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Hot Toys Resident Evil 4
Leon S Kennedy (RPD version and regular version)

  

"The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Jeff Parker is back tonight with another terrific Hot Toys review - take it away, Jeff!

We live in an age in which virtual stars are fast becoming as important as the flesh and blood ones that we idolise so much, and the release of a much anticipated game can be welcomed with almost as much fanfare as a blockbuster movie. 

And so Hot Toys (HT) has released the first five figures in their new Video Game Masterpiece Series (VGMS).
The subject of this release is the multi award winning Resident Evil 4 (RE4), a game series that has already inspired three live-action movies, and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. 

You can bring yourself up to speed on RE4 by visiting Wikipedia where youíll find out that Capcom, the company behind the games is working on a CG feature-length movie, Resident Evil: Degeneration, set seven years after the original game. Itís shaping up to be a great addition to the recent Japanese CG movies, Final Fantasy: Advents Children, Appleseed etc., and will probably make these figures even more desirable after release; you can view the teaser trailer here

Hot Toys has brought as much love and attention to this line as theyíve brought to the Movie Masterpiece Series (MMS), and with this much attention to detail fans of other games like Halo, Half-Life, Tomb Raider, Silent Hill and Final Fantasy to name but a few, must be praying that HT get the license to bring their heroes to life as wellÖ all be it 1/6 life.

I shall be reviewing the full line-up eventually, but thought Iíd kick off with the most anticipated, our hero Leon, in both his regular outfit and his Raccoon Police Department (RPD) outfits. Hereís the HT spec on the regular version, and the RPD version.













Packaging: ***1/2
Iíve spotted that these all come in two colour ways, black boxed with the Biohazard 4 logo for the Asian market, and white boxes, which bear the Resident Evil 4 logo, as it is known in North America and Europe. Theyíve taken their lead from the SST, Star Wars line, as they are flap fronted with a wrap around side panel and held shut with magnets. The main box holds the fully dressed and assembled figure alongside his character/game specific accessories. The facing flap has a blister card (donít worry, all collector friendly, as it is held in slots by low tack clear stickers), this holds the impressive array of firearms and gadgets that are shared by the two Leons.

The only difference between these two boxes is a red sticker on the front that says RPD version on the Ďyou guessed ití, RPD version. 

The inside flap also carries an atmospheric image from the game of an abandoned boat hut and log pile next to a misty lake. The back of the box has pics of the two versions of the figures and their accessories.

So two nice boxes that do a great job of protecting the contents, in truth I think the Asian colour-way is a bit classier, but thatís just personal taste.

Sculpt: ***3/4
Iím not gonna lie to ya, I am first and foremost a 1/6 collector, Iím not a gamer by a long shot. I am however very interested in nearly all areas of pop culture and as such these were just too cool to pass up, especially as they are HT first release in the VGMS line. 

I do, however, have a lot of friends both real (I know, hard to believe) and online who are hard-core gamers, and they all seem pretty blown away by these figures, and still screen grabs Iíve seen show that these sculpts capture the look of the characters fantastically well, as you can see here - photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, photo 4.

Both Leons come with identical head and hand sculpts. The heads have nice clean chiselled features with a slightly frowning, determined, expression. The hair is nicely executed as well and has a very graphic Anime/Manga feel to it, and as Capcom is a Japanese company, based in Osaka I guess thatís not too surprising. The hair is sculpted as a separate piece, but itís virtually seamless and because of its graphic styling it works much better than the recent POTC Elizabeth Swann or SST Aragorn.

The hands are also a nice sculpt and are a great representation of the fingerless gloved hands seen in the game; the right hand is trigger grip and the left is in a general gripping position, they hold most of the accessories well with the exception of the small knife, but any problems and a small ball of Blu-Tack goes a long way. 

Paint: ***1/2
Like the Appleseed figures I reviewed last week, the skin tones for a Ďvirtualí character can and indeed should be more graphic, but as these characters become more and more lifelike in both movies and games, it means the quality of the paint application has to come up in line with them.
This is not proving a problem for HT, as their last few Ďhumaní releases, Supes, Jor-El , the Prison Break brothers and Appleseed has shown they can keep raising the bar, and these new releases continue that trend.

Beautiful, crisp work on and around the eyes and eyebrows, with some subtle clean work on the mouth. 

The hair has a two-tone effect with darkening at the roots and tips; this mimics the way itís portrayed in the game fantastically. 

Many of the weapons and accessories also have paint effects, and all are carried out cleanly with no slop at all.

Articulation - ****
Once again these utilise the True-Type (TT) body and as both are wearing relatively non-restrictive clothing the articulation is great. I think itís fair to say the TT has become one of, if not the most desirable body of the moment. The Medicom RAH 301 is still a great figure, and hangs very convincingly, but issues with its scale and fragility have moved the TT to the top spot in the eyes of many people.

You can see all the articulation available on the HT website.

Accessories: ****
Both Leons come with:

- Combat knife to fit shoulder sheath
- Large combat knife
- Handgun
- Matilda (handgun with stock)
- Red 9 (Mauser)
- Blacktail (handgun)
- Semi-Auto Shotgun (extendable stock)
- Bolt Action Basic Rifle (with sniper sight)
- Broken Butterfly Magnum (opening chamber and cockable hammer)
- Thigh holster
- Communicator (with opening feature)
- Flash Grenade
- Display case with Biohazard 4 and Leonís nameplate.

Then the RPD version also comes with:

- Plasma cannon
- Sculpted pouch for belt.

And the normal version has:

- Shoulder holster
- Typewriter
- Black fabric carry bag/pouch to attach to belt
- 2 x sculpted pouches for belt.

All the accessories are up to HT usual standards, with the stand-out pieces being Ďfor meí the bolt load rifle. Pretty basic I know, but both figures hold and pose with it so well; youíll have to futz with regular Leon slightly more as his jacket is thicker but youíll get there in the end, and secondly the typewriter, purely for being such a bizarre accessory, but expertly done. 

The Plasma cannon can be a little fiddly to get sitting in the hand well, in fact Iíd advise removing the hand, getting it into the gripping position you want then slotting back on, once in position he holds it well. The only thing I did find unusual was that the shotgun doesnít have a pump action, but the quality and quantity of all the extras mean that both figures have to get four stars. 

Outfit: RPD ****, Normal ***3/4
Again, two fantastically tailored and detailed outfits that share a couple of common pieces, but also differ in many. The shared items are black combat boots and petrol blue cargo-trousers with working pockets. 

Then reg Leon has a skin tight dark blue T-shirt with printed seams and pleather trim on the cuffs and neck, they also have different belts with the reg version being more of a classic thin casual belt. He then has his sheep-skin, waist-length jacket with working pockets and working belted side fasteners. It also has what would be a working collar strap, but as the front zipper canít zip-up thatís a bit of a moot point. As I said, it doesnít zip-up but it is in fantastic scale with the rest of the figure, and as far as I know Leon never does the jacket up in the game anyway, itís overall colour is chocolate brown with tan trimmings, straps and epaulettes.

Now RPD Leon, he has a long sleeve grey T-shirt over which he wears a short sleeve SWAT style shirt/jacket. It has faux Kevlar armour panels (made of cloth) riveted onto the shoulder yokes, chest and upper arms. RPD is printed on both the front and back, and both the armour panels on the sleeves have the Raccoon Police Department badges printed; he also has a knife sheath attached to the garment at the left chest/shoulder. The front of the shirt/jacket zips up, with a very close-to-scale zip and then a panel flaps over the zip and closes with Velcro. RPD Leon has a thicker webbing style belt from which hangs his thigh holster. Then lastly he has elasticated-elbow pads and belted knee-pads all of which stay in place well. 
Both outfits fit exceptionally well, but itís worth noting the regular Leon is best displayed with either the shoulder holster or the jacket, not both, as with both it all looks too bulky. 

Fun Factor: for me ***1/2, for hardcore, Resi 4 gamers *****+
Because of the wealth of accessories and great outfits Iíve had tons of fun playing with these, but if I was more of a dedicated Resi gamer that would go off the scale. Because of the soft construction of the outfits both pose like a dream, and youíll have no problem getting them into your favourite signature pose.

Value: ***
These two are the most expensive in the Resi 4 line, with SST asking for $149.99 for each. Prices are creeping up on all high-end figures with many of SSTís new ones hitting the $60 mark and Medicomís have been at $150 for a while. 
But these guys come absolutely laden with extras, the kind of extras that can send gamers weak at the knees. Plus the import duties and licenses keep those prices high, but shop-around: Iíve seen them on eBay with far lower prices, some as low as $115, so if you donít mind the Asian Biohazard box instead of Resident Evil it might be an option.

Overall: ***1/2
Only the price is keeping these from a perfect score, in all other areas they are outstanding, and itís a good sign that future VGMS will be something to very much look forward to.

I want me a Lara Croft and Duke Nukem! 

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - ***3/4
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Outfit - RPD ****, Normal ***3/4
Fun Factor - for me ***1/2, for hardcore, Resi 4 gamers *****+
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Where to buy-
SideShow Toys is still the official US importer on these and they have them on pre-order for - 
Regular - $149.99
RPD Uniform - $149.99

Some of Michaelís other sponsors also have them Ė

Amazing Toyz-
Regular- $135.00
RPD- $135.00

Dark Shadow-
Regular- $135.00
RPD- $135.00

Corner Store-
Regular- $135.00
RPD- $135.00

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR LOTS MORE PHOTOS!



Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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