DARTH VADER Bespin Duel
Saga Collection 1
Item No.: Asst. 84851 No. 84580
Includes: Lightsaber, cape, walkway
Action Feature: Push button for slashing attack
Availability: May 2002
Appearances: The Empire Strikes Back
Image: Adam Pawlus' toy shelves.
Bio: The evil and much feared military commander, Darth Vader seeks to bring young Luke Skywalker over to the dark side. As the two battle on a precarious outer walkway on Bespin, Vader reveals a shocking secret that shatters Luke's world. (Taken from the figure's cardback.)
Commentary: There's no shortage of Darth Vader action figures-- heck, if a year goes by without a new model, we get worried. Perhaps someone was sick that day at the office? This particular one was notable because Hasbro attempted to recreate the "I am your father" scene, complete with a Luke figure in the very same assortment. Both figures were great, and this Darth Vader figure is worthy of collector attention for a variety of reasons. And yes, some of them are positive.
The sculpt of the figure itself is very obviously based on the A New Hope version of the armor. The red eyes and the "double cape" with the robes going over the shoulder armor are elements that basically say "oops." Now, with that in mind, this is still a really nice figure. He has a magnet in a hand for attracting his lightsaber. That's pretty slick. His hand is outstretched-- again, a first. The articulation isn't particularly notable, and the cape tends to fall off. The sculpt is pretty great, but looking back on this figure with a few years of distance shows it to be what it is-- a very nice action figure. Sculpts have come a long way in this short period of time, so this isn't a particularly stellar figure for what it is. And the authenticity doesn't help.
Since it was released before Hasbro integrated the "squeeze legs for action" gimmick, fans had to push a button on the figure's belt. So it looks like you're trying to stick a finger in his rear, but well, it works. Push the button, and he'll twist his waist, which allows him to "cut" his Cloud City Walkway accessories down a little bit. It's not a bad feature, and certainly not bad for the very first 3 3/4-inch action figure of the character to sport any sort of actions. It's not much of a selling point, but a fun historical footnote... yeah.
The walkway is cool, but it's pretty tiny. It works as a small piece of scenery which creates a little ambience which a figure alone simply can't do. This, I like. What I don't like is the tall, top-heavy pillar tends to split in half on its lonesome, making it less of a display piece and more of a toy to knock down. Why it can't be both, I'll never know, but I guess you can fix anything with a little crazy glue.
Collector's Notes: Another one-timer, this figure had one heck of an awesome accessory, but the figure itself failed to light fans' imaginations on fire in any significant way.
Day 796: July 10, 2008