POTC Dead Man's Chest series 3


As Toy Fair rolls along, we've seen plenty of interesting announcements. Oh, not as many as we'd like, and I'd have to say this has been one of the less impressive Toy Fairs of the last few years. But NECA did their part in making it interesting. Did you see those Harry Potter figures? Yowzer! And they showed us quite a few new Pirates of the Caribbean items, further supporting the hit line.

Series 3 of the Dead Man's Chest figures are now hitting stores, including another jack Sparrow, another Barbossa, the new Captain Norrington, and the only one I've picked up so far - Clanker. The bases for these figures line up with bases from the past two series to add more to both the deck scene and the jungle scene, a nice surprise. I came across them at the local Hot Topic, but you should be able to get them from most of the usual online retailers as well. Expect to pay around $12 each depending on the retailer.

Packaging - ***
The clamshells still protect the figures extremely well, and the insert cards look terrific. Printed on the interior of the card is the layout for both dioramas, showing you where to place Clanker (and the other series 3 figures). That kind of useful instruction is sorely missed with many action figures these days.

Sculpting - ***1/2
One thing that's great about the possessed and undead pirates in this entire line is that there's less pressure to match a particular actor. The Knightly, Bloom and Depp figures are always going to get ragged on, even when they come close to perfect, but monsters get a lot more leeway from the critics.

Clanker sports some great body and face detail again, with dozens of tiny crustaceans and barnacles growing on his skin and clothes. He has some unique additions that previous pirates haven't had, including some cool anemones and some sort of jet black spiky growths. These, along with the unique facial sculpt, give him some real personality when put up with the other pirates.

Scale is pretty good, although he seems a tad big next to some of the other figures. I can give them that though, since I have no idea exactly how big Clanker should be next to, say, Jack. The sculpted stance is threatening but not over done, and the toothy maniacal grin fits the character perfectly. The ball and chain weapons are permanently attached to his hands, but the chain is real metal, making them much more sturdy and less like to break with normal handling. The bandana around his neck is sculpted as a separate soft rubber piece, and does tend to stick out from the body any time you push the head back. That's a bit annoying, but I did find that if you juggle it around a bit on the body and neck, you can get it to look decent.

I'm not too keen on the seaweed like hair, with sticks out at some odd angles, and which has some really obvious seam lines where it is glued in place. But the amount of detail they've included with the various shells and coral is really quite impressive, and this guy will look terrific with the rest of your diorama. The one thing that would have elevated this to the four star category would have been if the neck articulation and sculpt worked better together, so that you could manage a more natural forward looking pose.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint ops have generally been solid on the entire Pirates of the Caribbean line, and this figure continues that tradition. Also, unlike some of the figures (Palifico for example) who have lots of sculpt detail but little in the paint work to support it, this figure has tons of operations, right down to the fingernails. There's a nice wide variety in color, really making him pop next to some of the more bland figures in the overall line up. There are a few places, like the shirt, where the wash is a bit over done, and in some instances the color of the clothing and the shells blends together, but in general there's far more paint detail here than you usually see in a figure in this price range.

Articulation - **
This is not a super-articulated figure by any stretch of the imagination, and what is here is really just to get him into one good pose.

The ball jointed neck allows for some side to side tilting, but the long hair in back keeps him from looking up very much. In fact, it's almost impossible to get him looking straight at you. You'll need to push the head back as far as it will go just to get a reasonable forward looking pose.

The ball jointed shoulders will be familiar to buyers of past NECA product. They're only jointed at the torso, and allow for just a slight amount of movement out from the body. He also has cut elbows at the sleeves, which are a nice addition. He finishes off with just a cut waist and cut calves at the boot tops. The articulation will allow him to stand pretty well on his own, although a bump to the shelf is going to send him tumbling. The arms have enough articulation to get them into a nice menacing pose with the weapons, and that's about it.

Accessories - **1/2
Previous figures tended to have a nice assortment of accessories, but Clanker is a bit light. 

He does have a base with crusty railing, designed to be added to the ship deck diorama with Boot Strap Bill, Davy Jones and others. That diorama is the better of the two, at least in my opinion, and including him was another selling point for Clanker over some of the other figures in this wave. The base looks good, with the usual attention to detail in the paint and sculpt, including some seashells that he collected at the seashore on a long romantic weekend...but the foot peg in the center of the floor is broken off on mine. I couldn't even find it in the package, so it may have been broken off right at the factory. It does make a difference, because while you can get Clanker to stand on his own, it's not in a particularly stable stance. The slightest bump and he's going over, taking out whomever is within domino distance.

He also has a removable hat, with a nice sculpt and paint, that fits tightly on his head. The scale is good, and he actually looks better in it than out of it, something that is rather rare. However, that's it for him when it comes to accessories. The ball and chain weapons are permanently attached to his hands, and there's no other goodies included to add to the diorama. And while the cloth around his neck is sculpted as a separate piece, it isn't intended to be removed (although you could pop the head off and manage it).

Fun Factor - **1/2
While the sculpting is great, and Clanker is certainly a visually interesting character, this action figure is clearly designed for display more than play. The sculpting and paint work on the NECA figures is superior to both the Zizzle and Disney lines, but if I were looking for toys for kids to interact with, I'd choose the Zizzle line.

Value - **1/2
At $12 or so, this figure is a pretty average value on the current market. Some figures have tried pushing the $15 price point, but have generally failed at that price, even with additional extras. NECA is smart enough to try to continue to hit this price point, at least for the near future.

Now, if you manage to snag these someplace for ten bucks or less, you can easily add another half star to this category.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much. Obviously, there's the standard disclaimer on paint - you'll want to pick the best you can find to your eye. Also, I think my peg on my base was broken right in the package, so you might want to keep an eye out for that as well.

Overall - ***
Davy Jones still stands out for me as the best figure in this entire series so far, but Clanker ranks up there with Boot Strap Bill and Palifico. He's a nice addition, especially if you're working on increasing the layout of the very cool ship deck diorama. I'm sure I'll pick up Norrington eventually - he is a unique character after all - but Clanker was the one that leaped off the peg and into my hands when I first saw them.

With even more figures coming in 2007, including new figures from At World's End, the line will remain one of NECA's top five. Add in lines like NMBC, 300, Harry Potter and Grindhouse, and you can predict that collectors will be paying NECA a lot of attention this year.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt -  ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - **
Accessories - **1/2
Value -  **1/2
Fun Factor - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
I picked him up at Hot Topic, but paid a premium at $14. Online options include: 

- Amazing Toyz has the set of four in stock for $44. 

Related Links - 
Ah, there be lots of piratey goodness here:

- not too long ago, I reviewed the series 2 figures from NECA.

- then there's the 12" Jack Sparrow from Zizzle, and had a guest review of the Will Turner.

- I reviewed the new cursed boxed set of Jack and Barbossa.

- there's a guest review of Elizabeth Swann and my review of the second cursed Pirate, as well as my review of Pintel at Movie Poop Shoot, and Regatti here.

- NECA did a full first series, including Barossa, Turner, Sparrow and a dead Pirate.

- they also did a terrific 18" version of Sparrow.

- Zizzle's line of 3 3/4" has gotten a review of some of the figures, along with a guest review of the Isla Cruces set, and the Pirate Fleet vehicles.

- Disney released some figures based on the actual park attraction, and not the film.

- Disney also has their own set of POTC figures out now at their stores, including Jack and Davy of course.

- Mezco recently released some very cool Pirate Mez-itz, not based on any license, but cool nonetheless.

- and if you like your pirates a little more 'real', there's always Blackbeard from Sideshow.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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