Transformers Review: Darth Vader Death Star (Star War Crossover)

Intro:


            Since the release of the movie trailer in November 2014, the world have seen a resurgence interest in one of the most successful movie franchise ever – Star Wars! And with just a matter of days before Star Wars: The Force Awakens “awakens” in the cinemas all around the world (or maybe by the time some of you read this, it already has), it’s only apt that NEW PLANET CYBERTRON BLOG brings to you the review of one of the most highly sought after figure in the “Star Wars Transformers Crossover” (SWTC) line – the Death Star Darth Vader.

            Darth Vader is probably one of the most – if not the most – popular character from the franchise. Even those who are not familiar with the franchise will no doubt recognize him.

            Darth Vader, being such a popular and iconic character such as him, is probably one of the characters that have received the most treatment in the SWTC line, and so far, I have managed to grab only 2 of these (3 if you include the Death Star version). Apart from the Death Star, there are also the TIE Advanced (review here), Sith Starfighter, and the most recent of these, the Anakin Skywalker/ Darth Vader to Jedi Cruiser/ Star Destroyer (review here).
            The Death Star Darth Vader was a figure I really wanted from this line, alongside the Millennium Falcon. As far as the Transformers line is concerned, there has only been 3 planet-bots ever released so far, i.e. Primus, Unicron and Death Star. After already having the previous two, it was obvious that I needed this figure to complete the lineup.
            The Death Star is the empire’s ultimate creation, so it’s only apt that the deadliest villain in Star Wars franchise gets the destroyer of planets as his alternate mode.
            The Death Star Darth Vader figure have proven to be one of the most difficult to find figures in this line, and I was pretty darn lucky to be able to find this figure for such a good bargain.
            However, anticipation aside, was this figure worth the wait and effort, let’s get on with the review.

Alternate Mode:
            This is unmistakably Death Star – the ultimate weapon of the empire. Personally, I think that this is a perfect representation of this iconic space station.
            Like I have mentioned earlier on, since there has only been 3 planet-bots so far in far in the Transformers line, it is only natural to compare Death Star to the other 2 planets, i.e. Unicron and Cybertron (Primus).
            Unicron is huge and imposing, but he is far from being a perfect sphere, and not to mention a hugely unconvincing planet mode. Displaying Unicron’s planet mode can be a hassle too; because to pose him, you’d have to put it standing vertically (i.e. the outer ring should circle the planet from north to south, and back to north).  
            Cybertron Primus was an improvement from Unicron. Technically, Cybertron is a perfect circle, with a lot of details on the surface of the planet. There is even a built-in stand to display it in planet mode. However, there are just way too many spikes and kibbles all over the planet. The cannons for the robot mode are clearly visible. Also, from the planet’s surface perspective, the planet stands would be 4 towering, humongous structures that stretch upward from the surface of the planet. It’s almost perfect, but could be better.
            Death Star is literally the perfect mode – mostly due to the fact that he’s a shell-former, while Unicron is a partial shell-former. Just like in the movies, where Death Star is literally a perfect sphere, and looked to have a near-perfectly smooth surface with some crevices and canals on it, this alternate mode reflects it perfectly.
Camouflaged Black Button 
            The designers have also incorporated the display stands onto the planet mode. Unlike the ones on Cybertron Primus, the stands are retractable, which is a neat idea – it gives us the options on however we want to display it.

Display Stand - Before and After
            The carvings on the planet’s surface are very detailed. The iconic crater where shots would be fired from is equipped with a green translucent bullet. There are also light indicators that would be activated whenever the almost-perfectly concealed black button on the opposite side of the crater is pressed. Doing that would also activate the sound gimmicks, which are literally recording excerpts from the movies. The excerpts are as follows, in no particular order:

  1. The sound of some sort of counting down sequence before the Death Star fires, accompanied by a green LED light and followed by the signature Darh Vader breathings.
  2. You may fire… when ready… accompanied by a green LED light and followed by some blasting sounds and the signature Darth Vader breathings.
  3. This battle station is fully operational... accompanied by a green LED light and followed by some blasting sounds, and the signature Darth Vader breathings.
  4. You have failed me for the last time… accompanied by a green LED light and followed by some blasting sounds and the signature Darth Vader breathings.
  5. Commence primary ignition… accompanied by a green LED light and followed by some blasting sounds and the signature Darth Vader breathings.
  6. Let them out… all of them… accompanied by a green LED light and followed by some blasting sounds and the signature Darth Vader breathings.

Button on the North Pole
Apart from light and sound gimmick, there is also a trigger that will shoot out the bullet. The trigger button is situated at the North Pole, which you’d have to pry open the surface of the planet to reveal a button within. The bullet can shoot quite far, if you ask me.
Hidden Storage Compartment
            I am delighted with the planet mode. It is a smooth as a Transformers-planet can ever be.

Robot Mode:
            Transformation from planet to robot mode can be easy, but transforming him the other way can be tricky at first, but after a few rounds of practice, you’ll do just fine.
            The head sculpt is as perfect as it can ever be. There is no mistaking him for Darth Vader. Along with the cloth cape, those are the only things that suggest that he is Darth Vader – and that doesn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

            While there are a lot of the planet pieces dangling all over his body, with a majority of them on his back, they really put a lot of details into him.
            In terms of articulations: the head rotates; the shoulders are on ratcheted universal joints; the elbows are on ratcheted joints; arms rotate slightly below the elbows and the fists rotate.
            The waist is on ratcheted joint as well. The hips are on ratcheted universal joints; the legs rotate above the knees; the knees bend; and finally the toe pieces bend down and twist.
From left: Cybertron Primus, Darth Vader, Unicron
            Every single articulation joints on this figure – apart from the head – are all on ratcheted goodness. That’s a very good thing especially for a very back-heavy figure such as him.  Posing him is a breeze.
Blinding LED on his chest
            Gimmick-wise, the figure has light and sound functions. There are 2 trigger buttons: one on the right arm and the other one is right on top of his waist, just below the chest. By pressing the button below the chest, it will activate the following recordings.

  1. The Force is strong with you… accompanied by a green LED light and followed by the signature Darth Vader breathings.
  2. I find your lack of faith… disturbing… accompanied by a green LED light and followed by the signature Darth Vader breathings.
  3. Join me… on the dark side… accompanied by a green LED light and followed by the signature Darth Vader breathings.
  4. The rebels must not escape… accompanied by a green LED light and followed by the signature Darth Vader breathings.
  5. The circle is now complete… accompanied by a green LED light and followed by the signature Darth Vader breathings.

By pressing the trigger button on the arms, it will active the sound of light sabers activating and its humming. By repeatedly pressing on that button, it will activate the sounds of dueling light sabers.
            The scripts excerpts aren’t exactly aren’t exactly uttered by James Earl Jones, but close enough.
            Darth Vader comes with 2 weapons: a red colored light saber and a blaster. The light saber can be slotted into the right fist and it acts as a light piping for the light effects. The blaster, however, doesn’t have any light piping – it just shoots green pellets.
Light Piping on the Light Saber
            The set also comes with 3 tie fighters, 3 clone troopers and a Darth Vader figure. All of these figures can be stored perfectly on various (hidden) compartments on the figure.
From left: Star Destroyer Darth Vader, Death Star Darth Vader, TIE Advanced Darth Vader
            If there is a complaint that I have about this figure, it would be that there is no way to store the light sabers in Death Star mode.
Accessories
            But overall, that is a very minor complaint. The designers have really put much thought into this figure.

Overall:
            This is definitely one of the best, if not the best figure in the Transformers-Star Wars Crossover line. It is a wonderful play-set unto itself and fun figure to fiddle with.
            Definitely a must-have for Star Wars fans, especially fans of Darth Vader.
            Highly recommended.

            Final verdict: 10/10.




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