The Star Wars saga is packed with tremendous characters and Darth Maul might be considered among the most visually striking of them all. The Sith apprentice has therefore become extremely popular in recent years, despite having limited dialogue, so I have been looking forward to 75537 Darth Maul very much indeed.
Armoured characters are often better suited to Buildable Figures than those who wear robes but Darth Maul looks superb in official images, featuring a new shell over his upper arm and an excellent head sculpt. In fact, I think 75537 Darth Maul has the potential to be one of the best Buildable Figures yet.
The Completed Model
Darth Maul stands 26cm in height so is taller than most Buildable Figures which is surprising given his relatively short stature in the movie. Nevertheless, this figure does not seem out of proportion with others so you can certainly display him alongside 75109 Obi-Wan Kenobi and he is reasonably articulated, including ball joints at the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, wrists and neck.
Unfortunately, the neck motion is somewhat restricted by a new element which fits between the head and torso. I think this is a worthy compromise though as the result looks great, neatly filling the gap that has been present on past figures. Furthermore, the Zabrak head sculpt is highly detailed and includes accurate facial tattoos as well as tan horns and yellow eyes, although the printing of the pupils is not quite aligned correctly which is a shame.
Darth Maul is exceptionally agile so wears a loose-fitting robe. This is most clearly visible around the sleeves which appear rather puffy in the film and that is reflected here by another new piece covering the upper arms. I like its intricate texture and the slot at the top of each shoulder works well, ensuring that you can move these ball joints freely.
Most Buildable Figures with lightsabers include an arm-swinging function which is activated by turning a gear on the back of the model. Darth Maul does not disappoint in that regard and turning the gear on his back will cause both arms to move back and forth, swinging the double-bladed weapon in a realistic manner as the forearms rotate on Technic axles. This function works perfectly and is a lot of fun to play with.
However, it also means that the elbows cannot bend so it becomes difficult to create a proper dynamic pose. This is especially frustrating on a Darth Maul figure as he is shown to be very athletic during Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, although you could modify the figure to include ball joints at the elbows using parts from your own collection.
The front of the torso is decorated with some light bluish grey fabric folds and an attractive belt design while the back consists of several Technic parts. These form a smooth surface but the gear protruding from Maul's back is more prominent than I was hoping. It is worth noting that this set includes eight of the black Technic bushes which were introduced in 75534 Darth Vader a few months ago.
A fabric component wraps around the legs of the Sith apprentice and includes slits to avoid restricting mobility, just as in the film. Dark bluish grey high friction ball joints are fitted at the ankles. They serve an important role by strengthening the figure but would look far better in black, thereby maintaining a consistent and accurate colour scheme across the entire model.
Opinions of 75537 Darth Maul will vary according to what you value most highly in a set of this kind. Personally, I really enjoy posing the Buildable Figures so am quite disappointed by the lack of elbow articulation but I must also acknowledge that the swinging lightsaber function has been implemented brilliantly. The head is thoroughly impressive too and includes far greater detail than almost any other Buildable Figure.
I would therefore recommend this set to fans of Darth Maul, although the price of £25.99 in the UK or $29.99 in the US feels a little expensive when compared with other figures from the range. In addition, it is a shame that 75109 Obi-Wan Kenobi is no longer available as the two arch-nemeses are ideal for display together.
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