LEGO Star Wars | Darth Vader Helmet [REVIEW]
Theme: LEGO Star Wars
Name: Darth Vader Helmet (75304)
Price: €69.99 | $69.99
The Darth Vader Helmet is one of two Helmet sets part of the second wave of LEGO Star Wars Helmet Collection sets. It comes as the second part of the second wave of this subtheme, which started a year prior. At €69.99, it also comes in as the most expensive and piece-filled Helmet to date.
The first half of this subtheme wave would be the Scout Trooper Helmet, which I reviewed here. I’d recommend looking at that review before this one, because that review was made before I built this one. If you’re interested in the wave as a whole it makes more sense contexually to read them in that order. If you’re only interested in this set, then it doesn’t matter, ignore me.
The set has no minifigures, so those sections won’t be included in this review.
This set continues the Helmet Collection design of boxes, with the 18+ boxstyle with “Helmet Collection” written on the side. The box looks as good as ever, as you’d expect. As I mentioned in the Scout Trooper Helmet review, the box here is almost a collectible in and of itself. The display-ability of the box isn’t usually a consideration for sets, but with how iconic Darth Vader’s helmet is it’s definitely worth crediting here. Again, I especially love the clean “Helmet Collection” writing on the side. It’s such a premium touch.
The instruction is the exact same format as the Scout Trooper helmet too. Two pages of preamble, one being a picture, the other with little information and a quote.
LEGO have officially moved away from the black backgrounds in the instruction manuals. So it’s not too surprising that the grey-ish blue background returns. At this point, if you’ve read the Scout Trooper Helmet review you’d see that both are essentially the exact same in terms of their unboxing. If you’ve built any Helmet Collection set before, you know exactly what to expect from this set.
The build experience of this set (to my surprise) was actually fairly different to other Helmet collection sets. Usually, you build the ‘foundation’ of the set as a kind of box-shaped-skeleton before patching the exterior details to the middle, but with this one you kind of build it from the ground up until you finish the eyes, and only then does the box-y skeleton come out. You almost ‘layer’ it like a cake for the first portion of the build, which is a nice change of pace.
The Bottom Half
You start by building the stand, which has the bottom section of his mask build into it. The technique used to get that (for lack of a better description) ‘double chin’ effect is surprisingly neat. So too is the use of a corner piece kind of rotated slightly to produce the triangular area in front of his chin/under his mouth. That whole area would be a very complex section to replicate with LEGO so props to the designers here.
I enjoyed putting together the mouth area, specifically how the nose and noseridge connects to the mouth. It’s a quick build, but it’s always a nice feeling when something hinged perfectly into place to create a flush surface, such as the nose resting on the tip of the mouth triangle.
The cheeks use a somewhat cool technique that involves placing them in upside down before almost ‘resting’ the eyelid areas on them.
The Top Half
The section from the eye-level up to about the top of the eyebrows is an entirely different assembly that you connect to the top of the mouth area and below. This is interesting given that with every other helmet set to date, it would all attach to a single frame, as opposed to “slicing” the frame in half from just under the eyes (if that makes sense). It makes the build less ‘formulaic’ compared to other helmet sets, which is appreciated even if it was a necessity.
I liked building the eyes and the area surrounding them for the most part, although the build was pretty straightforward and quick. The rest of the build after that point was your standard Helmet collection build, with a box-shaped centre with exposed studs all around, which you connect the layered subassemblies to. The highlights of the build was definitely the first 80% of it, which was overall much more interesting than the Scout Trooper helmet, for example.
This set barely uses any stickers at all. Even the stickers it does use are spent early on so you barely notice their existence really. Theres a total of four stickers used in this set. Two are used for his mouth vent, one is used for his chin, and the last is used for that tiny grey half-circle detail right at the tip of his nose.
This may be the one and only time ill ever say this, but this set actually uses too few stickers. I can’t fathom how they didn’t include one more 1×4 sticker to finish the mouth vents. Instead theres this black gap that very obviously shouldn’t be there. It almost feels like a mistake on LEGO’s part here to not include a third sticker, but this is what we got I’m afraid. The lack of another 1×4 sticker here is among the most glaring design mistakes I’ve ever seen in LEGO Star Wars, but I’ll get into that soon enough.
When pictures of this set first came out, I saw a lot of comments describing it as looking silly. As though he was weirdly ‘smiling’ or just overly cheerful. I think people perceive Darth Vader to appear angrier than he actually looks, and are projecting their false memories onto this set and calling it inaccurate. In fact, looking at the source material, I think LEGO did a fantastic job with the eyes area here. It’s about as close to the source material’s shaping as the Scout Trooper Helmet’s visor managed to get. Ignoring that, I do have some other issues with the design.
The biggest, and most glaring issue I see with this is that mouth section. The vents clearly extend the entire length of that triangle area on the actual helmet, but they just stop halfway down on this set. I don’t understand this at all. Its such a simple fix and its such a glaring inaccuracy to a degree that its genuinely impossible to ignore. Huge mistake on LEGO’s part here. A single sticker would solve the issue completely. A sticker that is so simple to design/produce its ridiculous. This is easily the biggest issue I have with the set, mainly because of how easy it is to remedy/avoid.
The next biggest issue I have is with the ‘hood’ areas on each side of the helmet. As they are, I think they give the helmet the appearance of wearing an ugly hat. On the real helmet, these sections curve outward beyond the faceline, whereas in the LEGO model they kind of tuck backwards instantly from the top of the eyes. It gives the appearance of one of those sunhats/caps you can get that have the piece of material to protect your neck from sunburn. Looking at the image in the instructions, I can see why they decided to do this, but I feel like it needed to extend outward a bit more.
The section above the eyes that look like eyebrows look good for what they are and what they’re trying to replicate. I think the set benefitted from having a tiled, smooth section there to break up the studs that make up the majority of the top. But if they were trying to imply that the smooth section is part of the ‘hat’ of the Helmet, I think the flaps on each side should’ve had some smooth tile lining along the front side too. As it is, these look more like eyebrows as opposed to the lip of the ‘hat’ section.
Aside from these critiques, I do really like the overall design of this helmet. I think LEGO did an incredible job specifically with the actual face of the helmet. The eyes, cheeks, nose and mouth (ignoring the sticker issue) are shaped amazingly well. I can only imagine how long that mustve taken to design. To me, this set is only 1 or 2 small changes away from being perfect for the scale.
I photoshopped my version below, to show what I’d have preferred. Of course, it’s very easy to put something like this together in Photoshop and call it a day. I have no idea if this design would work with actual bricks, but I think it’s still useful to illustrate the issues I have with this set’s design as it is.
The Vader Tax
The set is the most expensive Helmet set released to date, at €69.99 as opposed to the usual €59.99. For that, you do get 834 pieces which is over 100 more than the next best, but a lot of these are quite small. I think really what youre paying for is the character. LEGO knows that Darth Vader’s Helmet will be the most coveted and iconic Helmet they can make, so they can charge extra for it because its worth more. Honestly, theyre right. I do feel like I got my moneys worth out of this set because its just so iconic.
The set does have a hefty mass to it too, don’t get me wrong. Its slightly heavier than the TIE Fighter Pilot set at that. But there is definitely a bit of a premium being paid here because of the character.
As a Helmet Collection Set
I don’t think this set really has any competition in the Helmet Collection subtheme. If youre starting or adding to a Helmet Collection, you kinda need Darth Vader because its Darth Vader. If you already have other Helmet sets, or are just thinking about getting into the Helmet series, this is definitely the place to start and is 100% worth the addition to your collection, in my opinion.
I do think that this set would be much better priced at €64.99. At this price, it would still have that Vader-Tax on it, but not be so tremendously high to have issue with it. If you can wait until double VIP points, Id say buy it then as you’d essentially get it for €63.99 which is much more reasonable.
If youre looking for a €70 Star Wars display set, your choice is really between this and the Imperial Probe Droid. If you can only get one, and you don’t have an existing collection of either Helmet sets or Brick-built characters, this is tricky. I do think this set works better than the Probe Droid as a standalone Star Wars display piece for no other reason than how iconic Darth Vader’s helmet is. But I think the Probe Droid is a better LEGO set. I just don’t think everyone would know a Probe Droid when they see it, if that makes sense. If Darth Vader didn’t have such prestige to him, this would be an easy choice, but here we are.
I don’t think you can go wrong with either set in all honesty. I am personally leaning towards the Probe Droid in terms of my favourite of the two, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference, as lame as that is to say. If it sways your choice at all, I should have a review up soon for the Probe Droid. As always, you should look up reviews for both to make an informed decision as to which you prefer.
This set has a unique build relative to other helmet sets, and is just about iconic enough of a helmet for me to forgive the design issues I have with it. A must-have in the Star Wars Helmet Collection subtheme, I think.
Helmet Collection Rank
Relative to other Helmet Collection sets, I’m going to rank this 1st out of 5 sets. I don’t think you can have a Star Wars Helmet Collection and not have this set. Between it’s unique build, superior piece-count and unrivaled display-ability, I think it has to be best.
Star Wars Rank
Relative to All Star Wars, as always happens with this subtheme, this set finds itself firmly among its peers. Clinging to the front of the Helmet pack, I’m going to rank this 9th out of 43 sets I own.
All Sets Rank
Compared to every set I own, it’s going to find itself sandwiched between the same two sets. This time ranked 25th out of 100 sets I own. I’m only now realizing that this is the 100th set I own, so that’s kind of cool.
Welcome to my blog! If you find this interesting and would like to see more, please bookmark the page and/or sign up for the Newsletter below
LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site. This site is fully run by myself, and I have no connection to the LEGO Group whatsoever. My opinions are my own, and do not represent the LEGO Group.