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Figures and Speech: STAR WARS 40th Anniversary Legacy Pack With Darth Vader

Figures and Speech: STAR WARS 40th Anniversary Legacy Pack With Darth Vader

Welcome to Figures & Speech, Nerdist’s regular column by, for, and about grown-ups who still play with their toys but might want to know more before they buy. From product reviews to informed editorials, these are most definitely the articles that’ll make you want to strike a pose. 

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Hasbro has been celebrating Star Wars‘ 40th birthday by taking a bit of a break from current movie lines and concentrating on a anniversary line, based on the original 12 Kenner figures. They’re different in many ways, of course–most notably in scale. Hasbro has already done 3-3/4-inch tributes for a previous anniversary; these are the 6-inch Black Series, now on vintage-style cards with movie photo artwork and an old school Kenner logo. Some of these figures were previously released in more standard packaging, some are brand new, and others have had minor tweaks to improve them.

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In order to get collectors hooked into buying them all, Hasbro has come up with a pretty clever scheme. Knowing that Darth Vader is likely to be the figure most people want, they have only made him available as part of a larger package that includes a display stand for all 12 figures. That way, you not only pay $40 for Vader rather than $20, but you’re given a pretty big “collect the whole line” incentive in the form of that base.

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Inside the larger box, Vader comes on a vintage-styled card. Eagle-eyed nerds may immediately spot something a little off. This is a figure for the 40th anniversary of the first movie and the original toy line, but Vader did not have the prominent silver stripes on his chest and shoulder armor until the sequels. The figure’s eyes are also less red than they were in the first film, making this more of an “ultimate” Vader than a movie-specific one.

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The prior Black Series Vader had a removable helmet, and its mechanics resulted in an odd head sculpt, which fans dubbed “Sad Vader.” That has been corrected, and his cape is also bigger.

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While he didn’t adopt a ton of agile poses in the movies, this figure can. He has standard Black Series articulation without any of those weird exceptions you sometimes see; that includes double-jointed knees and ball elbows. The armor restricts the ball joint in his chest and neck a tad, but that’s fine–again, it’s probably no less articulate than Dave Prowse was in the suit.

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When it comes to signature poses, he can totally do the “hands on hips” power stance…

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Or the “I am your father” beckon, which doubles as a Force choke.

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And his hands, which are also ball-jointed, can be quite expressive. Almost Shatneresque, if you need them to be. (Or Dana Carvey-esque, as below.)

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Wanna look under his capes? That may sound indecent, but it’s really not.

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One other detail: it’s made of really soft plastic so it’s a delicate thing, but there’s a hook on his belt for the lightsaber hilt (the blade is removable). You might want to freeze the figure just to stiffen that hook so the equally soft saber can be hung on it.

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Now, let’s look at that display stand. It’s made of four modular base pieces that you could also utilize separately, or hook up to multiples if you like this kind of base a lot.

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It comes with a double-sided backdrop. On one side, the original Kenner artwork for the first wave of figures.

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On the other, promo art for the Death Star battle, designed by somebody who didn’t know what the Death Star’s final color scheme would be at the time.

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If I were a kid, I’d probably buy some cardboard, cut it to the same shape, and draw some backdrops of my own. For now, I went with the space scene and popped it into the plastic frame.

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Okay, so at first I was annoyed that the Star Wars logo was a sticker. Then I realized it’s clever–what if you want to use this base for other figures instead? Dioramas are rare in stores, and there are other lines that will fit the foot pegs.

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You also don’t have to feel confined to the vintage characters. The Black Series has covered all eras, and they all fit.

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The vintage base that this is somewhat recreating, however, was for smaller figures. As I recall (I never actually owned it) it had name stickers and levers that would rotate the figures. This has fewer frills than that.

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Is the Vader worth it? Let’s face it, the more popular Black Series figures often do go for $4o at conventions, and you’d be hard-pressed to find the prior Vader cheap even if you wanted him over this one. The base may not seem like a $20 buy, but it’s big and helps display some figures that have a hard time standing (that top-heavy K-2SO takes more dives than the Brooklyn Brawler).

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And again, it works for many figures. Not just Star Wars.

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40th anniversary Vader is now available at most retailers. My review sample was provided by Hasbro.

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Do you think he’s worth the display stand as well? Comment below or Tweet me @LYTrules and we’ll talk toys.

Images: Luke Y. Thompson

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