Sideshow Collectibles Returns With Another Great Darth Vader Figure [Review]
Sideshow Collectibles has long been providing the collecting world with sixth-scale figures based on Star Wars. In fact, until Hot Toys jumped on the bandwagon ahead of The Force Awakens, Sideshow was pretty much the only place you could find high-end figures based on George Lucas’ creation. Still, in all that time, there haven’t been a tremendous amount of these figures released, with Sideshow carefully curating its collection with some unexpected choices.
Of course, you can’t have the Star Wars license without putting your own spin on the Sith Lord Darth Vader. As one of the most recognizable entities from the saga, Vader is a prime choice for an action figure. In fact, he’s such a marquee character, it’s the second time Sideshow’s released a figure for him. However, there are plenty of improvements with this revamped edition of Sideshow’s previous Return of the Jedi Darth Vader to make it more than a simple repeat viewing.
The earlier Darth Vader Sideshow put out was a massive deluxe beast. It came with Darth Vader, some hands and his lightsaber, but it also came with an unmasked helmet, a huge light-up base and a special helmet display that also lit up. It was a fine figure that paid homage to the Darth Vader’s final moments in the Star Wars saga, but it wasn’t without its flaws. Though the new version of the man formerly known as Anakin Skywalker lacks the prestige packaging, it comes with a number of improvements to the original figure itself.
The best improvements come to the body, which gets a thicker, more padded feel. The first pass on Vader, while impressive from a glance, felt too thin to the touch. Now Darth Vader actually feels like the imposing figure he is, and not just a really scrawny dude pretending to be a bad-ass in a big suit. The tailoring is again fantastic though, and all the minutia of Vader’s minimalist aesthetic is captured perfectly. They’d have to be given how few details there actually are throughout the suit, but Sideshow’s done a great job with the costuming.
What helps set it off is the chest and belt components that actually light up. There’s a little battery pack attached to Vader’s back just above his belt. It’s normally well hidden by the cape, but it’s easily accessible without having to fuss with the figure too much if you have it on display already. The lights have a simple cycle, which create a much better illusion that if they were simply solidly on all the time. Often with figures for Vader, these kinds of elements are overlooked. Seeing it utilized in this way for once gives the figure much more presence on a shelf compared to other sixth-scale figures, too.
There are plenty of posing hands included to add to Vader’s imposing nature, all of which have been sculpted to be a bit tighter and more true to the screen from the previous incarnation. The previous hands weren’t off by much, but these new sculpts --- and they are all sculpted from finger to cuff --- are much more proportionate. The classic Force Choke hand makes an appearance, as does a hand of righteous accusation. Fists and C-grip hands for the lightsaber are all there too, but there are also hands sculpted for Vader to hold his belt. It’s an interesting choice as those specific hands have little use for any other kind of posing, but Vader is in that stance enough in the films that it does make for a nice pose when on display.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Darth Vader figure without his signature red lightsaber, which is here in full. Like a few of Sideshow’s lightsabers over the years though, this one is just a tad too pointy for my personal taste. I always preferred the smoothed, rounded tip of the saber versus it being so dagger-like. It’s already a laser, it doesn’t really need a point. Still, it’s a minor complaint, especially since the sculpt is smooth along the shaft from hilt to tip. If you don’t want his full lightsaber equipped, there is a version that is just the hilt of the weapon, which hooks onto his belt with ease.
The Return of the Jedi era is a sad one for Darth Vader, but it has provided Sideshow with ample inspiration for another solid effort in its Star Wars line. The improvements from the earlier iteration are strong, and make this Vader arguably a better figure in its own right. It might be lacking the pretty base and extra accessories of the deluxe edition, but this Darth Vader more than does the Sith Lord justice.
The Sideshow Collectibles Darth Vader (Return of the Jedi) sixth-scale figure is available for purchase for $229.99. This figure was provided by Sideshow Collectibles for review.