Cliffbee.com: Darth Vader/Starfighter Toy Review

Toy Reviews
Individual Review




Name: Darth Vader
Series: Star Wars Transformers
Allegiance: Galactic Empire
Function: Sith Lord
Alternate Mode: Jedi Starfighter

Thanks to Tiby for loaning me Darth Vader for this review



STARFIGHTER MODE
Height: 7cm Length: 17cm Width: 16cm

   A dark grey space fighter with extensive black markings, and some silver markings on the front of the hull and wingtips. This is the type of fighter we see Anakin and Obiwan Kenobi flying in the opening scene of Star Wars Episode III, although the style of the colour scheme is nothing like those seen in the film. For those unfamiliar, it's a twin hulled single-pilot jet with panels rising above and below the wingtips with a cockpit at the back, between the wings. There's silver on the cage of the cockpit, which has smoky transparent windows. On the portside wing the top half of an R2 unit sticks out (similar to R2D2 but with grey instead of blue). The droid is fixed but still recognisably similar to the prototypical R2D2. The cockpit has a dark grey interior, rounding out a reasonably detailed colour scheme. The dark colours and randomly applied silver make this repaint feel somewhat forced - it's trying very hard to be evil, rather than just a "realistic" Star Wars vehicle.

   There are some nice details on this jet, such as the seat inside the cockpit - complete with headrest. There are black legs underneath the hulls which are nicely sculpted, and they can fold away for flight. There are no rear legs as such, rather a bump underneath the cockpit, but it stands fairly well so I'm not complaining. There are silver missiletips sticking out of the wings near their bases, which are the hilts of the robot mode's lightsabres.

   The rounded canopy lifts up to reveal a convincing cockpit and a black Darth Vader figure which can't quite stand upright. There are well concealed triggers on the front of the wings which fire the missiles. They're well designed - not hard to fire but hard to fire by accident. The light sabres don't make great missiles. The launchers are well designed even if the projectiles don't travel very far. You can fold up the legs for a flight mode, as I've already mentioned.

   A decent starfighter model with a nice sculpt, but this colour scheme just feels like someone has sat down and tried to make this ship look sinister. Considering that this colour scheme wasn't on the silver screen anyway, this is the least convincing of the four versions of the mould. Still, this is the superior mode.

TRANSFORMATION TO ROBOT MODE

   Fold away the wing plates and legs. Open the canopy, remove the mini Master Windu. Flip up the back of the cockpit to reveal the robot head, you can fold the seat down and place the mini figure inside again if you like. Slide the front of the cockpit in and close the cockpit. Fold the legs down from underneath, fold the wings down and underneath (taking the hulls with them). Extend the legs, rotate the waist, rotate the boots, flip up his feet. Fold the back of the cockpit down onto his back, pull the arms out from within the sides of the chest (cockpit), give him the light sabres and you're done.

ROBOT MODE
Height: 17.5cm Width: 9cm

   A mainly grey robot with black on the arms and thighs and a proportionally tiny black head. The silver and smoky canopy forms the lower torso. The head is resculpted, and while the basic idea of the resculpt is right, it's far too small, especially next to the tubby torso. The basic colour scheme is dark, but there's not enough black for this to really feel like Darth Vader.

   The wings are very bad kibble, dominating from the back and pulling this thing over. It's hard to find a pose where it doesn't want to fall backwards. Terrorcon Blot & Autobus Prime point out that the wings can actually clip in - while this does keep them stable, it doesn't help the figure's stability much. The potbelly shaped cockpit doesn't look so good.

   This robot mode has good articulation but poor poseability, since the poses usually just fall over backwards. The head rotates on a restricted ball joint. The waist also rotates for transformation, which fails to translate here since the canopy will open when you rotate the waist. The shoulders swing and lift out to the sides while his elbows hinge inwards and the wrists are ball joints. The hips swing and lift out to the sides while the knees and ankles are hinged and there are rotators just above the knees. The heelspurs are not very big for a toy with so much backpack, and he really needed something better here. In theory you can strike some cool light sabre wielding poses, making use of nice purple light sabres, in reality you'll find the pose and then spend 5 minutes trying to find a way to keep it upright.

   A robot mode that's clearly second fiddle to the vehicle mode. The arms are good, the legs could have been good if not for the useless heelspurs and the transparent red light sabres do look cool. The head is far too small and the torso far too big - this does not look that much like Darth Vader. The kibble on the back is ruinous here anyway. I can't see too much scope to improve the torso, but the lack of heelspurs really hurt. A bad robot mode, no matter what colour it wears - and this one feels more forced than any of the others.

VARIATIONS

   None that I'm aware of, although this is a repaint and retool of Anakin Skywalker, Obiwan Kenobi & Mace Windu.

OVERALL

   It's a decent starfighter mode, if not an especially exciting one, with a colour scheme that feels very forced. This mould was poor the first time around, and that was when it actually made sense. The Darth Vader concept here just doesn't work, and the clear attempt to make the vehicle mode seem sinister is silly. The transformation is lazy, with the wings folding back as huge pieces of kibble while the limbs fold out of storage. The robot mode is disappointing despite good articulation. It's unstable with wings that just float there looking awkward, and the head doesn't work too well. While I don't think much of this mould in any version, this is easily the worst of the lot - 1.5/10

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