"We can rebuild him, we have the technology. We can make him better, stronger, faster, and actually worth the 10 bucks." From Hasbro's Revenge of the Sith line comes Darth Vader with operating table in the 2nd wave of deluxe figures, and it's clearly the star of the wave. "Rebuild Darth Vader on the operating table!" I'm sure parents will love that concept for the kiddies, but this isn't actually a gruesome toy since it's all mechanical rebuilding. In fact, it's pretty fun to play with and makes a decent display item too, though I don't think carded collectors will appreciate having the figure's arms and legs already attached in the bubble - that's why I love loose collecting. This is really another deluxe figure that's sub-par work compared to the basic line, but as a set this one makes up for that shortcoming; I'll be reviewing the operating table as an "accessory" even though it's the majority of the set, and I'll cover the removable parts there as well.
The deluxe packaging's graphics aren't as dynamic or eye-catching as their basic counterparts, the ROTS deluxe lack almost any die-cutting shape and have no Vader logo anywhere. As I mentioned before, the bubble view does show off the set but only has the helmet and chest box removed which doesn't look as impressive as all the parts missing. The back of the card shows off the set pretty well, and even co-sells Vader's Medical Droid in a dinky shot, but one thing that miffs me is the cardback has a photo of the figure holding his saber with a bent left elbow, and there's no articulation to do this - it's probably a photoshop phoney to fit it on the card, but it's showing something better than what you actually get.
Inside is an instruction sheet that does a poor job of explaining the table's automatic cuffs and removable parts. The instructions and card back both neglect to show that the left forearm is intentionally removable, foolish to not tell the customer what the item does when it's a part of its main feature.
Surprisingly, this department isn't a washout. Fully assembled, the figure is the same height as the basic ROTS Vader which is fairly tall, and in a very neutral pose - it works for the operating table gimmick, but on his own assembled Vader is nearly stiff enough to be a vintage figure, the "Frankenstein" effect is not an entirely viable excuse for this either. The overall sculpting for the outfit is pretty nice work and fairly realistic, except for flat spots where articulation goes, and the swollen right glove - "look out, he's holding a thermal detonator! No, that's just his hand." The figure's techno-belt, codpiece, and skirt are all one belt piece separate from the waist and legs which is the first time I've seen that. The helmet seems a little too big when the figure's not wearing the cape, yet it's only a little wider than the basic ROTS Vader's helmet and not taller or deeper that I can tell; the face is a bit too flat and long which adds to the vintage comparison. This is one of my favorite Vader toy's capes, it's plastic and has a very nice shape to it as well as a texture, it flows slightly to the left and bunches near the bottom making it look great from the side or the back. The figure has no pegholes in his feet, but doesn't seem to need them, especially when wearing the cape.
Disassembled, Vader becomes more of a mixed bag. With his helmet, chest box, gloves, and boots removed, he looks accurately helpless and mechanical. The tech inside the chest box area is decent and the mechanical leg stumps are very cool work; the permanently-attached mechanical right forearm now exposed is a tiny clenched fist and not quite as nice sculpting as the other exposed elements. What really does this view in though is the Anakin head, or rather, the Anakin half-head, because somebody designed this so the Ani head is a separate piece that ends just below the nose and is glued onto the flat surface of the bottom half of the helmet -- not only does the half-head look crummy connected up this way, but it's also not that wounded with only a little under the eyes and a couple bigger gouges on the left side, and has the eyes so far down they'd be looking out the helmet's mouth, in the movie this is where Anakin's chin was right as the helmet was going on.
The figure has the classic "standard six" points of articulation without his parts, and the boots and left glove parts once attached are articulated as well - the right glove can rotate sorta, but it slides off when you do and looks bad doing it. The sides of the shoulder armor are sculpted to his arms so they move with it and look out of position that way, pretty much every Vader figure for the past 27 years has done it this way but this is among the most obvious-looking to do so. The hips are a bit limited by the belt-codpiece-skirt contraption, you can get about 30 degrees forward and almost none back, it makes for a decent stride pose at least. The rotating boots and left glove add a little much-needed character but they can only do so much. It's no articulation disaster, but the ROTS line has given so much better.
Another mixed bag, the deco on this figure has some good points and some really bad ones as well. The base black plastic is shiny and works very well with the textured sculpting, the dark silver paint of the shoulder armor is shiny too and neatly applied. The body's tech details are very nice: the missing-chest-box area, the belt, and the stumps all make good use of silver, with the belt boxes adding a tiny bit of green, and it's all very well-applied; the only exception might be the exposed mechanical right forearm, they used a nice dark copper paint but it's simple and doesn't quite go all the way up.
The body is where the high rating here comes from, as once again, the head area doesn't hold up its end of a category. My first compalint is that the 2 rivet things on the front of the bottom part of Vader's mask aren't painted, instead they painted the corresponding area on the removable top half of the mask to fake it, probably since the top part was already getting paint (for the nose and eyes) and the bottom wasn't - it's a small thing but chintzy. Also, the helmet's eyes are brown but in the movie they were pitch black, and this brown isn't quite dark or subtle enough to look nice. Probably the most infamous thing about this figure is the Anakin head, there's a matte version and a glossy version and I think even a third version, and the one thing they all have in common is that - except for the eyes - they're totally red like he's been under the broiler for a couple hours, I know he got burned in the movie but he just didn't look like this. I got the matte version, it seems decent enough, and the subtle dark gray weathering does add some character, but between that and the smooth sculpting, it doesn't really convey the utter destruction of Anakin's face the way the movie portrayed. Finally, Ani's eyes are done as a half-lidded look but the whites are a little too much.
First, there's the lightsaber, it's the same great sculpt as the one from the basic ROTS Vader, only here they cast it in a good red that is more see-through than that basic version, yet the blade isn't pink like Dooku's. Of course, that means the blade is also not removable and there's no "off" hilt which is too bad, but this is still a nice addition.
The helmet with mask is not bad despite the flatter face, but it's more like a later helmet than the one used in ROTS - there's one spot on the side where they sliced it off a parts tree or something that is flat, but the rest of the sculpt is decent even if they couldn't do the mask and helmet in 2 pieces. As mentioned before, the helmet has those silver dots that should be on the figure instead, and they're sloppy too so I may end up just scraping 'em off.
Then there are the removable body parts, which I've already referred to a few times above. The chest box has nice paint with silver, green, and red accents neatly applied, and the sculpt is decent too with even a few details on the back. The boots are very keen, the shin guard is shiny but the rest is more matte, and there's good sculpting going on here. The left glove is the only one that can hold anything, it's made to hold the lightsaber, and it has a decent sculpt as well; what I really like is the silver-painted gear-like peg out the back to plug into the arm. The only failure here is the right glove, it's extra big to fit over the cyber-arm and as such it looks like the area by the palm has been inflated like a balloon, it looks pretty bad and doesn't even want to stay all the way on, they should have just made it normal like the left one and swappable with the cyber-arm.
Finally, there's the operating table, which is the sole reason why this is a deluxe set, it's pretty big and actually does something. The table itself is gray with black and silver accents, it even has sculpting and paint on the back, and it connects to 2 legs which let it rotate 180 degrees with a stop to hold it flat, the legs plug into a silver baseplate that has a grate pattern on it. The baseplate has connection points on the sides and back of the sides for the ROTS base stands that use the triangular or square tooth interlocking design, the back teeth on the right however are not properly spaced and won't lock, boo hoo. My biggest qualm with the table overall is that the legs are cast in a plasticky-looking color which doesn't look anywhere near as realistic as the table itself. The table is up pretty high, so even with the stand the separately-sold Chopper Droid can only barely see over the table when it's flat and can't work on Vader this way, I think the movie had the table lower into the ground to do this. The main gimmick of the table is that once you rotate it all the way upright, a tab at the bottom is depressed and the arm cuffs slide open, the figure is held in place by the inner halves of the cuffs. You can assemble Vader connected to the table, but he can't wear his cape like he did in the film and you'll need to lift his legs slightly to get the boots on. All in all, it's a very nifty play-n-display item.
This is probably the best deluxe set in the ROTS line, thanks to the nifty table it's the only one that feels like it's worth the ten bucks, and it's a lot of fun to play with thanks to cool removable parts and the opening cuffs on the table. It's also a keen display item that represents the scene pretty nicely, even if as just a Vader figure it leaves something to be desired. It's not perfect - the right glove, static posture, and situations with the head and helmet can be downright frustrating - but it's a satisfying and recommendable purchase.