Updated: Nov 26, 2018
Review : Darth Vader
Star Wars Black Series
Wave/Series : Centrepiece (Statue) Collection
Released : September 2017
Price : £54.99* (UK price)
Pro's : Vader looks like a Black Series figure, and the addition of your own extra troopers really boosts the set's visuals.
Con's : The Price of these vs what you get is restrictive here in the UK. Not sure why they've made a light up statue and NOT lit Vader's saber?
When it was announced, the Centerpiece collection felt like a bit of an hybrid within the Black Series. While it was more akin to a Kotobukiya Statue, it was designed to scale with the Black Series figures, and you could even add Black Series figures to the base for a larger diorama. It also played to those fans who wanted diorama bases in the collection.
My initial instinct, when you saw the UK price of well over £50, was to stay away from these. As nice as they were for that price I could get two or three figures. But as with anything, the prices fell and when these hit circa £25 each I bit.
Packaging is the same design principles as the rest of the Black Series. The box is all enclosing with an illustration on the front of the diorama you are purchasing. This illustration is cut through with a bold red band, and within the band are images from the movie showing the Storm Troopers and Rebel Troopers battling in the corridors of the Tantive IV.
The Black Series logo sits at the top, and the new Centerpiece logo in the centre at the bottom. The right spine is gloss red and the Centerpieces are numbered, with Darth Vader being #01.
The rear of the packaging feels familiar too with a write up of Vader which goes on to be repeated in three other languages. There is another image of the diorama and next to this some inserted images showing the piece from other directions.
The left spine carries the grey lined artwork of Gregory Titus, a head and shoulders shot of Lord Vader.
Back round the front and you will find a silver sticker in three languages that confirms the statue has light up features. This sits under an 18+ age warning, confirming this as a very grown up piece.
The box is opened via either of the side spine. The whole contents slide out with a plastic clear tray and beneath this a cardboard tray. The clear tray carries the parts for Lord Vader who arrives with shirt, cloak and saber separate. There is then the blast effect to the side of his head.
The cardboard section carries the four parts of the diorama, and a neat instruction booklet for you to follow for assembly. The instruction booklet is printed in black with a red band carrying the numbering. The front cover has a wider shot of the Titus artwork.
Before assembly, note that the Centerpiece items do NOT come with batteries. It is easiest to install these while the item is in parts and not later. The battery compartment is on the L shaped door frame and you will need a small screwdriver to open the panel. The kit takes two AAA batteries.
Assembly is by clip in parts, starting with the two base sections which push into each other. Once these are connected there is a central channel with three pegs into which the door frame section clips.
The door then lays to one side of the door, slotting into pegs to hold it in position. This was the trickiest section as you have to line this up blind to get it to lock in place.
Vader arrives in pieces. First is his body which is connected in the pack, but it has a gap at the waist where the skirt needs to go, you pull the body apart to then slot the skirt into place. The torso is then reattached.
Next the head needs to come off so the cloak can go over the shoulders. Once in place the head can be pushed back into place.
In terms of sculpt, this is as good a Vader as the Black Series articulated figure. The helmet proportions look good and there is a good level of neatly painted detail on the chest unit and around his belt. It is not all good though, take a look at his belt buckle and this has been painted on out of line - pretty sloppy for a £50+ premium piece.
Vader pegs into the diorama as though he is stepping through the door. This is not a scene we saw in A New Hope, but more a reimagining about what might have gone on before he made his appearance. His translucent red saber blade pushes into the socket on the hilt which is molded into his hand..
The cape is neatly sculpted to be flowing out behind him and around the door frame that he is walking though.
The final part for the statue is the blast effect piece. This slots on the front of the door frame in the circular section. Just above this is the switch to turn on the light effects, when pressed the explosion and the orange inner frame of the door light up and stay lit for a few seconds. The images above show the parts lit, and they do work pretty well.
It would have been nice to have had Vader's saber light up too - this feels like a big miss.
One of the selling points of these items is the ability to add in other Black Series figures to broaden the diorama. To do this the base section has a selection of holes, a few too many in my opinion.
If you flip the base upside down, the underneath are a row of small pegs that you can remove and then clip into the base to create pegs for your figures. Anyone like me with fatter fingers might struggle a little, but I do appreciate these being moveable rather than fixed in place and restricting where you can put your figures.
While you can use any figure you like, the natural choice is to have Vader flanked with Stormtroopers. Two is about your limit with one in front of Vader and one following him and to his rear.
The figures need careful posing, both to match the dynamic look of the statue - but also to line the feet up with the pegs and holes. Once done it does make this look like a larger more impressive piece. The Stormtroopers do not look overly out of place, and on the flip side Vader could well be a a posed Black Series figure.
The diomara will take up some shelf real estate, and therefore you will need to take that into account along with the price tag. Once assembled it does make a nice central feature for a display and has more character than just your usual posed figures.
For £50+ I want a statue that is perfectly painted and realised, and this doesn't quite meet those expectations although in a weird way if it did it might start to look out of place with the Black Series figures. The light up effect is well done, but why or why not a light up saber?
Had I paid full price for this I would be disappointed, and I am going to grade it on its RRP here in the UK - giving it 3 out of 5 stars.
If you can get this release for under £30 then it becomes a 4 out of 5 item.