STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)
“Once known as Anakin Skywalker, expert pilot and hero, Vader studied the ways of the Force under young Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi. His impatience with the Jedi training made him susceptible to the dark side, which corrupted him as he gave in to his anger and aggression. Vader was almost killed in a confrontation with Kenobi, and was forced to adopt his current life support systems and fearsome body armor.”
You know, it’s been two weeks since I reviewed a Star Wars figure. That’s a long time. I could go into withdrawal. Or worse yet, I could get a huge backlog of Star Wars figures to review! Oh…right…too late. Well, let’s take another stab at getting through that backlog, shall we? Let’s have a look at my man Vader here.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Darth Vader was part of the very first series of the Power of the Force II line. Believe it or not, this was only the second small-scale Vader ever released. That’s kind of crazy in this day and age where you can’t go anywhere without tripping over like 50 of this guy. This was long before the trend of 100% movie accuracy, so this figure ends up as a rather indeterminate version of Vader. I suppose he’s technically an Empire/Jedi Vader, since his robes go under his shoulder armor. Of course, even the original Vader, who was released to coincide with the first movie, had the robes under the armor, so I think it’s less an accuracy thing and more a “they just never really noticed” thing. The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation. Vader’s not only taller than his compatriots, he’s also just generally larger. This is Vader if Star Wars had been made in the ‘90s and he’d been played by Jeep Swenson…the ‘90s were a strange time. Apart from the overall Swenson-ness, the sculpt isn’t terrible. The quilted pattern on his undersuit is nice, and most of the important details are there. The helmet’s a little off, but it was a marked improvement on the vintage version, and it’s not like anyone would ever confuse it for anything but Darth Vader’s helmet. The one notable omission on this guy is his lack of the bottom section of his robe. However, as with the handling of the shoulder armor, this is something consistent with the vintage release, so maybe Kenner/Hasbro just hadn’t learned yet. The figure’s topped off with a plastic cape, which makes the already bulky Vader even bulkier. It’s not a bad piece, but it definitely has a flair for the dramatic. Vader’s paint is fairly straightforward stuff. Mostly, he’s just molded in black, with a few little spots of detail work. Nothing spectacular, but it’s fair enough fore the time. Vader’s one accessory was his lightsaber, which, like all of the early figures, came in short and long variants. Mine no longer has his, but I’m fairly certain it was one of the short ones, given the basic time period of when I would have gotten this.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I don’t know 100% how this guy came into my collection. I know how he *didn’t* come into my collection. Let me ‘splain: the first time I saw this figure, it was just after seeing The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the theatre. After the movie, my parents took me to the KB Toys in the same mall so I could get one figure. It came down to this guy or Phoebus from Hunchback. Having just seen the movie, it was Phoebus, and not Vader, who went home with me that day. I know that Vader was given to me by my parents shortly after. Now, if I had to guess, using my much more fully-formed and adult investigative skills, I’d say my parents more than likely bought me both of these figures that day and just gave me Vader a little later. I can’t know for certain, of course, but that’s certainly the type of thing they’re prone to do.