The Good: Amazing coloring detail, Good accessories, Wonderful articulation, Good balance, Amazing playability!
The Bad: Low collectible value, Unbladed lightsaber issue.
The Basics: Easily the very best Darth Maul action figure on the market, the Vintage Collection Darth Maul has everything one could want from the Sith Lord . . . including a lack of a split-apart feature!
With the impending return of The Phantom Menace to the movie theaters (this time in 3-D), I decided last weekend to pick up some of the brand new Vintage Collection Star Wars figures for review and enjoyment. For my first one – each night this week through the opening of the film, I’ll be posting a special Vintage Collection figure review! – is Darth Maul.
If you’re anything like me, you know that Darth Maul is overrated. He looks cool, he sold a lot of merchandise by appearing on everything from balloons to backpacks, but the Sith is a joke. The guy shows up on screen, has some pretty cool moves, makes a single kill and then gets sliced in half. Old Man Palpatine took out four fully-armed Jedi and lived for another twenty-five years! Darth Maul, man, he is the triumph of style over substance. That’s probably why it annoys me that they have made so very many figures of him. From the Tatooine Episode One Darth Maul (reviewed here!) to the deluxe Darth Maul with Sith Speeder (reviewed here!) to the decade’s worth of Star Wars figures in between, Darth Maul has been done to death.
Fortunately, with the new Vintage Collection line, Hasbro gave themselves one more chance and they got the figure made so very, very right!
For those unfamiliar with the Darth Maul, he was the principle villain in The Phantom Menace (reviewed here!). Sent to track down and kill Queen Amidala to prevent her from ruining the Trade Federation blockade on Naboo, Darth Maul runs afoul of Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi and ends up in an epic lightsaber battle.
The 4" Vintage Collection Darth Maul was completely recast from the prior versions of Darth Maul and this is one of the few figures that perfectly blends cloth and plastic elements.
The Vintage Collection Darth Maul figure stands 3 3/4" tall without his hood on. The figure is a pretty incredible blend of the cloth elements and the plastic ones. This Darth Maul, stripped down from its cloak with plastic hood, is the thin killing machine with the red and black tattooed face and pretty gnarly cream-colored horns. This is an incredible sculpt of the Sith acolyte with well-detailed horns, perfect nose and eyes and great surface detailing. The left arm features the wrist commlink and the character’s obi is molded right on. However, for the portions of the fighting costume below the belt, Hasbro used cloth elements and they look lightweight and are flexible so as not to inhibit any of the figure’s movements. The pants molded on this Darth Maul are baggy and end in tight, clean boots.
As for the coloring detail, the Darth Maul amazingly colored as far as accuracy goes, but he is a pretty bland character as far as the coloring goes. Mostly black, this figure features silver for the wrist comm link and a shiny black for the boots. The only other part of the figure with any real color to it is the face. Darth Maul’s thin, menacing face is red and black and Habro got the tattoo perfectly painted on this figure. The character’s horns are an ugly cream color, making them look more like bone than on prior versions of the figure. The eyes are so precisely colored as to include both the red and yellow portions of the irises and smaller black pupils!
Darth Maul is arguably the most accessorized Sith to fight during the Old Times and the new Vintage Collection figure highlights that. This incarnation of Darth Maul includes a cloak with plastic hood, electrobinoculars, an unbladed lightsaber and the full double-sided lightsaber that Darth Maul is known for. The cloak is a very simple, light cloth outfit that slides over the hard plastic body of Darth Maul. To eliminate the frequent complaints about the look of the hood on the cloth versions of Darth Maul’s cloak, this version of Darth Maul has a matte-black plastic hood that pops over his menacing head much like a helmet! This fits the figure perfectly and looks surprisingly good while there.
The full lightsaber is the monotonal sliver staff-like handle with translucent red light blades on either end. When assembled, Darth Maul’s distinctive lightsaber measures 5”long from tip to tip. This version of the lightsaber is exceptionally detailed on the molded aspects, even if it is monotonally silver/gray. It does, however, split into its two parts measuring 2 1/2"and 2 5/8” each. This is the best version of this accessory that Hasbro has yet made and it looks great in either or both of Darth Maul’s hands!
The unbladed lightsaber is basically the same thing. The solid 1 3/4" lightsaber does not break apart, though and it does not feature the red light blades of the lightsaber. It is also immaculately detailed, but it lacks any coloring detail. It does, however, have the peg that should allow it to attach to Darth Maul’s waist. Unfortunately, there is no corresponding hole in the figure’s belt.
The Electrobinoculars are what Darth Maul used to search for Qui-Gon and Amidala’s starship. It measures 5/8” long and wide and is incredibly precise in its sculpt. It also has the tiny red light painted onto it for the controls! This fits best in Darth Maul’s right hand, but looks good in either hand. This figure, coolly enough, features enough articulation to hold it over the character’s eyes!
The four inch toy line was designed for play and Darth Maul is absolutely exceptional in that regard. This Darth Maul figure has good balance, not tipping over even when posed in some fairly outlandish positions. The figure does have holes in the bottom of his feet to allow him to stand tall on any number of playsets in outlandish poses or attach to pegs on vehicles. When seated, he fits perfectly in the new Sith Interceptor vehicle toy.
This Darth Maul also has amazing articulation. He has hinged ball and socket joints at the ankles, knees, groin socket, elbows and shoulders, as well as a ball and socket joint which allows a great range of motion for the head (more so with the helmet off). The wrists and waist each have simple swivel joints. This is the best-articulated Darth Maul yet!
The Darth Maul is part of the Vintage Collection line that was released in 2012 and he is pretty much guaranteed to sell out when the movie hits the big screen again, despite all the prior sculpts. The Darth Maul is Vintage Collection figure VC86 and it is, hands down, the best Darth Maul 3.75” figure released yet. I imagine the value will grow for the next few months before the figure is all bought up in the primary market. I suspect that this will be a good investment figure, at least for the next month. This could be a decent turnaround figure.
The brand new Darth Maul figure fixes almost every problem prior renditions of the character had and it looks amazing! This is THE Darth Maul to pick up!
For other Vintage Collection figures, please check out my reviews of:
VCP03 Boba Fett
VC05 AT-AT Commander
VC11 (Twin Pod) Cloud Car Pilot
VC22 Admiral Ackbar
VC37 Super Battle Droid
VC41 Commander Gree
VC46 AT-RT Driver
VC48 Weequay Skiff Master
VC49 Fi-Ek Sirch
For other Star Wars toy reviews, please check out my index page by clicking here!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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