Indiana Jones
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."

I checked out the Hot Toys Indiana Jones awhile back (with the help of my resident Indy expert, Guy Klender) but it's doesn't seem complete without a take on this figure from Jeff Parker. Tell us all about him, Jeff!

Back in late October I was just about to get onto a review for this guy when all of a sudden…

A- I was asked to preview the figure of the DX06 Jack Sparrow and B- Mike and Guy got their joint review up in super-fast time.

So I decided I had to give this figure some time to breath, to get under my skin as it were. After all, in the history of fanboydom a really kick ass 1/6th Indy had been wanted for a very very long time. I’d even go so far as to say it has become a Grail if you’d pardon the cliché.

I’m sure you all know the genesis of this particular character from screen to figure, and if you don’t, let me fill you in briefly. Way back in the early 80’s Kenner gave us the first 12” version which was basically just a re-dressed, re-hashed and re-packaged Han Solo from their Star Wars line, it was OK as a toy for an undiscerning eight year old, and it had a naive charm as a collectible for Indy completists, but as a display item it was essentially very poor and woefully lacking.

Next up was the legendary Toys McCoy figure and legendary really is not too big a word for it. He was actually pretty darned impressive for the time it was released (1999), but of course that’s now thirteen years ago, so the wait for a more contemporary follow up became almost interminable!

But then with the announcement of a new movie in the works and interest piqued once again in all things Dr Jones, the floodgates opened! In the deluge we got Medicom, Sideshow, Hasbro and even a threatened, but never realised version from Takara announced. All had points of interest, but none ticked ALL the boxes (well for me anyway). The Hasbro ones were basically (as one would expect) under researched and poorly sculpted cheap toys. The Sideshow ones had outstanding sculpts by Trevor Grove but were let down by below par paint apps and a rather wobbly first outing for the Prometheus body. Which just leaves the Medicom ones which were virtually ignored by many (though to my eyes the KOTCS mature Indy they did was the strongest of the lot straight from the box, and was the only one I included in my collection)?

Of course many of us hoped, and even the godless heathens amongst us prayed that Hot Toys would be granted a crack at this particular bullwhip, and then it finally happened with an announcement in January 2011!

YES, now we’d surely get the definitive Indiana Jones, the one to cast all that came before asunder, we could all breathe a collective sigh of relief and rest easy… or could we?

When the first proto pics were revealed something wasn’t right, sure it was a ‘good’ sculpt, but from Hot Toys we had got to a place where we now routinely expected to be totally blown away, with jaws hanging loosely from our disbelieving faces by a portrait of such unbelievable magnitude that the angels in Darwin’s heaven would weep tears of joy!

This wasn’t it!

But Hot Toys has a history of listening to feedback on the myriad of collectors’ forums that litter this planet, and often they act upon it. So we all hoped that a slight tweak here and a small revision there would still guarantee us the definitive version of the hero that we all craved… could they deliver?
Well, I’m sure you have already made your mind up, but if not, let me tells ya how I sees it!

Packaging - ****
Oh, the DX packaging… at least there are some things in life we can depend on!

For their showcase range of figures Hot Toys never scrimp on the luxury packaging. The front flap that is in effect its cover has a ‘still life’ image of the iconic fedora and the bullwhip in a grainy sepia photo-shopped style against a singed parchment background that in turn has an antique leather like texture. The Indiana Jones logotype is even given a spot texturisation to feel rough to the touch, a bit like fine sandpaper… sweet. The front opens by lifting the magnetic side flap and opening it up like a book. On the right you’ll find a silhouette of Indy with a brief synopsis and on the left is a sheet of protective tissue, lift this and beneath is a rather cool map of the world which is produced to look like another piece of singed parchment and shows the route Indy takes during the movie in his quest for the fabled Ark of the Covenant. Like all the DX’s this is a rather cool little extra and is removable to act like a small prop bonus.

Lift this layer of foam backed board out and you are met by the fully dressed figure nestled in die cut foam and cardboard, the card can also be lifted to expose a selection of his numerous accessories arranged around the figure. Now its time to delve even deeper, lift out this thick foam layer and you find the two parts of the temple plinth for the Chachapoyan Fertility Idol, his alternate ‘Tanis map room’ outfit and the ‘Staff of Ra’… but we ain't finished yet! This layer also lifts out to show the two alternate figure stands and then below this are the large printed 2D environment backdrops.

The quality of all the materials used is top notch and the construction is robust enough to protect the contents perfectly in transit, Dixon and Monster Jnr have yet again delivered the goods, in short it’s gotta get a full score, anything else would be churlish.

Sculpting - **3/4
I find myself in a rather strange place with this figure. All the other DX’s to date have garnered a full score from me, it didn’t even take too much time to think about it, they were just ‘obviously’ deserving of the Palme d'Or for consistently exhibiting Hot Toys excellence in this particular field. And like most collectors who are interested in the talented people who have helped shape the quality of the 1/6th market today, you will be familiar with the name of Arnie Kim, who has been synonymous with the top level of portraits being produced for many years now. His work on Bruce Lee is almost as legendary as the martial artist himself (well, if you move in the right/wrong circles that I do) and his early portraits of Harrison Ford as Han Solo, Indy, Rick Deckard and even Captain Alexei Vostrikov had collectors foaming at the mouth and praying that a major manufacturer would sign this talented Korean sculptor up ASAP!

And so it was that after a stint with Enterbay he moved to Hot Toys where he delivered some great work, most notably his cool smiling Bruce Lee’s and the sublime portrait of Christopher Reeve for the classic Superman figure. So it’s fair to say a lot was riding on how this particular sculpt turned out… and sadly something has got lost in translation.

The longer I live with this figure the more I like it, it has subtleties that you notice the more you scrutinise it, but for a DX that’s just not quite good enough. One (perhaps unfairly) expects to be bowled over with the uncanny likeness, and it simply doesn’t happen here. It seems to have ‘something of’ Harrison Ford, rather than actually being ‘of Harrison Ford’ if that makes sense.

After all the sculpt is strong enough that you can tell who it is, especially when he’s all kitted up in the iconic outfit. But something is definitely off. It does seem that this might be a case of a PERS too far, as the deep set eyes combined with Fords heavy eyelids create the illusion of him wearing make up, which is truly strange because when you examine the paint app closely you will note how subtle it is, there is no hint of it being too dark around the eyes. The fact he looks like he’s been at Jack Sparrow’s kohl from some angles is purely down to the way shadows are cast, and this looks to be a by-product of the PERS feature. 

So, while on the subject of the PERS (parallel eyeball rolling system), now is a good time to go over how the feature is applied here. Look closely at the hair and you will see a fine seam where it can separate and the whole of the back of the hair/head can be lifted off. The two hair pieces are held in place by a magnet, so you have to align the seam perfectly and push firmly into place to make the join as invisible as possible. The eyes are controlled by a tiny joystick that is accessible inside the rear of the head. By gently twisting turning and tilting the small handle you can position the eyes to look in all directions. If you are new to the feature check this demo out here, admittedly that was for the Joker, but the principle is essentially the same.

The overall portrait has many strong points, the shape and size of the nose is strong and the mouth is good showing the merest hint of a smirk on the right-hand side of the lips. I did wonder if the bottom lip was a tad too full, but after re-watching parts of the movie and looking at stills on line, like this it actually seems to be on the money. The signature scar can be seen below the lips and the shape of the face with its deep set lines next to the nose and the hint of a dimple in the chin all look like pure Harrison Ford. He comes with two hairpieces that are essentially the same style but one is reduced in size so that the hat can sit convincingly on the head... a ‘hat head’ in effect.

So, if the sculpting is all so good why doesn’t the end portrait not add up to the sum of its parts… it’s a bit of a mystery, but I think the eyes have it.

I did waver on giving this just 2 stars, as I really saw it as a 50/50 balance, but the longer I look at it, the longer I dissect it, the stronger it gets. And the cool selection of hands both gloved and un-gloved (though I’d have liked some relaxed gloved hands as well) is strong enough to drag this ‘almost’ back to three stars, but I’m keeping him just shy of that score.

I hope and pray that Arnie is given another crack at this particular archaeologist from either Temple or Last Crusade, and maybe next time a straight classic head sculpt with one of JC’s awesome paint apps on the eyes might be the way to let Arnie's sculpting prowess shine through.

Paint - ****
The paint app is of course perfection, the fine detailing and subtleties of application are spookily life like meaning the work done by JC Hong and his team of painters continues to dazzle.

It works well on the underlying sculpt and helps showcase the strong areas while enhancing the overall portrait greatly. The slight beard growth is deftly handled and the mottling and graduations on the flesh tones are just as convincing as you’d expect. The leather gloves are also very realistically handled, and in short this is just whacked clean out of the park yet again. Full score, no questions!

Outfit - ****
This is another area where I’m knocked out, the whole outfit comes together beautifully and manages to look like Dr Jones has worn them in well and owned them all for years. He comes with a separate hat, which is always my personal preference, I could see why Sideshow went for two separate heads, one with the hat permanently attached, but the woeful SS paint apps once again dumped you out of any illusion of it being 100% convincing by making the hat look plasticky. Where as here the hat is constructed of thin sculpted vinyl, the final paint app and the use of a real fabric ribbon around the edge actually manages to look pretty realistic, and with the right hair fitted to the head and just a little futzing the fit is convincing too. My absolute favourite part of his ensemble are the boots, based closely on the Alden 405 ‘Truebalance’ boot, now lovingly dedicated to Dr Jones as ‘The Indy boot’, and still available from the company in 1/1 scale here for a mere $470. These small facsimiles manage to replicate the boots near perfectly for the scale… note I say ‘near’ perfectly as the top four rows of eyelets should actually be hooks, but for the scale and considering the tops are covered by the hem of the trousers most of the time it’s no biggie. Especially as they are constructed so well with working laces and leather uppers that are welted to a solid sole (that even have the trademark stripes in the heel as well).
The trousers are a classic 1930’s cut with working belt loops, cut side pockets and flapped pockets on the rear; they are a generous cut in the width and have a nice distinct crease down the leg. A webbing belt is worn through the loops while a leather belt is slung below it with a loop for the whip and holster for his revolver, both of these features have magnetic clasps to keep them closed… a cool feature that I hope to see replicated more often.

Both the jacket and the shirt are items that can be bought in 1/1 scale from Wested leather (I figured I ought to give them a plug as they are Limeys as well) the jacket (which they designed and made for the movie) can be seen here as can replicas of the shirt. These are also a good reference point for checking details against the scaled down versions here.

Between you and me THIS is the one to have for the more discerning fan! And having looked at the specs for both items, particularly the jacket, the replica here at 1/6th is pretty impressive. Of course there will always be some uber geek who decides the fact the collar isn’t a micron longer or the lining 100% cotton to be a crime against their chosen deity… but hey, get over it… this is actually pretty damned awesome for 12” figure. The details I feel deserving of a specific mention in despatches are the vertical bands down the shirts (running over the pockets) and the perfecto stitching that is evident here (not to mention the sweat stains down the front button panel) And for the jacket, the working patch pockets, full lining and the small adjustable straps on the rear side vents are the stuff that sorts the wheat from the chaff. He also comes equipped with his handy satchel, which is actually an old British gas mask bag; I have one of these myself and use it every weekend. One of its many useful features is the myriad of small pockets concealed within its main body. I have two kids so have it stocked with band-aids, tissues, sweets, keys, bottles of water, face wipes, torches and a Smith and Wesson (I invented the last one… or did I?) and I was amazed to see they had replicated every feature in miniature here right down to the breathable air-vents on its bottom and the small pockets at the base of the side panels. Then throw in the fact that it has an adjustable strap and magnetic clasps to hold it closed and you have another tiny marvel of 1/6th creativity. For the bag alone I salute you Hot Toys, this is the kind of detailing that only a hardcore fan would notice, but notice it they will, just outstanding!

However, as cool as the main outfit is… for those that plan on investing in the Sideshow display diorama of the Tanis map room environment, there is also the added bonus of the Arab robes he uses as a disguise when he explores the ancient chambers. The robe simply fits over his usual outfit (with the jacket removed) and ties at the waist with the sash supplied. The turban needs a little more futzing to get it sitting just right, the twisted rope like section should be to the front then the right hand scarf hangs down over his chest while the left hand section sweeps down under the chin and around to the back to be tucked into the back collar of the robe. As I said you’ll need to persevere to get this looking just right, but with the movie on freeze frame and a little patience you’ll get there. The outfit supplied is definitely up to the job to look screen accurate, and the tiny brocade work down the side panels of the front yet again shows why Hot Toys have 1/6th costuming sewn up!

So, this is another top scoring category, and the tailoring of all the garments fully deserves to be recognised.

Articulation - *** 1/2
I intend to keep Indy fully dressed, and as such I fail to see why he has been given ‘muscle’ arms, perhaps they had their eye on the bare arms for the ‘Temple of Doom’ look… but this is the Raiders figure, so WHY?

I admit it is a great looking body, you can examine its configuration here. So as you can see it’s another one based on a variation of what I call the ‘Wolverine’ body, as it was on him that it got its first official outing. Of course that version was sculpted to be a little more hirsute, and has since been used on releases like The Comedian from ‘Watchmen’ and Brody from ‘Predators’ and this specific one was recently made available as separate clam-shell packed True Type with a rather cool Jake Gyllenhaal portrait (for anyone wanting to bash a ‘Source Code’ figure).

There is no denying it looks great and the basic design and articulation is solid considering it has its aesthetic as a priority over its articulation. But as I already mentioned, this is Indy from ‘Raiders’, we don’t need to see his naked arms! I would have preferred a hybrid of the muscle and classic True Type for maximum looks, form and function.

I’m guessing most will already know what to expect, as from the waist down it’s a classic True Type as reviewed here, but from the waist up things are a little different. There is a swivel joint at the waist and mid torso, universal joints at the shoulders which are slightly hampered by the rubber covering the upper body. The elbows can bend by 90 degrees and spin, whilst the wrists are the usual free moving cut ball joint. The neck also affords a good range, and even though it is concealed beneath a rubber covering, you can still get some excellent poses from it.

So, not a bad body by any means, and it sure ‘looks’ amazing, but it’s not the most dynamic in terms of poseability… approach with realistic expectations and you wont be too upset.

Accessories - ****
When you purchase a DX figure, one area you generally know you are gonna get quite a bit of bang for your buck is the accessories, and this release sure wont disappoint.

The full list is-

Extra hair style for when wearing the hats
One pair of gloved fists
One pair of gloved hands for holding guns
One pair of relaxed hands
One pair of fists
One pair gun grip hands
One fedora
Arab robe with waist sash
White Arabian headscarf
One Smith & Wesson 455 revolver
One Browning HP automatic pistol
One leather whip
One Staff of Ra with Headpiece
One shoulder bag (gas mask carrier)
One pouch of sand
One golden Fertility Idol
One temple pedestal (in 2 pieces)
One Moleskine journal made with paper + card
Classic black figure stand
Double-sided movie-accurate backdrop
Figure stand with metal plate, movie logo and MMS DX series title.

How do you like them apples!

I already went over all the clothing parts in outfit, but I also listed them as accessories if you needed to ‘dress’ the figure in them after unpacking. So I don’t need to go over them again here. But as for the other items I’ll kick off with the South American temple ‘environment’ pieces as they were the first to appear in the movie. The plinth comes in two pieces that simply slot and push together. It’s sculpted crisply with plenty of great texturing and nice observations on the carvings and glyphs that cover it. I am tempted to get some modellers fake moss (you can pick it up at miniature railway stores) to drape over the top, but that’s just be being fussy, as even without it it does look great and the paint app really helps in translating the underlying textures into stonework.

It also comes with a plinth/stand to place it on. This has an etched metal name plate at the front and a reversible cardboard top, one side showing the floor of the temple to use with the temple backdrop whilst the other shows a sandy floor to use in conjunction with the Tanis Map Room back ground. These backdrops are printed on paper which is mounted onto stiff hardboard that simply folds to stand behind the base, ideal for display and photography.
Next up is the Chachapoyan Fertility Idol, which was pretty important even if we hadn’t got the plinth, but as we did it was downright essential. It’s well sculpted and molded from plastic with a super shiny gold platting, it represents the Peruvian Inca goddess Pachamama, who was not just a construct for the story, but is based on some real indigenous folklore. You see, Lucas’ anthropology degree did come in handy after all ;)  

For the Tanis background he comes with the small replica of the Moleskine notebook, it has a card cover, paper pages and even a tiny elastic band to wrap around it. The robes and turban have already been covered which just leaves the all important Staff of Ra , this also has some beautifully observed details on the head with its ancient Hebrew inscriptions, and my only slight misgiving is that it’s not removable from the staff which would have made it even cooler.

I think that just leaves the Smith & Wesson revolver and the Browning HP automatic pistol. Both have plenty of detail with the revolver having a flip out and rotating cylinder and a cockable hammer whilst the automatic has a sliding cocking movement, a removable magazine and it also has a hammer that can be drawn back.

It’s an impressive array of goodies and there is nothing much I can find to complain about, and the quality and number of the extras mean this is definitely another full score category.

Value - ***
I got one hell of a roasting for my lack of four stars on the DX06, and just about the only reason Jack didn’t strike gold in the final score was his price.

Now, one thing peeps have to understand is that if you are a dedicated high-end 1/6th collector, and you have amassed an enviable collection over the last few years, then you will no doubt have become desensitized to the fact that we are looking at 12” figures with a price tag of 250 big ones.

However, most people are not!

To huge swathes of the population of this planet we must seem genuinely certifiable. But our hobbies make us reconcile the joy we get from collecting with the ability to justify the outlay of our dispensable income. I know for a fact there are actually people out there who will spend over $1000 on a golf club, a rod of metal with a lump of wood at the end. I know, I know it is hard to believe that there are people that plain weird out there, but they DO EXIST, they are amongst us, lock your doors and windows! I think I made my point.

So anyway, back to the job at hand. If Jack just scrapped over three stars and he came with two separate heads with two sets of PERS, a more complex outfit and a huge ships wheel as an accessory, well I guess it stands to reason that Indy will not fare quite as well. I can still see how and why this costs what it does, after all, the outfit is outstanding and his accessories are very far from lacking. But one thing it does spell out to me is that if you thought Disney were greedy when it comes to issuing a licence, they ain’t got nothing on Lucas!

Fun Factor - ***3/4
I have wanted a solid representation of Indy in my collection for what seems like half a lifetime… Oh, hang on, it’s longer (using how long I’ve been on this planet as a yardstick).  Yes I have the Medicom ‘OAP’ version, but KOTCS almost doesn’t count!

So, in terms of fun I’m pretty happy, especially as we get the temple plinth as a display piece as well. My only grievance, and the ONLY reason he doesn’t get a full score in this section is the base body’s lack of free movement in the arms. I want to be able to swing the arms into any pose, I want and to get some even more extreme poses with the whip, but the arms included on the figure aren’t quite able to meet my exacting demands. That’s not to say I’m too unhappy, and even though not quite as articulated as a classic True Type it does have the flip-side of looking good should you want to remove the shirt or bash an Indy from Temple of Doom.

So, a good solid figure with a great haul of accessories to pose and play with, and even though he has a couple of areas where I can see there is room for improvement, I’m still essentially very happy to finally have a good representation of Indy in my display, and he’s in the prime of life rather than the autumn of his years.

Overall- ***1/2
There is so much to like here. As you know I already waxed lyrical about, the outfit which is just beautifully rendered. The head sculpt is 90% there, and had this been a regular MMS release I could be more forgiving, but for the DX series which is Hot Toys premiere showcase line I find it harder to be so. However, the sculpt is backed up with an awesome paint app and though I would have preferred regular True Type arms over muscle arms on this release, the articulation is still up to striking most of the key poses you could want to achieve.

So taking into account the fact that the portrait didn’t manage to dazzle quite as much as I hoped, and also not ignoring the elephant in the room that is price… well he gets more than three stars, but only just. I did flip-flop for a while and he nearly did end up with just three, but when all kitted up and placed on the shelf alongside his diorama it does actually look most impressive. Meaning my general gut feeling was that he just deserved a little more. You may disagree in either direction, but he just feels like a *** ½ figure to me.

Where to buy
Sideshow still has Indy in stock for $249.99 here or you can try some of Mike’s sponsors where you could potentially save up to $20 on the RRP.

Fan Boy Collectibles $229.99 

BBTS $239.99 

Or hit eBay where her BIN prices are between $220 to $290.

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

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