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This Darth Vader - Crucible Arena figure was released in a multipack- which also featured Emperor Palpatine- Alum Frost- Carnor Jax- Kir Kanos and Lemmet Tauk. All characters in that set were based on the comic book storyline dealing with the Crimson Empire. The set was first released in 2008 as a Previews exclusive- and was later in 2009 sold exclusively at Rite Aid drug stores.
For this figure- Hasbro re-used and slightly re-painted the same mold- which they used for Vader back in 2006's The Anniversary Collection's Commemorative Tin Collection- which was based on A New Hope. The figure is super articulated with 14 joints- including a swivel head- 2 ball-jointed shoulders- 2 ball-jointed elbows- 2 swivel forearms- a swivel waist- 2 swivel legs- 2 ball-jointed knees and ankles. Darth has no balancing problems- and thanks to pretty stiff joints the figure will very likely stay in whatever position you put it in. The included lightsaber is a great fit for either of Darth's hands and won't fall out when you reposition him. The top part of Vader's helmet is removable- revealing a nicely detailed- but very young looking- Anakin Skywalker underneath. The helmet part is a good fit- but it needs to be pressed down a little to close the gap between the bottom part- otherwise you have Anakin's face showing through.
The paint application on Vader is well done- but what really stands out as being excellent is the paint application in the facial area. Not only are there plenty of scars visible- but plenty of bruises as well. It really does look fantastic. The sculpt itself is fantastic as well- but the issue is that Vader looks quite young- and considering that the Crimson Empire series is set sometime after Luke Skywalker was born- Vader should have been much older looking. That also raises the question if Hasbro should have included a removable helmet to begin with- since Darth Vader was never seen taking his helmet off in the Crimson Empire comic books. It's also unfortunate that the chest armor and chest box are painted incorrectly. The armor has the pattern painted wrong- and the chest box shows green and silver buttons- which were black in the comic book series. However- this might be a bit too picky. Overall- this super articulated Darth Vader action figure is well done- but it's basically a "prequel Vader"- instead of a Vader that was specifically made based on the Crimson Empire comic book series.
The Royal Guard is Emperor Palpatine's elite security force. Clad in striking red robes- they are respected and feared throughout the galaxy for their elegant and deadly fighting skills. Candidates are chosen from the ranks of the Imperial squads and trained on the barren world of Yinchorr. They work hard to master the lessons being taught to them- for their very lives are at stake: When Darth Vader tests them in the Crucible arena- they do not get a second chance if they fail the test.