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The Original Trilogy Collection

Darth Vader - OTC - Vintage

Name: Darth Vader
Collection: The Original Trilogy Collection
Number: N/A
Source: The Empire Strikes Back
Availability: August 2004
License: Hasbro

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Celebrate the legendary Star Wars trilogy that changed the universe forever, with The Original Trilogy Collection. This collection brings to life the incredible story of good versus evil that captured our imagination and took us to a galaxy far, far away. The finest recreations of the iconic Star Wars heroes and villains are back with incredible detail and premium features to commemorate each epic tale in the Original Trilogy: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. And, as a tribute to the dedication of Star Wars fans everywhere, we are re-releasing elements of the original packaging that harken back to the creation of Star Wars action figures, which began over 25 years ago with the Original Trilogy. May the Force be with you!

It’s almost a fact that we will never go long without a new Darth Vader action figure getting added into the basic figure line each year. Hasbro consistently finds new and improved ways to get this character to kids and collectors and onto store shelves. No matter how monotonous this character’s appearance at retail may appear, Darth Vader sells without question. There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight of how many Hasbro can release without it backing up and clogging pegs. As a result, there is no question that another Darth Vader is a welcomed addition to any basic figure line. But what if that new Darth Vader action figure gets the royal treatment in both sculpt and packaging? It makes things even better. While we classify the 2004 VOTC Darth Vader action figure as excellent, it still needs one or two more things before collectors classify it as definitive. It would perhaps be a little easier to say that ball-jointed elbows would have saved this figure in more ways than one – Hasbro began making ball-jointed elbows and knees a standard for collector-focused action figures. So we wonder why Hasbro didn’t spend a little more on the tooling budget for Darth Vader and knock it out of the park here, especially with the complimentary “vintage-styled” packaging alongside it. The vintage-styled packaging is quite impressive, and they make any action figure look the best they can. The same is true for Darth Vader. Let’s itemize why this release of Darth Vader is a bittersweet, yet still excellent, release.

Darth Vader is an all-new sculpt that, for the most part, employs premium articulation. Specifically, the figure includes a swivel neck, two ball-jointed shoulders, two swivel elbows, two swivel gloves, a swivel waist, two swivel hips, two ball-jointed knees, and two ball-jointed ankles. The only issue we believe you’re going to have with this Darth Vader action figure is Hasbro’s decision to include swivel elbows. Sometimes swivel elbows are subtle enough to work seamlessly with an action figure (on rare occasions), but collectors have grown to loathe them. Unfortunately, Hasbro cut Darth Vader’s elbows at an angle that inhibits the figure’s movement, which is limiting and ultimately frustrating for collectors. What makes things worse is that the swivel joints are so loose that Darth Vader has difficulty holding the lightsaber. You’ll notice that the elbows can’t sustain the weight of the lightsaber hilt, let alone the lightsaber, because of the loose swivel joints. These figures have an MSRP of $9.99, so this articulation area was not the right choice to cut costs. Despite some drawbacks, Darth Vader is a winner in most other ways. The figure is tall and foreboding, slender yet sturdy, and has a costume that perfectly matches the suit we saw the character wear in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. It is for this reason alone that it’s incredibly fitting to receive Darth Vader on a vintage-inspired The Empire Strikes Back card back. Although the image on the card is from A New Hope, Darth Vader is appropriately sourced to the correct Star Wars film logo.

No matter how down you look upon the swivel elbows, let us be clear. Darth Vader is the most accurate Darth Vader action figure on the market now. Hasbro will likely utilize this release to bring us better versions of the character for the future. That doesn’t mean this figure won’t be trounced by better updates as we move forward in the line. But this is a great base figure on which to build all others. The gloves’ texture and the ridges in the helmet show that no details slipped by the sculptors. Hasbro attempted to make the best Darth Vader figure to date with this release by capturing all of these details. They almost got there, and would have got there is they upgraded the elbows. As simple as you may think it is to decorate a Star Wars character that mostly wears black, Hasbro gave Darth Vader an excellent paint job. It has glossy and flat black elements. And the details on the chest box and belt have been applied with the right amount of color. Together, Darth Vader has an appearance that is nothing short of amazing, minus the big issue we have with the swivel elbows. And it’s in scale with other VOTC action figures. It’s terrific to see soft-goods on Darth Vader, and they look great here. To save costs, Hasbro went with a cheap material that is shiny, and doesn't match the aesthetics of the costuming. It’s especially noticeable in bright light. Some may wish to see Darth Vader with a partially removable helmet, as seen in Episode V. Don’t worry about that because that one will undoubtedly come. In the meantime, enjoy one of the most exceptional Darth Vader action figures Hasbro has to offer us yet. We bet it will be hard for you to buy just one.

Collector Notes

Darth Vader

Status: Darth Vader is an all-new figure.

Articulation Count: 16 points (12 areas of articulation)

Articulation Details: swivel head (1), ball-jointed left shoulder (2), ball-jointed right shoulder (2), swivel left elbow (1), swivel right elbow (1), swivel left glove (1), swivel right glove (1), swivel waist (1), swivel left hip (1), swivel right hip (1), ball-jointed left knee (2), ball-jointed right knee (2)

Accessory Count: 2

Accessory Details: lightsaber, lightsaber hilt

Date Stamp: 2004

Assortment Number: 85235/85213

UPC: 076930852354

Retail: $9.99 USD

Market Value: Click here to check the latest prices based on Click here to check the market value on eBay! listings.

Darth Vader

The "Vintage" Original Trilogy Collection Wave 1

Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi

Han Solo

Luke Skywalker

Princess Leia Organa

The "Vintage" Original Trilogy Collection Wave 2

Darth Vader

Lando Calrissian

See-Threepio (C-3PO)


The "Vintage" Original Trilogy Collection Wave 3

Artoo-Detoo (R2-D2) (With Extension Arm)

Boba Fett



Added: May 6, 2013
Category: Original Trilogy Collection, The
Reviewer: Paul Harrison
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