accessories. Of course each must have their light saber, with the blade in the appropriate color.

Both sabers come apart as well, so they can be holding them lit, or not. They can also attach to the belt with the blade removed.

Luke's seems a bit out of scale to me, both the hilt and the blade. They seem slightly too long, particularly when in his hands. Of course, this does allow for a double grip stance. And yes, I know just how funny that all sounds.

Both hilts are also a little soft, making it difficult to get them in the hands, which are made from a much harder plastic. Once in place they'll stay, however.

Luke also comes with a swappable shirt front. Since he had his shirt flap both open and closed at different points in the film, Hasbro gave you both options. The shirt front attaches with two posts, and it is a nice fit.

Vader's second accessory is the aforementioned helmet. We've already discussed its many flaws, but it is a nifty concept, and I have to give Hasbro credit for going with the removable design.

Star Was Black Vader & Jedi Luke action figures by Hasbro

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Fun Factor - ****
While these two might not be my favorites, the overall series still exhibits all the best qualities of a great action figure line. Solid articulation, great accessories, core character selection - kids will have a ton of fun with these figures, and they should survive normal backyard play.

Star Was Black Vader & Jedi Luke action figures by Hasbro

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Value - **1/2
At $20 a pop, these are about average right now for collector themed action figures in this scale. While I still complain loudly to anyone that's willing to listen, the reality is that this is an average value when compared to lines like Game of Thrones.

However, a lot of online stores are currently charging a premium for Vader because it's Vader. You might want to either buy the set of four, or wait for your local retailer.

Star Was Black Vader & Jedi Luke action figures by Hasbro

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Things to Watch Out For -
The light sabers can be a little fragile when removing and replacing the blade, but with a little care you'll be fine.

Star Was Black Vader & Jedi Luke action figures by Hasbro

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Overall - Vader **1/2; Luke ***
Luke is a decent figure - nothing outstanding, but worth adding into the mix. I was never a big fan of the character in general, but he's a key member of the threesome, and his Jedi look is certainly more interesting than his Tatooine garb. Now if we can get him in a Hoth outfit, I'll be good to go.

But Vader is a different story. He's one of the top all time movie characters, an iconic villain that transcends even the worst of the films. And he deserves so much more than this. I can only hope that they realize how badly they've missed the mark, and give us an updated version at some future date. How about A New Hope release? Pretty please?

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - Vader **1/2; Luke ***
Paint - Vader **1/2; Luke ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall - Vader **1/2; Luke ***

Where to Buy 
I picked mine up online, but retailers like Target and Toys R Us should be getting these in soon. Online options include these site sponsors:

- Entertainment Earth only sells the set of 4, but at $80 that's the best way to go online.

- has Vader at $27.

- is at $35 for Vader, but Luke is only $23.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Most recent was the Chewbacca and Sandtrooper that come with this wave.v I've also covered the Biker Scout and Speederbike, the Clonetrooper and Anakin Skywalker. Before that there was Bespin Luke, the Stormtrooper and Obi-Wan, Slave Leia and Boba FettHan Solo and Greedo, and Darth Maul and the Sandtrooper, as well as X-Wing Pilot Luke and R2-D2.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Star Was Black Vader & Jedi Luke action figures by Hasbro

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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