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Mini Busts

Darth Vader (The Empire Strikes Back) - Classic Busts

Name: Darth Vader (The Empire Strikes Back)
Type: Classic Busts
Number: Item No. 80575
Edition Size: 5000 (GameStop Exclusive)
Source: The Empire Strikes Back
Availability: November 2015
License: Gentle Giant Ltd.

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Once a powerful Jedi Knight, Darth Vader was consumed by the Dark Side of the Force to become a dreaded Sith Lord of the Galactic Empire. Enforcing the evil will of the Emperor, Vader seeks to crush the Rebellion and turn Luke Skywalker to the Dark Side - as he once was.

Well, this is confusing. Years ago, Gentle Giant Ltd. created a special line a smaller scaled “Classic Busts” which featured at the time (mainly) characters they didn’t develop for the main Mini Bust line. These new characters were created in a true bust style without arms and perched upon a traditional styled monument. The line failed rather quickly. Fans weren’t ready to go back to busts without limbs it seemed, so an eagerly anticipated third wave of the line for those that were buying them was ultimately axed and none of us heard about them returning to this approach again. Until now. Well, in all honesty, the approach this time is different once again, but it definitely follows in the footsteps of those original Classic Busts but within the one-sixth scale of the standard Mini Busts line. We think this revised Classic Busts line works quite well, but we totally understand why collectors are not really interested to start another line with Gentle Giant Ltd. After all, they’ve taught us rather quickly that they don’t expend much effort in a line if the first few waves don’t make a splash. In our opinion, collectors are going to be wary to jump into another line from them again.

They started off the revised Classic Busts line as a store exclusive. Limited to 5,000 pieces, GameStop became the retailer of choice to kick off the line with Darth Vader (The Empire Strikes Back). A character we have seen many times before in the past from Gentle Giant Ltd., not too much differently has been brought to the table fro what they’ve already executed from this character multiple times already. In fact, we think the detail and sculpt are a few steps in reverse from what they’ve done in the past. The Darth Vader (The Empire Strikes Back) Classic Bust is nice, but it won’t wow you like some of their pieces years ago had. That may sound a little inconsistent, but it’s hard to pinpoint what we don’t like about this latest release. It’s not perfect, but it looks pretty good. Have we become browbeaten to accept second best nowadays as Star Wars collectors. Or are we just too picky to appreciate what is truly before us? That, friends, has become murkier and murkier as the years move forward. Either way, this is what modern Gentle Giant Ltd. looks like now so you’ll either accept it or reject it. Maybe there has just been too much in the past to appreciate what is out now. Still, it’s our strong opinion that quality has taken a back seat with licensees.

Although making its debut as a GameStop exclusive with an edition size of 5,000 pieces, a special run of 300 pieces with a silver base bottom (and no other differences) was released as an option to purchase for Premium Guild Members (PGMs). With an MSRP for $79.99, many collectors’ jaws dropped over this highly set price. But it may seem to have backfired, as even GameStop has, just after a few months after its release, marked the Darth Vader (The Empire Strikes Back) Classic Bust down to $49.98 which in all honesty should have been the original MSRP. The Darth Vader (The Empire Strikes Back) itself looks pretty nice. Again, it’s not perfect and have a few quality issues, but the sculpt does look pretty good. This new format eliminates the arms of course, but because Darth Vader wears a cape, that awkward cut doesn’t really comes across as harshly as it would on a Star Wars character without a cape. The paint operations are still very nice, but it’s pretty difficult to mess up a mostly black colored character in any collectible format. Unless Gentle Giant Ltd. picks core characters for this line, we’re not sure how well it’s going to do when all is said and done. We don’t think this is an era of collecting where licensees should be looking to start something new. Just improve what they do best.

Collector Notes

Darth Vader (The Empire Strikes Back)

Status: Depicted as he appears in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, the Gentle Giant Ltd. 1:6 Darth Vader Classic Bust combines the timeless aesthetics of sculpture from Greek and Roman antiquity, with one of popular culture's most recognizable characters.

Each limited edition hand-painted polyresin bust comes individually numbered and is paired with a matching certificate of authenticity.

Exclusivity: GameStop Exclusive

Assembly: N/A

Date Stamp: 2013

UPC: 871810009947

Retail: $79.99 USD

Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on Click here to check the market value on eBay! listings.

Gentle Giant Ltd.

All Mini Busts

Added: May 27, 2016
Category: Mini Busts
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
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