Review – Sideshow 12″ Darth Maul

27 01 2007

“At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have our revenge.”

These were one of the few lines spoken from those tattooed lips of a Sith Lord known as Darth Maul. While his lines in The Phantom Menace was limited, he made it up with action and poise so graceful that he was a hit with Star Wars fans in a movie that really disappointed. And many guys took to him also because he advocated no teeth brushing before sleeping with those yellow teeth. Another hit with the fans was a never seen before double bladed lightsaber. There were the many instinctive “no shit” gasps from audiences mouths when this Zabrak Sith showed the true nature of his unusually long bad-ass lightsaber.

And the two red beans twirled beautifully in the masterful hands of a real life martial arts expert called Ray Park. Ray who? Yes, this is the guy who played Darth Maul in the movie. Fans with myself included scrambled to find out who played this cool villain after exiting the theatre! Another common thought fans had was: Will Maul come back in the next two episodes? Can he possibly survive that fatal slice from Obi Wan? Mr Lucas please don’t let him die!

Well, we know how we felt when Maul was confirmed to be KIA.

Well, I figured that if I can’t seen more of this Sith in the movie, it would be cool to have a 1/6 figure to remember him. And so I purchased two Hasbro Darth Maul figures during the periods when the Prequels were released. One of it was the regular version while the other was the Sith Lords Pack Maul. The latter was pretty cool as it allowed Darth Maul to be ‘severed’ at the torso to let fans re-enact the last moments of their favourite villain. What better way to get over movie grief!

This particular Darth Maul also had a lightsaber hilt that could be detached into two separate lightsabers. Pretty cool stuff back then when there were no serious producers of this figure. And the fact that the Darth Maul figure wore oversized gloves and boots was deemed acceptable to me then! Now, we have Sideshow coming onto the scene and rubbishing all those Hasbro figures. Thank you Sideshow!

Excited I was about this figure and I pre-ordered it the moment it was available on the website of a local store. And here we have the review on one of my favourite on-screen villain!

Bottomline:

The good sculpt the most outstanding point of Sideshow’s Darth Maul. This figure is a sure winner over existing offerings from Hasbro. There are hardly any damning flaws that would discourage collectors from owning one. With this Sideshow figure, you really get a sleek and deadly Sith killing machine capable of slaying any Jedi.

What’s good:

  • Good headsculpt with nice overall facial expression.
  • Nice Zabrak horns.
  • Good array of accessories. Generous provision of lightsaber hilts!
  • Fitting outfit.
  • Accurate height.

What could be better:

  • A little wide-eyed.
  • Red lips.

Review Details

Packaging

As with other Sideshow 12″ Star Wars releases, the packaging is collector friendly. The figure and the accessories are kept in separate parts of the box. Both these parts are held together by a magnet in one of the box flaps. See here for pics of the box.

Headsculpt/Resemblance

Sideshow’s Darth Maul has a splendid sculpt resembling the actor Ray Park… especially the nose. The expression of the face is that of quiet introspection and confidence. I can imagine Darth Maul looking like this after looking through his electrobinoculars on Tatooine, pondering how best he could attack the Jedis enroute to their ship. With the hood of the Sith cloak over his head, the facial expression on this figure could not be better. Good for having him standing behind a Darth Sidous figure!

However, I find eyes rather reminiscient of Sideshow’s Luke’s. Although not as wide-eyed as Luke’s, Darth Maul’s eyes will be a problem when you try to pose him in action. Those seemingly jaundiced eyes do give the face an expression too calm to have him exuding Sith aggressive passion in a lightsaber fight. Maybe it is more fitting a look for dispatching scoundrels and low-life in a bar fight which Maul can handle without batting an eyelid or baring his ooo-so-yellow teeth!

Another impressive note on the headsculpt are those Zabrak horns. My Hasbro Sith Lords Pack Darth Maul’s horns make him look like a pre-puberty junior with little mounds for horns. And the horns are connected smoothly to the scalp indicating the result of a convienient mould. Sideshow’s take on these devilish protrusions are fully extended, detailed with fine sculpted lines similar to those found on animal horns and the scalp area around each horn is moulded to indicate that each horn broke out of the outer skin and is a part of this Sith’s skull. Ouch… hope it wasn’t too painful.

 

The paint detailing the tattoo on Darth Maul’s head is crisp and beautiful. However, the red lips of this Darth Maul sculpt is rather weird. It makes the lips look thick for one. Scrutinising the reference pics from the movie on the back of the box showed that Maul has thin lips with the black tattoo covering them as well. However, this is not really a big problem as the black can be painted on the lips if you want to.

Having 2 other Hasbro Darth Maul figures do help me better appreciate this sculpt from Sideshow. It’s the best take of this fiery Zabrak to date.

Quality of Product

Being a Sideshow product, I did have confidence in the workmanship of this figure. And as usual, it is right. Being largle dominated by black, it required more attention to the details on the outfit to appreciate it. My Hasbro reference figures helped too. 😛

Unlike the Hasbro versions, Sideshow’s Darth Maul wears a fitting Sith garb. Finally, there’s a Darth Maul figure that looked like a martial arts exponent. Finally, those black gloves and boots look right and not look like cooking mitts and ski boots! Finally, we have a Darth Maul figure that looked like he could do what he did in the the Theed Hangar, spinning and moving with such grace in combat!

The multi-layered outfit is great as it could really fly when you pose Darth Maul in some action pose. Unfortunately, it takes a bit of work to position thosepieces of fabric below this waist. Maybe it would be a good idea to have underwire on each piece to allow better manipulation. Something like the wire sewn in the hood edge of the cloak.

A gripe I have is with the Sideshow nude body. This is generally true for all Star Wars figures out of Sideshow. I still found the shoulder sockets loose which saw any arm raised above shoulder leve at more than 90 degrees from the body to gradually lower by itself. Pretty weak. Frustrating when trying to pose this guy.

Stability

Sideshow’s Darth Maul is stable and is able to stand upright well. It’s very good if you compare it to Sideshow’s Bespin Han Solo. As usual, there is limited ankle articulation as the rubber boot is rigid. So posing this guy in other more challenging poses will require some skill and patience to get the CG right.

For those fighting moves, I had to use the display stand that comes with it. Not the best option for a good action pose but it do convey the potential this figure has.

Accessories

The main draw for myself in this department is the provision of 3 lightsaber hilts! There is one without any blades ignited, another with one ignited blade and finally the double bladed bad-ass offering! You could really pass the extra hilts to a new Darth Maul figure you are customising! All lightsaber hilts are mouded very well with good details.

I believe Sideshow design engineers have looked into how they could do a hilt that could be detached into to lightsabers. But it looked like there were no good engineering solutions for a hilt so small. That’s probably why all hilts provided with Sideshow’s Darth Maul are moulded as a full length lightsaber hilt. Not a problem with me as my Hasbro Sith Lord Darth Maul is cradling a broken looking lightsaber in his mitts everyday!

The electrobinoculars is also a good inclusion if you want to re-enact the early moments of Darth Maul’s landing on Tatooine. The exclusive version would have a trio of his droid probes which I passed over during the pre-order.

Finally, 2 extra gloves are provided in the accessories pack. My favourite would be the ‘force gesture right’ glove. It reminds me of this Sith Lord force pushing a crate to activate a control panel in the Theed Hangar melee. There is also a glove with the droid controller bracelet on it. Pretty cool stuff for this no-frills-only-business Sith!

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8 responses

28 01 2007
Gab

My brother painted the lips correctly, amazing how such a small change makes him look better.

Can’t wait for the Jin Roh review.

28 01 2007
swftoys

Yea man. Those lips bothered me as well as i was shooting him. But its more noticeable up close.

Talking abt the Takara Jin Roh, it was really fantastic when i broke him out yesterday. This guy is the epitome of being stable. Very poseable and good construction!

28 01 2007
Gab

I gave my Jin Roh an MG-42 and metal belt.

I just love this guy, he is literally my prize possession, and I’m not too confident that the Medi Boba will feel that way for me (not that I think he’s awesome too); the Jin Roh is just that good, lol.

3 02 2007
Kenny Yeo

Great review! Anything that I should look out for when getting one from the store?

3 02 2007
swftoys

Hi Kenny,
Thanks. Nothing special that you would not usually do when you pick up a new 12″. I guess the face is the most impt. Make sure there are no paint chips or any disfiguring defects! Maul’s a great figure!

3 02 2007
swftoys

Gab,
The main difference between an MG-42 and MG-34 is in the barrels right?

11 09 2007
ian

This figure is great! Good price! Must have!

22 01 2009
jade

just picked one of these up, great figure, however i am also bothered by the lips. i am not a customizer but i am very interested in improving the lips on my figure as well. any suggestions as to what type of paint to use/color would be great. please be as specific as possible for i don’t want to ruin this guy. thanks.-j

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