Updated: Nov 26, 2018
Review : Legacy Pack with Darth Vader Star Wars Black Series (Hasbro) Wave/Series : 40th Anniversary Carded Special Released : April 2017
Price : £44.99
Hasbro surprised a lot of collectors by announcing the Legacy pack that would sit alongside their 40th Anniversary retro carded 6" Black Series figures.
The idea behind the set is to replicate the original 1977 Early Bird set, giving fans a set with real retro and nostalgia written all over it, but still usaeble with today's action figures.
The result is a set containing the 12th figure you need to complete your 40th Anniversary recreations of the Original 12 back. Along with a display base that is based on the original Early Bird set.
Now I must admit at this point that I was only 1 in 1977 and therefore my Star Wars experience hadn't officially kicked off - it wasn't until 1983 or so with Return of the Jedi that I was fully immersed in the Kenner figures. I therefore had not really heard much about the Early Bird set until adulthood. I am not sure if that will have bearing on my feelings or review of this set - but I suspect what I think vs someone who got the Early Bird set for Christmas 1977 will differ.
The set comes in a cardboard box, and a pretty impressive one size wise. It measures 17" (440mm) across, 11" (280mm) high and just over 2" deep (55mm).
While the design is based on the Early Bird set - it isn't a direct replication. It does, however, use all the same design principles and certainly evokes the styling and design of the Kenner toys of the era.
First of the Early Bird didn't have a window cut out - this set does to the left hand side, through which you can see your Vader figure. Above this triangular window is the original 1977 Star Wars logo - complete with the Luke holding aloft a lightsaber image from the original movie poster.
These logo's sit on the double silver line tram rail that runs the full length at the top of the box.
A yellow line splits the box in two and in here is the Legacy Pack name which is then repeated in three other languages. While these different languages appear on both the US release and on this UK/Euro release - the wording is different
UK/Euro = Coffret Heritage : Klassiker-Paket : Pack Legado
US = Ensemble Heritage : Set Legado : Kit Legado
The US version is obviously reflecting the key French & Spanish languages used in Canada & Mexico - while the Euro version sticks to the main languages of France, German and Spanish.
On the right hand side of this yellow central line is a deep glossy red section in which is some very small text in black that covers the contents of the set in each language (again this differs between US and Euro release). Above this content text is an image of the constructed set and Vader. And right at the top is a shiny foil 40th Anniversary logo.
The final section of the box across the bottom from part right to far left is where the Kenner artwork comes in. Here we find the original 12 figures illustrated as they were on the 1977 Kenner set. Above them flies an X-Wing and a Tie Fighter and in the very bottom right corner is the Kenner logo. Not a sniff of Hasbro or Disney logo at any point on the front cover.
The very top of the box see's the Star Wars Black Series logo. This is very faint against the gloss black - nicely done but not in your face. To the far right of the top flap is the end trims of yellow and red from the box front.
The left spine is gloss black with some star effects. It is made up of the curve and run down of those silver double tramlines. The right spine is red at the top and then a repeat of the tramlines running vertically to the base.
The base flap carries all the copyright details, the Hasbro logo as well as the Lion Mark and CE logo (Euro release).
Round the back and the whole rear of the box is a very high sheen red colour. The top couple of inches holds the Star Wars logo and some white text in four languages that reads
"Authentic looking Action Figures from the Smash Hit Movie"
This is the text used on the Early Bird pack in the 1970's
Under this is the wording "Start or expand your collection with a 40th Anniversary Legacy Pack! Now you can have fabulous fun reliving the movie Star Wars". This text too draws on the wording of the original set although is obviously amended to the new release and 6" range.
The centre part of the box rear has an image of the stand, fully populated with the 6" Black Series figures. To the side in a yellow insert is the "Special Edition" Darth Vader image. And to the left is a picture of the reversible cardboard insert of the stand. Above this is more white text in four languages which now talks about the features and that all important "Additional figures sold separately".
The bottom part of the box is the same colourful checklist of the figures that we see on the card backs of the single releases. There is only 11 of them having already pictured Vader above. The first wave sits at the left hand side, with wave 2 to the right. Each wave two figure is asterisked and underneath is the text "Coming June 2017".
The box ends with the warning text in a variety of languages. And the first sign of a Disney & Hasbro logo at the bottom right.
The box can be opened by the right or left side flap - each is taped down with a single piece of tape. Once opened a plain black cardboard tray slides out. The Vader sits in one half, and the disassembled stand is in baggies in the other side.
To Vader first. And to Hasbro's credit the figure is packed inside the box but also on a card back to match the other 11 figures in the 40th Anniversary series. That means collectors still need to buy the set to obtain Vader, but can still have him matching their other figures if they are displaying on the card-back.
Vader comes on the same design of card that we see on all the other 40th Anniversary releases. The new card backs are sized to accommodate the 6" figures, without being a direct upscale of the original 3.75" figures. They utilise the same character image as well as the Star Wars and Kenner logos. His colouring is an orange and this sits behind the figure on the card - making it pop really nicely - and to the right on the nameplate. A neat 40th Anniversary logo sits in the top left corner.
Round the back of the card is a checklist of the 12 figures that will be released. These are framed in various colours, each colour matching the scheme that will be used on their card. Under the 12 figures is an image of the Legacy pack, the stand that revisits the original Early Bird pack and gives collectors who aren't keeping these on card a display option for loose figures.
A subtle Black Series logo is atop the card and of course being 40 years after Kenner & Lucasfilm, we now find the Disney logo at the base of the card along with the present day safety notices and legal logo's
Vader stands dead on 7" high, the same as the original Vader release, and means he will scale well against the other figures in the line.
You can see the Helmet, which doesn't come off, is much sleeker an angular. The eye lens on the helmet retain the red sheen, but it is darker and stands out less than the first Vader release. The shoulder armour also looks less bulkier and the soft goods flow much better. These start at the shoulder and go down the chest under the belt and out as a skirt. A second set comes down the back as Vader's cloak. The chain that was so problematic on the first release has disappeared.
Paint work looks awesome, with very subtle touches like a silver highlight on the cheek which was apparently present on the real prop. Areas like the chest plate and belt are neatly painted in crisp green, red and silver. While they say this is the definite Vader, it is clear from the chest box that this is based on the A New Hope Vader and therefore Rogue One also. This of course is fine as the original phase 2 Vader can now be used as an Empire or Return of the Jedi version - particularly with that Anakin sculpt.
I may be mistaken, but the left hand appears to be sculpted in a force choke pose. This is not the right hand vs the scene in the Imperial Briefing Room - but it is a brilliant addition aside from adding in swap out hand options.
Vader's saber is packed to the left of him in the card. It is a truly deep red this time, darker I think than the original. The hilt also looks better painted with a black design and silver highlights and the tiniest orange control button.
The second half of the set is the stand. And this will require some assembly. Thank fully Hasbro has included a fold out instruction leaflet in Black Series red & black livery.
You will find two bags of black stands, a bag containing the two curved side parts of the rail, a bag containing the top rail and overhead sign and a sticker for the same overhead sign.
The cardboard insert is then found behind all these folded up in three sections. My advice is to get that out and flatten it ahead of construction.
The instructions start with the construction of the rail. This is dead straightforward with the two sides sliding into the corresponding top rail.
The next element is the stand which is made up of four interlocking plastic stands. While they all look and interlock the same way, you will need to make sure you find the end pieces - these have an extra hole at the far right or far left to take the slot in overhead rail.
The instructions now tell you to slot the cardboard insert into the rail. There is a groove on the top rail to aid positioning and once in place there are two hinged clips which swing down to hold the card in place....
Or at least that is the theory!
In reality, or with fat 40 year old fingers, this is harder said than done. I found the easier option is to slot the card insert into the groove in the base first. You can then position the rail over the top and guide it carefully around the cardboard. The two side rails clip into the base and the top of the card meets up with the slot in the top rail.
As carefully as you go you will start to get nicks in the card back from the minor casting defects in the plastic. While it is nice to recreate The Early Bird set in similar materials - for longevity a more robust backing in printed plastic may have been better.
The final part is to take the logo sticker and position that on the sign. This goes on really well and I had no bubbles or anything to sort out. The sign then clips into four holes on the top rail.
With the stand assembled you can now add your figures. Each segment of the base has three pegs to stand the figures on. There are two pegs on the back step and a third peg on the angular lower front step. These have worked on most figures I have tried, but I suspect some early figures where the peg hole is different may struggle.
While the pegs work, I think it would be tough to get three figures to stand on each section without being cramped - particularly figures like Vader or Chewie. It is doable but each figure will have to be in a neutral pose. The other issue is height. Put Chewie on the back step and he will be touching the silver of the top rail. This means a lot of the background is lost behind the figures and therefore you would argue why a background image was needed at all.
Talking of the background, and you can choose between the figure line up image or the X-Wing battle image - again the same images that were included with the original Early Bird set. Both images are crisp and glossy but the folds at either end are visible, more so on the X-Wing image. Swapping the set is a reverse of the process from earlier but I would advise caution as every swap over comes with the risk of damaging the cardboard - either at those folds or at the top or bottom with nicks as they slot into the grooves.
Size wise the stand measures 22" (565mm) across. This is too wide to fit in that workhorse of many collections, the Ikea Detolf. It is also too wide for the 400mm Billy Bookcase, but it will go into the 800mm version with space either side. Height wise the stand is 10" (260mm) at the tallest point where the logo is positioned. It i 9" (235mm) the rest of the way round.
So to sum up. And as I said earlier, I do feel a bit detached from this set having not experienced the Early Bird release back in 1977. So lets look at it as it stands today. First off is the price, which is £44.99 in Toys R Us. Take off £24.99 for Vader, which is the equivalent to the other 40th carded figures, and you are paying £20 for the stand. For a 22" by 10" stand made of plastic, this isn't completely out of the ball park -but the stand has a couple of flaws around the engineering including my suspicion that the card will deteriorate over time. It only needs a few tweaks on the quality of material to step it up a good couple of notches.
I suspect this set will sell purely on the Vader figure, and a lot of collectors will display it boxed alongside the rest of the carded 40th figures. Either way is of course fine, but either way is pushing the value for money aspect of this set and as Hasbro have chosen to pack the 40th Vader this way we have to score this as a set and not just the figure. With all that considered I will score the Legacy Box Set a 3 out of 5.