S.H. Figuarts is a new standard figure series that incorporates the Bandai action figure "Art" under the theme "Pursuing Character Expression through Humanoid Action."
Getting involved in a foreign action figure line is a dangerous thing. It’s dangerous because Just when you think Hasbro produced a great figure in The Black Series 6” line, you see what a company like Tamashii Nations through the Bandai S.H. Figuarts line can accomplish in the same scale. Granted, you’re going to be paying a lot more for the Japanese imports, but in the end, you’ll discover that they possess an unprecedented amount of articulation, higher levels of quality in their construction, and unparalleled brilliance with the paint operations. Some have a “lightweight” feel to them, but that’s all for a reason. It helps with the figure’s balance and ability to attain a vast array of action-oriented poses without the assistance of stands or other types of help. Besides the quality of the plastics used to construct these figures is better than the rubbery plastics used by Hasbro. It’s apples to oranges no matter how you slice it. But if you take the uncertain plunge as we did, we know without any uncertainty that you’ll become a dedicated fan of the format. Yes, sometimes the scale is a little off with taller characters like Darth Vader. But when you compare a figure like S.H. Figuarts Darth Maul next to its Hasbro counterpart, The Black Series [Phase I] Darth Maul (#02) figure, you will see how the S.H. Figuarts Darth Maul makes the Hasbro version look cheap. In fact, a side by side comparison makes the Hasbro figure look like a zombie Darth Maul seeking to devour brains than an accurate portrayal of the onscreen character: both in sculpt and in paint operations.
Again, we don’t use words like “unprecedented” and “unmatched” loosely around here. These are two adjectives however that probably aren’t nearly strong enough to describe the effort, excellence and brilliance worked into the S.H. Figuarts action figures. Yes, there 6” scaled figures, and we know how controversial that is in and of itself currently, but once you see the craftsmanship and shocking detail that the Japanese have loving worked into these figures, there is no doubt you’ll become a believer in these products as well. Darth Maul is another standout action figure in this line. We’re immediately taken with the figure’s portrait. Yes, we used the plural form. Darth Maul comes with a portrait with an expression that is more reserved. And then he comes with a portrait where the expression is more angry. Both are brilliantly and almost perfectly painted. The scale is still tiny for the S.H Figuarts line, but they’ve done a remarkable job without any signs of bleeding, overspray, or application at all. As far as we’re concerned, we don’t see how they could have done better. Just compare the Hasbro The Black Series [Phase I] Darth Maul (#02) figure and you’ll see how that figure looks like a disaster next to this one. There is no resemblance to Ray Park in makeup. However, when viewing the S.H. Figuarts, that is the first notion that comes to your mind, “OMG – this looks just like Ray Park in makeup!” That is a testament to the artful approach taken with the S.H. Figuarts line. We know some will comment on the neck, as it appears too long in some angles, but we ultimately wouldn't change a thing on this sculpt.
As far as the articulation of Darth Maul, well, we are so overwhelmed by it that we don’t know where to begin. There is no other line in the market today that works in over 30 points of articulation for a 6” figure. And if there is a line that we’ve overlooked, it’s not going to be done with the same precision. Darth Maul can imitate EVERY SINGLE pose from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. EVERY SINGLE pose. It’s uncommon for an action figure to imitate its onscreen counterpart in this fashion for a toy line, but S.H. Figuarts has accomplished this with grace and expertise. The amount of thought and effort that went into engineering the articulation system for these action figures is nothing short of amazing. And for us, that in and of itself warrants the prices these figures command. You’re getting what you pay for here. If Hasbro would one day put this much effort into their figures, we would have no problem paying higher prices too. Darth Maul is also loaded with accessories. He comes with three interchangeable left hands and three interchangeable right hands. He also comes with two lightsabers halves. The blades are removable and can be placed on the undamaged longer hilt. You do also receive an unbroken hilt (where the blades can plug into it) which offers some additional posing. For just shy of $60, S.H. Figuarts Darth Maul comes with brilliant paint operations, a wealth of accessories, and articulation that makes grown men cry. There is no reason this figure should be passed on because it’s a stellar release.
Status: Darth Maul is an all-new figure.
Articulation Count: 35 points (23 areas of articulation)
Articulation Details: ball-socket head (1), ball-socket neck (1), ball-socket left shoulder socket (1), ball-jointed left shoulder (2), swivel left bicep (1), double hinge-jointed left elbow (2), ball-jointed left wrist (2), ball-socket right shoulder socket (1), ball-jointed right shoulder (2), swivel right bicep (1), double hinge-jointed right elbow (2), ball-jointed right wrist (2), hinge-jointed upper torso (internal) (1), ball-socket upper torso (1), ball-socket lower torso (1), ball-jointed left hip (2), ball-jointed right hip (2) ball-jointed left knee (2), ball-jointed right knee (2), ball-jointed/"rocker" left ankle (2), ball-jointed/"rocker" right ankle (2), hinge-jointed left "boot tip" (1), hinge-jointed right "boot tip" (1)
Accessory Count: 12
Accessory Details: interchangeable portrait, 3 interchangeable left hands, 3 interchangeable right hands, 2 lightsaber hilt halves, lightsaber hilt, 2 lightsaber blades
Date Stamp: N/A
Assortment Number: 2280891
Retail: $59.99 USD
Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on listings.