ADVANCE REVIEW: 1:6 Star Wars DARTH MALGUS (Sideshow Exclusive)
Move Over Vader, There's A New Darth In Town...
The 1:6th scale Sideshow Exclusive Darth Malgus is available for order HERE. It is priced at $184.99 with a payment plan available.
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The fictional world of Star Wars is teeming with tons of cool characters, from the familiar faces of the film saga to exciting new friends and foes of the Expanded Universe. Video games have played an important part shaping the latter, introducing the public to unforgettable protagonist's Kyle Katarn (Dark Forces) and Galen "Starkiller" Marek (Force Unleashed). BioWare's MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic continues that tradition with Darth Malgus, an awesome new adversary (or ally, depending on which side you choose to play on) that immediately captured the attention of Star Wars fans with his explosive cinematic trailer debut four years ago.
Cementing Darth Malgus' place in Star Wars mythology, Sideshow Collectibles has been honoring the Sith Lord with a wide range of scaled collectibles. In addition to a towering life-size sculpture and 20-inch tall Premium Format Figure, Sideshow is readying to release a stunning 1:6th scale Darth Malgus action figure. Priced at $184.99 with a payment plan available, the over 12-inch tall Sideshow Exclusive Darth Malgus (with bonus non-scarred head sculpt) begins shipping January 2nd to those that pre-ordered from Sideshowtoy.com. For everyone else, there is still time to get your order in HERE. However, I wouldn't procrastinate too much longer. As my review of this figure will go to show, I'm honestly surprised that this figure hasn't sold out already.
Packaging for Darth Malgus is Sideshow's tried-and-true magnetically sealed fifth panel window box. The front impresses with gorgeous artwork of a young and committed Malgus leading his Imperial troops into battle. The back art depicts a more cold and calculating Malgus. The Sith Lord pictured here features his iconic rebreather mask, the permanent result of his crushing defeat battling Jace Malcom, commander of the elite Havoc Squad, and Jedi Satele Shan on Alderaan *. Unburdened by a clumsy slipcover, the box easily opens up to reveal the Darth Malgus figure and fascinating bio inside. Like all Sideshow 1:6th scale Star Wars figures, Darth Malgus' packaging is collector friendly, meaning the figure and gear come stowed on plastic trays that can be removed - and returned - for easy display or storage.
* From "Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia - The Definitive Guide To The Epic Conflict," DK Publishing 2012
Out of the box, the Sideshow Exclusive Darth Malgus amazes with not only his wicked good looks, but with a variety of display options ranging from alternate heads, hands, and weapons. Starting at the head, Sideshow provides two unique portraits - pristine and undamaged (Sideshow Exclusive only), the other battle scarred and featuring a removable respirator mask. One thing to note is that the removable respirator is only compatible with the scarred portrait, the device snapping into a receiver specially sculpted on the back of that head. With the option to leave the mask off, that's a total of three different appearances to choose from.
Both head sculpts display an incredible level realism, Malgus' pale pink flesh accented with visible veins, pores and creases. Two glassy yellow/red eyes punctuate the stern sculpts with malice intent. Cruel frowns hammer home that evil. Darth Malgus is NOT a happy camper. While I'm interested to see which head sculpt fans choose to display, the decision for me was an easy one: Battle damaged with respirator mask on. Having Malgus' mouth hidden behind the expressionless mechanical grill plate forces his angry eyes to do all the talking. It's an intimidating combination.
As we all know by now, the Darth Malgus figure is based off a computer generated character, one dressed in armor that doesn't move in the real world as it does in the game sequences. In designing Darth Malgus, Sideshow chose to maintain the aesthetic of the character as much as possible. As a result, some articulation had to be sacrificed, but enough was retained so that the articulation feels adequately represented. The 1:6 Darth Malgus figure won't be doing any extreme calisthenics, but the poses you can achieve are quite remarkable.
Darth Maglus features Sideshow's latest 1:6th scale Prometheus body, with muscle arms and leg extensions added to capture the Sith Lord's looming height (12 1/2 inches). With the Prometheus body as a base, Sideshow has constructed a sophisticated outfit of many layers and materials. A vinyl gray body suit is the first line of defense, the pleather-like material allowing most of the underlying articulation to shine through. Next, Sideshow assigned a glossy flexible black plastic for the armor patches on his legs, both thigh portions being firmly attached via Velcro. Sideshow informed me that they did this so that placement, if off during production, could be adjusted properly for display. I'm happy to report that mine arrived perfectly placed, with no adjusting needed. The third layer is the mixed use of soft and hard plastic armor sections for the gauntlets, shin guards and upper mantle. Beginning with his feet, the boots are cast in a pliable plastic with rigid plastic armor shards attached. Shin guards are a hard plastic, while the knee pads are soft. Malgus' gauntlets star two stiff plastic plates (including the wrist controls) connected by a soft plastic arm band. A neat thing to note here is how the hexagonal armor pad at the end of each forearm plate is flexible, the top sections being spring-hinged. Moving on up, Darth Malgus' matte gray upper arm armor is a hard plastic, the same type used for his chest armor. His chest armor also features the glossy black plastic used on the legs, and is tied up nicely with a soft plastic belt (non-removable).
Lastly we come to the hard plastic mantle on Darth Malgus. Similar to his gauntlets and shin guards, this piece is painted a tough gun metal steel streaked with weathering. For a figure that is primarily gray, black and steel, Sideshow's mixed use of matte and gloss paints, as well as different materials, is brilliant. There's so much depth and realism. Looking great, the armored collar is also semi-functional featuring ball-joints on each shoulder pad for added arm flexibility. The entire piece solidly attaches to a Velcro patch on Malgus' back.
Rounding off Darth Malgus' complex costume is a thin cloth cape that comes permanently attached to the mantle. Yet another awesome layer, this soft fabric piece drapes and folds naturally on the figure thanks to the bottom not being hemmed. Sideshow accomplished this via die cut. There is also a hood featuring a thin poseable wire in the seam. This allows you to bend and mold it to your liking, though I found the process more frustrating than it was worth. I just couldn't get a hooded look that appealed to me, but I'm sure collectors with more patience will enjoy the option. Another cool thing about Darth Malgus' cape is in how you can display it. By draping the cape over his broad shoulder armor, you can have it enshroud the figure for a dark and mysterious look. Tucking the cape behind the shoulder armor allows for a more exposed armored appearance. Or try half and half! Like everything else about this figure, the many display options are incredible.
This brings me to Darth Malgus' many other accessories. In addition to a themed display stand, Malgus includes four sets of interchangable hands: fisted, clutching, weapon grasping and outstretched. All are cast of a soft rubber plastic and the peg system allows for a nice and easy swap - not too tight and not too loose - just right. Because of this, I had a blast playing around with all the hand combos, but was most impressed with the outstretched hand. The gesture makes for a killer Force Push (or Choke) pose. Ah, but what would Darth Malgus be without his unique bladed lightsaber? Looking like a lethal weapon even when not lit, the hilt stars two long protruding blades. Sideshow provides collectors with two Darth Malgus sabers - one unactivated, the other activated with a deadly translucent red blade. Sideshow could have just made the blade detachable, but I appreciate having a lightsaber with a blade that is never going to accidentally fall off. Plus, now you can have him holding TWO lightsabers!
To place either lightsaber in Darth Malgus' weapon grasping hand, gently pull off the pommel, slide the hilt in the closed hand, and reattach. It's a very firm grip once in place. Like the attached blade, there's no worry that Darth Malgus will be dropping his lightsaber anytime soon. It's a minor detail, but one that makes posing this figure so much fun. If I had one small criticism, it would be the lack of a way to attach the lightsaber to his belt, be it via a magnet or tiny hook. While I plan on having the weapon in Malgus' hand at all times, the option to stow it away on his person would be nice.
In the immortal words of Dark Helmet, "evil will always triumph because good is dumb." It's also because evil looks so much cooler. Darth Malgus is proof positive of that, a Sith Lord that instantly captivates with amazing design. Malgus is like Vader on steroids, a great villain made even better. I've been dying to add this character to my collection, especially as a one sixth scale figure. Darth Malgus commands attention at this size, impressing with two intricate head sculpts, amazing multi-layered outfit, and just tons of display options. Impressive. Most impressive.
The 1:6th scale Sideshow Exclusive Darth Malgus is available for order HERE. It is priced at $184.99 with a payment plan available. Pre-orders begin processing January 2nd.
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Sample Courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles