Ok, so I skipped Medicom Ghost Rider and reviewed Achilles first! I could not resist snapping pictures of Achilles once I got it out. You’ve got to see the shield for yourself. It’s amazing! I guess this figure represents the closest satisfaction a 12″ collector can get from owning an ancient Greek warrior with an appetite whet from the recent 300 movie! I know there are some rendition of 12″ Greek Hoplites right now but they pale in comparison to this Brad Pitt Achilles!
Although the movie Troy had its share of critics, I enjoyed to tremendously. Eric Bana as Hector was fantastic. Sean Bean, another favourite actor of mine, was excellent as Odysseus. Brad Pitt’s Achilles was… ok but his hunky built did lent some hero factor to the supposedly legendary warrior. So, my interest in this figure is leaning more towards Achilles than Brad Pitt!
If a Hector figure is produced, it would be a different matter. It’s probably the best figure of an Eric Bana role to have in 12″ format. Certainly a Hector figure would be more interesting than his Black Hawk Down Delta Operator role. If Achilles’ shield can be so droolicious, certainly Hector’s crescent-shaped shield and silver armour would also be impressive! I hope these makers of this Achilles figure get out an equally good or better Hector figure soon!
Now onto the review!
For a 12″ product out of an unknown company, this Achilles figure is amazing. It’s really a looker which is the result of excellent construction and paint work. Accessories for this package is generous and the producers have thoughtfully provided 2 heads since they went with the non-removable helmet design. Although the shield is really awesome, it is too heavy for the nude body’s arms. Other flaws can be easily overcomed with customising.
- Good Brad Pitt resemblance.
- Excellent overall construction for armour and accessories.
- Generous with accessories.
- Beautiful paint work.
What could be better:
- Packaging is not too protective of its contents.
- Shield is way too heavy.
- Adhesive for on the shield strap is giving way.
- Lack of hands that can grasp the sword firmly.
- When sword is sheathed on the shield, it leaves no space for the hands to hold the shield.
The box for Achilles albeit simple is really user-friendly. It’s like a shoe-box with an outer sleeve. Slide out the sleeve, lift the box cover and Brad Pitt stares at you immediately. However, unlike the slicker big company boxes, the figure and its accesorries are all packed into the confines of the box. No specific plastic container for each accessory or the figure. It reminds me of the box from Very Hot 12″ figures.
The downside of this simple implementation is that sensitive or minute parts on a figure may be easily bent or broken during transportation since poor Brad is knocking against his extra head, spears and the sides of the box. So check the stuff inside should you want to plonk your toy dollar into this!
To check out the box and the interesting words behind it, check this previous post!
Everyone knows Brad Pitt is a pretty boy. I believe Hot Toys produced a sculpt of Brad Pitt for one of its military figures. And it looked great. However, I see Brad Pitt AS Achilles to be a different take altogether. It’s no longer slapping a pretty boy Pitt sculpt onto the figure with all that Myrmidon armour. We are looking at a bronze-skinned rugged warrior.
And this is where the sculpt for this Achilles figure excels. In the evening light of the setting sun, the facial expression of the sculpt shows a warrior who has seen too much of battles. A little weary maybe but certainly battle hardened. And the sculpted hair looked great!
Replacing this head with the helmet version and you get a Myrmidon ready to do battle! And this figure looks awesome with the helmet on. I believe the sculptors went the way of sculpted hair because it is much easier to implement. But the trade-off is the need for a second head with a helmet that cannot be removed. For a helmet to fit snugly, the sculpted hair had to be low and smaller in volume. Think Hot Toys Aviators. Alternatively, strands of pseudo hair has to be used as in the case of Takara Cool Girls.
Quality of Product
This Achilles figure is really an excellent work. As most of the figure is covered in bronze-coloured armour, they are at the forefront of scrutiny. And the combination of armour design and paint work really makes the armour look metallic. The paint itself conveys the weathering on the armour. Looking closely, you can observe tiny scratches and dents on the armour. Everything just adds up to give realism.
The crest on Achilles’ helmet is likely to depict horse hair rather than plume. I like its messy arrangement as it conveys the result of battle where there is too much action to keep the crest neat. I mean, you would probably headbutt some guy, duck the slash of another, always turning your head to access the chaotic situation. Too neat and it becomes too broom-like and ceremonial. And its length is just about right – long enough to attract attention, short enought to be erect.
Under the armour is a black faux leather tunic. A pair of armoured gauntlets and shin guards adorn the forearms and shins respectively. These smaller pieces of armour also convey a certain realistic heavyduty nature to them! Also look out for small details such as the strings and straps that hold the pieces of armour together.
An issue I noticed about this Achilles figure is the lack a a suitable hand to wield the sword firmly. The hilt of the sword is rather slender and it kept slipping our of the grasp of the hands. At this point, I was grateful for the good modelling of hands found in Sideshow’s 12″ products.
Another potential problem is the faux leather strap of the shield. I removed the shield from Achilles’ back several times for the photo shoot. After a while, I noticed that one end of the strap glued to the shield had given way. It was about 5mm of strap becoming undone. As such, be careful about stressing these glued parts. Maybe a better solution would have been to mold 2 smaller handles at each end for the strap to be threaded through them. At least all is not lost if the stickiness of the adhesive is lost over time.
On the whole, this is an excellent product from an unknown producer. Maybe I should not harp too much about them being unknown and give them more credit. It’s just that the actual product is amazing. No slick box art or branding but it’s a beautiful work of art that I will cherish in my 12″ ranks.
Stability for this figure is considered good. Let me explain. I was still able to balance Achilles with the heavy shield on his back or in his arm. (Read all about the weight of the shield in the accessories section below to appreciate this.) I believe it is due to the presence of unobstructed ankle articulation. Achilles boots are about ankle height and his shin armour is a separate piece. Not near the stability of a Takara figure but more closer to a Sideshow figure.
This producers of this Achilles package has generously provided the following accessories:
- Extra head
- Long spear
- Short spears x 2
- Arrow x 3
Now that’s a lot of weapons for a 12″ figure… particularly in the spears department. I was roughly able to ascertain the accuracy of the weapons from the different pictures on the Internet. Maybe I should watch Troy again.
The sword, although it is plastic, is elaborately crafted and follows the design in Troy pretty closely. The shield however sees a little deviation in its surface texture. In the movie, it looked smoother to the touch and is darker in colour. The figure’s shield is rougher to the touch and a much lighter shade to it.
The next thing you will notice about the shield is its weight. It’s probably the heaviest piece of 1/6 accessory I’ve ever handled so far. It’s probably close to the shield in my Captain America Archive Set. I cannot ascertain the material it is made of. It’s rough texture conveys a ceramic-like or stone material but I doubt so. There are two sides to the shield’s weight, it makes it pretty real and not toy-like. You get the idea that it will withstand an arrow shower and teeth will break if the edge of this hardy shield smashes into the enemy’s mouth. The downside is that the nude body cannot lift it up!
Shoulder joints in 1/6 bodies are usually one of the weakest. Sideshow’s 12″ Star Wars figures already have problems holding their arms up without a lightsaber. It would required Herculean strength from Achilles to even hold the shield up to cover his chest.
Nevertheless, I quickly forgot these issues as the shield looked truly imposing. Slung behind Achilles, it is reminiscent of a turtle’s shell as it protects the entire back. The details on the shield is also worth some moments of inspection. And the cool thing is that you can sheath the sword in the shield, just like in the movie, as seen below!
However, once sheathed, there is hardly room on the shield’s handle for the hand to grab onto. But since the shield it amazingly heavy, it is likely that you will sling it behind the figure than to let it weigh down the figure making it look lopsided.
I estimate the long spear to be close to 12.5″ long as it easily exceeds the height of Achilles. From pictures on the Internet of the scene in Troy where Achilles had a spear in hand when he challenged Hector to a fight, I must say that the length is about right. The spear’s appearance is hardy but no elaborate carvings adorn it. Very normal, very spartan. And this is how I like my battle spear to be! No use looking royal, it’s gotta cut. And this spear is responsible for making the box so long!
The short spears actually looked more ceremonial with the gold ends. Just like the long spear, they are well produced and no where near flimsy.
The arrows are a curious inclusion since there is no bow. I have seen some guys on the forum post pictures of their Achilles with the arrows embedded in the shield due to enemy fire. I guess that is the purpose. And I noticed that there are no fletchings on the arrows. Trojan arrows do not require fletchings to stay stable in flight? Hmm….