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Blackbeard the Pirate Premium Format Statue
Sideshow Collectibles

Blackbeard the Pirate Premium Format statue from Sideshow Collectibles


I love pirates, always have. Yes, the reality has never been quite the same as the fantasy, but that's true of all iconic heroes and villains. To Hell with reality - fantasy is just so much more fun!

On top of that, reality isn't always the brutal truth some might want you to believe. Blackbeard, also known as Edward Teach but who's real name will never be known, was perhaps the most famous of all the pirates during what is known as the 'golden age of piracy", the back half of the 17th Century and early 18th century.

He's considered the archetype because his look was copied in movies and television over and over again. With a large tricorne hat, tall black boots, two bandoleers filled with pistols, long coat and massive black beard (hence the name) tied in tails at his chin, Teach knew the importance of looking the part. He did such a great job of creating a fearsome visage that he influenced the fantasy version of pirates centuries later. Bet he never saw that coming!

Back to my point about reality and truth - it is popular today to color all pirates as evil murderers and rapists, who's lust for money and gold drove them to brutal acts of pillaging and plundering. In reality, that's no more the 'truth' than the romanticized version we see in Jack Sparrow. There are many rumors and fictional accounts of Blackbeard that painted him a cruel, evil man, but there is little in the way of factual history to back them up.In fact, there are many accounts of his mercy on bystanders, and there are no verified accounts of him treating captives in a brutal fashion. 
Blackbeard the Pirate Premium Format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
Blackbeard the Pirate Premium Format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
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Blackbeard the Pirate Premium Format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
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Blackbeard the Pirate Premium Format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
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Blackbeard the Pirate Premium Format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
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Blackbeard the Pirate Premium Format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
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Blackbeard the Pirate Premium Format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
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Blackbeard the Pirate Premium Format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
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What we do know from history is that after being given a pardon by the Governor of North Carolina and apparently retiring from his life of piracy (the theory being that he knew the lifestyle was drawing to a close, and he had plenty on which to live), the Governor of Virginia set a bounty on his head. Bounty hunters tracked him down and killed him, bringing back his severed head. The decomposing head was placed on a pole in port in Virginia as a warning to others.

So was he a good guy or a bad guy? Probably not either, although odds are pretty good that neither the romanticized accounts or the historical versions have it quite right.

All that brings me to Sideshow's latest Premium Format statue - Blackbeard. They produced a terrific sixth scale figure years ago, but they are revisiting the historical character as part of their 'Sideshow originals'. There are two versions, as you've come to expect: the regular, limited to just 500, and the exclusive version, limited to the even lower 200. Either version cost $400, and he's now in stock.

Packaging - ***
He comes nicely packed in foam in a big box - no surprise there. You can always pop him back inside for storage too, and they've even included some instructions to make putting the base together a little easier.

Sculpting - ****
Now THIS is the kid of sculpt we know Sideshow's artists are capable of. There's an amazing amount of detail in every braid, every strand of hair. The skin is rough and wrinkled, with a realistic scar on the right side of his face. While the POTC Davey Jones might have had stolen this look with his octopus puss, Blackbeard did it better.

There's also a ton of great work on the other various resin pieces, like the guns, sword, buttons, and base.

The butt of the guns have little faces carved into them, and the buttons each have an intricate pattern. The hilt of the sword has another face, with tons of attention to detail.

The base is one of the most intricate we've seen from Sideshow in ages. There is the wooden bridge of a ship at the very bottom, with small pieces of shattered wood, a cannonball, broken shackles, rope, ad even the remains of a cannon at his feet. While most of these pieces are resin, there's some metal mixed in there for realism.

They went with a dynamic expression, with a snarl on his lips as he attacks. I like this quite a bit better than the open mouth yell they went for in the sixth scale version, and while I'm usually not a fan of over the top expressions, this one works extremely well with the overall design.

If I had one complaint, it would be that the hat seems a little off in size and placement. It's so minor though, that it's not even enough of a quibble to deduct anything from the score.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint is extremely good, but there's a couple areas were it could have been just a smidge better.

I like the tanned skin tone, since this is a man who never new the benefit of SPF 20. The painted ribbons are clean and neat, set apart perfectly from the dangerous braids. The hat, shoes and other worn pieces exhibit the right amount of damage and wear, giving them a very natural appearance. And the paint work o the base makes all that resin look more like real wood, metal and rope than the actual goods.

I do wish the work around the eyes and eyebrows was a bit better though. Here the paint work gives him a bit more of a fake 'collectible' look, and less of a actual pirate about to run you through look.

Again, it's a minor quibble, particularly in person.

Articulation - N/A
I leave this category in for PF's, even though it has no effect on my overall score, because back in the day, when men were men and sheep were scared, PF's had some minor articulation. They no longer do, but that's to be expected. They are statues, after all.

Accessories - regular Bupkis, exclusive **
This isn't really a category that's going to do much for my personal overall, but I thought I'd use it to mention the extra item added in with the exclusive - the ax.

This weapon can be slipped in the back of the belt, giving him another option when fighting on the bridge of the ship. I t looks great, but if the exclusive meant spending more bucks, I wouldn't do it. If you were buying from Sideshow anyway, then you're getting the extra item (and a lower edition size) for the same price - how can you go wrong?

Outfit - ****
It's critical for a mixed media statue like this to take advantage of the cloth sections. By using the best materials and finest detail, they can take a statue like this to the next level.

That's exactly what they did here. The tailoring is perfect, and the materials of the finest quality. The sewing is amazing, with excruciating detail on the stitching around the buttons and other areas of the coat.

There is also some wear and dirt added, but none of it is overdone or extreme. It looks like he's been wearing these clothes for awhile, and they've seen their share of action, but it's not so over the top as to look silly or toyish.

There's an outer leather belt that wraps around the shoulders. This belt has a leather pouch (that can't be opened) at the front, and on each side are 3 flintlock pistols. There's a belt around his waist as well, with a loop for the sword, if he were interested in sheathing it.

You can adjust just how this belt hangs on him to your preference. I left mine fairly wide on his shoulders, almost down on his arms, to allow the guns to sit away from his beard, but you may prefer them closer together on his chest. You'll be able to adjust these as you desire.

Value - **1/2
Regular readers know that a **1/2 score in Value is an average score, and that it ends up having no effect on my final overall, positive or negative. Four hundred bucks is not 'cheap' by anyone's standard, but you are getting one Hell of a well done, large, complex statue in Blackbeard. There's far more to the figure itself as well as the base he stands on than we usually see in PF's, making up for the cost savings Sideshow got on a license.

Things to Watch Out For -
The rope is quite fragile - take care. Also, be sure to follow the instructions and attach the hunk of wood to the cannon before putting the cannon on the base. It's the only way you'll get it in the proper position. More important, make sure the small metal ring on the rope in front is to your right (his left) before you attach the cannon as well. If you don't, it will be more difficult to insert the small pin into the hunk of wood.

Overall - ****
This premium format statue made it out at the very end of 2009, and a lot of folks were surprised it wasn't nominated for the Poppies or People's Picks awards. I hadn't seen him yet in person, but if I had, I would have made sure he'd been on the list. He really is an outstanding example of why the mixed media format works so well, and how it can be exceptional with the right character.

I don't usually do historical figures in this style, because my display for them is geared around a movie theme. But I also have Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday on the way, and I have to admit that I may have to go back and look at some of their other historical releases. This is certainly one of the nicest PF's they did last year, and I'm hopeful that the two upcoming western gunfighters will be just as nice.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - N/A
Accessories - Exclusive **; Regular Bupkis
Outfit - ****
Value - **1.2
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
Sideshow is the place to pick up the exclusive, where it's still available for $400. They also have the regular in stock, but other options for that version include:

- Big Bad Toy Store  has him for $370.

- UK readers can pick him up at Forbidden Planet for 290 GBP.

- or you can peruse ebay, looking for a deal.

Related Links -
Check out the 12" Blackbeard that Sideshow produced almost 6 years ago! He's nice enough to stand beside your Hot Toys figures and not be embarrassed. Not that Edward Teach could ever be embarrassed!

Discussion:
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Blackbeard the Pirate Premium Format statue from Sideshow Collectibles


This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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