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The Black Series [Phase II]

Darth Vader - TBS [P2] - Six Inch Figures (#02)

Name: Darth Vader
Collection: The Black Series [Phase II]
Number: #02
Scale: 6"
Source: Return Of The Jedi
Availability: October 2014
License: Hasbro

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After Darth Vader and Luke join forces to defeat the Emperor, Vader asks Luke to help him remove the mask that covers his face.

"Just for once, let me look on you with my own eyes."

Where do we begin to itemize what’s wrong with The Black Series [Phase II] 6” Darth Vader action figure? If there was one figure we desperately wanted to see and own in this scale, it would have to unequivocally be him. But the product that we received is just not up to the standards of what The Black Series line has been commissioned to bring collectors: premium quality action figures. Hasbro seems committed to this line, but they have to raise the bar higher or it’s doomed to fail. Like other figures in The Black Series line, Darth Vader has astounding potential. But we feel that Hasbro perhaps became a little too adventurous and advantageously eager by creating a version of Darth Vader that probably should have been attempted after a simpler (and perfected) base body sculpt had been approved, up to and including the helmet. We’re not sure what went wrong here, but Darth Vader lacks in multiple areas and we think that they may need to start from the ground up to get this character back on track for The Black Series 6” line, or for the quality collectors expect. We feel the smartest route Hasbro should have taken was a take on the A New Hope version of Darth Vader first so that Hasbro would not have to worry about a removable helmet and the like. Hasbro could have ensured that Darth Vader’s proportions were as accurate as possible this way. Because right now, Darth Vader is really lacking in that area. Without totally discrediting this figure, we must admit that Hasbro has designed a stunning and spectacular Sebastian Shaw likeness. And for Original Trilogy purists who prefer unaltered versions of the film, you’ll probably quite impressed that this version of Anakin has been sculpted with eyebrows, something we’re shocked got squeaked by Lucasfilm Ltd. The final paint job doesn’t color them in, but they are indeed there.

So why are we so disappointed with Darth Vader? He is taller than the average human male characters and is shorter than Chewbacca. So scale seems appropriate and correct here. But the issue is elsewhere. Darth Vader comes off as too rotund. Because his center body thickness isn’t proportionate to his height, Darth Vader comes across as needing to devote a little more time to his cardio at the gym to shed some of the extra weight. It’s not terrible or glaring of an issue, but it’s nonetheless noticeable. Also, as much as we love the head sculpt, it seems a wee bit too small especially when compared with Luke Skywalker’s head sculpt side by side. The issues sadly don’t stop there however. Because Darth Vader is weightier than most of the other figures in The Black Series 6” range, his ball-socket hips don’t sustain his bodyweight that well and we have found that he wants to spread eagle when it just isn’t appropriate (while posing him) and this is something we always find to be very frustrating. We doubt that ours is the only sample that has experienced this issue. We are not happy with the shape and size of Darth Vader’s left hand either. It seems like it shrunk and it’s functionally useless as far as holding anything. But there is a greater issue that plagues this figure. The real sculpting issue lies conclusively in the helmet. Hasbro, we truly appreciate the two piece removable helmet. We really do. But it doesn’t work here… at all. When you put the separate parts on Anakin’s head it barely looks like a movie version of Darth Vader, in other words not one you have ever encountered. At $19.99 this sculpt and the corresponding parts should knock the socks off of our feet. The helmet is too big and round and while we could be wrong here, we don’t recall the Episode VI version of Darth Vader’s face mask having red eyes. The option is nice, but it just sadly doesn’t work with this Darth Vader figure.

On Darth Vader, Hasbro had essentially one area to paint with multiple colors (the chest box) and we aren’t happy with how they were applied on our sample. In our opinion the paint operations are much too sloppy and we find that lack of quality disturbing. This is a small complaint when compared to others, but we had to make a point of it. However, perhaps the biggest head-scratcher for us is the use of soft-goods. Don’t get us wrong because we absolutely love and adore soft-goods. But Darth Vader’s soft-goods are way too long and he trips over them every time you move the figure to a new pose. How is it that soft-goods were perfectly tailored for Kenner vintage Star Wars line, yet in 2014 with all the technology at their disposal soft-goods are still much too large for the action figures? It’s very, very annoying. The sad thing is that we love the quality of fabric that Hasbro used but its’ honestly diminished by the oversized cuts. What is most frustrating about this is that it seems a great deal of time and effort were put into the approach of soft-goods here. These weren’t some haphazard last minute rags they threw onto Darth Vader. For example, Hasbro added weights to the ends of the cape to assist the soft-goods in creating beautiful drape (which they do indeed gorgeously display). And Hasbro has even sewn the cape to the shoulder armor to keep it in place at all time. We are just a little bit saddened that the cape isn’t removable, but it’s a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things and certainly not the end of the world. The cape is finished off with a real metal chain and it looks beyond fantastic. With the right poses, Darth Vader admittedly looks good. We still don’t understand why lightsaber bladed in this scale are the same thickness as 3.75” figures. And we don’t understand why Hasbro decides to do things one way when a better way seems equally feasible. We suppose it’s all a learning curve, but we are losing patience a little bit now.

Collector Notes

Darth Vader

Status: Darth Vader is an all-new figure.

Articulation Count: 27 points (16 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), ball-jointed torso (2), ball-socket left hip (1), ball-socket right hip (1), swivel left thigh (1), swivel right thigh (1), double hinge-jointed left knee (2), double hinge-jointed right knee (2), ball-jointed/”rocker” left ankle (2), ball-jointed/”rocker” right ankle (2)

Accessory Count: 4

Accessory Details: removable helmet dome, removable helmet face mask, lightsaber hilt, lightsaber blade

Date Stamp: N/A

Assortment Number: A7268/A4301

UPC: 653569979746

Retail: $19.99 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 Black Series [Phase II] Six Inch Figures Wave 1 (Wave 5)
Sandtrooper (#01)
Darth Vader (#02)

Luke Skywalker (#03)
Chewbacca (#04)

Added: October 28, 2014
Category: Black Series [Phase II], The
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
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