Power of the Force, 1998
Accessories: Lightsaber, removable helmet, removable hand, removable cape
Appears in: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi
Card Back: Luke Skywalker removes his father’s head gear so that Anakin may look at his son with his own eyes for the first time. Darth Vader became one with the light side of the Force when he rescued his son from the clutches of the Emperor.
1998’s Darth Vader with Removable Helmet is a fondly remembered high point for the POTF2 line, and deservedly so.
I remember being impressed with the more realistic physique and sculpt the figure had over the first ‘fixed-lid’ version back when it was released, and that first impression still holds true today. Vader has a well-proportioned form, including both the helmet and the head underneath, which is something that I’m sure most modern collectors can agree is quite a feat. The sculpt is supported by a whopping eight points of articulation, allowing for a range of poses.
The two additional points of articulation are the right wrist, which rotates thanks to the removable hand (Luke’s revenge!) and the cut elbow joint on the same arm. When used together these joints really set Vader off, giving him more duelling and gloating options than your average Dark Lord of the Sith.
The real draw of this guy is the removable helmet of course, and old Anakin’s scarred and pasty mug beneath. The helmet is a tight fit but pulls off to reveal a fantastic sculpt of Skywalker Sr., resplendent with all the massive tissue damage and eyebrows that we’d grown used to between 1983 and 2004. It’s something that those of us who grew up with Star Wars clamoured for, and it remains a well-executed play feature.
The paint apps on this Vader are a step up from the 1995 release with a sharper paint job on his various lights and buttons and a faint silver hue to his shoulder armour. There are bits of silver detailing on the lower part of his helmet, highlighting just how comprehensive the attention to detail on this figure is.
There is a downside however, as the sculpted plastic inner robe (something else I loved seeing for the first time) means that despite his articulated hips, Vader can’t actually sit down. Whilst this isn’t a Vader that you’d want to hide in a TIE Advanced Prototype anyway, it still limits what you can do with him – including recreating a certain helmet-removal scene from Return of the Jedi…
It’s a blemish on an otherwise perfect figure though. Whilst this is a POTF2 fansite, I think many collectors would agree that this is one of the greatest Star Wars action figures ever made.