Power of the Force, 1995
Accessories: Lightsaber, Removable Cape
Appears in: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi
Card Back: Once known as Anakin Skywalker, expert pilot and hero, Vader studied the ways of the Force under young Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi. His impatience with the Jedi training made him susceptible to the dark side, which corrupted him as he gave in to his anger and aggression. Vader was almost killed in a confrontation with Kenobi, and was forced to adopt his current life support systems and fearsome body armor.
No OT Star Wars action figure line would be complete without Darth Vader and POTF2 was no exception. As surely as he adorned the card back, Vader took his place among the very first collection of figures…
This 1995 release was the first 3.75” scaled version of Vader since the 1978 vintage figure, and as far as it is from perfect, it’s much better than what we had before. Gone are the spindly limbs and high-collared vinyl waist coat; this Dark Lord of the Sith is bulked out as per his contemporaries and wears a dynamic, flowing cape. Whilst his muscular proportions may not be screen accurate, this Vader looks imposing.
The sculptors at Kenner went to town on Darth Vader, carving in every line and groove of his leather suit and gloves whilst giving the armoured parts of his costume the chance to stand out with some shine. The details include his torso robe, chest mounted control box and the boxes and buttons on his belt. Silver highlights and a splash of red and blue for his chest buttons are the only paint apps present, but then they’re more or less the only ones that he needs anyway.
Articulation is the standard six points, which makes Vader great for standing there and performing the odd Force choke or intoning his son to come to the Dark Side, but rather useless when it comes to adopting a two-handed lightsaber stance. However, the 1995 Darth Vader can do something that 1998’s superior Darth Vader with Removable Helmet cannot, which is to sit inside his prototype TIE Fighter – a perfect example of this figure serving its purpose as a toy first and foremost rather than a screen-accurate model.
As well as his removable cloak Darth Vader comes with a lightsaber. As with the Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi figures the lightsaber was a revelation when the figure was released, bringing the Star Wars line roaring to the modern day with the sculpted hilt and translucent blade. Vader can’t grip the weapon all that well in either hand though, which presents a bit of a problem when it comes to duelling.
The 1995 Darth Vader isn’t a highlight of the Power of the Force line, or even of the first wave. But after Luke Skywalker he’s the most essential character to get, and your POTF2 collection would not be complete without him.