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Transformers Toy Review Archive (older series, 1984 to date)
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Detective Barricade's review: Darth Vader / Death Star

Name: Darth Vader/Death Star
Function: N/A
Sub-Group: Star Wars Transformers Crossovers
"Join me, on the Dark Side!"

I admit. Iím not that into the Star Wars crossovers. The ďmech modesĒ for most of the first few waves, to put it bluntly, stink. (Luke Skywalker/X-Wing, Iím staring at you) But I heard that this one wasnít as bad as the others. The fact it turns into the Death Star helps. Then one day, as I picked up Animated Voyager Optimus Prime, (see that review for more on him) I found this thing on clearance! Now to the review!

Mech Mode:

The Darth Vader/Death Star mech comes packaged in this mode. Itís clearly much bigger than the rest of the figures in this line, being a tad taller than most Leader class Transformers from Cybertron, movie, and Animated, though still dwarfed by Primus and Unicron. Thereís a ton of kibble all over, but mostly on the back. This does make it a bit back heavy, however, the heel panels are more than sturdy enough to keep the toy from falling backward. And for aesthetics the cape covers the back, reaching to just above the bottom of the heels to ďhideĒ most of it.

Thereís a panel on the chest that lights up green, brightly I might add, when most of the electronics are activated, and also serves as the sound box. The button just above the waist triggers one of five phrases in a set order. The right fist has a red light inside the fist hole for the light saber. Thereís a button on the right forearm that triggers a firing noise, followed by an explosion if held down long enough. With the light saber inserted, pushing the button initially triggers a ignition sound. Pushing it while itís still ďhummingĒ triggers one of three battle sounds; two different clangs and a swing, also in a set order. After a few seconds of inactivity, or the light saber is removed, a extinguishing sound is heard. Thereís a little black button on the back of the Death Star mode above the battery compartment that triggers one of two sounds when tapped, or one of four sounds when itís held for a second or two. Thatís a total of 18 different sounds and phrases! Thatís more than your usual Transformer has.

For articulation, the head swivels left and right. The shoulders and elbows ratchet. The left forearm and fist both swivel 360 degrees. The right forearm and fist swivel only a little due to the electronics. The waist can ratchet a full 360 but is hindered by the back kibble. The hips, above the knee, and the knees themselves also ratchet. And, the toes swivel but the heels do not as far as I can tell. The problem is, many figures of this size and smaller have better/more effective articulation. Maybe Iím just spoiled from the awesomeness of Animated Leader Megatron and Cybertron Optimus Primeís level of articulation, to name a few...

This figure comes with a lot of accessories. It comes with a black cape, which is somewhat soft so as to not scratch the details of the alt mode. It also includes four ďpilotsĒ- three miniature Stormtroopers and a miniature Darth Vader himself. They each bend at the shoulders and hips to allow them to sit. There are three mini TIE Fighters as well, however the panels on the sides are oriented 90 degrees from their proper position, but the way theyíre connected is barely strong enough to hold them on as it is and wonít let them sit straight vertical even if it was. It also has two weapons: a light saber, the symbol of the Jedi and the Sith, and a gun that shoots a green laser missile. This weapon is for a more useful role later. Good thing Vader has two storage compartments, in addition to the four ďcockpitsĒ for the pilots! Overall, the light saber, gun, and cape are essential and well done, the pilots are meh, but the TIE fighters are junk.

An interesting thing to note is that the weapons are hand specific. The light saber only fits in the right fist, and the gun only fits in the left. They will not fit any other way.

Alternate Mode:

The one thing that all of the Star Wars Transformers do have going for them is their alt modes, since Lucas Films LTD obviously holds the licenses for them. The Darth Vader mechís Death Star mode is no exception. That is, if you convert it right. If you donít, it will never close up completely. The instructions do help a little, but they donít tell you to rotate the fists at an angle to allow it to close up with as few gaps as possible. Otherwise, itís just a matter of unfolding panels and aligning them. The gun fits in spot between the shins for itís ominous role - the Death Starís super laser cannon! Quite clever.

The Death Star is based on the one that was seen in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. The only difference is this thing has four flip out ďfeetĒ so it doesnít roll off the shelf or potentially scratch the fine details on it. Every molded panel is picked out with dark grey and white. The back of the alt mode shell pieces all have very intricate detail even though youíll only see it as you convert it. The missile of course still fires, but since the trigger on the gun is inaccessible, thereís a small hatch on the top. It opens so you can push the head forward to fire the missile for you.

Marks out of ten for the following:
Transformation: 8 Alt to mech is easy. Vice-versa... not so much.
Durability: 8 Itís durable enough, but expect a few things to pop off.
Fun: 7 It has lots of phrases, firing is fun, and the light saber is wicked. Just wish it had better articulation...
Price: 8 I found this on clearance for about $20 USD. I donít know what the full price was for it...
Overall: 7 Itís a good figure to have, especially for display. If you can still find this and on clearance, why not grab it?
 
 
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