On a very strict street date release schedule, throughout May 2014, Disney Stores across the globe released one new Talking Star Wars Figure every Monday. But did they save the best of the first wave for last? Without a doubt, Darth Vader is a massively popular Star Wars character. And it probably wouldn’t be incorrect to state that he is the most popular by a landslide. But for one reason or another, he was the fourth and final character released as part of the monumentally successful Talking Star Wars Figures line exclusive to Disney Stores. Interestingly, for us, Darth Vader doesn’t bring the same “wow” factor to us as the others in the line did. It isn’t a bad figure by any means at all, but after playing with the figure, we realized that is may have needed to be approached differently than the first three did. Talking Stormtrooper, Talking Han Solo and Talking Luke Skywalker each had unique things about them that gave them that extra edge. Talking Darth Vader feels like “more of the same” and it is directly because of this that he feels like something is lacking.
Talking Darth Vader comes with 13 points of articulation which include a ball-jointed head, two swivel shoulders, a hinge-jointed left elbow, a swivel right elbow, swivel left glove, a swivel waist, two ball-jointed hips, two hinge-jointed knees and two hinge-jointed ankles. This of course is nothing out of the ordinary when compared to the other figures line the line, but it actually impedes how much movement you get out of Talking Darth Vader because he comes with a lightsaber permanently affixed to his hand. As a result, you only get minimal movement out of his right hand. And because of the electronics, you cannot fully rest his arm at his side, nor can you point the blade of the lightsaber in any direction you wish. As you can imagine, it makes for a completely awkward look for the Sith Lord. You’re going to wish that either he didn’t have the permanent lightsaber, or you’re going to wish that they didn’t include it at all, even despite the neat electronics. Speaking of electronics, Talking Darth Vader is has multiple buttons on his chest box (one for his signature breathing and one for phrases) and the button on his arm ignites the lightsaber blade.
Aesthetically Talking Darth Vader still looks pretty good. If we had to nitpick, we would direct attention to the shape of the helmet. It perplexes us a bit because it looks like Darth Vader, yet there is something definitely off about it at the same time. Perhaps it’s over-analyzing, but it’s our assertion that the helmet needed a little more tweaking before being finalized. The rest of the costume looks pretty darn good. The chest box and the deco around it look great. The chest armor looks even better. And the “chain” keeping the rubbery flowing cape in place probably couldn’t have been done better on a toy like this. Even his lower robes are soft and move as need when positioning the figure in some action poses. This will make Talking Darth Vader more enjoyable for kids to play with it, but we imagine that they’ll soon become frustrated by how little the lightsaber arm will move. We foresee a great deal of breakage from this arm getting overextended. But maybe we’re off on that. Either way, we still see the Talking Star Wars Figures line an overall success. Maybe not all of them can be perfect from a collector’s perspective, but there are enough positive points to make this the perfect medium for kids. Disney has done well.
Talking Darth Vader
Status: Talking Darth Vader is an all-new figure.
Features: 15+ phrases, activation button, light up blaster, lights & sounds, fully articulated
Articulation Count: 13 points
Articulation Details: ball-socket head, ball-jointed left shoulder, swivel right shoulder, hinge-jointed right elbow, swivel right elbow, swivel left wrist, swivel waist, 2 swivel hips, 2 hinge-jointed knees, 2 hinge-jointed ankles
Accessory Count: None
Accessory Details: None (permanently affixed lightsaber with electronics)
Date Stamp: 2013
Retail: $29.99 USD
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