#1425: Darth Vader & Imperial Probe Droid

DARTH VADER & IMPERIAL PROBE DROID

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

“Tenacious hunters and searchers, Probe Droids (or Probots) have a variety of sensors and the ones employed by the Empire are armed with powerful blasters and, in some models, shields.”

Remember when I was mentioning the Empire Strikes Back stuff that hit with The Last Jedi product?  Just yesterday?  Well, hey, here’s some more of that.  This set pairs another variation of one of the franchise’s juggernaut characters with a fan-favorite design that actually hasn’t seen a new figure in almost 15 years, which seems a little crazy.  Onto the review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vader and the Probot are one of the two “creature” sets released alongside the Last Jedi product.  Interestingly, the two characters included here never actually share any screen time or even reside in the same general area over the course of Empire, but I guess that Vader’s the Probot’s boss, so that sort of makes a little sense.

DARTH VADER

So, I was discussing yesterday about how the whole Star Wars line would fall into disarray were there not a steady stream of Boba Fett figures offered.  That goes double for this guy.  Despite dying at the end of Return of the Jedi, he’s managed to find his way into every movie line launch since Episode 1 in some way or another.  This figure stands a little over 4 inches tall and has a whole 6 points of articulation (thanks to a cut joint at the waist).  This Vader is based on his appearance from Empire, which was slightly changed from A New Hope (and, by extension, Rogue One, which used the ANH design), but not terribly different from the one seen in Return of the Jedi.  Essentially, this figure’s sculpt is the later film equivalent to the fantastic Rogue One Vader we got last year.  At first glance, I actually thought this figure was mostly re-used from that one, but it’s its own wholly original work.  This means there’s no real compromises made, which is nice to see after lots of years of Vaders based indeterminately on several different movie’s designs.  It’s a very strong sculpt, and were it not for the RO Vader from last year, it would easily be my favorite Vader sculpt to date.  As it stands, it’s a definite top two.  I enjoy this just as much, but for differing reasons.  Interestingly, the helmet is a separate piece from the mask and head, but it’s not removable or anything.  I was sort of expecting this to be a “reveal” figure, showing the back of his head like we see in his chamber, but it wasn’t the case. It’s not really a big deal, though, and I honestly prefer a Vader with all of his pieces connected.  This Vader gets another plastic cape piece, which is a different piece than the one on the RO Vader, but still very nice.  This one drapes over the shoulders a bit more, which is certainly appropriate.  Vader’s paintwork is pretty solid all around.  There’s a lot more going on than might be evident at first, especially with all the differing shades of black.  I like that they’re putting in that sort of effort.  Vader includes his lightsaber, which this time around can be held in either of his hands.  He is also ForceLink compatible, though I still don’t have the wrist thing to try him out, so I don’t know what sounds he makes.

IMPERIAL PROBE DROID

In a movie full of distinctive things, the Probe Droid actually manages to stick out, being one of the very first things the audience sees on the screen.  The Probot’s only had two figures before in this scale; both were actually made from the same mold.  It’s long been a favorite item amongst the fan base, so an update was certainly much appreciated.  The Probot is about 5 inches tall (when placed on his stand, of course) and has an astounding 16 points of articulation.  Those arms really help him out on that front.  The sculpt on this guy is all new, and definitely top-notch.  Like Vader, it’s very accurate to the film prop, and offers a lot of really great little details.  Obviously, it’s a little less detailed than the real scale-model of the thing, but it’s far from “basic.”  The head in particular just perfectly captures the shape and sizing of the in-film design so well, and I love how well his large camera eyes have turned out.  In terms of paint, there’s not a *ton* going on with the Probot.  He’s largely just molded in a very dark grey plastic.  hat being said, it’s a good shade of grey, and there’s still nice paint work on the lenses of the cameras.  He’s also got a number of silver scuffs all over him, befitting the used-future look of the OT films.  It’s subtle, but it definitely adds a lot to the figure.  Since the Probot we see in the film is always hovering and doesn’t really have an easy way of standing, this figure includes a clear stand to help him “hover.”  It’s a fairly basic piece, which just plugs into the base of the figure’s body.  I do quite like the little Imperial insignia that’s molded into it.  It’s a fun touch.  There’s also a missile launching component worked into the figure, but in a less obtrusive way than the prior Probot mold.  It’s just one small panel on the body, and it’s not really noticeable when it’s in place.  Lastly, there’s the ForceLink feature, and this time around, I do actually have an idea of what sounds it makes.  It just makes the transmitting sounds from the movie, which is a feature I really look forward to trying out when I get the chance.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, I didn’t pick this pair up on Force Friday.  I didn’t even pick them up the next week when I went back.  In part, this was due to my thinking that the Vader was actually a lot more similar to the RO version than he ultimately was.  But I saw some photos online and I was really digging the Probot, so I decided to try and grab one.  Of course, I forgot that this set’s packed one for every three Rapthar packs, so it wasn’t super easy to track down.  I did eventually manage to find one at Walmart, so yay for that.  This is definitely a strong set.  Sure, a figure other than Vader might have been nice, but at least it’s a good Vader figure.  And at the end of the day, the Probot’s definitely worth buying another Vader figure to get.  And that wraps up the small-scale Force Friday offerings that I’ll be reviewing.  Not a bad assortment at all.

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One response

  1. This is a nice set. I’ve pretty much stopped collecting the 1/18th scale figures, so my hope is that a Probe Droid makes it’s way into the Black Series in the future.

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