|Bandai 1/12 scale plastic model kit of Darth Vader|
|Side views of the Bandai Darth Vader box art|
Two key issues - on extreme opposites of a spectrum - grabbed me straight out of the box. Firstly, Bandai got the most important part of this particular model kit absolutely spot on i.e. Darth Vader's head. The details on the Sith Lord's head are excellent. More importantly, the head's proportions are perfect - way better than most Vader action figures out in the market today. And then comes the least appealing part of the kit - Vader's cape. Hard, rigid plastic pieces just doesn't cut it. Bandai would've been better served with a cloth or soft pliable vinyl version. While it's possible to replace the hard plastic version with a self-made cloth version, it seems like too much work to me.
|Bandai Darth Vader instructions, back and front cover|
|Darth Vader looks to be a fairly straightforward build|
All parts come in gloss black except for Vader's lightsaber which comes in clear red plastic. Coupled with either the stickers or water decals supplied with the kit, this plastic model can be completed without the need for any painting at all. However, more experienced modellers may want to paint those parts that need painting for an added realistic look to the completed piece.
|Sprue A: Head, chest, groin, etc|
|Sprue B: Appendages, etc|
As disappointing as the cape seemingly is at first glance, it does come in separate parts (see below) which in turn allows for some freedom when posing Vader. Such freedom of movement wouldn't be possible if the cape had come in one big piece. In that respect, Bandai got it right ... well as right as they could've considering their decision to go with rigid plastic pieces for Vader's cape.
|Sprue C1:Parts of the cape and belt|
|Sprue C2: More parts of the cape, groin, feet, etc|
The rest of the parts comprised the connectors, articulation joints and base. And detailed stickers and water decals will be appreciated by hobbyists who don't want to do any painting at all.
|Sprue PCF-6AB: Connectors, articulation joints, misc|
|Sprue SWB3: Base|
|Bandai stickers (left) and water decals (right) for the 1/12 scale Darth Vader|
All in all, Bandai's 1/12 scale Darth Vader plastic model kit looks like a simple, straightforward project that has the potential to look very good. That's what all the Bandai model kits I have encountered so far - Millennium Falcon, Stormtrooper and Tie Fighter - essentially provide, namely a great sense of achievement with impressive end results regardless of a hobbyist's skill level.
|Vader will rise again ... soonish|
To try and fulfill the potential that this model kit has, I'm going to forgo the use of water decals and paint Darth Vader instead. Vader will rise but only Sith knows when. Soonish if the force is willing. Until then, Dum Dum Dum, Dum-te-Dum, Dum-te-Dum ...