The relaunch of The Vintage Collection brings collectors more than half a dozen repainted/repacked previously released figures from the line into the forefront again. Admittedly, we were resistant to see the influx of repetition in a line desperate for newness, but with the advent of Photo Real paint operations, the "second chance" action figures look better than ever. And we firmly believe that they warrant collectors to drop cash again to purchase them. As Disney Star Wars tied up The Clone Wars once and for all, Hasbro decided to get a few characters based on The Clone Wars out in The Vintage Collection. With a new Clone Commander Wolffe (VC168) on tap, they also went back in their archive and re-released characters like Clone Trooper (VC45), Obi-Wan Kenobi (VC103), and Anakin Skywalker (VC92). We'll come clean. We love the new Photo Real paint operations on Anakin Skywalker. Yes, looking at the figure through high-resolution photography won't paint an accurate picture of what the human eye picks up at this scale, but we can tell you that the figure hasn't looked better. Hasbro also tightened up some of the paint operations throughout the figure, from the hair to the legs. And most importantly, Anakin Skywalker's scare is more pronounced this time. Interestingly, we believe that the soft-goods skirt for Anakin Skywalker was installed backward on the figure's original release. Hasbro turned it around for the re-release, and it makes more sense to have the broader opening in the front, with the smaller split in the back. It's relatively humorous that we didn't realize that the figure had its skirt reversed for almost a decade.
Let's go back in history a bit. The most significant announcement from Hasbro in 2008 that made Star Wars fans inconsolable was that they would be creating action figures from The Clone Wars multimedia event as they appeared in animated style. You see, most Star Wars action figure collectors up to this point were used to Hasbro making realistic interpretations of the various characters from the 2003-2005 Clone Wars multimedia event, including the animated Genndy Tartakovsky micro-series. The reasons for Hasbro taking a new direction remains elusive to this day. The format was a hybrid of realistic and animated, but most collectors considered them "animated" in style and approach. It was a risky move developing a "new format" for action figures, especially when what they were doing for so many years had been inordinately successful. Overall, the risk paid off, and The Clone Wars basic figure line held the title of the most successful boys' line multiple times. Even though quite a few collectors boycotted the television show, and especially the action figure line, it was only hurting themselves. While some unfortunate things occurred with the active Star Wars line, The Clone Wars line from 2008 and years after brought us some of the best Star Wars action figures money could ever buy. Staunch supporters of The Clone Wars line felt the aches and pains because as the television show got bigger and better, it made us all realize how deeply we'd fall "behind" on realistically styled versions of these characters as action figures. Imagine how long it would take Hasbro to go back and try to play "catch-up" by revisiting all of these fantastic characters in a realistic style today. It would be an unattainable feat.
Thankfully, Hasbro changed their mind about The Clone Wars source's animated style, and they produced experimental new "realistic" action figures based on some of The Clone Wars' most popular characters. They all made their debut in 2012's The Vintage Collection basic figure line, and collectors warmly embraced them into their collections. Unfortunately, the figures were challenging to find at retail. Whether or not these new realistic interpretations will catch long-standing naysayers' attention is not something we'll predict. Still, we can tell you that Hasbro's first "trial" figure, Anakin Skywalker, excited us very much, and we'd hoped from that point forward that Hasbro would consistently incorporate them into whatever the current basic figure line is at hand. Now it's incredible to see Anakin Skywalker re-released and upgraded with Photo Real deco. Hasbro based Anakin Skywalker on the character's likeness reflected with 2008's TCW [B] Anakin Skywalker (No. 1) figure. Many feel that there isn't anything earthshattering about this iteration of Anakin Skywalker. But while it's an average action figure, and we still love The Clone Wars line, we have to admit that we're left with a bittersweet feeling. That feeling is that we wished Hasbro took the realistic approach from the very beginning. But there's no point in wishing for things that cannot be changed. Hopefully, everyone will appreciate the realistic approach of The Clone Wars characters in The Vintage Collection, because we'll see so few of them. Anakin Skywalker, in particular, is a very significant way to start this sub-line of figures. The figure has a fantastic portrait and a highly detailed costume faithful to the one we see in the animated "mode" in the television series. It's all here – brown pants, navy blue tunic, and dark metallic shoulder/chest armor. Anakin Skywalker is truly visually brilliant.
Anakin Skywalker comes with 24 points of articulation. And we have to be candid with you and explain that before we looked at the sculpt thoroughly, we checked to see how badly mismatched they were to the area they articulated. Would you believe that Hasbro got them all correctly done this time? The same is true for the re-released version. After years of making excuses in various fansite Q&A sessions, Hasbro now has no reason to miss this again. It IS possible to get a match appropriately. We're happy not to see any glaring color clashes between the figure and articulation point joint. While they got Anakin Skywalker's joints correct, it makes us feel slighted since they've made many joint color mistakes so many other figures in The Vintage Collection line. They'll likely never revisit those figures. Hasbro constructed Anakin's skirt from multilayered soft-goods. They look alright, but sometimes the soft-goods pop out of their drape a little, and it seems wonky. But as we've recently learned, Hasbro assembled them backward on the original release. Now, that error is corrected. Anakin seems ever so slightly thin, but the figure is very well proportioned, and it doesn't look off in any way that matters. There is a significant running change with the figure's 2012 release. The first version comes without the scar painted and a mismatched neck, but the running change adds the "red" scar color and matches the neck area to the face's color. Thankfully, the 2020 version comes with the scar applied with Photo Real, like the rest of the face. Anakin Skywalker comes with a fully lit lightsaber and a lightsaber hilt. It's nice getting the hilt as an additional accessory, but Hasbro neglected to drill a hole in the belt to attach it to the figure. Still, it's not the end of the world. In summary, we are very excited to see realistically styled The Clone Wars characters in The Vintage Collection. We're also happy Hasbro is updating them. We're still waiting for Captain Rex!
Editor's Note: Hasbro re-released The Vintage Collection Anakin Skywalker (VC92) figure in September 2020 with a significant number of changes. Updates include: (1) "photorealistic" deco, (2) darker skin color (3) different color hair color (4) corrected placement of soft-goods skirt with wider opening at front, (5) different color outfit parts like pants and shoulder armor (6) refreshed 2020 packaging with different graphics, (7) different shade of blue for figure backer and name "pill."
Review Status Update: The original publication date of this review is May 14, 2012. It was subsequently updated with a new Photo Gallery and revised General Analysis and republished on September 10, 2020 after Hasbro reissued the figure.
Status: Anakin Skywalker is an all-new figure. Hasbro re-released the figure in 2020 with significant changes.
Articulation Count: 24 points (14 areas of articulation)
Articulation Details: ball-socket head (1), ball-jointed left shoulder (2), ball-jointed right shoulder (2), ball-jointed left elbow (2), ball-jointed right elbow (2), ball-jointed left wrist (2), ball-jointed right wrist (2), swivel torso (1), swivel left hip (1), swivel right hip (1), ball-jointed left knee (2), ball-jointed right knee (2), ball-jointed left ankle (2), ball-jointed right ankle (2)
Accessory Count: 2
Accessory Details: lightsaber, lightsaber hilt
Date Stamp: 2011
Card Back: The Clone Wars
Name: Anakin Skywalker
Assortment Number: E9576/E7763
Retail: $12.99 USD
Card Back: The Clone Wars
Name: Anakin Skywalker
Assortment Number: 37507/37499
Retail: $9.99 USD
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