Once again, count on the Japanese to deliver an awesome, but weird, version of a Star Wars character. This time, they performed their magic on everyone's favorite baddie, Darth Vader.
With his overly long legs, Vader looks a lot like a late Seventies/early Eighties anime character (think Captain Harlock, for instance). Takara also took some liberties with the facial sculpt and a few smaller details, but all in all, I really like their interpretation of the toy.
Vader's limbs are plastic, his torso is metal, and his cape is vinyl. Yes, it's tied in a bow around his neck. Yes, that has to be incredibly embarrassing for the dark lord of the Sith. It's probably why so many people get force-choked.
Unlike many of Takara's die-cast Star Wars figures, Vader doesn't fire missiles. (I'll let you take a moment to process that. Amazing, I know!) Instead, he's armed with a cool glow-in-the-dark lightsaber, which fits in his hand via a small peg. Cool!
That's not his only weapon, though. Vader must have been shopping in Chewie's local Wal-Mart, because he's also armed with a mean looking bowcaster. (Yeah, I'll you take a moment to process that one, too.) The weapon comes loaded with two glow-in-the-dark crossbow bolts; it uses a rubber-band mechanism to fire them.
Vader also comes with a nifty display stand, and everything's packed inside an attractive box. As I've said before, the Japanese created some amazing packaging, and the combination of bright colors, an imposing photo of Darth Vader, and cleverly placed text makes this a great example.
This proved to be the hardest Takara die-cast toy for me to add to my collection. I'd been hunting for about a year, trying to find one that wasn't massively overpriced by delusional dealers. Finally, an example popped up on eBay -- where else? -- with an auction format (as opposed to a buy-it-now). When the auction ended, I was glad I'd waited -- I ended up snagging it for about 2/3 of what I'd expected to pay. Sweet. The force was strong in this one, I guess.
I'll admit, getting the toy was a little bittersweet. I was glad to have it, but I immediately missed the hunt. I suppose that's the double-edged sword of collecting... Nothing to do about it but set my sights on the next toy! Which, trust me, I've already done. Ha!