HOT TOYS Jack Sparrow

If you’re reading this, you are most likely here because you already know HOT TOYS. If not, they are a vendor of ultra-high end collectible figures based in Hong Kong. They are distributed in the USA by Sideshow Collectibles, and the figures are available either direct from Sideshow, or from a variety of online resellers.

Thus begins my second feature for this group, and it's a very special one. 

When I published the first review from this pair, I wasn't hugely on Sideshow's radar, but if recent traffic is any indication, they're going to be watching this one closely. Let's start with an awesome image:

Jack Sparrow

These reviews are fun. I’m hoping you guys like seeing them as much as I like making them, especially the unique photography. If you guys want, send me an email and I’ll tell you what my wish list is, and if you’re generous enough and want to be credited, send up a figure!

If you don’t know Jack Sparrow, you don’t know Jack, or something. Unlike Babydoll this is a character and a movie series that everyone in the world should be familiar with, if box office is any indication. Instead of my yapping on about stuff you won’t read anyway, let’s get on with it!

1/6 Scale?

If you’re an avid 1/6 collector, skip this section.

1/6 scale ( pronounced “one sixth scale” ) is a format of collectible figure referring to a figure that is literally, or more accurately “approximately” 1/6th the size it would be in full scale. So if a person is 6 feet tall, they would be 12” in 1/6 scale. Therefore, most of these figures are around 12” tall. Some are taller or shorter than they should be in order to accommodate the format expectations.

A huge amount of R&D goes into each figure, from sculpting to tailoring to painting. No matter how you feel about the subject matter, each of these is a remarkable work of art.

How Scoring Works for this format

The expected conventions for High End collectible readers are quite different from the ones I use on uryaen.com.  In this series, I will combine the format that people expect to see in the places where my work is republished, and I will add my particular touch to the process for here on uryaen.com.

Packaging - ***1/2

As you know, I slammed HOT TOYS for Babydoll’s box and frankly I stand by that. It's entirely unacceptable in 2012-2013 to still be dealing with flimsy and tacky plastic inserts and thin boxes with top flaps for figures of this price range. I hope that they wholly phase them out in 2013 in favor of the more appropriate and increasingly standard foam insert/thick box that you see even with the less expensive ENTERBAY figures. 

Jack of course has all of this. His box isn't QUITE up to the standard of ENTERBAY, but it's darn close. The box is almost as thick, but it doesn't close as well. There is a single layer flap that just flops over the other side, wherein on the ENTERBAY boxes, there is ( as far as I've seen ) always a whole second side to the box, and the whole thing holds together better. Even if HOT TOYS doesn’t want to put things in the other half, they should separate the outer wall on a 75/25% ratio with the front half so that the whole thing has more structural integrity all around.

Even if you don't care about these distinctions, you're still getting one of the best presentations in the business. 

Upon opening the box, you’re first greeted by an insert holding the Jack Sparrow flag, and this is securely held in its own bag. I had to iron mine, and even then it has a fold in it. I can’t help but wonder if this could have been helped a bit by packing it with some spacer card.

After that is a cut out in front of the foam holder for the figure itself, as seen below. Finally, removing that layer reveals one last layer of foam that holds the ship helm ( They call it a Rudder in the manual, but this is not correct. The Rudder is the large flap that sits down in the water actually steering the ship. The wheel is called the “Helm” ). This is the headline piece, but we’ll get into that later.

Finally, below this at the bottom of the box are some important bits, so be sure to check there before you panic about missing parts.

Sculpting - ****

I mentioned in my Babydoll review that I didn't have DX06 Jack to look at, and lo, now I do. At this stage, I don't know if I can really add anything to the general pool of opinion on this sculpt, and I try not to read other reviews before I've written my own. I also would like a stable of at least 10 similar figures before I get too much into details about comparisons here, and hopefully before the end of the year I'll have much more than that. For now: 

Jack comes with two faces, and each has the P.E.R.S. system.

What is P.E.R.S.?

Parallel Eyeball Rolling System. There is a little lever in the back of each head, and moving it rotates the eyes, hopefully always in the same direction. There are Google rumblings of broken heads abound, but mine seem pretty sturdy.

Here is a look at the eyes looking in each direction:

Serious Face - Both faces unmistakably convey both "Jack Sparrow" and "Johnny Depp" but the serious face is better suited for most poses and will probably see more time on the figure for most of you. Even though it's fairly neutral and serious, I can still see a hint of worry in it, which the character literally ALWAYS has. 

Silly Face - Or "Mischievous Face" if you like, but Silly is a better counter to Serious. For the accessories that were created, it's hard to do a LOT with this face. I have a feeling that if I had more POTC figures, this face would be better, and I'm working on that! In fact, once I have a few of any particular line, I'll do some special diorama type shoots, and more "in movie shots". 

Both faces are spot on for my money. I’m sure someone out there can find a nit here, but really, this is pretty state of the art, and this isn’t even a 2013 figure.

Each of his MANY accessories is sculpted as well as modern techniques allow, and although his pistols are not articulate in any way, everything is extremely detailed. I have included a full set of macro images showing this incredible detail.

Paint - ****

I might be lucky in this regard, but this is the fourth review figure I've had in with perfect paint. This is also a good time to premiere my new ULTRA macro photography system. I don’t think that the sculptors and painters really expected many people to take photographs under these conditions, but I’ll be damned if everything doesn’t hold up beautifully even at this scale.

Articulation - ***

You have to give Johnny Depp a lot of credit. Once you see how much sheer STUFF he wore for MONTHS of his life while running around outside, it's easy to see why the character is so special. Even if they made a lot of this in ultra-light materials, which I doubt given the sturdiness they'd require, it's a LOT of stuff, and just getting the figure out of all of those layers to do some "casual" shots was a painful process. 

The body has all the articulation you'd want, but buried in all of those layers, you can't do much with him. This is just physics at work, but something to bear in mind when you're mentally planning poses for your future Jack purchase. He'll look amazing in any pose, but you're more than likely to pose him with his keystone accessory anyway. Speaking of which . . . 

Accessories - ****

The Helm – This of course is the big ticket item of the whole set, and it’s every bit as huge and detailed and heavy as you’d expect. The whole thing comes in a few pieces. There is the wheel itself and the piece it’s mounted to, and these are wrapped in cord, and then there is a flat cardboard deck with two holes in it that you wrap the cord through and tie off. It feels a little flimsy, but if you’re not moving it around, it should be fine. You place the marquee in the front ( or in the box ), and then display it with Jack behind it, next to it, or more realistically, passed out on the floor near it. He comes with a rum bottle after all.

The manual doesn’t indicate if the bottle is empty or not, so ultimately it’s up to you to decide if he’s had too much, or if he’s steering away from a 1/6 scale Kraken ( please? ).

His two pistols don’t fire, but then, they virtually never did in the movies either, so no complaints there.

His sword is much like any other 1/6 sword. It looks and feels like metal, and if you look closely at the macro image there are gold inlays in the handle. Fancy!

The Black Pearl in a Bottle is one of my favorite all-time 1/6 accessories, and when you see it in macro it’s easy to see why. Think about how small this thing actually is, and then look at the detail of the cork and the ship inside. It even looks like it’s raining in there.  

All-too-obvious jokes aside, the two telescopes are also more detailed than they have to be, and look like they could almost really function, assuming you could actually look into them.

The first "in movie" shot I'm releasing. 

The troublesome compass is present, and in fact, was the only thing that gave me trouble ( see below ).

Finally his mother’s shrunken head and hand are there.

Jack comes with an odd number of hands, which makes sense for an odd character. Each works in a variety of poses, and wouldn’t work on any other character.

So much variety here, you shouldn’t have any trouble changing up his display every few weeks or so.

Outfit - ****

Look at any doll outfits you have lying around, assuming they didn’t come from one of these manufacturers, and you’ll see some common and unfortunate elements: oversized buttons, snaps, and *shudder* Velcro. Jack has none of these things. His outfit, even though it’s scale, is actually ALSO period accurate. It fits onto the figure using ties and a lot of belts, just like the real thing, and this is the part that blew me away more than anything. I’ve included some macro close-ups and just hit my Flickr page and download any of the images in this review to zoom in and really get a close look.  

Fun Factor - ****

If fun is playing with something actively, you’re looking at the wrong review. If fun is posing a quality figure in movie accurate poses for your shelf, it doesn’t get any better. If you’re not a fan of the movie, you’re probably not going to get it, but if you are, you’ll find nothing better.

Value - ****

These 1/6 figures get more expensive every year. Our economy gets worse every year. This is hard to quantify in today’s market. $250 is a lot for one figure, and they’re showing no signs of slowing their price ascent. I do kind of miss 2005 when the average 1/6 figure was $60. Are they three times better now? I’m not sure I want to comment on that, but I’ll just say that if you’re a cinephile like me, you’re likely to find a small set of these figures per year that you’re going to HAVE to own.

Things to Watch Out For

Even at this price point, you can almost always expect SOME minor nit. When mine arrived, everything appeared to be perfect, but upon the second official shoot ( I do several usually ), the gold pointer piece in the compass fell out. I didn't break it out, I didn't even touch it. It just came out. I reached out to SS for replacement and they're sending one right out. I’ll probably do something horrible to this one and dirty it up for additional interesting poses. For a figure north of $200, even if I didn’t buy it the month it came out, as long as I bought it through official channels, and it has been a reasonable amount of time, I expect replacement parts to be available. Fortunately they came through on this, and a new part is on it's way. There is no need for additional photography, so the review is out now. 

Seems to be missing something . . .

Jack has had it with the compass!

Other than that, I had no issues. 

Overall - ***3/4

The broken part issue is what keeps this figure out of four star status, but that’s only “reviewer stuff”. It’s a perfect figure. Get one wherever you still can.

COMPANY

Sideshow has gone through several PR reps in the time I’ve dealt with them, but hopefully this time things are going to stabilize a bit. I’ll report more on them after the next figure or two. So far, my new rep has been awesome. 

Support

SS is sending out a replacement compass and their new rep has been very quick on the responses to emails and questions. I'm sure I'll be able to do some interesting features on them this year. If I can muster the ability to travel, I'll go visit them and do a nice feature video. They are right smack in a neigbhorhood I used to live in. 

Conclusion

If you missed out on previous Jack offerings, this is the only one you need. If they do another for the next Pirate movie, hopefully it will be even more epic than this, but that’s hard to imagine. What I’d really love to see is a 2013-2014 resculpt of Davy Jones. I really wanted a perfect example of that figure, and I might still try to find the previous release somewhere. If I do, you can be sure I’ll have amazing photos of it as well. I also lament that we never really got a version of Elizabeth that I can get behind. The pirate queen version didn’t do anything for me, but at this point, there is no chance of a new one, so it is what it is.

Be sure to come back soon for additional “in movie” images as they are produced, and I may also do exclusive images for my guest spots, as they are published as well.

What’s next from Sideshow/HOT TOYS? Sideshow is releasing a JOKER based on Killing Joke. I’m a big Joker fan, and a Killing Joke fan to boot, so that will be a perfect fit. Other than that, who knows! See ya next time.  

 

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