A Void In My Plastic Heart - Part 1

My earliest memories of my existence on this planet include an X-Wing Fighter, light sabers and escaping a huge space station. Perhaps nothing has been more influential my nerdy existence than Star Wars. I must have been about 4 years old. I clearly remember wanting to hang-out with Han and/or Luke and save the galaxy. Well – at least with the action figures, anything was possible. Boy did I love them! Maybe the toys would never love me back, but they were a clear testament that my parents loved me. No doubt, my parents showed me that they loved me in countless ways. There is the “cooking” way… the “kiss the boo boo” way and “reading a story to sleep” way. The “buying toys” way – this was my favorite. Especially when it was Star Wars! Got them for my birthday, Christmas and any time in between. Either well at school, or cried enough to warrant it. After a while, crying was no longer a valid technique. Getting an allowance helped me be able to “get them myself”. But once I learned that money didn’t grow on trees, and Santa Claus didn’t have an infinite source of money himself, I had to start to pick and choose exactly which figures/toys I really, really liked and wanted. Star Wars was always my preferred and filled up my book shelves and toy boxes. However, today, I only have a handful of the ones I owned a child! About only 5 of them. Seriously! Wait, sorry – I shall not digress. I promise I will explain how this happened.

Continuing with my childhood story, when I was about 6 or 7 years old, GI Joes caught my attention. I may not have been interested in guns, or “war toys” (only if they were from a galaxy far, far away) but - because of their articulation and attention to detail, they totally had my interest. They were jointed at the elbows, knees and hips… wow! The Star Wars figures seemed so stiff by comparison. Soon, I began collecting them also. Cross-over with Star Wars? You bet! Duke thoroughly enjoyed piloting the Millenium Falcon against Cobra. What about the larger figures? Never had the large, original GI Joes, but I did have a number of the larger Star Wars figure/dolls. IG-88, C-3PO, R2-D2 and… yes! Boba Fett! As embarrassing as this might seem… I did play with my sister and her Barbies with these guys. She had the Princess Leia doll, so it was “all good”… My GI Joe collection got extensive, but not so much with large vehicles. Of whatever vehicles I did have, many of them were also “given away” but the figures survived. Oops - More on this later.

Darth Vader - Star Wars The Black Series 6” Figure Review

Probably the first action figure I was ever given as a Star Wars loving 3-year-old! Darth Vader. I have proof of this in a Super-8 video of me swinging my Luke Skywalker figure while Darth Vader figure stands proudly on the window sill – not too far from R2 and the cardboard backings the figures Vader and Luke came in!

The instant I read about the possible 6” Black Series Darth Vader, I knew I wanted him. I was ready to pre-order the whole wave that would have him, regardless of what other characters would be in the wave. In the end, I did not. Once I saw some “real” online pictures, disappointment set in. There were plenty of 3 3/4 Vaders that looked far better! What did Hasbro do?! I thought. Just like that… my readiness to pre-order the entire wave 5 of the Black Series 6” line-up fizzled. However, once he started popping-up in retail, alongside Walgreen’s exclusive “ProtoFett” – people’s reports of the figure were positive. And then, there was hope.

I eventually found him at a local Walgreens. After a little leg-work and a bunch of follow-ups. Interestingly enough, Vader was harder to find than the “Exclusive” Boba Fett in Prototype Armor. The reports were true - he is better out of the box!

What are the top 3 great things about 6” BS Vader?

1) His cape: hefty, sturdy and durable-feeling… has the great “real chain” to accompany it.

2) Attention to detail: the armor detail, helmet (even the interior has detail) gloves and boots all look just as you’d expect.

3) IDK: Not sure if there is a #3, other than the fact that this figure looks great out of the box. If I let him in the box, there would definitely not be a #3.

Three things that could be better about 6” BS Vader?

1) Articulation: just like many of the 6” BS series, his articulation leaves much to be desired. Especially his elbows and shoulders – I am going to find it difficult to maneuver  him in “action-loaded” lightsaber-dueling poses. On the plus-side, whenever they make a 6” BS EP-IV  Obi-Wan, his lack-of-posing won’t be noticed.

2) Helmet: It doesn’t feel like it “fits” all too well. Any head adjustments leads to a guaranteed loosening or out-right popping off. Amazingly, the dome and the mask stay together rather well. So , this means whenever it loosens up – both come off together.

3) Belt clip for lightsaber / Loose joints: I grouped these only because either of them alone isn’t that bad. It would’ve been nice if the lightsaber could have clipped onto his belt – not the end of the world. Slightly tighter joints for his legs (at the hip joint) would’ve been nice too – but also not critical.

As always, here’s a summary of the articulation:

Head/Neck: Ball joint  = 1 (feels like ½ due to helmet issues)

Shoulders: Ball/cut joint  = 2 (x2) = 4 (feels limited due to armor)

Elbows: Ball/cut joint = 2 (x2) = 4 (Ok, like Anikan, Obi-Wan, Luke, etc.)

Wrists: Peg joint + swivel (x2) = 4 (Ok, like Anikan, Obi-Wan, Luke, etc.))

Torso/Chest: Cut + Swivel = 2 (also very limited)

Hips/Thigh: Ball + Cut + Swivel = 3 (x2) = 6  (slightly better than Stormtrooper)

Knees: Peg Joint (x2) (x2) =4

Lower Leg / ankle: Peg + rolling cut =2 (x2) =4

Total: 29 – which feels right with the limited motions on the shoulders, elbows and head

Did I miss any?

If I had to rate this figure:

-Displayability: 9/10 (10/10 when you remove the helmet and can have him hold it)

-Articulation: 6/10

-Re-Playability: 8/10 (Only because it’s Vader, he will demand to be re-posed and played with more than other figures)

-Emotional Attachment: 10/10 (Among my very first figures, and first baddie so many of us loved to hate…)

Average: 8.25 or 8/10

Tempted to rate it as 9/10 only because of what he represents, but I think that would be bumping up the Emotional Attachment to 11/10.

A prime example of what the 6” Black Series is about (or at least what I thought it would be about) – classic, iconic Star Wars characters in a larger format with more detail… pulling at the heart-strings of the adult collector. Needless to say that very few characters in our modern sci-fi-loving culture is as iconic as Darth Vader. Even within the Star Wars mythos, no one is more recognizable. If anything, he is the “main character”. George himself stated that EP I – VI is all about Vader/Anikan: That is, Anikan’s fall and thus rise as Vader (I-III)– followed by his redemption through his son (IV-VI). Which confuses me as to why the next Star Wars movie is called “EP VII”… unless it is still about Vader ?!

In closing, it may very well be that my emotional attachment to Boba Fett is a misguided love for the “mysterious baddie” who Vader was in my early childhood. I think what happened is that it shifted after EP V, once Vader was just “Luke’s dad”. That other mysterious baddie that was just too cool took over. Couple that with the fact that I kept my original 1978 Darth Vader figure; whereas my original 1980 Boba Fett was given away – leaving a void. Trying to fill that void is evident in my Boba Fettish collection.

In conclusion, 6” Black Series Darth Vader is pretty cool and a “must have” for anyone who has a love for Star Wars, awesome-looking action figures or simply a love for Darth Vader. That pretty much includes everyone. :)



I wanted to share my current project. I have been re-creating the 1980 Sears Exclusive Bespin Playset in a drawing program. Over the last week, in between projects at work, I have redrawn each line and shape. (except the sky backdrop and the smoke interior of the carbon freeze chamber. Vapor is hard to draw in vector format).

The finished product you see above is a prototype to test how I did. It’s rough, and doesn’t quite fit together correctly. It’s printed on regular paper, so it’s flimsy as well. But after I correct the alignment issues I will print it out on cardstock and then I’ll have a nice little (not so little) display for my Bespin figures.


Reblogged from figuretime