Impressive. Most Impressive. Hyper Real is Hasbro’s new take on adult collector action figures. It features a metal skeleton under a seamless silicone body to give us the characters with no visible joints. Coupled with higher end soft goods, attention to detail with the paint, these are upper tier offerings. They are in the 8 inch scale, so they won’t work with existing Star Wars Black Series 6 inch figures. Hasbro sent through a slightly early copy of Darth Vader, their first release in this new format. We’ve run him through the motions and have over 80 images showing off what he can do. Read on for those and some thoughts after the break!
It’s nice, really nice, in hand. But it is a big departure from traditional Star Wars Black Series figures. The construction is different, so it requires different levels of posing attention. Most everything you need to do with this guy requires a full 2 hand action. No quick posing changes. No quick swapping of parts. You are committing to a change, foregoing any fine tuning you had going on with the pose or the cape, and starting over. This is more in line with 1/6 scale figures and how they handle, the little I have done that. The skeleton is also very stiff, so arms and legs aren’t moving with one hand and some downward pressure like Black Series would. Plus side, this guy is keeping his stances once there.
Articulation is good, great range in the shoulders and elbows. Rocker ankles go flat without fuss. Hips and knees are average range, no Spider-Man poses though. The hands pop onto a metal ball, the end of the skeleton. And that does move around, but due to Vader having long gloves and them being hard plastic, the range in the hands are limited. Head pops onto a big plastic ball joint, range is good for a big helmet. There are ratcheting swivels above the elbow and knee allowing for stance adjustment after you get the bend right. The one surprise for me was the lack of range in the torso. There is no ab-crunch, or equivalent, under the rubber body. And the connection of the torso to the legs is a single metal ball joint. This just slightly moves around, there is no ratcheting or clicking involved. So having him hunch over, or even stretch backwards to the side, which I do a lot in action poses, is not there. He’s pretty much looking straight forward unless you really work it. The small peg, thick rubber, and robes just limit that type of posing in the mid section.
Overall sculpt is 10 of 10. The helmet, which is hard to nail the smaller you get, is sharp AF. In close up shots it’s hanging with the 1/6 and prop helmets. The body, which is silicone/rubber, is all sharply molded and slightly squishy. One thing I am concerned with long term, the silicone/rubber body parts attract dust and it sticks to it. Think of the phone grabber things for your dashboard. For those that shoot photography outside – may require a bath and scrub down afterwards. The layered armor pieces and boots are hard plastic and also clean. So from a sculpt and materials, paint execution standpoint, it’s perfect. The robes – better than SWBS6 by miles, but still not there. They fray out and lay in unnatural ways unless you really focus. Any slight bump or movement can nuke what you’ve done. Now, one thing I did here and it helped A LOT – I ironed it with Spray Starch. That got the flap on the inside of the cape where the stitching is to lay flat, and added a bit of heft to the cape overall. I may actually do this again with more starch, I just didn’t want to go nuts the first time around in case it made it weird. Do it in rounds if you try, and evaluate after each round.
Accessories are cool, the Lightsaber and it’s blade work well, it pops in and out easily without threat of breaking the connection point. Hands are good, there are 9 total. Force effect is cool but I didn’t find myself reaching for it much. The base is awesome and I hope they add one into future figures and complete the Carbonite Chamber ring.
Scale – it’s just it’s own thing. Doesn’t pair with anything on the market, any brand. So, these guys will be standing solo, they have to live or die on their own merits. No “I’ll slide this guy in here with these others” thing happening.
Bottom line – it feels great in hand, looks sharp in core stances. It’s a higher end piece, worthy of shelf focus. This one has some mid body articulation issues which limit dynamic posing, a key feature for me in the photography. Is that due to Vader, or the line overall? Will have to wait and see what happens with the next one, Luke. I’ll reserve judgement for then. For now, it’s a great step up centerpiece for those who can’t, or don’t want to, jump into Hot Toys scale and price.
I didn’t know what to expect here, but I was pleasantly surprised and happy it’s here in the world. The key will be how Luke, a non armored person with a human face, his clothes, and articulation is handled. And if that’s done well, how deep are we going, is the line focused on themes and teams, etc. So time will tell on all that. Great start and I’m looking forward to it.
Star Wars Black Series Hyper Real Darth Vader is out now and/or shipping soon. You can grab him here at Amazon, and check our sponsors below as well. Thanks to Hasbro for sending through this copy to review!