Mini Steps: The Evolution Of The Darth Vader Minifigure – Part II

With a total of 26 different LEGO Darth Vader variants released to date we chose to break this Mini Steps feature into two parts. In case you missed it, go check out Part I before reading on. The focus of Part II will be the introduction of the Type 2 helmet and the subsequent variants that have been released.

As previously mentioned, the first Darth Vader minifigure was introduced in 1999 and required a new helmet mold. This helmet was a single molded element and was as nostalgic to LEGO Star Wars as Darth Vader himself is to Star Wars. However, in 2015 the decision was made to switch to a new mold – the Type 2 helmet. The new element had a taller appearance and allowed for elongation of the voice processor/respirator intake filter and the optical lenses. Most notably the helmet was an assembly of two parts with the top fitting onto a special neck collar.

We finished off the last article with a discussion of the transitional Darth Vader that was found in 75055 Imperial Star Destroyer. Using the same torso and legs as that version, and introducing the new Type 2 helmet, was the Darth Vader released in 75093 Death Star Final Duel. He also came with a new dual-sided head print featuring wrinkle lines and scars on a white head which would be the standard moving forward with one exception. An identical version with a “spongy” cape was released in 75159 Death Star, 75222 Betrayal at Cloud City, and 75251 Darth Vader’s Castle.

This torso, leg, and helmet combination would be used on one more variant before being updated. The Darth Vader included in 75183 Darth Vader Transformation and 5005376 Darth Vader Pod polybag included a flesh-colored head with numerous scars printed on both the front and the reverse and is the only Type 2 Vader to not include the white head mentioned above.

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A single variant included the same legs as the versions above but received a unique torso print. This version was based off of the one shown in Rebels and had different printing for the life-support regulator and lines on the chest. Also notable is that the shoulder pauldron and pectoral armor has a narrower print than the other versions. He was included in 75150 Vader’s TIE Advanced vs. A-Wing Starfighter.

After four variants with the new helmet, it was time for a bit of an update. The torso was given a new print which shortened the pectoral armor printing and refined the lines on the rest of the chest. It also featured back printing with continuation of the line detailing. The legs were similarly updated to have more detailed print.

The first version to include these new printed parts also came with printed arms and a spongy cape and was found in 75291 Death Star Final Duel. An identical version that came with the traditional starched fabric cape was included in 75294 Bespin Duel and 75296 Darth Vader Meditation Chamber. Using all of the same parts but coming with plain black arms was the Darth Vader included with 75302 Imperial Shuttle.

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Known as the Christmas Sweater (Jumper) version, the second holiday-themed Darth Vader to be featured in a LEGO set was similar to the above versions but came with a red torso printed with an 8-bit Death Star pattern. He is exclusive to 75279 Star Wars Advent Calendar and wraps up the last of the Type 2 Vaders.

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There are only two variants left to cover which did not fit into either of the two categories because they are the only Vaders to come without a helmet. The first of these is based off of the damaged version found in the Force Unleashed video game. He comes with a unique torso print showing a damaged life-support regulator and his head has a broken helmet print. An Aquazone diving visor is used as a neck collar to continue the broken helmet look. This version was found in 7672 Rogue Shadow and the 852715 magnet pack.

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The second of these variants was based off the Vader seen in Rogue One. All of the parts were unique to this version to create his Bacta Tank appearance, and he came with a breathing apparatus/scuba regulator used on a variety of Super Hero minifigures. He is exclusive to 75251 Darth Vader’s Castle.

Two parts and twenty-six variants later we have covered all of the LEGO Darth Vader minifigures released to date. There doesn’t seem to be much room for improvement, so it’s likely that we will see some of these later versions used for several years to come. However, with all the new content coming from Disney it’s anyone’s guess as to when Darth Vader may make another appearance!

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