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Medicom: MAFEX Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Darth Vader

Sometimes you wait with bated breath, if not crippling anticipation for a pre-ordered action figure to come in-stock and ship to you. Other times, you just kind of forget that you ordered something altogether.

I generally fall into the former category because I am generally impatient, and usually hyped about getting new toys. However, with the MAFEX Revenge of the Sith Darth Vader action figure, I just completely swept any recollection of pre-ordering this figure completely out of my gourd. So you can imagine my surprise when I got the payment request email earlier last week (I thought it was for Rey at first), and my “oh, um, right” internal dialog that started me sorting why I jumped at this figure in the first place. It was likely overzealousness during a Star Wars frenzy (I don’t even recall when this figure was solicited), but I even remember thinking at some point that, while the figure looks good, it is just too similar to the previously released MAFEX Vader that I already own.

So here I am today, and while this is most certainly not the most exciting figure I have gotten recently, it is actually a good figure. The original MAFEX Vader is the default Darth figure on my shelf, so I am already a fan of majority of the base for this, so while the changes and additions are not many, what has been added and altered are improvements, in my opinion. I get that the Prequels might not be your bag, and the costume changes are just outstanding enough to not be able to sub this figure in for an OT Vader, especially if you are a stickler, but this is actually a good figure. Even though I could have easily skipped this, I do not have buyer’s remorse, and some of the changes are actually pretty cool.

You have to remember that I am not a Prequel hater, so while little Ani in his Vader armor had very little to actually do in EPIII (I will get to that in a moment), my Star Wars collection is kind of divided up by movie, so my shelf does have a place for this figure. For the most part, this one is a re-release of the previous figure, but with a slightly different shoulder armor and a new head sculpt, so aside from those upgrades, it enjoys most of the other strengths and weaknesses of that figure. I have always loved the height, the sculpted robe (as opposed to the cloth used in SWB), and the poseable cape of MAFEX, but at the same time, I am not in love with the helmet sculpt, and the arms a bit too skinny as well. Knowing those things going in, it might give you more of an indication about your need for this figure.

So, in full Vader mode — that is, with the helmet ON — the most obvious differences (that really isn’t that obvious) is the shoulder armor and the color pattern used on the front chest pad buttons. Unless you have a good eye, a prevailing preference, or are a stickler for screen-accuracy, these qualities are likely negligible to most people. I will say that I find the new shoulder amor to be much more aesthetically pleasing on this figure, but I am positive that more differences exist between the EPIII and EPIV Vader costumes than just that. If there is, I cannot find any other sculpt differences between the two figures. I like the matte finish in the plastic on this figure more than the shiny pieces on the first release, so that is something, too. Like I said, the helmet and arms still get me a bit, but those two things look like they have been improved on the upcoming Rogue One Vader due in August.

Of course, the Anakin head under the helmet is the big change here, and it is conceived to match the more recently crispy look of ROTS, over the old and musty quality of ANH. The difference makes sense for a lot of reasons in the movie timeline, and since MAFEX has gotten their game better since the release of the last Vader, I find this version to be much more satisfying in its execution, if not as popular of a look. MAFEX still isn’t hitting S.H. Figuarts levels with their likenesses, but they are getting better, and I find the resemblance to Christensen much more convincing than that to Shaw. So throw the tomatoes if you want, but I am calling that a win for the Prequels.

The other big changes from the original release to this one are in the accessories, or more accurately, the alternate hands. The light saber is the same, so that is a wash, and while you get all of the interchangeable hands from the first release as well (grip, fist, open, splayed), you also get two new sets. First is a “Force choke” set that will allow you to choke out all of those annoying and inept Imperial Officers we have not gotten yet.

The most outstanding alternate hands included with this set that were not in the previous release are the “folded arms” piece. Remember the talk about how fully-armored Vader did not have much to do in ROTS? Well, standing next to the Emperor and folding his arms was one of those things that he actually DID do, so you can recreate that here! Hey, it beat the unfortunate “Noooooooooo!’ bellow as an alternative, right? The crossed hands are one molded piece so you can keep the positioning accurate, and it works remarkably well for not being a very exciting pose, but it is intimidating. I don’t know – am I too easily impressed by this? Getting action figures to convincingly fold their arms is difficult, and the need is more widespread than you would initially think, so I am glad this is so well done. At any rate, it made the on-shelf pose decision an easy one for me.

Okay, okay, so while I would have likely canceled my order for this figure had I remembered it and not been too sad about it, I actually do dig this release. It is not perfect, but I do find that overall, it is a better figure than the previous MAFEX Vader, so it is technically an upgrade. The issue is that the RO Vader coming at the end of the summer looks to be better still, so this is likely already outdone by a future generation. So, if you have the original MAFEX Vader, this is better, but I don’t think I would go so far as to say you HAVE to go out in get it. However, if you don’t, or really want a PT version of old Darth, this is a nice release overall. I get it, that is not exactly a ringing endorsement, but this isn’t a $20 figure, so it can be difficult to justify the cost. Unless you are a somewhat forgetful Star Wars addict. Sigh.

15 thoughts on “Medicom: MAFEX Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Darth Vader

  1. Did they manage to improve the material his hands are made of? The original one had his hands made from a rather gummy plastic, I wasn’t a big fan of that. Also, the plastic inner robe bugs me as well, it just looks too unnatural, except the skinny arms, I’d give this one a go, definately my favourite Vader of all available.

  2. I’ve got the first Mafex Vader and used it as my default due to the height and reasonable sculpt (better than what’s around). But that was until I got the 40th BS Vader… Just look at the side profile of the helmet and largeness of it compared to the Mafex – it’s proportional as if there’s an human head inside. I initially got charged for this Mafex ROTS Vader but had to cancel and refund due to being low on cash. I was tempted to buy again on my next pay due it being slightly taller than the 1st release Mafex Vader… but now that I saw the side by side comparison to the 1st release, I’ve released that it is the same small size helmet sculpt. I’ll leave give this a pass.

  3. never saw all the hype of the mafex Vader sculpt… all though the R1 Vader looks cool!

  4. I’m happy enough with what Hasbro gave us. He may not be accurate to all of Vader’s appearances, but I’m good.

  5. Actually, it’s over the armor in both scenes. There’s a moment in the scene with Krenic where his back is to him and he turns around to face him, you can briefly glimpse the robe part of his costume over the armor.

  6. Yeah, Vader has been really tough for me, and even with the new SWB version, I still cannot stand the cloth robes. I am cool with capes, but the robes just never look right so MAFEX has always won due to the sculpted pieces.

    The arms on my original MAFEX Vader are a bit floppy, so I know where you are coming from. This one seems to be better, so hopefully we will get a perfect storm like we did with the MAFEX Boba Fetts and they will knock RO Vader out of the park.

  7. The figure looks fine, but I’m still holding out for something better one day. Hopefully soon.

  8. Excellent. I have the first Mafex Vader and he is the default shelf Vader, but when his right forearm snapped off (I’m super careful with my stuff so that sucked) I was bummed that Mafex and the vendor I bought it off of ignored my request for replacements parts (even offered to pay since I physically broke it).

  9. The preview pictures do show the folded arms included, so that will be a good thing. The mask is supposed to be new as well, and the arms, too to give them some more bulk, so the RO version definitely has the potential to be their best Vader yet.

    I had heard that they were going to add the robe over the shoulder armor so it resembles the end of the movie, rather than the middle, but we will see if that actually happens.

  10. Was going to PO this, but saw they were doing an RO Vader so that is where my cash went instead. I hope that the RO one has the folded arms also, as that is killer! Good review!

  11. This doesn’t look like a terrible figure, but homestly, one of the most important things for me in a figure is helmet accuracy (especially with Vader), and this just fails on that front. I wasn’t really looking for a replacement for my TBS 40th Vader from anyone, let alone MAFEX, but even if I was, I’d be sticking with it for now.

  12. Enjoyable figures by Mafex. I am becoming a big fan. Wish for more transparency with releases and dates and better showings at shows, but they are doing a good job.

    Now how about Luke?

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