Star Wars The Black Series Darth Vader figure review – Empire Strikes Back

As far as iconic movie villains go, the line begins after Darth Vader. Bizarrely I hadn’t actually gotten around to getting a Vader in the six-inch scale. I’d been waiting for the perfect one and from a lot of accounts this Star Wars Black Series version in the updated packaging was a strong contender. Let’s see if this the chosen one.

Packaging: I really like this new style packaging with the connected mural. Empire Strikes Back gets the blue accent, which I love since that ties into the Hoth theme.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review -package bio

The bio is also cool as it focuses on Vader’s obsessive agenda to track down Luke Skywalker.

Likeness: From my memory and quick reference pics, this likeness seems dead on. I love the flow of the soft goods cape, which gives Vader a regal look. It flows down instead of flaring out. Going off of some other SWB Vader figures this one has a surprising amount of new sculpted parts like the helmet and chest panel.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - main pic

The helmet looks good with the scale as it’s not too big or too small. Since I hadn’t gotten a SWB Vader yet I hadn’t gotten a chance to appreciate the textured work on the arms and legs as they lead to the gloves and boots.

Vader’s chest panel also sports a strong amount of detail.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - chest panel detail

His left hand is done in Vader’s classic force choking gesture. Since he was having a lot of employee evaluation meetings, this hand was very necessary.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - choke hand up

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Paint:  For Vader, the paint job is all about the silver accents and the numerous buttons on his panels. Most of the paint apps on the buttons came out very sharp and the ones that are slightly faint aren’t a big deal at all.

Scale:  Hasbro has been very consistent with scale. Vader is one of the tallest figures in the line and towers over most of the figures in the line.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - with doctor aphra

Articulation: Vader isn’t flipping around doing somersaults at this stage. He’s more of a menacing bully, who intimidates and overwhelms with his size.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - threatening doctor aphra

This figure didn’t need an excess of great articulation, but Hasbro provided it anyway. While my figure tends to want to go into a split when I position him he doesn’t have any problem holding more dynamic poses than a standard two-handed lightsaber grip.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - hands on belt

It’s not that often Vader is going to look up so the limited range there isn’t a problem. Like the Snowspeeder Luke, Vader features butterfly shoulder joints and is a definite step up articulation wise from earlier figures in the line.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - showcasing stance

I really was impressed at being able to get a nice overhead lightsaber pose that Vader uses in the hallway in this third and final encounter with Luke in ESB.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - raising lightsaber

Darth Vader has:

  • neck
  • ball-jointed shoulders
  • elbow
  • wrist
  • wrist hinge
  • torso
  • hips
  • thighs
  • knees (double jointed)
  • ankles

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - i am your father

 

Accessories:  Vader doesn’t come with a bunch of accessories.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review -accessories in tray

He has his lightsaber. The hilt is impressively (most impressively) detailed with very clean paint applications.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - lightsaber close up

 

You can take the blade off and rest the saber hilt on the loop on his belt. It doesn’t stay on that great when you start fiddling with the skirt and cape, but it does look good when it’s in place.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - lightsaber hanging

I do wish he came with a blaster shot blocking hand for when he crashes Lando’s luncheon.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - we'd be delighted if you join us

Worth it?  I got Vader for $20. That’s the going rate for the line and there’s no reason for him to be more expensive or cheaper later on.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review - with stormtrooper fleet

Rating: 10 out of 10

I ended up liking this figure a lot more than I expected and I don’t see how Hasbro could top this one short of adding in a voice chip to simulate the breathing and recordings of James Earl Jones.

star wars the black series darth vader figure review -threatening

Where to get it?  Amazon has him in and out of stock, but to guarantee him, Entertainment Earth is probably your best bet since they still have him up for pre-order.

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