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The Black Series [Phase IV]

Darth Vader - TBS [P4] - Six Inch Figures (TESB01)

Name: Darth Vader
Collection: The Black Series [Phase IV]
Number: TESB01
Scale: 6"
Source: The Empire Strikes Back
Availability: September 2020
License: Hasbro


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After the destruction of the Death Star, Darth Vader became obsessed with finding Luke Skywalker. He had dispatched probe droids across the galaxy, finally locating the Rebel base on the remote ice planet Hoth.

Star Wars collectors should be used to Hasbro’s methodology at this point. They release a selection of Original Trilogy Star Wars characters to celebrate each film’s four-decade anniversary. And then they place them on vintage Kenner-inspired packaging to sell the point home. Sometimes the figures are straight repacks, and occasionally Hasbro repainted them a little bit. And other times, they either contain new tooling or are all-new figures from top to bottom. For The Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary, Hasbro decided it was time to update Darth Vader. As you know, the character’s outfit and helmet vary greatly between Episode IV and the rest of the Original Trilogy. So they tweaked the figure quite a bit to bring it as close to screen-accuracy as possible. It was one of the most anticipated figures in the 40th Anniversary lineup. Hasbro also decided that the figure warranted another immediate release in The Black Series [Phase IV] line to help the figure meet demand expediently. Part of the first wave of the new line look, Darth Vader joins other repacked and all-new 6” figures from across the Star Wars saga. They’ve sourced Darth Vader to The Empire Strikes Back and gave it sequence number 01. This figure and Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) are the only two figures sourced to The Empire Strikes Back. The good news is that for those who don’t care about packaging, this Darth Vader is a straight repack to the original release.

The new Darth Vader for 2020 is a tremendously updated figure and will provide the perfect Darth Vader action figure to your Episode V and Episode VI displays. As you know, this version of the character comes with an all-new head sculpt. As you compare the A New Hope Darth Vader against the 2020 version, you’ll notice that the Episode V/Episode VI Darth Vader comes with a narrower helmet, whereas the 2017 version is significantly more full. Also new is the retooled torso. The soft-goods tabards are no longer over the shoulder armor. They now stay underneath the shoulder plating. Also, the coloring of the shoulder plating is different from the version from A New Hope, and you notice some tooling differences. Hasbro also downsized the chest box, and we were surprised to see this change implemented here. It’s a detail we haven’t noticed before as a notable difference. Also, The Empire Strikes Back version of Darth Vader comes with additional red detailing in the left-sided switches and blue switch instead of a green one in the top-right section of the chest box. Lastly, the lower controls are now white and red instead of light gray and dark gray. It seems as if most of Darth Vader’s differences exist in the chest box alone! Other than these changes, we don’t see any other differences between the two figures. Darth Vader looks excellent, and we think Hasbro should be commended for what they accomplished here. It’s nice to see that they pay attention to what hardcore collectors do to ensure their action figures are authentic.

Darth Vader comes loaded with 27 points of articulation. As you know very well by now, a figure with this many points of articulation can attain most poses, and almost anything else. For this release, Darth Vader’s joints possess fluidity and ease of motion, so you don’t have to struggle with the figure when positioning it. The excellent detail here is the inclusion of “butterfly” shoulder joints with allow for a broader range of movement. Darth Vader comes with a lightsaber that breaks down into a hilt and blade. The grip has a hook that’s designed to hang from a hook on the belt. This detail was overlooked continuously in the 3.75” scaled line, so 6” collectors should count themselves fortunate with this added feature. Overall, we can’t complain about the updated Darth Vader figure. Now that it’s part of the mainstream The Black Series 6” line, it will satisfy demand rather quickly, and collectors might want to collect the figure in both packaging styles. There are more slots available in the standard The Black Series 6” line, so we’re interested to see who Hasbro will pair with Darth Vader. The new “Phase IV” packaging is colorful, thanks to color-coding. The Empire Strikes Back theme is blue with black and white. The blue color flashes give the packaging a striking appearance. It will be interesting to see if Hasbro will release different versions of Darth Vader in the 6” line. The Episode III version of the character is unique, so that might be the best choice next. But we imagine we will see this figure for a while.

Collector Notes

Darth Vader

Status: Darth Vader is a straight repack of 2020's TBS [TESB40] Darth Vader figure.

Articulation Count: 28 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: 2

Accessory Details: lightsaber hilt, lightsaber blade

Date Stamp: N/A

Assortment Number: E9365/E8908

UPC: 5010993749195

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.

The Black Series [Phase IV] Wave 1

Admiral Ackbar (ROTJ01)

Clone Trooper (Kamino) (TCW01)

Darth Vader (TESB01)

Imperial Stormtrooper (TM02)

Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) (TESB02)

The Mandalorian (TM01)

Teebo (Ewok) (ROTJ02)

Added: September 17, 2020
Category: Black Series [Phase IV], The
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
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