DARTH VADER The Empire Strikes Back
Original Trilogy Collection
Item No.: Asst. 84715 No. 85329
Includes: Lightsaber, Display Stand
Action Feature: Removable Right Hand
Availability: Fall 2004
Appearances: Primarily Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Bio: The evil Imperial Lord Darth Vader is ordered by the Emperor to crush the heroic Rebels. Vader tracks the Rebels to the planet Hoth and launches an attack to capture them and destroy the Rebel base. He is furious when the Rebels discover his forces are coming, and the Rebels are able to escape the base before the evil Empire can capture it. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Image: TV trays can be quite fun.
Commentary: A good mold, this widely reused sculpt has been used time and again since 2001 for the Emperor's Wrath version of Darth Vader. This version has no X-ray bits, but does have a solid, opaque plastic used for the figure and adds a light dusting of white to indicate clean newly fallen snow. This figure is identical to a gift set figure released earlier if you take away the snow, so there's really three Darth Vaders out there using this sculpt with a fourth coming, and two of which can only be different through their use of white. For an attempt at a "different" Darth Vader, this may be the lamest yet but it is unique and many fans lamented the lack of "snow" on the 2006 Hoth Darth Vader figure as, after this figure, it was something we expected. This particular figure wasn't incredibly easy to get, but was one of three OTC Darth Vader figures in 2004 and because of its unique packaging you may want to get one. This particular figure has eight points of articulation-- the standard six, plus a wrist and another arm joint to allow for "Emperor-chucking" poses.
Collector's Notes: This specific figure with this snow deco has been released only once and is therefore one of the exclusive repaints that you can find in the Original Trilogy Collection from 2004. (Of the 38 basic figures, 31 were reissues, and of those 31, 9 have unique repaints exclusive to this series.) If you're a Darth Vader fan, this is a figure you need to track down because it is unique in that it's the only Darth Vader to have any environment-specific weathering so far, plus it's, as I'm fond of saying, "just different enough to make you mad." The Imperial Forces gift set contains this figure without the snow. If you're a variant hunter, trying to collect them all, or Vader-crazy, this is essential. If you just want a Darth Vader, this one is really no better or worse than many others.
This figure is particularly notable in that it uses a Return of the Jedi-specific mold for an Empire Strikes Back-specific scene. Of course, the differences between the two films aren't great enough that, as a 3 3/4-inch figure, most fans would ever notice. Also, this figure has the "old style" lightsaber without the flare at the handle as the original figure was developed before those new style lightsabers became standard. All Darth Vaders of this mold use the same lightsaber mold so far. (MORE IMAGES COMING SOON)
Day 50: June 25, 2006