5005276 Star Wars Anniversary Pod has been the subject of surprising speculation in recent months. A European LEGO store calendar first revealed that the polybag would be available in December and January but LEGO announced a short time later that this promotion had actually been cancelled due to a quality issue.
However, that problem has presumably been resolved as the pod is now available with Star Wars purchases exceeding £50, $60 or €55 at shop.LEGO.com. Hopefully the final product will prove worthy of so much discussion and anticipation!
Darth Vader last appeared in 75183 Darth Vader Transformation and remains unchanged for this polybag, wearing a large helmet which includes tremendous moulded detail and consists of two pieces. A smaller element fits around the Sith Lord's neck and is left behind when the upper section is removed, revealing the scarred face of Anakin Skywalker underneath.
I think the white component used prior to 2017 is more appropriate than this flesh design as the polybag evidently takes inspiration from A New Hope, by which time Darth Vader's skin has been bleached following a lack of exposure to sunlight. However, I do appreciate the impressive printed detail on both sides of the head.
The front of the torso and the legs are also intricately decorated and look marvellous in relation to the movie, featuring some colourful buttons on the life-systems computer and a metallic silver belt buckle. Unfortunately, the back of the torso is completely plain but this is concealed by a soft fabric cape that fits around the neck of the minifigure and matches the printed robes very nicely. As usual, Darth Vader is armed with a red lightsaber.
The Completed Model
Official images of this polybag suggested that it would include a plain black pod, much like that used in 5004929 Batman Battle Pod last year. In fact, the container is finished in chrome black which looks absolutely brilliant, although keeping the chrome surface free from finger prints is almost impossible! I presume it was this chromed design that caused a delay to the release of the polybag but it was worth waiting for in my opinion.
A lenticular panel is fitted to the front of the container. This shows either the LEGO Star Wars logo and the Death Star superlaser at the moment of firing or the eight superlaser tributary beams meeting at a central point, depending on the position of the viewer. It is difficult to make the LEGO Star Wars branding disappear entirely but this still works reasonably well when compared with many similar toys.
The pod opens to reveal a small section of the Tantive IV's white hallway where Darth Vader made his very first appearance. I like how printed tiles have been used to add some extra detail in this extremely limited space and the folding platform is a nice idea, allowing you to display the minifigure in front of the brick-built doorway or the sticker on the right of the pod.
I have enjoyed collecting these pods over the last few months and 5005276 Star Wars Anniversary Pod is probably my favourite one yet. The lenticular design looks good and I like the sliver of the Tantive IV's famous hallway inside. However, it is the chromed exterior that really distinguishes this pod from others so hopefully LEGO will continue to find ways of differentiating these little sets.
The Darth Vader minifigure is excellent too. Personally, I prefer the version with a white head as that is a little more faithful to the Original Trilogy, although this polybag is definitely a worthy acquisition if you have not yet added the Sith Lord to your collection. I would also recommend it to seasoned Star Wars collectors simply because 5005276 Star Wars Anniversary Pod is unlike any past Star Wars polybag.
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