Blade - Hot Toys

Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

   "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 a look at the next Hot Toys Marvel release - Blade! Tell us all about him, Jeff...

January has only just left us, but already the we’re being hit by some contenders for figure of the year, I just got my Batman DX (I’ll be getting straight onto him after this review) and it’s another small work of art from Hot Toys… but after opening my latest haul it was Blade that had me constantly picking him up, posing and reposing. But it’s like Wolverine all over again, as with the Daywalker here there are so many dress up and display options you’ll have a tough time deciding what look to go for.

Movie themes appear to come in cycles, we’ve been in the midst of a zombie one for quite some time, but the Vampyres and Werewolves are on the rise again. America seems to have a real gothic love affair with all things vampyric, I’m sure there’s a deep psychological reason for this, but what the hey, in the right hands a good vampyre yarn can give enough tangled emotions and kick ass action to keep most audiences on the edge of their seats.
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

The Blade movies kicked off well with parts 1 and 2… then there was part 3, it wasn’t unwatchable by a long shot but neither did it live up to what had come before. So we won’t go into that one too much, but with David S Goyer at the helm, it proved without doubt that he is a better writer than director!

The first was directed by Stephen Norrington, and it’s quite frankly his only outstanding movie to date (thinks of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen  and shudders), then Guillermo del Torro took up the reigns and delivered one of those rare ‘just as good as the original’ sequels. I know the original has a hardcore fan base, but the big bad in part 2, Nomak, was such a cool bad guy, and the movie also gave the characters a chance to grow a little.

Although originally LL Cool J was mooted for the part, the lead role in all 3 of the movies was finally awarded to Wesley Snipes, an actor with a very mixed bag of roles in his back catalogue, and it has to be said that this was one of his most memorable, as he certainly brought an unpredictability and feral nature to the character that I could never imagine Cool J delivering.

But lets get on with the review, Marvel have a rich stable of characters to plunder, so far Hot Toys have given us a top quality Iron Man and Wolverine, so with Blade joining the ranks… this looks like a license to watch.

There are plenty of other Marvel movies to cover like Ghost Rider, Dare Devil. The Punisher, The Hulk and of course Spider Man.

Please do Spidey soon, please do Spidey soon… PLEASE!

Packaging - ***3/4
This seems to spell out Hot Toys intent for the Marvel line, as it follows the same pattern set out by the Wolverine figure I reviewed last month.

So it’s a straight forward lift off lid that has a pic from the movie poster on the front, inside is a lift off printed cover with flaps top and bottom, this has a pic of the figure and a brief character bio, interestingly the photo used here is of the prototype so it gives you a chance to see just how much the sculpt has improved on the production figure here. Underneath this insert is the fully dressed and constructed figure nestled in a black vac-formed tray. At first I thought hey, where’s the extra short jacket… and his sword, and his glaives, and, and, and… but then I saw the smaller tray stuck to the underside of the lid (phew!), and here is where his nest of treasures lay.

You’ll also find a full list of production credits printed on the back, which amongst other things lets us know this package is designed by T F Wong and Monster Jr. It’s a hansom looking box, and though not Hot Toys finest, it still manages to creep just a little ahead of the Wolverine box in terms of design, well for me at least.

Sculpting - ****
WOW, no seriously WOW!

This was sculpted by Lee So Young under the guidance of Ko Jun, now she’s already given us the Silk Spectre II sculpt, and I was hugely impressed by that, but this one is just sublime.

When the first proto pics were released of this figure I thought it was damn good, sure it had some angles that were stronger than others, but it was definitely Snipes from most angles. But as is oft the case with Hot Toys, they went away and made a tweak here, a mod there and before you know it, here we are with a newly revised version that is 100% Snipes from EVERY angle.

The expression they have gone for is focussed but impassive, and it suits the character so well. Blade was a martial arts, vampyre killing machine and things had to get pretty bad for him to even break a sweat, mostly he just cut an emotionless swathe through all the parasitic scum that got in his way, without so much as raising an eyebrow!

As a piece of subject matter Snipes must be something of a god send to a sculptor, as with his strong distinct features there is so much to work with, and So Young Lee has worked it so well.

Everything just flows and looks so effortless, his high cheek bones, square jaw, distinctive mouth and that furrowed brow all come together as master class in 1/6th sculpting. The work on the hair is also beautifully executed, using subtle textures to show where his tram-lined buzz cut fades into his skin and tattoos. We also get a full selection of eight hands, all are in gloves and all are sculpted beautifully without exception. There are 2 fists, 2 gun grip, 2 tight grip, 1 right sword grip and 1 left gesturing. The tight gips are especially for his cool extendable hand blades, it adds up to a really great selection.

Paint - ****
I have to admit, I sometimes feel like I’m just ‘reporting’ that JC Hong has delivered another jaw dropping paint app, because as critical as I try to be it really is so hard to find fault. JC has already shown he has a deft eye for African American skin tones on a number of military figures plus Samuel L Jackson as the Octopus along with two versions of Michael Jackson, three if you include ‘Zombie Mike’. And this is easily as good, in fact in a number of ways even better than any of those. It picks out subtle variations in the tonal range of his complexion and lips, and delivers some super crisp work on the tribal tattoos on the back of his neck leading up to the sides of his head, add JC’s trademark super glossy eyes and you’re left with hugely impressive paint application. Though I have to say plenty of praise should also be heaped on the talented hordes of people that Hot Toys employ in their production factories, because time after time they deliver faultless facsimiles of Mr Hongs outstanding work…. Put simply, it’s another incredible paint app from the HT team.

Articulation - ****
As I said above, knowing what a kick ass action hero Blade is, Hot Toys look to have spent extra time conceiving an outfit that could interact with the True Type as well as is realistically possible, while still looking as close to the movie worn costume as they could.
So if you know how the TT works (and we all should by now), then without the long coat on you can expect this figure to function almost as well as if he were naked… and that’s got to be a good thing… right!

But even with the long coat, you’ll still manage to get the arms in some reasonably high poses with out too much work, first rate.

Accessories - ****
This guy gets top marks without a second thought, as apart from the lack of PERS this is a DX figure in all but name. So in the box you will find-
- Sunglasses
- Double shoulder holster
- Short padded bomber jacket
- Two foldable glaives
- Two extendable hand blades
- Sword
- Scabbard
- Interchangeable sword handle with blades
- Five stakes
- Two UV bombs
- Machine gun
- Two custom handguns
- Four sets of interchangeable gloved hands (eight in total)
- Figure stand with Blade II movie logo and Blade nameplate

Firstly there’s that second padded jacket, I already went over it in costume, and it’s always great to extra garments as accessories, especially when they are so vital to a certain look the character had in key scenes, which is very much the case here.

But now onto his all important guns and of course blades, you can see some great reference here of replica props available should you fancy a little cosplay and it shows just how much careful attention has been paid to every part of his arsenal. When I first took the tray out with his accessories I was convinced that some elements were made of real metal, but is in fact just an incredibly convincing paint they have used as everything here is plastic. I’m sure I won’t be alone in thinking this as the finished effect is just so very convincing.

The most important piece was always going to be his sword and this is replicated wonderfully, right down to the ancient vampyric glyphs that appear on the handle, the blade is removable so you can attach it to the second booby trapped handle that we see removing unwanted appendages in the movie, these smaller blades sadly don’t spring out of the handle, but considering the scale I thought it was a nice touch that we get the extra handle at all. There is also a plain black scabbard that can attach to the back of his tactical vest for his signature ninja slayer look. His next shiny, pointy things are his pair of glaives… well I say glaives, they have become known as glaives (I guess we can blame Krull for this) but traditionally a glaive is a decorative axe blade attached to a long pole, these are actually more like large shuriken, but lets go with it.. They have a mirror imaged sweeping scimitar type of blade, that have a circular section in the middle where they can fold in on themselves for storage.

Next up is his cool machine gun with its removable magazine, I’m not sure if this is a real world weapon as I think most of Blades weapons were based on a basic real firearm but customised and adapted to his particular vampyre slaying needs, as were his brace of automatic pistols which have the underslung laser pointers, these both have removable magazines and spring-loaded cocking mechanisms.

There are also two very cool extendable wrist blades, kind of like a Predator-lite, they fit over the back of the fists and are held by elastic straps. The armoured panel on the back of the hand slides out to extend into two nasty looking punching blades… not a very pleasant weapon, but hey we’re talking about slaughtering vampyres here, so I guess they get what they deserve. Next up is his pair of UV grenades, these are like black tennis balls with five blue lenses protruding from the sides and a loop pin-pull at the top.

Blade wouldn’t be Blade without his trademark shades, and like the ones that came with Wesker for Resident Evil 5 these are beautifully put together. The lenses are tinted with painted rims and arms and they fit fantastically to the head, especially considering how diminutive they are. Lastly there is the traditional black figure stand with the crotch hammock design rather than the waist gripper. It’s nice enough, but stands are only for figures that refuse to stand, and Blade stands just fine. Oh I almost forgot, he also has a pair of extra wrist pegs, though so far I’ve been swapping the hands out just fine.

So, as I said at the beginning of this section, it’s a full mark category, it’s a no brainer, this guy has one of the sweetest hauls ever!

Outfit - ****
Blades wardrobe is all about two things… cool and black, I guess you could also say it’s heavily influenced by it’s need to perform in close quarters hand to hand combat, while also carrying enough firepower and blades to put your local hunting shop to shame.

So what we have here is a pair of black moulded combat boots, a pair of black vinyl trousers with a working back pocket and the distinctive buckle fastening, the material used here folds and creases really well to the scale of the figure. He also wears a tight long-sleeved black T-shirt over which is his black leather combat vest, which again has two more of those distinctive clasp buckles. However, be warned, don’t make the mistake of trying to open the front as it’s all window dressing. The garment actually opens by un-popping 4 press-studs concealed under a leather panel on the back, then lifting it off over his head. You’ll also find this panel on the back of the vest has a smaller plastic panel with a female slot, this accepts the male coupling that is on the scabbard of his sword for when carrying it on his back.

On top of all this is his long black leather coat with its bright red lining and special hole in the back for his sword to protrude out of. This is all tailored beautifully, and hangs really well over the figures frame, the collar is sewn or possibly glued down which really helps with the way it lays, plus there is a fine wire sewn into the lining around it’s edge to help get some of those more dramatic poses. He also comes with an extra short padded bomber jacket (which is really an accessory, but I’ll cover it under costume); this is for replicating his other iconic look in the movie.

So you have to remove the vest first, take off the hands and place the short jacket on the figure (this fastens up the front with a long Velcro tab) then put the vest back over the top again, there are two elastic panels on the back of the vest which stretch to accommodate the extra width of the padded jacket, then just slip the double shoulder holster on and you’re good to go. Every item here fits well and fits snugly with nothing hampering his mobility much. Well I say that I did notice that when the guns are in the holsters his arms have to work around them, but all the articulation is still there. The back of the holsters also have loops to attach them to the belt, I’m sure with some pushing and pulling they would fit through, but on mine it was quite a tight fit so I decided as it wasn’t the look I was going to go for I’d just leave them hanging for my photos, but the options there if you want to persevere.

Harue Creative have been responsible for many of Hot Toys most outstanding outfits recently, but this is the work of Mr Tsang, the tailoring and finish are as good as anything I’ve seen and it’s all been very well thought through in how each piece interacts with the other, full score all the way!

Plasmid over at SSF took some great shots in some great poses of his, which really show off how this outfit works, you can check them out here and here.

Value - ****
Just look at this guy, he is loaded with accessories, has one of the finest sculpts to date and is wearing a fantastically tailored outfit… and all for a very reasonable RRP of $159.99.

Now, that might not be what anyone could consider cheap, but when you look at the complete package it certainly seems to me that the deals a good’un!
And of course with a little looking around you don’t need to be paying that full RRP anyway, as with some of Michael’s sponsors listed bellow you could save yourself well over $10.

Fun Factor - ****
Well, what can I say, I received a few figures at the same time when my Blade II figure arrived, one of them was the… and I don’t use this word lightly… but quite simply AWESOME Bat Man DX02… I shall be covering him shortly bat fans.

However, the figure that just surprised me, and blew me away was Blade. I’ve had a ton of fun swapping out his outfits, accessories and he poses so well.

This is in fact a 5 star figure in terms of fun… but Michael makes the rules, so 4 stars it is.

Overall - ****
Just like the Wolverine figure, this is another major home run from Hot Toys, I can find nothing and I mean absolutely nothing to find fault with here.

I liked the first two Blade movies a lot, but they’re certainly not my favourites, I don’t even think they would trouble my top 20 movies. But in terms of figures I’d say lil’ol Blade here has just burst his way into my top five 1/6th figures, he’s very near perfect, love it!

Where to Buy -
Sideshow did have him for the RRP of $159.99 but he has sold out already (you could always try the waitlist though). I have a strong feeling that like Wolverine this is gonna sell well and sell fast, meaning this could also be a future grail for those who didn’t jump fast enough… but who knows, a figure from the first movie might be just around the corner, and if he’s anywhere near as good as this one, I for one will have two Blades in my collection. You can also find him at Michaels sponsors below where you could save up to $16-

Alter Ego Comics - $143.99

Urban Collector - $149.99

Big Bad Toy Store - $159.99 
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

Blade Marvel sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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