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Luke Skywalker vs Darth Vader
McQuarrie Version from Kotobukiya

Mcquarrie edition Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader star wars statue from Kotobukiya

While George Lucas gets most of the credit for the original Star Wars trilogy, he didn't work in a vacuum. One of the key people involved was Ralph McQuarrie, an illustrator and conceptual artist who would go on to work on many futuristic films, including Jurassic Park and E.T. He did a number of early and final designs for various Star Wars characters, including Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. At this point, Luke was still 'Starkiller', not Skywalker.

It's been popular over the last couple years to produce collectibles based on these early concept drawings, rather than the final versions. Kotobukiya released their 30th Anniversary vinyl statue of Vader vs. Luke earlier this year, done in the original McQuarrie style.
Mcquarrie edition Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader star wars statue from Kotobukiya

Mcquarrie edition Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader star wars statue from Kotobukiya
Mcquarrie edition Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader star wars statue from Kotobukiya
Mcquarrie edition Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader star wars statue from Kotobukiya
Mcquarrie edition Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader star wars statue from Kotobukiya
Mcquarrie edition Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader star wars statue from Kotobukiya

Packaging - **1/2
Like most Kotobukiya Star Wars boxes, it sticks to the minimalist style guide from Lucas. Unlike some of their others, there's no way to see the head sculpts from outside the package, as there are no windows at all.

There are some basic instructions included, although the assembly should be pretty straight forward.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Of the recent Koto's I've covered, this one is one of my favorites. Both figures are sculpted mid-battle, in a very dynamic and fluid pose. I love the angle of the sabers, the intensity of their expressions, and the flow of Vader's cape.

There's also some very nice detail work on both figures, and the internal scale is excellent. There's enough textures added to the clothing and other areas to give it a little realism, but they didn't over do it, sticking with a more statue-like appearance.

The overall scale is much better than either of the other two dioramas I recently reviewed as well. As you can see from the comparison photo with the standard Kotobukiya Stormtrooper (Luke of course), the Vader is just about the right size to fit in with the rest of the normal statues.  These are still a smidge small, but nothing like the R2-D2/C-3PO set or the Emperor/Yoda set.

Vader has holes in his feet to attach to his base, but they aren't necessary as he can stand fine on his own. Luke doesn't have any holes (or pegs in his base) because his pose is already about as stable as you can get.

These pop together easy enough, and all the parts were quite tight once in place. The cape on Vader wasn't a great fit, but if you play with it a bit you can get it to work. Remember to pop the end off the saber hilts to get them positioned in the hands properly.

Paint - Luke ***1/2; Vader **1/2
My only real complaint on this set is the paint work on Vader. So let's start with Luke.

The work on the young Starkiller is quite good, with very clean eyes visible through his cool goggles. He has the majority of the color of course, and they've used an airbrushed style technique to give him shadowing and variation.

Vader is predominately black, as you'd expect, but he has a few smaller details added in as well. The paint work on both is largely clean and sharp, with good cut lines and very little over spray or bleed.

My one issue with Vader is the overuse of the blue color. They've used this blue much like it's used in comic books, to give the black armor depth and shading. Unfortunately, there's too much here for my tastes, and he looks like a character painted on the side of a 1975 conversion van.

NOTE: Some readers have postulated that the blue is the reflection from his saber, as in the original artwork.  If that's supposed to be the case, you can take even more off the score, because the blue is everywhere - across the back of his shoulders, the back of his belt, the back of his helmet, the calves, the inside and outside of the legs, the side of the holster...way more than any sort of light reflection from the saber.

Articulation - Bupkis
I'm mentioning this for the folks that haven't bought a Koto vinyl statue before - there's no articulation. Obviously, this won't effect my Overall.

Accessories - ***
Statues generally don't have accessories, but I'm counting the sabers (since they are removable) and bases (since they aren't required to keep them standing.

The bases look like generic ship flooring, but with the added words for the 30th Anniversary stretched across both. I'm not big on plaques like that n the bases, and as you can see from the photos you can angle them so they aren't as obvious, if that's your desire.

The sabers look terrific, and McQuarrie always drew them with a thicker section near the hilt, in almost a tear drop shape, much like the saber blade is dripping from the hilt. I always thought that looked cool, and it works well here.

Value - **1/2
I'm grading this the price you'll pay if you're smart, and hit up Things From Another World right now, where you can get the statue for $100. Suggested retail is actually $200, and a lot of places are selling it for around $150, which would get another full star lower from me.

Yea, the holidays are almost over, but the sale is still going on, so buy it for yourself as a late holiday gift. That's one way to love yourself publicly and not get arrested for it.

Things To Watch Out For
Not much.  I even managed to break one of the plastic 'snaps' that Kotobukiya uses, and the leg still attached tightly. That's the first time I've ever done that, but because they have both the snaps and the shaped pegs, the limbs stay tightly attached.

Overall - ***
Of the recent Kotobukiya Star Wars statues I've looked at, this is perhaps my favorite.  Only Bly might be better, and that's because of the over use of the blue coloring on Vader. Take away that one issue, and these would have scored even higher.

It's nice to have something unique and different on the Star Wars shelf, and this one is sure to get your guests asking "what's up with that?". Kotobukiya did an excellent job producing a really great looking battle scene, and managed to keep it closer in scale to the rest of their line. It's still a little smaller than I'd like, but it's not the extremely undersized situation we got with R2-D2/C-3PO. They'll look good with other humans in the series as well as the Luke/Trooper, but next to characters like Bly, they'll still be a bit small.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - Luke ***1/2; Vader **1/2
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
My best suggestion is to use the Holiday sale at Things From Another World right now, where you can get it for $100. Or you can search ebay with the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.com.

Related Links -
I've covered a number of Kotobukiya statues:

- most recent was the Emperor/Yoda battle diorama.

- then there was the Commander Bly and R2-D2/C-3PO set.

- prior to that was the TIE Fighter Pilot, Indy and his pops.

- also in the Star Wars line was the Snowtrooper, and the Boba Fett.

- I had a guest review of the Terminator T-X.

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


Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 3.75

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Mcquarrie edition Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader star wars statue from Kotobukiya



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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