Despite my belief that this line is going to flop bigger than Rosie O'Donnell on a Miami beach, I picked up the Vader at a local WM yesterday. It has its good points (it's Vader and it's kind of neat looking, I suppose), but it also has its bad points (that shield and some very strange articulation choices between the arms).
Quick review (I guess):
-THE GOOD: The sculpt is nice, very anime and stylized. He stands on his own reasonably well and that's always a plus. He can hold his lightsaber with both hands, and the shield can be taken off and thrown into a box, never to see the light of day again. There is some really interesting articulation that you can't really see in the package on his arms. Basically, if this makes sense, he has two cut joints in his lower arm: one is the usual at the elbow, and the next is less than a half inch away where his gloves meet the forearms. He's also got cut wrist articulation, so that's three points on each arm from the elbow down, which I hadn't seen before. The lightsaber is nice, and is more along the lines of the 12" dolls in terms of appearance and quality, if a bit smaller.
-THE BAD: The cloth cape (the outer one) doesn't have the same care and quality in its stitching that other Vaders at this scale or smaller (Jedi Force Vader and the GH Vader) have had over the past few years. Why they chose to do a plastic inner cape and a cloth outer cape is beyond me, but it's there. There is no articulation in his right leg at all (other than the squeeze thing), and his left leg only has a hip joint (but this is good since he can stand on his own).
-THE WTF?: The shield is ridiculous. The action feature is silly, and pointless (although I guess that's the point of these figures). The biggest WTF? moment is the lack of a ball jointed shoulder on the left arm while the right arm has a ball joint. I can't figure this one out at all, especially since the Jedi Force Vader had this on both shoulders. Plus there's the overall pointless nature of these figures ever being made, so there you go.
Overall, it's a fairly cool piece as far as just looking at it and saying, "Hey, that's an interesting looking Vader" on your shelf, but as far as "This makes me want to collect this whole line, how awesome!", it scores a big fat zero. If you've got 10 bucks to burn and you like Vader, go ahead and pick it up. If you're wavering, go to the next aisle and pick up the Jedi Force Vader, which is a much cooler toy overall and a lot more fun. Just be sure to buy it before clearances, because I doubt this one will be sticking around in the mess of Obi-Wans, Grievii, and Anakins (I had to dig through eight pegs to find one Vader).
As incoherent and Burroughs-esque as this post has been, it's my thoughts on this figure.