It is quite possible that I’ve been waiting decades for this very moment. It’s the combining of my childhood love and my adult hobby. Star Wars. As a snap-fit plastic model. I knew these were coming when I heard Bandai had acquired the rights to Star Wars but didn’t really get excited until I saw the kits at the All Japan Model Show this past September. Bandai spoiled us then by showing us so much stuff, three kits of which were due to arrive a little over a month after the show ended. When they did show up I grabbed all three kits to take a picture for posterity’s sake, but the kit I wanted to build the most from the first set of releases was the Darth Vader. And so I did.
Here is a shot of the manual parts list.
Not many runners, nor should there be when you consider you are building something almost completely black, but Bandai does do some cool stuff with the runners like putting parts with different finishes on the same runner.
That is cool.
Here are some shots of the runners.
Lots of cool stuff including being given both stickers and water-slide decals!
The manual divides the assembly, much like with gundam kits, into areas of the body.
That’s all good but I was eager to get to these parts.
And the build starts off with those very parts.
A kit that starts the build at the best part? I’m already liking these Star Wars kits.
The part for the rear of the head should really be flesh coloured, and it is in the manual, but Bandai didn’t spring for that on this kit.
Oooh hooh hooh (giggles like a school child)
Before dropping the helmet onto the head, Empire-Strikes-Back-Darth-Vader-Chamber style, you have to put on some stickers.
They kind of look like bandages.
Hee hee hee!
Upon completing the head I held it in my hands for some time just looking at it. That feeling I used to have as a child and thinking about anything Star Wars was returning. It has been a long time since I felt that childlike sense of awe and wonder with much of that being lost in the day to day life of an adult. But at that moment, it was shaping up to be a fun evening.
The torso starts with one piece and some poly-caps with shapes different from what I’m used to with Gundam kits.
The part for the rear of the torso has a separate part that plugs into it.
Then it mates with the front piece.
That goes on and is covered by the neck part and some smaller parts clip into the front.
Then you add a part that covers the upper torso/shoulders and the control panel (he’s more machine than man now).
That control panel needs some details added.
Make that a fair amount of details added. In the form of stickers and/or waterslides. The space you are working with is very small and, like with almost any kit, the waterslides will provide a better effect but because I didn’t want to wait to have this guy fully assembled I used the stickers.
Some of them fit on quite easily while others, such as the silver on the sides, can be a bit difficult.
I also had some black strips to put on the upper torso.
After that was all done I had to build this section.
What is it, you ask?
It’s Darth’s abs.
From there I built his hips/crotch. (he’s more man than machine down there… I think)
Add his underoos and a small part for the back.
This small part is cover to conceal the place where you can attach an Action base if you want.
With this assembled you need to build his belt.
And for that you need these.
These are really small.
Really small. The effect is not too bad, however.
Here’s his Kamen Rider belt, fully functional.
Before putting the belt on you first have to slide in some smaller parts.
Now you have to…
Pay close attention to the manual!
Actually, for a kit like this you’ll be okay if you are casual about how you follow the manual but I found it interesting that after some sections of the build Bandai pulls the next step away from the series of images and places it at the top of the manual. It is a little strange and kind of distracting. But you forget about that once you have this.
With the torso and head done you’re all finished with the stickers.
You’ll have no need to concern yourself with markings from this point on. You only have to focus on black parts. Black parts spread out before you. Like a Black Hole. Oops, wrong movie. I’ll stop now.