Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sideshow Darth Vader Review II

Continued from previous post

Now for some close-up pictures of Sideshow Star Wars Darth Vader (also called ANH Darth Vader after "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope").



Here's a picture of Darth Vader without his helmet! I don't think Sideshow Darth Vader's helmet is removable but when I got mine, the helmet came off - no big deal really, now we see him as if he was bald. You can see where they had applied the glue.



And here's how he should appear, with helmet. Darth Vader's mask, with his tinted Visual Enhancement Sensors or Receptors (eyes), Speech Projector and Respiratory Intake (the grill like radiator looking thingie he has for a mouth) and other details are very well realized in 1/6 scale









Question: Is Sideshow Darth Vader's helmet too small? I was able to find some screen shots / movie stills from "Star Wars (1977)" and it does show that Darth Vader's helmet is a tad small. In the first picture, you can also see Vader's height difference compared to Princess Leia's and the Stormtroopers, another point of contention among collectors - Is Sideshow Darth Vader too tall? David Prowse (the actor who portrayed Darth Vader) was 6' 6.5" tall without the costume. Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) was 5' 1" tall. With full costume and armor plus helmet and boots, David Prowse as Darth Vader would have cut quite an imposing figure, as you can see from the picture! A little too tall is better than too short, as was the case with Medicom's puny puny Vader (SIGH!)



More movie stills of Star Wars Episode IV Darth Vader. These are to show how Sideshow stuck very closely to screen accuracy (which I wish they hadn't). If you examine all the pictures closely (movie stills and my close-up shots), you will notice that the Atmosphere Sensors (as it is called in the "Star Wars Technical Journal" by Shane Johnson) - located at the corners of his "mouth" (Speech Projector and Respiratory Intake) are not consistent. One is silver tipped and the other is just left as black. The right tip isn't painted silver. Just because it appears so in the movie. In the later film versions, this would be corrected and I think it was purely overlooked by everyone on the set and not intentional. I am so tempted to take some silver paint and paint the black tip silver myself.





Even Darth Vader's Respiratory Vent is reproduced in fine 1/6 detail, along with the chain that holds his outer robe (cape) over his shoulders



For "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope", Darth Vader's inner robes go over his armored breastplate. The breastplate was moved on top of the inner robes in "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back", emphasizing the armor and giving him a slightly more robotic look. His control box was also significantly overhauled. In "Star Wars" it was merely a device to control his respirator, and was fastened with straps similar to the ones the Rebel pilots use on themselves for similar space-travel related matters. For "Empire Strikes Back", the box was instead more integrated into Vader's body, and the "coin slots" were re-designed so as to look more high-tech. Finally, blinking lights and LEDs were added. The same facelift was given to the electronic devices on his belt.



In "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope", the Visual Enhancement Sensors or Receptors (eyes) were tinted a dark red and became translucent when viewed at certain angles. For the sequel, "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back", Darth Vader was given a very subtle make-over to reflect the cyborg angle George Lucas wanted. The eyes were coloured pitch dark.



Darth Vader's lightsaber hangs on a hook on his belt



Sideshow ANH 1/6 scale 14-inch Darth Vader with lit lightsaber. The chestpiece or chest box is Darth Vader's Life Support Systems Control Computer



Another view of his insulated bodysuit, belt with (from left to right) temperature regulation system, audio enhancement unit and respiratory sensor matrix, codpiece, shin armor and boots







In "Revenge of the Jedi", the hand-sculpted mask of the original films was remade using a robotic tool to ensure the mask was perfectly symmetrical. The main changes were the widened back, neck flare, flat lenses as opposed to curved for the eyes, sharpened cheeks and the neck piece and face plate were one piece. The main changes that are immediately apparent to look at are the neck flare and the lenses. Finally, the helmet was made to connect underneath the breastplate, instead of overlapping on top as it did in the original films - this subtle but effective re-design gave Vader a more robotic look. The chestbox was now made to be fully integrated into Vader's torso, creating a cyborg look.



Unfortunately, the helmet looks way too big!! And unlike David Prowse who was a body builder and a big man, Hayden Christensen's body type just cannot carry off the menacing look. Instead, the big helmet on a small body makes Darth Vader look like a super-deformed Humpty Dumpty. Remember the Star Wars spoof "Spaceballs" and Lord Dark Helmet? George Lucas must have had visions of "Howard the Duck".

NEXT: Sideshow Darth Vader vs Sideshow Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Final Duel (post HERE)

23 comments:

woodhead said...

Thanks for ur review of the dark lord. My main concern when he came out was the helmet.

Any idea abt the angle of the helmet? Always felt it was tilted slightly backwards.

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

hi woodhead, i think the tilt backwards is very slight. my beef is that the helmet is small and hence not wide enough at the base. looking at the movie stills, it becomes all too obvious. But this is the closest thus far!

Joshua said...

love the awesome review with the background info into star wars lore etc...


always a pleasure reading your reviews!!!


any chance you've got pix of medicom stormtroopers beside this vader for height comparisons?

Anonymous said...

from the photos i think the main error in the helmet is that its a bit narrow(?), the mask itself looks great only the helmet cover is off.
I have the Medicom Darth Vader and i'm happy with it (because it was darn expensive!!! LOL)
Thanks by the way for the info's on changes in Darth Vader's look in the movie chapters, did'nt noticed and have really no idea about it.
who knows maybe one day HOT TOYS will be given a license to make one version of Darth Vader!!! :)

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

hi joshua, thanks for the compliments. i enjoy dishing out these juicy bits of info as i discover them too :)

pictures of Sideshow Darth Vader and Sideshow stormtroopers coming up in a post near you (ha! ha!)

hey anonymous, the Sideshow Darth Vader mask is GREAT - it's just the helmet that's off. Hopefully they can do something about it in their future releases. Medicom's Darth Vader is really nice but for the price, I'd expected it to be bigger to be at least in scale with their other Star Wars figures but no, he's in a scale all his own.

cosmicbaby said...

The helmet is narrow hance making it look too tall,
& the angle of the sides seem to be wrong too.

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

correct on both counts, marcus :) keen observation you have, strong in the force you are

desmond said...

For my Sideshow Darth Vader, there is a little "mark" on the right triangle face plate (black color) under the eye. Still thinking whether to sell it and get a new piece OR to keep it this way..I don't have luck recently..

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

sorry to hear about that, desmond :( cannot really tell from your pictures you posted on your blog. i also noticed that Sideshow Darth Vader mask is made up of two colours, dark grey and black in an alternate pattern i.e. Darth Vader's right eye area is dark grey and left eye is black but his right cheek is black and left cheek is dark grey.

desmond said...

Ya, the mark is very very small and not obvious if pose the figure at certain angle. I guess SS purposely painted the face plate in two colours. May be they want to make colour differentiation against Medicom version..Haha!!

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

hi desmond, i think SS was very clever to paint the mask in two tones so that the face will not look flat but the two tone shade effect actually bring out Darth Vader mask details.

desmond said...

Despite all these, I think this piece is still worth for collection :P

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

yup desmond, totally agree with you :)

Joshua said...

if it's any comfort desmond, the predator i got's wire/tubes were broken, and there was a nick of paint gone on the biomask....

desmond said...

Joshua, sorry to hear that. Is that possible to go back the shop for replacement?

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

OUCH! that's even more painful than desmond's facial mark - any solution?

Anonymous said...

Hi...love your collection and this vader is awesome. I am a SW fan. I could not get this figure here in Malaysia. Going down to Spore this weekend. Any recommendation of any shop, location and contact no that still have this in stock? I would love to get one.

Awesome collection man.

Rgds
Tom

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

hey Tom, thanks for the compliments about my collection :) Are you familiar with China Square Central in Singapore? Most of the toy shops in Singapore are located in this one place and on Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm, they even have flea market with many more stalls set up by other collectors/vendors. There's a high chance you might get Sideshow Vader there but I'm not sure about prices. I'd pre-ordered mine so I was assured of getting him.

Urrgghh but call me Jim said...

Any chance you've tried any of the other helmets on Sideshow's Vader to see if they look better? I'm too ocd to do it myself even if it did look more in scale.

Jim

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

hi Jim i'm tempted to do it but haven't found the time yet - a case of too many toys, too little time - ha! ha!

SARANG MAKSIAT said...

I am soo tempted to get this figure, but I am afraid that his costume will start to rot and peel away like what happened to my Sith Anakin. Luckily Anakin was an easy Fix but if Vader starts to rot and peel It would be an epic task to sew together a new suit for him. Not unless you found a way to actually counter this? Cool Review Btw!

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

Hi Sarang, thanks for the compliments. I find that it's not so good to keep figures in their boxes because those figures with the synthetic leather outfits tend to disintegrate or peel due to the humidity and heat. I find that displaying them and allowing the clothes to "breathe" helps, although I cannot guarantee that it won't happen. My Sideshow Anakin also has the same wardrobe malfunction as yours :(

akomei said...

Deciding which Vader to get, this one shows some strange proportions, and I read your post about Medicom, they will disintegrate after a few years? :-(

So as of now there hasn't been a very good adaptation of Vader in 1/6 form.

Also it's "Return of the Jedi" not "Revenge of the Jedi" xD