DARTH VADER — THE DARK TIMES
STAR WARS: RETRO COLLECTION (HASBRO)
Though he may have died at the end of Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader, as perhaps one of best villains of all time, has still remained a fixture of the Star Wars universe. After Jedi, the character tended to have some of his menace removed from him in subsequent appearances, but starting with Rogue One, there was a very definite attempt at returning him that menace. Obi-Wan Kenobi takes that even further, giving us quite possibly the most imposing, powerful, and generally terrifying version of the character yet. There’s a rawness to how he’s portrayed, and it really works, again with the themes of merging the stylings of the Prequels and the Original Trilogy. And, as per usual, it gives us another go at basic Darth Vader figures, so that’s pretty cool. Let’s look at one of those today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Darth Vader (The Dark Times) is the second figure in the Kenobi themed series of Hasbro’s Star Wars: Retro Collection, which is the line’s fifth assortment overall. He’s the third version of Vader in the line, following the straight re-issue of the vintage Vader, and the Target-exclusive “prototype” Vader. The figure stands closer to 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. In contrast to the other two Retro Collection Vaders, this one is a new sculpt. The head is pretty consistent stylistically with the original Vader sculpt, though it does appear to actually be a unique piece, with a slightly different shaping, and a little bit more detailing. Below the neck, he’s totally new, updating Vader to the later film stylings. His right arm is no longer has the extending saber built-in, and both hands are now designed for gripping accessories. He also gains the inner robes that original figure lacked, albeit worked in as the usual split-leg set-up like the others from the vintage line. Instead of the vintage vinyl cape, this one gets a cloth one, which sits more properly on the shoulders. It’s a rather thin piece of cloth, but otherwise works out pretty well. Vader’s paint work is again a little more involved than perhaps a true vintage release might have been, with full detailing on his chest panel, and extra silver details on his belt, as well as red lenses for the eyes. Again, more of an idealized set-up, but one that still feels pretty true to the original feel. Vader is packed with a recoloring of the Bespin Luke saber, but in red this time.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Vader is one of those characters whose lack of major changes in design makes for less need for updates. In the vintage line, that translated to only the one single figure. It’s a distinctive figure, sure, but it’s also a kind of limiting one, compared to how the rest of the figures evolved over the course of the line. Going back and doing an update is something that I’ve kind of wanted to see since this line launched. This one’s pretty fun. He’s similar to the original, but with enough changes to make him feel worthwhile. I’d love to maybe see an unmasked Vader come out of this mold as well, but until then, this one’s certainly not bad.
Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review. If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.