Review – Tomy Direct 8″ Diecast Darth Vader

20 10 2007

Here’s a toy that I committed my toy dollar just because it was Darth Vader… and because it was a diecast Vader. It sure looked good in the promo pics I received in the email from the local store. After the shortest of hesitation, I put down the PO and here it is. It’s not frequent that I dig into the 1/6 budget to get a smaller scale product.

I guess the prospect that it came from a Japanese manufacturer did sway my decision since Medicom did such a splendid job with its 1/6 scale Darth Vader. Surely Tomy Direct should fare pretty well since there is such a good forerunner to learn from right?

Well… that was not really the case… sadly. Read more about it below.

On to the review.

Bottomline:

Nice 8″ version of Darth Vader. Don’t expect a scale down version of the Medicom 1/6 Vader in terms of sculpting accuracy. Somehow, despite the diecast content, I do find the price tag on this product a tad too dear to justify it’s overall level of quality.

What’s good:

  • Collector friendly box.
  • Hefty diecast body.
  • Good sculpted armour parts.
  • Well tailored costume.
  • Stable figure.
  • Good array of hands.

What could be better:

  • Vader’s helmet not too accurate.
  • Chest armour does not sit securely on Vader’s shoulders.
  • Attaching volume up parts require double-sided tapes.
  • Crotch volume up part inhibits hip articulation.
  • Lack of perforation for double-sided tapes.
  • Big ball joints on hands and feet.
  • Rather pricey for such a small fella.

Review Details

Packaging

In the area of packaging, the familiar Star Wars 30th anniversary black-gray box design is here again. Tomy Direct’s 8″ Darth Vader comes disassembled with parts in their respective tray slots. All parts are secured without twist ties in a single level plastic tray.

On the back of the box, the parts are labeled in both Japanese and English. I consider this a minimum requirement since no instruction manual is included.

Headsculpt/Resemblance

Darth Vader’s helmet is sculpted in a single piece. This means that the helmet’s dome is not removable and is attached to the mask. Regarding the accuracy of the sculpt, I find it off in some areas of the sculpt. The more noticeable inaccuracy is the much higher forehead. It’s too long and vertical.

The eyes are also rather big. They remind me of Puss-in-boots in Shrek 2. The flair of the helmet’s dome extends outwards rather too straight. When viewed from the top, Vader’s dome should extend downwards rather than outwards. These inaccuracies are noticeable but with the well-sculpted armour, the figure still looks good. It just reminds me of some of the oddly sculpted 3.75″ Darth Vader figures and my 14″ Hasbro Vader.

Quality of Product

The hefty diecast body comes naked. It’s made in Japan while the armour parts are from China. You will have to dress Vader’s armour piece by piece. What’s interesting here are the volume up parts. What are they? Well, they are black plastic parts molded to be attached to areas on the nude body that you would want to bump up.

Volume up parts provided are available to bump up the crotch, bums, thighs, calves and biceps. Hmm… pretty vain things for a half-mechanical Sith huh. You attach these volume up parts by means of double-sided adhesive tapes provided. Unfortunately, the adhesive taps does not come properly perforated(at least for my piece) and getting each piece out is pretty close to tearing them out for the impatient me. Disappointing implementation from Tomy Direct for this small area.

I would recommend fixing up the volume up parts for the thighs and biceps at the most. The part for the crotch seems to inhibit the articulation of the legs at the hips. The thighs may not be able to move at right angles to the body as a result.

So is there a significant difference to put the volume up parts to warrant applying an adhesive tape to the figure? Honestly, the answer is no. While Vader did look bum-less without the ‘enhancement’, it would not be noticeable as his inner cloak shields it completely.

The rigid nature of Vader’s costume is already sufficient to bump up his arms and legs as it does not hug the body underneath. In addition, Vader’s boots are up to the knee so voluming up the calves are unnecessary.

A major gripe I have with this figure is how the chest armour is fitted onto the figure. It seems to be merely worn over the shoulders without any restrain to secure it in place. As such the armour gets out of position easily. And since it is a major prominent piece on this figure, the loose fit of the chest armour is rather prominent when it is not sitting squarely on Vader’s shoulders. I really hope it’s a matter of me not knowing how to secure it because if not, it shows a real design flaw.

If you plan to display this figure and not taking it out to play, it will look splendid with the chest armour not being moved. The armour parts are well sculpted and painted. Certain armour parts have gloss applied to it to mirror what was seen in the movie.

A deviation from movie accurate parts is how the cape is secured on Vader. A length of chain was to hold the cape across Vader’s neck. However, the chain in this Tomy Direct Vader is just an accessory fixed onto the chest armour and nowhere attached to the cape. I guess it was a design decision to allow the chain to rest nicely on the chest in a semi-loop rather than looking to choke the hell out of the Sith Lord when gravity pulls the cape backwards.

 

The cape itself is cut in the shape of a third of a circle. It’s made of soft fabric which allows it to drape nicely(not rigidly!) over Vader’s shoulders. The inner cloak is tailored with 2 different materials on each side. Vader’s tailored costume is pretty spot-on to what we see in the movies.

I do find the price of Tomy Direct’s Vader rather dear after reviewing its quality. While it is still a good piece to collect, the marginal utility it gives me is lower than buying an all plastic 1/6 figure from Hot Toys.

Stability

This 8″ Vader from Tomy Direct is very stable. I would attribute this to the boot feet and solid joints on the diecast body. This is one reason I like boot feet over having actual feet wearing boots. Boot feet allow better ankle articulation since it is not constraint within a rigid pair of boots.

I find the articulation of this figure to be commendable. It handles most poses well. The limits of the body’s articulation depends on how much the Vader suit is able to stretch when fully suited up.

However, with regards to the hands and feet, this diecast Vader sports rather big ball joints. It’s definitely too big for a figure this scale. The problem with big ball joints is that it limits articulation of the wrists and ankles. Turn them too far and the hands/feet pop out easily. The upside is that there is more mass at the joints making them tougher.

Accessories

Apart from the parts of the armour, the only accessories are the 2 lightsaber hilts, their respective red blades and an extra pair of hands. Both hilts are similar except for on which comes sculpted with the attachment for the belt. While this is good as an option for collectors, I wonder if there is a need for the extra red lightsaber blade. I don’t see anyone fixing the blade on the hilt with the attachment and having this figure wield it. Then again, I would not fault Tomy for being generous with the plastic.

As for the hands, there’s

  • 1 left fist
  • 1 lightsaber holding hand
  • 1 force choke hand
  • 2 open palm hands

It’s really a good array of hands for poses commonly associated with Vader. With them, you can make the “I find your lack of faith disturbing” pose, the “hand deflecting blaster fire” pose or the “Join me and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son!” pose.

 

 

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9 responses

16 11 2007
Kenny

Great review as always. He looks good, but my god is he expensive!

20 11 2007
swftoys

Hey Ken,
Thanks. Yeah, this guy is pretty dear. Wished I was able to see it up close and personal before I bought it. But then… it’s Star Wars… and it’s Vader. Sucker huh!

25 11 2007
eddie.

Hey, this is pretty nifty. I’m all for small metal figures… Batman would be nice.

26 11 2007
swftoys

Hi Ed,
I’d love a Batman figure as well. But I’ll prefer if there are more exterior diecast content. But then, having diecast content does make the figure heftier and less action figure-like!

25 04 2008
jkno

You said you didn’t receive instruction manual? Also you didn’t get perforation for double-sided tapes? Really weird, I have both, but have to say the manual was well hidden in the box.

Because of that it seems you attached the thighs on the wrong side – they should be on the back, under his butt. There are a few parts where in the instruction manual says: “do not use” – this includes front crotch and calf.

I could provide a scan/picture of the instruction manual if you want to.

The 8″ Vader figure is nice, the body is really cool, made in Japan, assembling and dressing it took some time and patience (almost lost a tiny hand peg on the floor), especially attaching the back straps on the chest box.

I really like the body, it very stable and poseable for its size, I like how the inner and outer capes flow (nice cloth on both), and the look of the jumpsuit (very cool texture). But I don’t like that much the chest armor (is not complete in the back like RAH’s, and tends to fall in front – had to improvise – still need to think about improving it better) and the cape chain which is just decorative, but tends to fall behind the chest armor.

Overall a cool figure but this should have been priced $50-60 at most. Even had a comparison shot with RAH and Epic Force:

http://img365.imageshack.us/img365/4900/comparisonrahtomyvaderjk2.jpg

31 08 2008
Gurn Blanston

My Vader came with instructions and the chest box can be secured in the back. The part that goes over the neck has several slots where the two straps that come around his ribs can fit into. Mine didn’t come with any volume build-up for the biceps. I could not figure out how to use the double-back adhesive, so I just stuck the part on and let the suit hold them in place (I left off the crotch and calf parts).

3 03 2009
Alexwebmaster

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15 09 2010
iz

Hey nice review I was just wondering were did u get the 8″ darth vader

15 11 2010
Darth Wador

I love Darth Vader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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