Anakin Skywalker was released in the 2nd wave of the Star Wars Black Series Archive Series. The Archive line re-releases older and more sought after figures from the Black Series back catalogue, giving them appropriate upgrades with face print technology. Anakin was first released in the Phase 1 orange line in 2014, the Archive release updated the figure with face print to further enhance the likeness.
The Archive packaging is a blister card rather than a box, and moves to a split black and grey backdrop - with black used for the top of the card and the left hand side while grey is used for the figure backing and the right hand side. The black series logo remains in place at the top with the character name orientated down the left side of the blister and the ARCHIVE wording to the right.
The card is shaped with a V-cut out, and the blister is then shaped to match with a cut out at the top left corner. An insert is used in the front of the blister in a triangle to show off the Gregory Titus artwork. This is a new piece and was not used on the original 2014 release.
The image is used again on the card back alongside a image of the original figure in the orange line box with an orange text box used to confirm the date. Under this sits a brief piece of background text for Anakin as was in Revenge of the Sith. This text differs from that used on the back of the 2014 release.
"Anakin - now Darth Vader - turns to the Dark side and battles Obi-Wan Kenobi in a lightsaber duel on the lava planet Mustafar"
Being a blister card, the one drawback of the Archive line is that the packaging is essentially destroyed upon opening. There is no option to repack like we have with the boxed figures.
Paint & Sculpt 4/5
The big selling point of this repacked Anakin is the use of the new face print technology on the original head sculpts. Both heads look fantastic with this treatment, and it is all about the eyes with the Anakin head with kinder eyes, while the Vader head is just pure rage and evil. Anakin's scar is much more natural and even the hair is improved by painting the inner piece where it can be seen so there is no flesh coloured hair behind the neck piece.
Sadly the aforementioned neck piece is not improved. You still have a very big and very visible neg pivot joint and because the body is cast in dark plastic it is made worse by seeing the black base colour round the joint. While articulation is great, this is one joint I would have gladly lost in favour of a simple ball joint.
The outfit is unchanged from 2014 and painted in almost identical colours despite the 5 year gap. The torso is made up of layers with a brown undershirt, darker brown robe and black leather look outer garment. Anakin has his wrapped mechanical arm with plenty of details on the fastenings. The belt too is very detailed and painted in a darker brown with silver and some orange highlight parts.
The skirt section is part rubbery plastic and part soft goods, allowing for some better leg articulation as you will see later. The fabric parts do seem to be better behaved on this version an do not flare out so much at the sides. The legs remain plain brown and the boots a darker finish. And despite plenty of detail on the boots, with straps and fastenings, none are painted.
Considering the inclusion of the Sith/Vader head, it is still a shame that soft goods outer robes were and are still not included in the pack. That look of Anakin leading the 501st up the temple steps is iconic and it would have been awesome to recreate this. Thankfully there are secondary market options you can purchase and use.
Anakin is packed with his lightsaber. This is again the same piece as 2014 and not the one used in Luke Skywalker releases as it comes without the belt hook and is instead cast with a plug to fit into a socket on Anakin's belt.
It is cast in a grey plastic with painted black fins, red on the adjustor button and bronze on the slide on ignition. Despite the scale the parts are well painted.
The saber fits into either of Anakin's hands and he can just about get into a two handed pose. The translucent blue blade is removable but does not clip into place like others and therefore it is prone to falling out.
The saber hilt is the same as the one packed with Anakin originally, it is essentially painted the same with the 2019 version being a touch crisper. There is an additional black strip near the blade end above the red button on the new version. The 2019 blade is a touch lighter than the original 2014 counterpart.
Anakin has a total of 16 points of articulation, he missed out on double jointed elbows with Hasbro tweaking at this point in 2014 to use the single rotating elbow joints.
Head : ball joint pivot neck
Body : ball joint waist
Arms : ball joint shoulder, single rotating elbows, wrist pivot
Legs : ball joint hips, thigh swivel, double joint knees, ankle rockers
It is these elbow joints that pose the most issue for a lightsaber wielding character. A two handed pose is just about doable, but in more of a softer stance and not raised to parry or strike. More modern Jedi get a butterfly shoulder to help with this, but Archive Anakin does not get this upgrade either as it would have meant retooling which is not the point of the Archive releases.
The neck peg works fine but as noted above is one of the ugliest in the line to date and does detract from the look of the figure. The waist ball joint facilitates some forward lean and the legs support more action orientated poses including kneeling - with the skirt section not hindering the legs at all thanks to the soft goods.
Every joint is tight and secure with ratchets in place on many, particularly the ankle rockers. Anakin is very easy to stand and pose.
There is no disputing that the Archive release of Anakin hugely improves both head sculpts from the original and brings him inline with more recent releases. Sadly the set does not fix the very unsightly neck joint - nor does it give us the soft goods outer robes to truly create a Darth Vader Anakin.
Articulation is a touch limited in the elbows. But everything else moves and works well. And the figure is very well executed in terms of the outfit and details on things like the belt, wrapped mechanical right arm and the lightsaber hilt.
The Archive packaging and these tweaks to the figure do not devalue the 2014 original while giving fans the opportunity to add Anakin to the collection. The Archive also gives MIB collectors another option for display as a side line.
I score the Archive Anakin Skywalker 4 out of 5, the same as the original figure with not quite enough done to bring this in with top marks.
About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...
action figures, reviews, review, articulation, star wars, black series, archive, anakin skywalker, revenge of the sith