Star Wars: Legion – Darth Vader

It’s the turn of Mr Vader as I continue my look at the Star Wars: Legion figures contained within the core set.

Star Wars: Legion - Darth Vader


As the leader of the Galactic Empire, Darth Vader is an imposing figure, and thematically he is well represented here.

Taking a look at his unit card we see that he has Deflect, Immune: Pierce, Master of the Force 1, Relentless, Impact 3, and Pierce 3 – no wonder he’s a staggering 200 points, and that’s before you start kitting him out with upgrades!

Star Wars: Legion - Darth Vader

Deflect gives a defensive surge if you spend a dodge token, and if his attacker is using a ranged weapon then they suffer 1 wound for each surge rolled.

Master of the force 1 enables Darth Vader to ready 1 of his upgrade cards during the end phase.

Relentless gives him a free attack action after performing a move.

Impact 3 enables him to change 3 hits to critically if attacking a unit with armour.

Pierce 3 cancels up to 3 block rolls made by the defender.

All of the above mesh together and start to build the character of this formidable leader, and when you start to add on upgrades you can create a Darth Vader that strikes terror across the battlefield.

Three ‘force’ upgrades can be added, and from the core set that means choosing from a possible five (not including Jedi Mind Trick, which is light side only), Force Reflexes, Saber Throw, Force Push, Force Choke, and Battle Meditation.

Star Wars: Legion - Darth Vader

There are pros and cons for each one: Force Reflexes works well as you gain a dodge token, which can then be spent when defending using Deflect, as mentioned above. Saber Throw give a much needed ranged attack, albeit only up to range 2 and using only half the weapons dice, but this still gives a pretty powerful attack of three red dice. Force Push I would personally overlook and go for Force Choke instead. Both affect an enemy trooper unit or mini within range 1, only push causes them to take a speed 1 move whilst choke causes them to take a wound – If I’m within range 1 I’d rather do damage than move them! Finally, Battle Meditation, one that I think is a necessity due to Vader’s slow movement rate, enables an order to be issued to any friendly unit on the battlefield rather than those within range 3 of the leader.

So, here’s my line up for Darth Vader…

Star Wars: Legion - Darth Vader

You can imagine him striding, never running, across the battlefield towards his foes. His enemies scrambling to get out of his way, as they know to get in range could well mean certain death. Those troopers daring to move in are dealt with efficiently and uncompromisingly, either by choking them with the force, launching his saber at them, or simply using it to deal a deadly blow.

Darth Vader may cost you an arm and a leg to field, but cinematically, it’s well worth it!


As with my previous Legion posts, Darth Vader was painted with reference to Sorastro’s painting guide.

Darth Vader was actually the first of the Star Wars: Legion miniatures I painted, mainly because I don’t mind painting black, and have my own methods for painting it, which I have used here.

Star Wars: Legion - Darth Vader

All paints used are Vallejo Game, Model or Air paints, unless otherwise stated.

I started with priming the figure black; this will also provide the shade for the deepest recesses. Next I applied a layer of heavy charcoal, leaving the deepest recesses of the cloak, along with the inside, black.

I then mix in a little sombre grey, and use this as the next layer – in hindsight I went a little too heavy with the sombre grey and could have done with another layer in-between these with less grey mixed in.

Star Wars: Legion - Darth Vader
I should have used more layers to go from shade to highlight!

For the lighter highlights on the armour and leather I added some ghost grey to sombre grey; I also used this on the hanging fabric by the saber, as I want to apply some object source lighting (OSL) to it a little later, the brighter colour will take the glaze better. Then I used ghost grey to give the lightest highlights, mostly edge highlights but also on the helmet to give the impression of a hard, reflective surface. I also used this to paint the belt buckle.

I decided it needed to be further highlighted in places so, using dead white, I added a few dots to the end of the previous highlights and edged the belt buckle.

The light saber was basecoated dead white and then heavy red, this gives the red a brighter appearance than if it were applied directly over the black. I then started adding orange fire to the red and applied a line to the front of the saber, always pushing the pigment towards the handle. Each time more orange is added to the mix I started applying it closer to the handle, this gives a nice transitional effect leading up to a small dab of orange just before the handle.

Before adding the OSL I painted the lights and switches on the suit, red blue, grey, and white, and I also added a few dabs of Citadel’s Typhus corrosion around the bottom of his cloak and his boots – hopefully to resemble mud!

Finally, I mixed Citadel’s Baal red with some glaze medium to create a very thin glaze. This was the applied in thin layers over the area that would be lit by the light from the saber. The closer to the saber the more layers I applied, thus giving it all a red tint around these areas.

Star Wars: Legion - Darth Vader
Hopefully you can see the effect of the OSL.

This was the first time I’d ever applied OSL, and it looks okay, especially at a distance, which to be honest, when you’re gaming that’s all that counts!

Basing and varnishing was completed using the same methods as I used for the Stormtroopers, in fact I did them at the same time – the logs at his feet are dried out miniature rose stems!

As I mentioned, this was the first Legion figure I painted, and it shows. I have learnt a hell of a lot since then, mostly through painting the rest of the minis in the core box, and I though I’m pleased with the final result, I can see where I could improve on it.

Star Wars: Legion - Darth Vader

My layering technique leaves a little to be desired; I’m a lot more confident at blending and feathering now, and I’ve also learnt patience – take the time to build up layers by adding a little at a time instead of relying on triads (three layers of harmonious colours going from dark to light).

I found the helmet difficult to highlight and ended up over painting my first attempt back to black – again, it looks okay at a distance, but not so great close up!

Still, I’m learning all the time and things will only ever get better (at least that’s what I tell myself!). At the end of the day he looks great on the table, and I’m pleased with the finished result, which is more than I can say about Luke Skywalker, but more about that next time.

2 thoughts on “Star Wars: Legion – Darth Vader

  1. Looks great – (mostly) gloss black armour like Vader’s is a difficult one to paint, and your effort looks pretty good to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Azazel. I’ve learnt a lot since I did this one, namely more about glazing and blending, as looking at that cloak makes me wince, lol!

      Liked by 1 person

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