Movie Realization Samurai Taisho Darth Vader
Name: Darth Vader
Series: Star Wars
Line: Movie Realization
Sculptor: Jyunichi Taniguchi
Designer: Takayuki Takeya
Material: ABS, PVC
Release: Dec 2014
Original Price: ¥9504JPY
Height: 180mm / 7.08inches
Darth Vader comes in a nice matte finished collector style box, with beautiful photography of the figure at the front. On the back there are studio shots showing off the various accessories and detail of the figure inside. The contents are nicely laid out inside the box and the legs of the main figure wrapped in plastic for further protection against rubbing during transportation, very thoughtful. It may be interesting to note that I did get a big waft of plastic smell as I opened the box, but after a bit of airing out it’s now fine.
In this set you get the main figure of Darth Vader, Katana style lightsaber, inactive lightsaber hilt that can be clipped to Darth Vader’s belt, pair of open palm hands, pair of lightsaber welding hands and a pair of choking you to death with the dark side of the force hands. Too cool!
It is well known that part of the inspiration for Darth Vader’s original suit design came from old Japanese samurai gusoku (armor), so I was thrilled when they announced this figure. The design of this figure is simply superb, it really captures the look and feel of old samurai armors with hints of Darth Vader mixed in. Without knowing Star Wars you’d probably think this is a nice miniature replica of an old Japanese Samurai. But looking closer you can see the nice face detail of Darth Vader’s signature face plate, and also the subtle control panel on his belly. The only thing I’m not a big fan of is the large plastic cape, I’ve never been a fan of plastic capes on figures in general and this one is no exception, it looks good but really hinders poseability.
Darth Vader has ball jointed head, tilting neck, ball and hinged shoulders, double jointed elbows, wrist tilt and swivel, waist rocker and rotation, ball jointed hips, double jointed knee, knee rotation, ball jointed ankles with tilt and feet swivel. This figure is loaded with articulation however due to the bulbous design of the thighs the double jointed knee is not able to be fully utilized, giving Darth Vader a very strained 90 degree bend at the most. The armor skirting also hinders the amount which the legs can lift up which means Darth Vader does not pass the kneeling test and looks awkward doing any kind of kicking poses. On the bright side, joints are tight and hold poses well, and the figure is very easy to balance.
This is probably my favourite part about this figure, the exquisitely detailed paint app. Just like the movie suit, Samurai Taisho Darth Vader has a glossy helmet while the rest of his armor is matte. The stitching of the armor plates are all individually accented with brown and purple paint, a pain staking process I imagine. The body armor has a low sheen metallic finish with a gold wash to bring out the panel line detail. And then there are the three gold emblems which finishes of this figure perfectly. Its not a super clean paint app, it has a ink wash quality about it but the style works for this figure.
This figure makes use of lots of soft PVC parts to help with articulation, the armor covering on the back of the helmet is soft, the neck and upper chest armor is soft, the skirting armor is soft and of course the cape is also soft. There’s also a ball joint on Darth Vader’s back that plugs into the cape, I guess it helps to position the cape just that little bit.
Unfortunately this figure is the same size as all other Movie Realization and SIC figures so he stands about 7″ tall, not quite the same scale as the 6″ Black Series figures. The good news is that there will be a Samurai version of the Stormtrooper to be released soon, but they aren’t cheap so troop building is going to cost a bomb!
I love Star Wars, but I’m not a big collector of Star Wars toys or merchandise. Not sure why, just never got into them but when I saw this guy I had to have it. The combination of old school Japanese samurai armor design and cool geek factor made him irresistible to me. Even with no significant Star Wars collection the Samurai Taisho Darth Vader figure makes a great standalone display piece, it’s truly a work of art.