Image Bank Review: MH20 Darth Vader

By Mike — Sunday, May 6, 2012

"The Force is with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet." This new Movie Heroes action figure, with that light-up lightsaber, captures that scene so amazingly well. It geekily inspired me to load up "Clash of the Lightsabers" on my iPod and photograph him on the POTJ Bespin playset to capture the essence of that scene and…wow...THAT's it. If you're a Vader fan, or even a passing Star Wars fan, you owe it to yourself to pick this figure up.



Affiliation: Galactic Empire
Appearance: The Empire Strikes Back
Sequence: MH20
Includes: Removable Cloak, Light-Up Lightsaber Blade
Action Feature: Light-up Lightsaber Blade!
Retail: $8.99
Released: April 2012

Bio:  Darth Vader is a master of the lightsaber. Many years have passed since the Sith Lord has fought someone who can also wield the legendary weapon of the Jedi and the Sith. Calling upon his powerful connection to the Force, Vader ignites his Lightsaber to battle young Luke Skywalker. [IMAGE BANK PHOTOS]


SCULPT/PAINT: This is such an excellent, swarthy figure, you get past the non-detachable lightsaber blade. The helmet is one of the better ESB sculpts that come to mind. Overall, this Vader is just magnificent, well proportioned, just the right height, with the right amount of wrinkly details for added dimension. His cape and skirt are also sculpted flowingly well with a softer plastic to allow for some limited, but adequate action posing. Hasbro added some fantastic detail to his chest piece and belt, but missed some paint deco on his shoulder plate. I want to call this the ultimate ESB Vader, despite the fixed lightsaber, but will hold back and call it the best to use for that pivotal beginning of the epic Bespin Lightsaber duel scene, and maybe even the gantry scene since Hasbro also nicely sculpted his outreached almost "clenching" left hand.

ARTICULATION: MH20 Vader has 9 points of articulation (swivel neck, swivel shoulders, ball jointed left elbow, swivel left wrist/gloved hand, wedge swivel hips, and ball jointed knees).   You obviously can't have him hold his lightsaber in different ways and he's got limited range of motion, particularly with his right arm, but you can pose him well enough for Vader. That articulation on the left arm is also well thought out to at least give him "standard" Bespin Vader poses.

ACCESSORIES: His plastic cape is removable to see all the detailing on his back but his skirt is attached. This would be the Movie Hero figure to absolutely pick up just because the Light-up Lightsaber not only works well, but with the outstanding sculpt, channels that scene superbly. The glow is perfect in a dark setting and you should get past the fatter, non-detachable molded blade. The glaring flaw in this otherwise outstanding execution are the 3 non-replaceable batteries that will either die out or corrode, or both, over time. That was a poor design decision, Hasbro.

CARDBACK: The Movie Heroes line features the striking Darth Maul graphic set against blue and white commemorating the release of The Phantom Menace in 3D.  The card back includes a character bio, affiliation, sequence number, and image of the figure and a scene shot of the character. It's always a welcome change to get a package refresh, and the 2012 Maul design looks fantastic and one I actually prefer over the Shadows of The Dark Side. Hasbro hasn't wowed me since the excellent 30th Anniversary design of 2007 (Vintage is on a different stratosphere), and this packaging's shelf life, while not yet stale, is beginning to show a little fatigue on a store display.

TOPPING THINGS OFF: He's not perfect, particularly with the non-replaceable batteries, but this is THE Movie Heroes action figure to collect so far. He's got an excellent new sculpt and ample enough articulation. But the WOW factor of that Lightsaber igniting against that unmistakable silhouette before he's about to school his kid during a "Come to Papa" moment is epic for a 3.75 inch figure. That, my friends, is an emotional touchpoint that goes beyond plastic. Easily a MOST WANTED.


RATING: MOST WANTED (5 out of 5 Bounty Points)   


Review sample provided by Entertainment Earth.