Before we got to hear Darth Vader's heavy breathing and his deep, mechanical voice (both aspects did play a big part of what made him famous), we first saw his tall dark figure emerging from the smoke after the all-white Stormtroopers of the 501st had boarded the Tantive IV and taken control of the ship in "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope". The Sith Lord Darth Vader's all black ensemble from his helmet, mask, body suit and armor was as intimidating and fearsome as they come.
Interestingly enough, Darth Vader's famous outfit drew inspiration from the armor of Japanese Samurai Warriors, especially the armor worn by Samurai Date Masamune - check out the 1:6 scale version posted on my toy blog HERE. The 12-inch Samurai figure was released by DID many years ago and you can to see the uncanny resemblance there. Darth Vader’s costume is a perfect fuse of the old (gusoku samurai) and new (sci-fi technology), making him one of the most iconic villains in film history.
In producing the first Star Wars film (which would be re-titled "Episode IV"), the original ANH (A New Hope) Darth Vader helmet and mask had a duller appearance as the costume picked up bumps and bangs along the way and the use of dulling spray on the glossy dome didn't help. The ESB (Empire Strikes Back) and ROTJ (Return Of The Jedi) Vader, while hardly pristine is not as beaten up as the ANH version, with a more glossy look about him. The ESB / ROTJ Darth Vader has a more refined and sophisticated look to the dark lord with more complexity compared to a more basic ANH costume.
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As mentioned in the part 1 review (posted HERE), the ESB / ROTJ Darth Vader has the armor moved on top of the robes to emphasize more of the armor and give Darth Vader a more robotic and less human look. The chest and belt boxes are more detailed and they light-up as well, an improvement over the ANH version.
I certainly prefer the shinier and more glossy look of the helmet and armor which is in stark contrast to the surroundings of George Lucas' Star Wars universe. Before Star Wars it was more common for science-fiction movies to look clean and futuristic. One of the most revolutionary things about Star Wars when it came out was, that the things in the movies did look like they were used. This look, that George Lucas called a “used universe”, heavily supports the believability of the Star Wars universe.
Check out the close-up shots of the Sideshow Collectibles "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" Darth Vader Deluxe Figure 1/6 scale head sculpt, essentially helmet and mask. This is so much better than the previous version released by Sideshow (and reviewed earlier in my toy blog HERE). The ESB / ROTJ Darth Vader's chain around his neck which connects his cape is also visible compared to the ANH version which was hidden from view.
Revealing the breastplate instead of concealing it does make the Sith lord look more menacing and evil. The shoulder armor plates are flexible to allow the arms to move more easily without much restriction and they can be re-positioned for a better look.
Darth Vader's unlit lightsaber hilt hangs from a hook on his belt when not in use
Here's Sideshow Collectibles 1/6 scale "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" Darth Vader Deluxe figure with his lightsaber (hilt with blade)
More close-up pictures taken of Sideshow Collectibles 1/6 scale "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" Darth Vader Deluxe figure with his Fabric body suit and cape, Detailed armor and gloves, Head with Helmet and Mask. According to Wookieepedia, Vader wore a ribbed, padded, multi-ply body glove that covered everything below his neck. This flexible, quilted suit was blast-dampening, and was made of a fireproof material that provided some protection against flames and corrosive gasses.
Darth Vader's armor, or serial number: E-3778Q-1, was a mobile life support system that Darth Vader was forced to wear to compensate for the serious injuries he suffered after his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar.
Like traditional Sith armor and formed after the ancient Sith droids, Darth Vader's suit was made to be both intimidating and fearsome. His helmet was black, with a highly polished finish from woodoo hide. The front was carved out to fit around his head and show his "face".
NEXT: Comparison pictures of Sideshow Collectibles 1/6 scale "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi" Darth Vader Deluxe figure with the Sideshow ANH Darth Vader plus Sideshow Stormtroopers.
Related posts on Darth Vader:
May 15, 2011 - Father and Son Lightsaber Duel from "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back"
November 6, 2010 - Star Wars Darth Vader Electronic Talking Bank
July 17, 2010 - Struck by Lightning! Kubrick Star Wars Darth Vader figure
July 31, 2009 - Sideshow Darth Vader with Sideshow Stormtroopers
July 30, 2009 - Comparing Sideshow with Medicom and Hasbro: a look at the different 1/6 scale Darth Vaders out there - Hasbro Ultimate Villain Darth Vader (Episode III), Sideshow ANH Darth Vader (Star Wars Episode IV - his first appearance), Hasbro Electronic Darth Vader from Episode VI and Medicom RAH Episode VI Darth Vader.