LEGO Star Wars Darth Vader Helmet Review

 It has been a hot second since the last time I posted around here, close to a year in fact. I have been busy with life and all of the regular activities of someone in late adolescence. My ballet career and hanging out with friends took a large amount of my focus in the past year, and to be honest it has made life during Covid something special that I cherish every day. 

So, how did that affect my LEGO hobby? It didn't. Not in the slightest bit. I managed to reap in a massive haul of LEGO sets at Christmastime. I had a lot of fun not only building with them but also taking the time to play with them with my siblings. (My sisters are huge fans of the Elsa's Ice Palace set I now own.) But nowadays my focus is mostly on collecting rather than playing, and to my great delight, LEGO has ramped up its focus on sets for the 18+ age market. As a broke 18-year-old, I cannot afford most of the 200 to 300 dollar price tags that accompany many of these sets. But LEGO still has a selection of affordable collector sets for adults. The sets that primarily fall into this category are the Helmet Collection sets that hail from the licensed themes of Star Wars, Marvel, and DC. 

The Darth Vader Helmet retails for $69.99 in the United States and it comes with 834 pieces. 

To start, I want to appreciate the new box art for the 18+ sets. I know they have been around for a while now, but I absolutely adore this design. It is clean and mature, while still maintaining a sleek and sophisticated design that will catch the eye of an older audience. I also noticed that the front of the box has slightly different textures on it. The actual image of the set is slightly raised and it has more resistance when you run your hand across the front of the box.

Building the set was an interesting experience. I think the best way to describe it is as monotonous. I always found it exciting to see the parts come together to form something that resembled the most iconic villain of all time. In constructing most of the face, it was interesting to see what went where and how parts were connected to each other. However, when it came to building the rest of the helmet, I found it to be tedious. I have never found stacking plates on top of plates to be fun, and this set most definitely had plenty of that. 

In my usual frenzy to complete the set, I would skip over certain pieces, and at the end of the bag, I would have one too many spares. This provoked the "oh shoot" moment where I would have to dig through the instructions once again to find out what I missed. I know this is probably due to my inattentiveness as I rush to finish building, but this happened one too many times while building this set to make me happy. Maybe this is just a virtue of this set being for adults, but I found it irritating nonetheless. 

While the building process is a large part of the LEGO experience, to me the finished product is the most important part of the set. The final result of this set is phenomenal. I do not think that the box art of the set does it justice because it looks much better in person. The set captures every line and shape of the iconic helmet. I really do not think that there is an unflattering angle of this set when you hold it in your own hands. 

The face of the helmet is where all of the variations in building are present. Studs are going in every single way just to make sure that the essence of the character is captured. A few stickers are used to give details to Vader's mouth area. (And yes, I know two of the stickers aren't lined up. Don't worry, it is going to bother me a heck of a lot more than it could ever bother you.) One gripe of mine is that that the 3:18 bars that form the jawline aren't that secure, so I have to keep readjusting them to make them sit right where I want them to be. Also, the eyes and the brow above them are not as secure as they could be, and I feel like I could knock them off the model if I touched it the wrong way. 

The sides and back of the helmet look great as well. As much of a pain in the rear building this section was, it looks really good. I think it perfectly emulates the shape and form of the helmet. The only minor thing that irritates me is that you can see the connection point for the sides of the helmet, but that is insignificant. 

I feel like the stand is very understated, and I appreciate that. I think that the printed plate on the bottom looks good. I love that this is not a sticker, because placing stickers on those sorts of plates is a pain. 

Overall, I am pretty impressed with this set. I think that the actual model is really good looking, but it is not as structurally sound as I would have preferred. This will not be a problem because this will hopefully just sit on a shelf in my room. I didn't enjoy building the set as much as I have enjoyed other sets, which is kind of disappointing to me. I have never felt so exhausted after building, and I am no stranger to long building sessions.  Overall, I am happy to have this set and have it put up on my shelf, even if it was less fun to put together than other sets.