Darth Vader – Retro Collection Review
Retro Collection, 2019
Appears In: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi
Card Back: The Star Wars Retro Collection is inspired by 1970s Star Wars figures and features original figure design and detailing! Continue your collection from the galaxy far, far away!
Reviewing a figure as classic as the original Kenner Darth Vader (which the Retro Collection Darth Vader is, for all intents and purposes) is more or less futile.
After all, this is the action figure equivalent of reviewing A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back. Many of you out there have at least one vintage Darth Vader in your collection and know exactly how you feel about the figure.
More than any other review, this is just a question of my own subjective view. And to set the scene for that we need to cut back to the 1980s, to a time when Star Wars meant… Brierleys.
A deep-discount nik-nak shop on Gold Street in Northampton, Brierleys was pure low-budget shopping – everything under one roof except the thrills. My mum took my brother and me in there pretty much every Saturday, and we used to love poring over the various toys on sale.
By 1987 I became enthralled with Star Wars. As I discovered the original trilogy on VHS, it was Brierley’s that led to the start of my very own vintage collection.
Large bins at the back of the store were absolutely loaded with various Return of the Jedi carded figures at prices that would make grown men weep today, and my brother and I built up a collection of Ewoks, Imperials, and Jabba the Hutt’s henchmen.
But one of the very first figures we got – along with the Emperor’s Royal Guard – was the vintage Darth Vader.
Vader lost his cloak and lightsaber fairly early on; in fact, I barely remember them being present at all. Yet the skinny, loose-limbed and paint scratched figure terrorised my makeshift Rebel Alliance right up until he was lost in one of my parent’s habitual toy purges.
The vintage Darth Vader has been surpassed by pretty much every 3.75” version since. The vinyl cape is bizarre and gives Vader an odd silhouette. The telescoping lightsaber is a fun gimmick that adds a flash of colour, but as it doesn’t retract all the way it looks like he’s always holding a mini lightknife. As mentioned the figure is skinny, lanky, and not at all the right stature for a Dark Lord of the Sith.
All of the above is objectively true – but then, objectivity is by definition incompatible with nostalgia. The Retro Collection Darth Vader is a fantastic memento to a long time ago, and that makes it worth whatever that feeling means to you.