The highly anticipated Darth Vader Pod has finally been released. LEGO fans were quite disappointed after it was initially canceled last year for the Christmas period due to manufacturing issues. Since then, we’ve known that the pod’s unique feature is its metallic/chrome-based finish, which drove up the hype when LEGO announced that it was back again for this month’s promotional giveaway. Was it worth the wait? Let’s take a closer look at this sought after polybag.
LEGO first started with the Pod Series with the Batman Battle Pod in a Tiger Suit, and it was quite a hit. The big reason for its popularity was that it had a unique minifigure that was unobtainable anywhere else. We hoped early on for Darth Vader to be unique but were disappointed when early images showcased that the Darth Vader to be featured was not unique and was the same version available in other playsets. So with the minifigure expectations aside, we now only have one particular thing to look forward to — the chrome based finishing.
First thing’s first — breaking out the polybag we get a set of instructions and the pod itself.
Flipping the pod open shows a tightly packed case of elements. This is similar to other pods LEGO’s released.
A quick knoll of the parts shows nothing very inspiring or interesting. There are a couple of printed tiles that we’ve seen before.
A closer look at the pod itself reveals a sticker showcasing the hallways of Tantive IV from A New Hope, the scene where we first saw the introduction of Darth Vader.
Building the pieces is quite simple, taking less than a minute. The left section is a build to store and showcase the lightsaber. A lightsaber does not really require storage in such a way, but we’re willing to overlook it here. The lightsaber hilt is of the recent style with a matte chrome silver finish. With a chrome pod, it was a bit of wishful thinking that the hilt would be metallic too. Darth Vader is the same minifigure from the 75183 Darth Vader Transformation playset.
The minifigure features the now-standard two-piece helmet and a scarred face. The back does not feature a second facial expression but instead a continuation of the scarring.
The chrome exterior of the pod is quite impressive with a clean and smooth finish. We can understand why LEGO had to delay the release to ensure any manufacturing issues were addressed, and the resulting quality here seems to be top notch without a flaw.
While the Batman pod features a raised texture of the Batman and LEGO logos, the Darth Vader pod has a special lenticular feature with a shifting image displayed based on the angle that you’re looking at it from. From one angle you see the Star Wars and LEGO Logo, and if you tilt it a just a little, you see the logos disappearing and the Death Star laser ready to fire. It’s pretty neat to see the effort put into this to make it special.
The best way to appreciate the chrome is to be able to compare it to the standard issue plastic pod from Batman side by side, which really makes the Darth Vader pod look premium. The chrome is impressive at all angles compared to the Batman Battle pod, which is made of a matt black plastic finishing.
However, with all smooth and glossy finishing, it’s definitely a fingerprint magnet.
The insides take of both pods feature a similar format. Weapons and contraptions on the left, minifigure stacked on the right.
In summary, the chrome case was definitely worth waiting for in terms of quality, although as it’s just a case, we find it a little disappointing because it is more of a collectible gimmick than anything else for fans of the franchise. A case is a case without any functional use in the play themes or for most LEGO builders. It doesn’t fit LEGO’s core value of play, but instead panders to marketing hype.
Despite the gimmicky coolness of the Vader pod’s unique shiny case, the minifigure is definitely a disappointment. It’s a missed opportunity to feature an exclusive minifigure, perhaps even a revival of the Chrome Vader (4147551) that was released for the LEGO Star Wars 10th Anniversary celebrations, to give fans another chance at a chrome version of Darth Vader.
If you’re already planning a $60 purchase from LEGO soon, it’s still worth getting one just to have in your collection, but this isn’t quite the cool Darth Vader we were looking for.
The Free Exclusive Darth Vader Pod (item 5005376) offer is valid on shop.LEGO.com and in LEGO Stores. The offer is valid from April 13 through 11:59pm EST, May 3, 2018 or while supplies last only. Qualifying purchase must be equal to or greater than £50, $60 or €55 in LEGO Star Wars merchandise. In Singapore, the qualifying purchase requirement is for SGD $100 and only eligible for Star Wars merchandise, only at LEGO Certified Stores.