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Darth Vader, Sans Cape and Helmet, Looks Like a Leather Gimp Slave From the Local Goth Club

What’s this? A beat-up old Star Wars toy

Why is it cool? It’s the large-size model (15″), not as common as the small figurines, and because of missing pieces it looks more like C3P0’s dad than Luke’s.

What’s the story? In 1977, people had no idea what a massive mark Star Wars would leave on their generation. Sci-fi was a bit of a niche area in film, and the concept of a summer blockbuster didn’t even exist yet. But the movie’s small, 32-theater opening created a massive buzz, and led to a nationwide unrolling. Crowds of people lined up to spend a couple hours in a galaxy far, far away — a tradition they’ve been doing at every theatrical release of the franchise ever since.

They also monetized every possible aspect of the film. Lunch boxes, pillowcases, storybook records, and toys. There’s no one alive today who isn’t familiar with the standard 3.75″ Star Wars figures. But when the movie came out, they made various other types of figures — including a ~12″ figure (the height varied depending on the character) that matched pretty closely with Barbie dolls in size and lack of articulation. All the major players were made — Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie, Storm Troopers, etc.

I was doing some Star Wars-related research based on my Gizmodo article (How To Make Ice Cubes Shaped Like Tiny Baby Heads) and found a Craigslist posting for this partially complete Darth Vader doll from 1978. Sans cape and top of mask, the tyrant has a less imposing look.

He kinda looks …skinny? Those scrawny arms would never be caught dead on a He-Man doll, that’s for sure. But one thing’s certain: all action figures and super heroes have fabulous taste in boots, Vader included.

Darth vader 15 inch 1978 figure – $20 (san diego,ca)

Date: 2012-04-14, 12:03PM PDT
Reply to: ckwjs-2938188707@sale.craigslist.org

hello up for sale i have a vintage Darth Vader figure from the original 1978 toy line.this figure is in good condition with light play wear.all joints on the figure are nice and tight.the only thing is that i am missing his helmet cape and light saber but these pieces can be found on e-bay right now i looked them up and they are available on e-bay.i have added some pictures below.

I found a few other photos of these original dolls online — really, they aren’t that rare or special, but they are interesting to see. I also stumbled across a couple of them on display for sale at a store in Santa Monica, but I think they are reissues and not originals — although the originals are a bit tricky to find on Amazon, which instead has these much-improved 12″ figures.

(BTW, credit to redditor “Scary-Guy” for the title, better than my original one–thx)