A New Hope
When Disney acquired the Lucasfilm archive, there was some real concern about the way in which they would handle the property, especially given the very divisive nature of the prequels and the way in which George Lucas himself had handled the ‘Expanded Universe’ in the run up to the making of ‘Phantom Menace.’
Part of this groundswell of concern was that the classic series had not been given the range of merchandise which it might have, especially in the model front.
Fine Molds had done an excellent job on their 1/72 range – capped off with the currently incomparable Millennium Falcon kit.
However – and no matter how one might feel about the change in license – Bandai has come out swinging with its line of Star Wars kits.
In this short series of builds, we go over some of the key items in the series and consider the possibilities which the company has at its disposal – the AT-AT seems a given, for example, but there is still hope for a Falcon, Star Destroyer, and a Tantive IV, for example.
In this case, we look at one of the 1/12 ‘semi finished’ kits which have become something of a flagship for the range – part action figure, part model – in the form of the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader.
As the box art makes clear, this kit is clearly made with poseability in mind, and seems to have drawn very much from Bandai’s recent experience with the display figures made for the Kamen Rider, Saint Seiya, and Mazinger lines with all their multi-part capes and clothing.
I will admit to being a little wary of this ‘interleaved’ effect, having had some rather ropey experiences with some of the ‘God Cloth’ Saint Seya toys.
However, times have changed since then, and from my build of the C3-PO from the same series, I am positive that these new kits will not be the lemons I feared…
The instruction sheet makes it very clear that articulation and poseability is the defining element of these kits, and leads me further down the line that this production represents Bandai transferring more and more of its experience on figure making into its kit lines. There is an elegant simplicity here.
Lots of poly-caps here, and lots of room for flexibility.
And here is the cape, molded, as you can see in several parts, to allow for dynamic posing and still retain some semblance of flair.
I’m still not wholly convinced of the approach, but cannot see a more practical method of reproducing cloth at such a scale – especially as, even on my 1/6 scale Hot Toys Darth Vader, his robes do not have the heft or flow which they should have.
An interesting point here is that different components are molded with differing degrees of shine to them, which I take as part of Bandai’s multi-level approach to building. By that, I mean one could build this kit off the bat without a lick of paint and it still would look ‘correct’ – with the helm and greaves fully glossed, whilst the body suit remains suitably matted.
Indeed, this variety of finishes extends all the the way through the kit and is a credit to the design team, who have worked in some very complex textures and matting, as well as some ingenious looking jointing.
The inclusion of strung and active light sabers, as well as alternate hands sets the kit off nicely, though the small display base seems rather flat (and I wonder if there will be some diorama bases made available at some point).
In short then, the material quality looks excellent, detail, is crisp and the model is uniform throughout.
Therefore, as this is not one of my more formal essay reviews, we’ll leave this here and delve into the building.]
See you on the Dark Side!