One figure announced at 2012’s NY Toy Fair that made us screech with excitement was the new The Vintage Collection Darth Vader figure based on the scene in Return Of The Jedi where he is overcome by Emperor Palpatine’s Force lightning while trying to save his son, Luke Skywalker, from certain death. The scene was intense and the radiation of the lightning gave us a flash or two of Darth Vader’s skeletal structure underneath. It was a foreshadowing to his full reveal as Anakin Skywalker. And for many Star Wars fans that scene is very emotional and special to them. Hasbro introduced a version of Darth Vader from this very scene and called it Darth Vader (Emperor’s Wrath) and released it in 2000 in the Power Of The Jedi collection. A decent action figure for the time, it sadly had limited articulation but a nice sculpt nonetheless. That very figure was upgraded (retooled and repainted) and released as 2006’s TSC Darth Vader (SAGA 045) figure. As just stated, some retooling was done to the figure as well as casting new parts for it. Even the right arm was updated and the glove could be removed to show the mechanics underneath, inaccurate but still cool. But even more than a half decade out from the original version, it still lacked articulation so Star Wars collectors waited for something mort impressive to come from Hasbro. The great news is the that time is now. The very last figure in The Vintage Collection is Darth Vader, although certainly not the last released, numbered as VC115 – the final numbered figure in this very important collection of Star Wars figures.
Darth Vader (VC115) is certainly a novelty figure. It’s sort of like 2007’s TAC Lando Calrissian In Smuggler Outfit (No. 39). These characters appear in literal moments in these specific configurations, but that doesn’t make them any less desirable for Star Wars collectors. Thankfully, the 2012 update to this version of Darth Vader is a real winner. A new head has been designed (or an aggressive recast at the very least) for Darth Vader and a full skull and neck stem is visible through the translucent helmet. It's eerie, it's alarming and it has certainly exceeded our expectations. You can even see Darth Vader’s “eyes” through the helmet. It’s quite impressive. A new right hand has been sculpted and it is completely removable to recreate the loss Darth Vader sustained while dueling lightsabers against Luke Skywalker. Based on 2010’s TVC Darth Vader (VC08) figure all of the best parts of that figure were brought forward for this release. The figure comes with 14 points of articulation and the figure can be posed in nearly limitless array of options. Darth Vader comes with his signature lightsaber so the option of dueling him against 2010’s TVC Luke Skywalker (Endor Capture) (VC23) will probably be high on your list. To help give a little more variety (and specialization) to the figure, Hasbro has also included two separately sculpted Force lightning effects that fits nicely around the upper body and helmet of the figure. Believe it or not, it looks very authentic and we’ve very happy that Hasbro decided to include these accessories instead of painting them on like they did with the 2000 version. It also helps to reinforce that this particular version of Darth Vader is from a very specific scene in Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi.
But perhaps the best part about this figure is its card back! Ever since The Vintage Collection came to be, collectors have wanted to see running changes on the card backs to mimic the changes made during the vintage era. Hasbro seemingly had ample opportunity to do this a few times but they never seemed to cash in on it. (That is another one of their biggest mistakes in the handling of TVC. It would have been a cash cow for them.) When 2010’s TVC Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) (VC04) was announced, collectors immediately began asking why Hasbro didn’t use the alternate card back of the figure (the shot from Bespin with the blue background and close up of Luke’s face with his blaster pistol at the ready). And then when the Revenge Of The Jedi promotion was announced in 2011 we all wondered why Hasbro didn’t use the Return Of The Jedi specific image of Darth Vader that was released in 1983. Well, the great news is they finally have used it here instead. Darth Vader (VC115) the “final” figure in The Vintage Collection indeed comes with that fan-favorite photo gracing the figure’s card back (the one of Darth Vader pointing at the camera). And quite honestly it's the perfect way to close out The Vintage Collection. Darth Vader is pointing at you sort of reminding you that TVC will be back, don't you forget about it. (Or whatever else you want to fantasize.) Hasbro has finally listened and caved to fans’ demands! So, we’re particularly excited about this turn of events. Darth Vader is definitely a niche action figure. It won’t have worldwide collector appeal and most likely only those who collect one of everything will have the strongest interest in this figure. But we’re very fond of it. And we’re glad it “finalizes” The Vintage Collection even though it’s not part of the final wave of figures! Again, what a way to close out the line. This figure is the perfect finale for a phenomenal collection of Star Wars action figures and we don't think Hasbro will be able to top it!
Status: Darth Vader is a rework of 2010's TVC Darth Vader (VC08) figure cast in parts in new translucent plastic to replicate the damage he sustains under Emperor Palaptine's wrath. A "face" (skull) is visible underneath the helmet.
Articulation Count: 14
Articulation Details: swivel head, 2 ball-jointed shoulders, 2 ball-jointed elbows, 2 swivel forearms, swivel waist, 2 swivel hips, 2 ball-jointed knees, 2 ball-jointed ankles
Accessory Count: 5
Accessory Details: lightsaber, interchangeable right hand, 2 Force lightning effects, removable soft-goods cape
Date Stamp: 2005
Assortment Number: 39664/37499
Retail: $9.99 USD
Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on listings.