Ignite's Napoleon Imperial Guard

There's a new sixth scale company in town - boy, if I had a nickel for every time I've said THAT in the last couple years. Certainly the fastest growing segment of action figures has been sixth scale, and new companies seem to pop up on a pretty  regular basis. The latest is called Ignite and they have several figures in their first offering.

I've gotten the Napoleon's Imperial Guard (reviewed here), and Roman Gladiator
(reviewed next week). They are also producing a Northern Lieutenant and a Southern Colonel from the Civil War.

Each of these figures retails for about $50 - $60, depending on the figure and the retailer. They are certainly aiming for the high end market, competing with bbi and Dragon's higher end figures, along with Drastic Plastic.

A big difference with these figures is the heavy use of die cast metal, perhaps the most I've ever seen with a single figure.  That alone puts them in a slightly different class than most other figures.

Packaging - ***1/2
Beautiful graphics and a completely collector friendly design highlight the boxes from Ignite. There's a good text description of each figure, explaining the background, which is repeated on the back and inside on the fifth panel.

The only negatives are the repeat of the text, and the slightly thinner cardboard they have used. I'm comparing this to the boxes by other companies in the same market, and I suspect these won't hold up quite as well to repeated use or handling.

Overall however, Ignite is right on the mark with their style and design.

Sculpting - ***
The sculpts currently used by Ignite are generic males, with certain features intended to fit with the character. For example, the Imperial Guard figure has a beard styled to look like the period.

The head sculpt quality seems to vary by figure, with the Civil War figures looking the least attractive, and the Roman Gladiator the best. The Imperial Guard figure fits some where in between.

The appearance and style match the period well, and the proportions are well done. The sculpt is a bit soft however, killing off some of the detail. This lack of detail translates to the hands as well, which seem to be slightly small. I actually believe the scale is better than most figures, where sixth scale hands tend to be too large.  But the soft material they used for the hands automatically means a softer, less detailed sculpt.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint ops are fairly slim here, with the majority involving the head and face.

There were no serious problems any where, and all the important facial aspects were good - straight eyes, consistent skin tone, clean hair line, etc.

There are some minor paint ops on the rifle and sword, and these are well executed as well.  But the majority of color and beauty on this figure come from the exceptional...

Outfit - ****
Wow! I thought the Drastic stuff was nice - this uniform is truly exceptional! That seems to be getting to be the norm in the sixth scale market.

The outfit consists of his bearskin hat, top coat, vest, pants, shirt, and boots. Every piece is made with the highest quality materials, and the level of detail and quality of manufacturer is really hard to believe.  Snaps and metal clasps are used everywhere, with no sign of velcro.

The top coat is an excellent example. The attention to detail includes the carefully embroidered patches, epaulets and designs down the back of the jacket tails. The material is thick, and it includes an inner lining in some areas.

Another important aspect of this uniform is the tailoring. Each piece of clothing fits tightly, but not too tightly to appear disproportionate. The difference between a figure like this and a $20 Hasbro figure is like the difference between buying your suit off the rack, or having it sewn to fit your specific measurements. Sure, it costs more, but you can't help but notice the exceptional difference.

The boots are well sculpted, with a realistic appearance and feel. The fit over the pants tightly, but are made of a soft enough material to make taking them on and off fairly easy.

The hat is the literal capper. The hat has a soft interior, like a real hat, rather than the hard plastic we so often see. It fits the head easily, and the external details, like the feather, tassels and emblems are the same high quality that you see across the rest of the  uniform.

I'm really impressed with the level of quality and detail on this uniform, and find it hard to believe this is their first offering.

Articulation - ***
There's lots of competition in the sixth scale body world these days.  You can't make a new figure without having the style and articulation compared to the heavy hitters.

This figure has plenty of joints - ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps (high, near the shoulders), double jointed elbows, simple wrist joints, chest, waist, ball jointed hips (similar to Famous Covers style hips), double jointed knees, cut thighs, and simple ankles.

That's more than enough to do almost any pose.  The only reason they aren't scoring higher is that the bodies I've been giving ***1/2 or **** stars to have additional articulation, like the bendy hands, super cool Sideshow wrist joints, or slightly better designs around the hip joints.

The only joint I really would like to see them improve here is the wrist.  I know that Sideshow has spoiled me with their excellent wrist joints, but this very basic cut joint doesn't do you a whole lot of good for posing with the weapons.  It's too bad to see something like that cause limitations when the rest of the body, especially the arms, don't.

Accessories - ****
Another wow!  Ignite has gone out of their way in putting together some exceptional quality accessories.

The Guard comes with his sword (bright die cast metal blade) and scabbard, bayonet (gray die cast metal) and scabbard (also called 'frog' I believe), ammo pouch, belts for both the scabbards and pouch, 'fur' covered backpack, and rifle with gray die cast metal parts.  Oh, and let's not forget the short pike or lance he also has with the gray die cast metal blade.

The details on every accessory are excellent, and I'm very impressed with the quality.  For example, the white belts for the pouch, scabbards and backpack are all very thick and extremely well stitched.  There's very little likelihood that you'll damage them or tear them taking them on or off.

Keep the weapons away from kids though, particularly the bayonet.  It comes to a very sharp point, and putting an eye out with it could very well be a real possibility!

There was one odd thing - the top of the back pack has white straps intended for a bed roll.  The figure on the front of the package (an artist rendition) has a bed roll clearly visible.  Yet the figure didn't come with one.

Value - ***
This is a sixty dollar figure, about the top end of a price point for any sixth scale offering.  The new Drastic FDR was at this price point, and scored slightly lower in the value category even with the wheel chair.

I gave this figure a slight edge though due to all the well thought out use of metal.  Adding the metal accessories where it made sense was a big boost in the overall value, and I'm sure cost.

Overall - ***1/2
This figure is just a smidgen shy of a four star figure.  Had the price point been just slightly lower, or the head sculpt just slightly more impressive, or the body just slightly better articulated, he would have gotten four stars hands down.

I'm really impressed by these first offerings, not just because of the excellent uniforms and accessories, but because they are going with far more colorful and unique characters than the standard military stuff we've gotten so used to.

Where to Buy - 
That's a bit more of a sticky wicket - they aren't being too widely carried at this point.  Do a little web searching and you should be able to find them at a couple places, but bug your favorite retailer to look into carrying them.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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