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The Vintage Collection

Darth Vader - TVC - Basic (VC08)

Name: Darth Vader
Collection: The Vintage Collection
Number: VC08
Source: The Empire Strikes Back Return Of The Jedi
Availability: August 2010*
License: Hasbro

* Wave 1 of The Vintage Collection was available at some retail stores as early as June 2010

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Hasbro has made quite a few Darth Vader action figures that have been based on the very memorable helmet removing/Anakin Skywalker reveal scene from Return Of The Jedi. Some are of the opinion that these action figures have progressively gotten worse throughout the years and yet others feel completely the opposite about this. This opinion varies based on your own personal point of view because many collectors seem to really like the option of having multiple layers to remove from the figure’s head. We all received a pretty remarkable Darth Vader figure in the very first Evolutions set in the 2005 Revenge Of The Sith line. It certainly wasn't perfect, but it blew the 500th figure out of the water. The next update came in 2008's The Legacy Collection and released as Darth Vader (BD 8). The helmet was intended to come apart in three pieces with this release, but there were delays and the tooling couldn’t be completed in time. That 2008 figure was pretty swell and many of us were more than thrilled with it while others complained that they couldn't make the helmet dome stay in place. But Hasbro decided to press their luck and follow through with this figure’s original intention to create a three-piece removable helmet. Well, we suppose it is a success because they managed to pull it off, but the figure lacks in so many other ways as a result and we bet it’s a sacrifice most collectors won’t want to make on probably what we can consider the most popular and most favorite Star Wars character. We have accepted that there exists a need for a yearly update to Darth Vader. It can be a bit wearisome because there is not much more that can be done at this point (that we really want) anymore. Year after year it feels like we are essentially getting the same figure again and again. And it feels that way because it is essentially what we are getting. This may not be a bad thing of course. But when the final product just doesn’t deliver the way it should, it makes it frustrating to those of us who are always hoping that “new” will always mean “better”. This just isn’t necessarily the case here at all. 2010's TVC Darth Vader (VC08) figure will be popular for sure, but you may be persuaded to believe that the 2008 TLC Darth Vader (BD 8) might be the superior figure.

We are personally stuck in the middle with this figure. We wanted to rave about it and conclusively state that this is the best interpretation of Darth Vader yet, but it is honestly just more of the same, perhaps a bit worse (especially in the portrait). The only thing to really talk about here is from the neck up. You already know that this figure has a helmet that breaks down into three pieces. And the only new piece that exists when compared to the 2008 TLC figure is the inclusion of a separate collar. But this “forced” third piece only makes for an awkwardly sculpted head. If you pull off the head of Anakin Skywalker and look at it sideways, it is absolutely the most bizarrely shaped human head in the entire basic figure line. This isn't good, especially for a premium collector-focused line like The Vintage Collection. This is no way to do justice to Darth Vader in this manner and we have regrets that Hasbro decided to take this route of attack for Darth Vader, despite being curious about a three-piece helmet. Not only is the head strangely shaped, the color is too gray and ashy and it has a very goofy half-baked smiley expression on it. Anakin Skywalker had a look of sincerity on his face during that emotional scene in Return Of The Jedi and it's completely absent here. While we know it is a difficult task to capture the perfect scene-specific expression, something else could have been done to make Anakin look a little bit more serious in our opinion. And we really don't understand why he has this white smear going across the left side of his face. If this is meant to be a scar, well, let's just say that Hasbro's deco department was way off here. It looks like smeared shaving cream or some other white goo that just doesn't make too much sense. On the bright side, we did notice that Hasbro provided a much better and shinier quality dome, the outside piece of Darth Vader’s helmet. While the 2008 figure looks the slightest bit dull, the new The Vintage Collection version just picks up the light in a new and exciting way. So we're personally very happy about this. Not that this is enough to warrant another purchase for most people, it is still a noticeable difference for us (besides the obvious) especially since we look for any reason possible to purchase another Star Wars figure.

It’s definitely unfortunate that this version of Darth Vader just didn’t deliver as well as we had hoped. But apparently it is possible to overdo something. If you own the 2008 TLC Darth Vader (BD 8), there is really no reason to purchase this figure, unless you're obsessed about the three-piece helmet. Who knows. You may feel that The Vintage Collection figure is superior to the 2008 TLC version. But we are hopeful that Hasbro will be able to master a realistic three-piece removable helmet without affecting the aesthetics of Anakin Skywalker's head somewhere down the road once technology catches up to their plans again. Hasbro may not have this anywhere on their current agenda, but they have been known to throw in an unexpected update to some figures in the past. Ultimately we hope that they can master this at some point later in the basic figure line. If you are a mint-on-card collector, you may want to pick this figure up because it is a new basic figure on the vintage-styled card back. And we have to admit that Darth Vader looks quite amazing with all of his pieces put together. It only starts falling apart when you start breaking down the helmet. And if it weren’t for the sentimentality of The Vintage Collection, we wouldn’t have much faith that this figure would perform well enough in another line look. Maybe we should retract that statement right away – Darth Vader sells in any line look. We appreciate the efforts Hasbro made to try to find a new and exciting upgrade for Darth Vader, but it has certainly fallen short here. We suspect that this will definitely not be the only Darth Vader figure that will grace the pegs in The Vintage Collection. As a major character in the Star Wars films, we know for certain that we will never be seeing a shortage of this character in any Star Wars toy line. But this borderline inept round for Darth Vader may just illicit enough derision to prevent Hasbro from attempting it any time soon. It would be nice to get a better quality three-piece Darth Vader figure, but apparently now is not the time to get a definitive version. So, you might as well enjoy this one. It's not terrible, we just expected better.

Collector Notes

Darth Vader

Status: Darth Vader is a retool of the Darth Vader figure from 2005's ROTS Anakin Skywalker To Darth Vader Evolutions set. The figure now comes with a new head and retooled three-piece helmet.

Articulation Count: 14 points

Articulation Details: swivel head, 2 ball-jointed shoulders, 2 ball-jointed elbows, 2 swivel forearms, swivel waist, 2 swivel legs, 2 ball-jointed knees, 2 ball-jointed ankles

Accessory Count: 5

Accessory Details: lightsaber, helmet collar, helmet dome, helmet face plate, soft-goods cape

Date Stamp: 2005

Assortment Number: 97580/97568

UPC: 653569498629

Retail: $7.99 USD

Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on Click here to check the market value on eBay! listings.

Darth Vader

The Vintage Collection Wave 1
Dengar (VC01)
Leia (Hoth Outfit) (VC02)
Han Solo (Echo Base Outfit) (VC03)
Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) (VC04)
AT-AT Commander (VC05)
See-Threepio (C-3PO) (VC06)
Dack Ralter (VC07)
Darth Vader (VC08)
Boba Fett (VC09)
4-LOM (VC10)
(Twin Pod) Cloud Car Pilot (VC11)

Added: July 9, 2010
Category: Vintage Collection, The
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
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