Sideshow 12" George Washington

One of the advantages of going first in anything is that you almost certainly cement your place in history. While others may come after you, doing it better, faster, or smarter, you'll always be remembered simply because you were first.

Of course, there is always downside or payment to any upside, and in the case of going first, that usually involved getting shot, dying of previously unknown poisonous chemicals, or being eaten by a large animal. Luckily for George Washington, he avoided most of the downside.

As our first president, he'll obviously always be remembered. And now Sideshow has released their 12" version of this particular founding father, decked out in his traditional uniform, ready to kick some Redcoat ass.

As is often the case, he comes in regular and unleaded, or as Sideshow calls it, exclusive and non-exclusive. I'm reviewing the exclusive version, but there's only one additional accessory, and I'll point that out when the time is right.

Packaging -  ***1/2
Another beautiful job, incorporating a photo of the actual toy on the front with the aged appearance of the other graphics. There's some decent background text???, and the box is fairly collector friendly.

I do say 'fairly', and reduce the score slightly, because it appears as if the person in charge of twisty ties was having a hella bad day, and decided to take it out on the imperialist pig dogs that would be buying him. The twisty that normally goes around his neck, or in some cases (where I complain) around his chest and shoulders, and attaches him to the cardboard tray, is actually wrapped around his torso in a configuration Houdini would be proud of. It is also intertwined to some extent with the thread tacking used to hold the coat neatly in place, which might tempt you to cut that tacking. Now, normally I always do, but in this case, the tacking really does improve the look of the coat over the long haul, keeping it tight and in a nice position. So cutting it should be a last resort.

The good news is that you don't have to, if you're careful. Unbutton the vest, and get the twisty by the front. Carefully remove it from the right side of the body first, then the left. You should be able to get it out without further stripping poor George.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Washington's likeness has been captured for us in paintings, etchings and carvings, but no photographs of course.  That means that while I'm sure the artist of the day did his best to capture reality, there were still other factors involved, not the least of which was the vanity (or lack thereof) of the subject in question.

So as to whether the likeness of George in those paintings is completely accurate will always be in question.  Therefore, whether this sculpt is identical in reality is an open question as well.

However, this sculpt is extremely accurate to the paintings and previous sculpts.  He's instantly recognizable, even without the trademark uniform, although stripping him nekkid to prove the point was a little more effort than I was interested in.

This is also a sculpt that looks good from all angles, including the profile.  There's lots of texture and skin detail here including fine wrinkles, giving the figure a more realistic and lifelike appearance.

The hand sculpts are gloved, and work nicely with the various accessories.  George is a bit tall, since he's on the standard Sideshow body, which means he's grown quite a bit in translation.  Standing next to Lincoln, the scale will look most out of place.

The other sculpting issue is a distinct seam line through the back half of his head.  Clearly, the back half of the hair, including the pony tail, were added as a separate piece.  The seam on my figure isn't too apparent, but I've seen figures where the gap was much wider.  Fortunately, the hat makes it a moot point, but it's still important to note.

Paint - ***1/2
Just like the sculpt, the paint is *almost* spot on perfect.  The skin tone isn't so thick as to remove the skin detail, and it's consistent and clean.  The hair line is very well done, and the slight wash used with the hair brings out the detail.

My only nit is that on mine, the eyes are not quite straight.  He has a bit of a lazy left eye, nothing major, but enough that I noticed it on close inspection.  However, that's the only flaw I have with my paint, and the work on the face, hair and lips is perfect.

Articulation - ***1/2
Do you like the standard Sideshow body?  Then you have your answer to this category.

On this figure, with the tight fitting well tailored jacket, I has some issues with the funky shoulders.  They tend to throw off the appearance of the arm a bit, although the general amount of articulation and range of movement is excellent.

George does have the ball jointed neck too, always a selling point for me.  I had no trouble getting him to stand easily on his own in a number of poses, and there were no loose joints.

Accessories - ***1/2
Seems like an awful lot of almost four star ratings!  Important to note in this category is that the trend toward more and better accessories seems to be continuing at Sideshow.

The regular George comes with a map of Valley Forge, a full sized sword, a dummy sword hilt (more on that later), a scabbard, and a telescoping telescope.

The telescope is really impressive, with a moving center section and a pleather wrap.  It not only looks real, it feels real!  Now, in the photos it appears as though there are two sections that telescope, but I was only able to get one to operate.  Mine may be glued shut however.

The full sized sword looks good, and fits in his hand easily enough.  It is very thin though, and rather than risk putting it in and removing it from the scabbard, they've come up with a different solution.  They included a dummy hilt that fits inside the top of the scabbard, making it appear as though the sword is sheathed.  Interesting, eh?

The map is pretty uninspiring, and I'd love to see them do something like this on weathered parchment, rather than glossy paper.

Finally, there's the exclusive edition's extra accessory - an additional sword, with very different style and hilt.  This is more of a dress or ceremonial version I believe, but I'm not up on my Revolutionary War steel. 

Outfit - ***1/2
This is one of the most impressive Sideshow outfits in awhile, and they went all out.

There's an undershirt and fat suit at the lowest level, giving old George a paunch.  Looks like he wasn't in the habit of skipping too many meals.  Some have complained that it's too fat, but it looks about right to me.  It fits tightly as well, but the clothes are tailored to fit over it nicely.

There's the pants and vest, done in the same tan material, both well tailored.  There's no chicken leg look here, although he's got a belly.  There's also stockings, but these are covered up by the pants and knee high boots. The boot sculpt is excellent, and on each boot is a spur.  The spur is separate from the boot though and can fall off when you're not looking, so keep your eyes on them.

Over the vest is his jacket, which is where I have my only complaint.  The jacket is extremely well tailored and fits tightly.  However, the epaulets were designed on the jacket without considering where the shoulders would fall, and because of that they ride too far back.  It's a fairly minor issue, but that's what I'm here for.

There's also the tricorn hat, which looks a little large without the cape, but is perfect when the cape is added.

And the cape is huge, engulfing George and his whole outfit.  Personally, I wish capes would come back in style.  They're just so damn cool.  Maybe I need to just start wearing one...

The outfit sports all kinds of small touches, like the metal buttons down the front of the jacket and vest, and the excellent stitching all around.  Sideshow hasn't always been consistent with their sculpts, outfits and accessories - but it does seem like they've always been consistently on their game with the historical figures.

Value - **1/2
At $50 he comes in about average for a Sideshow release, showing the level of quality in costume and sculpt you'd expect for the price range. You aren't getting any great shakes here in terms of value, but you certainly won't feel ripped off.

Things to watch out for - 
Be careful attaching the dummy sword handle to the scabbard - it only goes in one way, and it's a tight fit. I'd keep the thread tacking in place on the coat and vest as well, although it's really up to you whether you snip them or not.

And don't forget to watch those spurs, or they may just get away from you!

Overall -  ***1/2 
I picked a few nits with this figure, but overall it's extremely nice.  He might be a tad too tall, but you'll forgive him that issue once you see him on your shelf.  If you are into the historical figures, this is one to pick up, and will replace any previous George you might have.

Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall -  ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Sideshow only produced 500 of the exclusive version, but the wait list is still available for cases where customers that may cancel and free up figures. They also have the regular version, which has not yet had its edition size set, available for $50. Other options include:

- Alter Ego Comics has the regular version for $40.

Related Links:
Other historical figures I've reviewed include:

- I reviewed the original Sideshow General Custer (along with Crazy Horse), along with the Drastic Plastic version. A guest reviewer handled Sideshow's second version of Custer as well. 

- Drastic also did the exceptional FDR, and controversial Hitler.

- slightly less famous, but historical nonetheless, is the Vlad the Impaler and Blackbeard figures from Sideshow.

- and of course all of the Sideshow western figures, including Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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