Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Limited Appeal Does Not Undermine The Value Of The Vintage Collection Grand Moff Tarkin Figure!

The Good: Cool accessories, Wonderful sculpt, Great articulation, Collectible value
The Bad: Light on facial coloring details, Fabric element is underwhelming
The Basics: The Grand Moff Tarkin Vintage Collection action figure is a wonderful addition to the broader Star Wars toy line for the die-hard fans!

If one goes back and watched the Star Wars Saga, one of the aspects that is somewhat hard to accept is the timeline. After a meteoric rise to power, the Emperor spends more than twenty years working to wipe away the Old Republic. It is not until well into A New Hope that the political institutions of the Old Republic are finally destroyed. In the larger arc of the full Saga, it becomes clear that for all of the Emperor’s machinations, the power he has is not absolute until after the destruction of the Death Star. The symbol of the limitations of the Emperor’s power is Grand Moff Tarkin. Grand Moff Tarkin keeps Darth Vader on a short leash and actually orders him around in A New Hope. Despite his importance in the Saga, Hasbro has only produced one 3.75 scale Grand Moff Tarkin figure, the Power Of The Force version (reviewed here!) . . . until the Vintage Collection version!

The Grand Moff Tarkin appeared throughout A New Hope (reviewed here!), where he oversaw the testing of the new Death Star. It was actually Tarkin who ordered the execution of Princess Leia and the destruction of the planet Alderaan.

The 4" Grand Moff Tarkin figure is very basic, which is appropriate for the character. Like other Imperial officers, Grand Moff Tarkin is dressed in a gray Imperial uniform with rank pins on his left breast and a simple belt on his waist.


Grand Moff Tarkin is a distinctive Imperial officer working for the Galactic Empire. The Grand Moff Tarkin figure stands 3 7/8" tall to the top of his gray-haired head.

Grand Moff Tarkin is cast wearing his gray uniform, which is monotonally gray, though of course his belt and boots are appropriately black. The figure is made entirely of hard plastic, save the belting/skirt (the bottom portion of the shirt that hangs below the belt), and is one of the least-detailed Star Wars figures in the Vintage line.

This toy is a decent sculpt, especially for a figure for a character most people but the die-hard fans forget about. Cast with realistic proportions, he has incredible flexibility, but very minimal detailing. This is a very simply dressed Imperial officer. As far as molding details go, that Hasbro included seams on the character’s uniform and the tiny pen-like object poking out of his shirt pocket is worth noting. This figure’s hands are molded both so they may hold the figure’s gun and look like they are pointing. Grand Moff Tarkin is distinctively sculpted with the face of Peter Cushing, who played the character.

Unfortunately, the Grand Moff Tarkin figure is very basically colored. This is a figure that features realistic coloring for the badges and the entire figure is monochromatic with the gray uniform and simplistic white flesh tones for the face. The most detailed this figure gets on the coloring details are the gray hair with brown highlights. The character’s eyes are simply tiny black dots and the skin lacks any realistic depth or shading. In fact, Grand Moff Tarkin’s lips are not even colored!


Grand Moff Tarkin comes with only two accessories; a seemingly unique Imperial Blaster and a little “mouse” droid! The Imperial Blaster is a 1” long pistol that may be unique to this action figure. Featuring an elongated scope and a very short barrel, the gun that this Tarkin figure comes with is cast in solid black plastic. The figure can hold the gun in either of his hands.

The Grand Moff Tarkin figure also comes with a small “mouse” droid figure. The “mouse” droid is a small black rolling droid seen on the Death Star (Chewbacca growls at one and it rolls off fast in the opposite direction). The tiny boxlike droid comes with two sets of wheels that allow it to roll around. The sides of the small droid feature both the sculpted detailing and colored accents for the lights or controls the droid possessed. This makes the droid match the quality of the Grand Moff Tarkin figure more than the simplistic firearm.


The four inch toy line was designed for play and the Grand Moff Tarkin figure is impressive in that regard. While the figure is cast with a somewhat wider stance than one might expect for a bureaucrat, he is incredibly articulated and very well-balanced. The Grand Moff Tarkin figure has great balance, arguably because the amazing articulation provides so many posing options that it is easy to find the figure’s equilibrium. Like virtually every other Star Wars figure, it has the standard holes in the feet that allow this figure to be posed in more outlandish poses on the playsets and toys that have the matching foot pegs!

The Vintage Collection Grand Moff Tarkin figure is high on articulation. This figure has fourteen points of articulation, most of which are ball and socket joints. This figure is articulated at the ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists, groin socket, neck and waist. This provides the consumer with incredible options for play and display of this officer; more than he had in the film!


The Grand Moff Tarkin is part of the Vintage Collection four-inch series and is one of the least inspired Star Wars figures in the line, though it is well-made and replaces the prior version of the figure well. This is Vintage Collection figure VC98. Because there are so few Grand Moff Tarkin figures and this one was not overproduced, it seems to have retained its value well and may be one of the few figures from this part of the Vintage Collection that will appreciate in value.


The Grand Moff Tarkin is an esoteric subject for a Vintage Collection Star Wars action figure, but that is par for the course with the figures currently being produced. Even with the problematic way the fabric skirt fails to match the rest of the uniform, this is the definitive Gran Moff Tarkin figure for all serious Star Wars action figure collectors!

For other Vintage Collection figures from A New Hope, please check out my reviews of:
VC14 Sandtrooper
VC40 R5-D4
VC41 Stormtrooper
VC53 Bom Vimdin
VC57 Dr. Evazan (Cantina Patron)
VC65 TIE Fighter Pilot
VC94 Imperial Navy Commander
VC112 Sandtrooper


For other toy reviews, please check out my Toy Review Index Page!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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