Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kenner 15" Large Size Darth Vader

This is Kenner's 15" Darth Vader "Large Size" action figure.

In 1978, Kenner started producing Star Wars figures that were the extreme opposite of the small, insanely successful 3 3/4 scale action figures they had released earlier. Kenner started producing 12 inch, sixth-scale figures of the most popular characters from the first Star Wars film. Vader was one of the first four released along with Chewbacca, Luke, and Leia.


To this day, I'm unsure what compelled Kenner to produce these figures. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely a fan of figures in this scale. It's just that I don't quite understand the reasoning behind releasing these when they already "had a good thing going" with the smaller figures, vehicles, and playsets. I can only imagine that many parents weren't too keen on buying Johnny a new set of Star Wars figures in a whole new scale after having purchased so many items in the smaller scale.

As a kid, I was already vested in the smaller scale Star Wars figures. However, my appetite for Star Wars knew no bounds and I begged and pleaded to be able to get some of the new large Star Wars figures. My parents succumbed to my pleas...somewhat. I managed to snag two or three of the larger figures while they were on toy shelves.

My first figure was a Darth Vader. He fell off of a six foot shelf the first day I had him and the elastic keeping his arms attached to his torso snapped. Back to the store he went. However, replacing him with another Darth Vader was not to be (until 10 or 15 years later). The large size Star Wars figures were fairly scarce and another Darth Vader could not be found within a 20 mile radius from where I lived. I had to settle for a Luke Skywalker...but that's another story.

So, the large size Vader became the "one that got away," in a sense. I really felt the sting of having to give that Vader up. The sting of having it and then having to let it go so quickly. Silly, I know...but I was only a kid and girls and cars hadn't entered the picture just yet.


Kenner's approach to the large size figures was "all over the board," so to speak. Some were produced completely in hard plastic and some were produced in full "dolly" mode with a Ken doll style body and cloth clothing.

Vader is produced in plastic with his cape being the only cloth used for his costume. His articulation is very limited...only hips, shoulders, and neck. The only accessories that came with Vader are his lightsaber (gotta love that candy-like, semi-translucent plastic) and his removable cloth cape.

Despite his shortcomings, Kenner's 15" Vader is still a nice looking figure and is an impressive sight on any toy collector's shelf. Imagine how cool it was for kids back in 1978 when the only other Vader figure produced, up to that point, was about 4 inches tall.

10 comments:

  1. I want one of these so bad, this and an original Boba Fett, would be on my vintage want list.

    That last shot is sweet, you have a beautiful Vader there Brian.

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  2. Thanks, CB! This was one of the first vintage figures I picked up when I started collecting vintage toys as an adult. I think I've had him since around 1988 when I bought him through a Toy classifieds newspaper.

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  4. That's a great-looking Vader Figure!

    I still have mine after all these years, I still think it's a great likeness of Vader even for one done back in the 70's-80's.

    Great Blog!

    http://propsculptor.blogspot.com/

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  5. Just landed a 15" Darth Vader on E-Bay for $20.00! Had to my a reproduction lightsaber for him, but I sure am happy :)
    see pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shawart/sets/72157624764337134/
    Love your blog!

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  6. Size does matter, and Vader is living proof. Check this one out, 15" tall Darth Vader is so cool, it is just what I wanted to have back in the day, I remember having of those almost 4" Vader toys but i always wanted a bigger one, i believed Vader deserved it.

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  7. I have one of these 12' vaders. He is missing his light saber, BUT, I did get him autographed by none other than David Prowse! Right on the side of vader's helmet!

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  8. Any idea of the value???????

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  9. Darth Vader in my opinion is the ultimate bad guy. I am proud of my 12"( lol), Darth Vader origonal still in the box, unopened. Along with the galaxy in my hand, the origonal album on vinyl revealing stills of the movie. One of the best stories told. Imagine mankind being wipe out to a few thousand people remain and this triology being some of the few books remaining. The triology would become the next bible.TAI

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  10. I have the Same one But without light saber..... Any idea of the value without the saber and maybe where I could find one?

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