Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: Hot Toys Red Skull 1/6 Scale Collectible Figure!

By far my collecting highlight for 2012 has been Hot Toys brilliant, eerily realistic, 1/6th scale collectible figure line, with characters spanning from The Avengers, Batman 89, The Dark Knight Rises, and even Sucker Punch. We'll be covering a handful of recent figures over the next couple of weeks, not the least of which is 1940's Hydra super-villain the Red Skull, as portrayed by fellow Australian Hugo Weaving in Captain America: The First Avenger. Our dearest friends at Sideshow Collectibles have generously provided us with the angry, skinless Mr. Johann Schmidt and I can't wait to tell you all about him. Just look at this crimson curmudgeon!

That's one hell of a shaving accident! Find out all that the reddest of skulls has to offer... after the jump!

But first, it this not the greatest, most badass, ominous box art ever?

Why are people seduced into signing up with villainous organisations? It's because they have fantastic logos and they are snappy dressers. I would buy into just about anything that had this kind of sharp design. I'd drink Pepsi if it came in a black can with a red octopus and was labelled: Evil Pepsi. My only criticism of this fantastic graphic is that octopi, of course, have eight leg and not six. But then again the Red Skull is a Nazi antagonist, not a zoologist. He has a lot on his mind. Like, "Hey... where'd my nose go?"

Opening one of these up always provides plenty of surprises. I love it when Hot Toys does this - the black leather overcoat and belt are sneakily stowed away in the lid of the box...

Which keeps them clear of the already full interior tray and is probably a better solution than stashing them underneath...

Now at first glance Red Skull is a little light on accessories compared to other releases - he has two additional sets of hands, a pistol, and the Cosmic Cube/Tesseract rather than a whole arsenal of additional weapons. But let's not forget that, due to his additional head sculpt, plus aforementioned black overcoat, you can create two extremely distinct looks with this figure. In fact with another body and some extra boots you could have two on display. (Oh, and either get some pants or keep that coat very tightly shut. The Red Skull already has to answer to a lot of crimes - no point adding indecent exposure to that list).

So here's the basic figure straight out of the package...

That's not a bad image of him, but I must confess that I was initially a little disappointed once freeing him from his tomb. The Hugo Weaving head sculpt is very accurate but feels perhaps a little small on the body, and I think this illusion is created by the fact that his military uniform feels a little bulky. It pads out a lot at the shoulders, as you would perhaps expect, but it also bunches up a lot around the arms. These types of outfits are generally very form fitting so it looks a little bit odd to me. I think it's better when he's standing in a very straight, militant pose, but once you start moving those arms around he looks more doll-like to my eyes...

It's still light years beyond anything else on the market, but the best images of these are the ones that people mistake for photographs of the actors. You can see again here that the incredible paint and detail on the face doesn't exactly match up with the feel of the loose fitting uniform...

Which is a shame because, as I said, the face is great. There's no mistaking Hugo, and Hot Toys give us just as strong a likeness as ever. My only question would be if he looks a little too passive here. Is our Red Skull not quite scary enough?

If this review is starting to feel a little mild, then don't fret. I'm not in love with this mode of display, however, my perception totally changed once the figure was completely kitted out. My complete turn around occurred once I saw this...

The Red Skull looks totally badass. I love this version of the figure and it's definitely how I choose to display him. This jacket is a far better fit and creates the proper proportions that I was missing with the military uniform. And the jacket is so well made that it would be a real shame not to use it anyway. This is the terrifying Red Skull that we are more familiar with.

Note the clever design of the Tesseract too. The cube doesn't have any built in lights but its transparent material catches the available light very well making it glow in photos. My display cabinets all have overhead lights, and I totally recommend you make the effort to get some lights happening if you own any of these as they really help to highlight the sculpts.

He might not have any skin, but look at all the detail that exists in this face still...

I love how the Hot Toys artisans have managed to keep the humanity in Hugo Weaving's recognisable eyes, plus it also gives me a far greater appreciation for the work of the filmmaker's as well. I think that Red Skull is very well realised here. They've managed to bring him into the real world but also successfully evoke his look from the comics.

Must be hard to keep sunglasses on with that stubby little nose and ears! Not that he probably goes to the beach that much. I can't imagine the sort of industrial sunscreen required to protect that face.

As always the little details are lovingly present. I dig the Hydra logos not only on the shoulders but etched into this minuscule belt buckle...

Attaching this belt, however was a huge source of frustration for my clumsy hands. There's a little hole in the rubber at one end to plug in a little peg on the back of the buckle. Attempting to do this while the belt is tight around the jacket was incredibly difficult and time consuming and now that I've succeeded I probably won't ever take the jacket off again. At least it feel secure now, if it started popping open I'd have left it in the box. Some previous figures have used magnets for closures and I wish that had been investigated here. Maybe it was and it didn't work. I don't know, but prepare for a battle with that belt.

While we're zooming in on accessories they've done some fine work on his unique gun...

Is that a Walther P38? The same gun Megatron used to transform into? Maybe a gun nut (American) can tell me. But either way, his pistol is modified to harness Cosmic Cube power (you can see the glowing blue cell that is plugged into the bottom). I can't imagine the amount of research that must go into providing us with one of these figures - they must have to pour over pages and pages of wardrobe and prop designs in addition to images of the actor.

Which is a good time to start talking about Hugo Weaving's head sculpt again. You may feel like I brushed over it earlier, but that's because I wanted to show him in the right light and context. Because, once you plug him into the black overcoat, he really comes to life...

It's a stunning, spookily real sculpt that works from any angle. 

And did you notice the nice touch of the cuts infront of his ears? He has incisions on both sides to indicate where his face rips away.

And look at that brilliant profile! This figure makes me feel like a mighty giant who has captured Hugo Weaving and forced him to live in a glass cabinet! POWER! 

I could photograph these figures all day. They're the closest you will come to photographing the actual actor and I am fascinated to see how their face changes in different degrees of light. Seeing Hot Toys' new work will never grow old for me. I have a long wish-list of characters I want them to get to.

And a final shot to close us out...

I think Red Skull is an extremely important addition to a Marvel collection. I think he will absolutely be back as he was (SPOILERS) pretty much sucked into space/an alternate dimension at the end of the movie and could return to team up with just about anybody. And Loki has already proved to us how a return appearance can be the best. He's a classic comics villain - one of the biggest, in fact - so goddamn grab it now while he's still at retail, or you'll be paying out your butt on ebay when he makes his triumphant return in Avengers 3: Red Skull Jamboree. I'm not even kidding. And until then mine is hanging out with Indiana Jones which seems oddly fitting. 

Yet another triumph from Hot Toys.

And you can still grab him from Sideshow right here:
Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Series Red Skull Sixth Scale Figure - Captain America: The First Avenger

1 comment:

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