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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week
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Review of Maleficent 1/6th scale action figure

Hot Toys
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

Hot Toys Maleficent action figure

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Introduction

There are certain movies, that upon seeing them, I have to think "what the Hell did anyone see in this tripe?" People rave, critics espouse, and friends cajole, until I see the movie in question...and I'm left confused.

But for every movie like that, there's at least one - maybe more - where the exact opposite is true. The majority hate it, sometimes with extreme vitriol, and yet I find it enjoyable. I'll admit that I've never ended up putting a generally hated movie in my top ten in any category, but I have certainly seen a fair share that deserve far less hate - or far more love - then they get from the rest of the world.

Sometimes, this is only perception, often brought on by the haters being louder than anyone else in the room. A good example is the Disney movie Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie. Over at Rotten Tomatoes, the hate and the love is almost dead even with the critics, while users actually have it scored much higher. It was also a huge box office success, taking about 250 million in the U.S., and more than $700 million worldwide.

And yes, I enjoyed it quite a bit. The Wicked-like tale of the 'real' story of the famous villain played out nicely on screen, and I particularly liked the design of Jolie's costume and make up. When Hot Toys announced they'd be doing a figure, it was an immediate pre-order for me.

The figure has actually been out for awhile now, but I'm a bit behind on all the cool sixth scale stuff. Maleficent will run you around $230, depending on the retailer.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Hot Toys Maleficent action figure

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Packaging - ***1/2
Nothing super unique here, with the usual shoe box style and inner plastic trays. The outer box has a nice embossed pattern, but it isn't particularly eye catching. The top cardboard cover over the plastic trays is pretty basic too, and there's no real artwork to speak of.

It's all collector friendly though, as you've come to expect. You will have to cut her plastic booties off, so be careful with that knife around the costume.

Hot Toys Maleficent action figure

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Sculpting - ***1/2
Over the years, I've come to feel that there are three key aspects to any sculpted portrait: its Accuracy, its Realism, and how Life-like it is.

While this is true of all sculpted portraits, it's become particularly critical with modern sixth scale figures and large scale statues. While I'd love it if the upcoming Funko Legacy 6" Firefly Kaylee figure nailed all three aspects perfectly, my expectations are somewhat different for a figure half the size and 1/10th the cost.

But with modern sixth scale, you have to hit in all three areas. That's where the bar is currently set, and that's what all the companies in the market should be striving for.

When it comes to accuracy, this Jolie/Maleficent sculpt is excellent. Checking out a variety of screen caps like this one, it's obvious that this sculpt fulfills the requirement of looking like the movie counterpart. It's a beautiful sculpt too, capturing Jolie's smoky, seductive eyes, full lips, and slightly exaggerated cheek bones perfectly.

Then there's realism, a category pretty much invented by Hot Toys. From the skin texture to the eyes to the lips...even the texture on the horn 'hat', all of it is extremely realistic. At the right angles and light, a photo of this 'toy' can easily be mistaken for a photo of the living character.

And then there's life-like. You might wonder how that's different than realistic. The key is the word 'life'. A sculpt can be very realistic and look very accurate, but not have that spark of life in the eyes or the muscles of the face. This is largely tied up in the expression and the eyes - that's where that energy flows, and it takes a sculpt from being a mere copy of a character to being art. Recent examples where you can see this work are the Dark World Thor or the Winter Soldier.

I bring all this up because this sculpt falls slightly short in this third aspect. Like the recent Hot Toys Tonto and Sideshow Snake Plissken, Maleficent's expression is a bit...bland. It isn't awful, or a deal breaker, but it is noticeable, particularly with a character like this. On screen, she is a very animated character facially, telling much with the set of her eyes and the purse of her lips. The early prototype did a good job capturing that, but the final figure does not, and it's the reason the score was pulled down slightly.

She's sixth scale, and stands just over 11" not including the horns.

Hot Toys Maleficent action figure

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Paint - ****
Hot Toys and paint are like peanut butter and jelly. They've mastered production applications, and this is a perfect example.

The eyes and lips are outstanding, and the skin tone is beautiful and striking. Even the black of the cap looks perfect, and this is the sort of paint application that can take any sculpt to the next level.

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Articulation - ***
While the underlying body has all the usual exceptional Hot Toys articulation, the design and costume does create some serious restrictions.

It's important to me - but not everyone - that a figure can stand on its own, and is reasonably easy to keep in that pose long term.  With the funky boots (the sculpt is really cool, so much so that it's a pity that they are hidden), it can be a chore finding a pose that works, and once there, tough to keep it. The high heels are tricky enough, but the stiff material makes the ankles fairly useless. This is a figure that will probably require using a display stand, but thanks to the long dress, you should be able to hide most of it.

The swapping of the hands is tricky too - more on that in the following sections. Suffice to say that it's not the usual cake walk.

Outside of the restricted ankles, high heels, and tricky wrists, the articulation is great. You should be able to get any arm pose you want, and the shoulder, elbow and wrist joints are tight enough to keep the fire aloft long term. Even the neck, although covered with the rubbery fake skin, has plenty of tilt and lean action.

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Accessories - ***
There's not a ton of extras here, but critical items are accounted for.

She has seven hands in total - a pair of flat open hands (to hold the fire), a pair in the classic 'evil clutches' pose, a gripping left hand for the staff, a pointing left hand, and a relaxed pose right.

Swapping them is tricky to say the least. There is a small loop on the sleeve of the gown that should go over the middle finger of each, making it difficult to pull the hand free. I snapped a wrist post working with them, so take care.

All the right hands have the cool ring attached as well, and it looks great even close up, with some nice paint detailing included.

I mentioned the flames, and these are designed to be held tightly by the flat palms. That works because there's a loop of flame that goes around the back of each hand. These loops are separate pieces from the larger flame - remove them, place the hand in the perfect spot, then replace the loop of fire.

She also has her staff, which is a bit flimsy. I mentioned that it's hard to keep her standing, and the staff isn't really thick enough or strong enough to assist. The sculpt and paint are great though, and the gripping hand works fine with it.

There is a removable hunk at the top of the staff, and a replacement with a clear rod attached. That's to provide a way to attach the raven to the top, as though he is perched there. This works well enough, but the sculpt on the raven is a little soft.

Like most Hot Toys figures, she also has a standard display stand with her name. This is one of those times where you're going to need it.

Hot Toys Maleficent action figure

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Outfit - ***
The black dress is beautiful, but has one feature that will have you screaming in frustration - that train.

I shot the lifesizer photo without it, just so you could get an idea of the added value the train brings to the overall look. And yes, it's a great addition.

But man, getting it in place is a bear.  There are seven (9? I lost count) snaps that attach it to the dress proper, and they went with those damn plastic versions. Gah!

I've voiced my displeasure with these things plenty of times now, but we've never had this many that were required before. Some are critical to get snapped properly, like the very top and along the outside edge, so the train flows properly. But those little plastic posts are sooooo easy to break - I snapped two myself. Thankfully, the two that broke are not as important, but you might not be so lucky. Take your time lining them up, use lots of light so you can see them very clearly, and don't press too hard. Once it's in place, leave it there!

It's not just the train that's tough to work with - the small loops that go around the middle finger on each hand make swapping hands a bear as well. Again, I'd find the look I want, swap to those hands, and keep it there for good.

Once you get past those two issues though, the outfit looks amazing. The quality of the materials (other than those snaps!), the stitching and the tailoring are all excellent. The figure comes with clear plastic in key spots on the skin to avoid staining from the black cloth, but I'm hoping that it won't end up being a factor on display.

There are thin wires in several places, including the edges of both collar sets, the bottom edge of the dress, and the outside edge of the train. All work nicely, and are stiff enough to hold position, yet not so thick as to be obvious or obtrusive. While I was shooting I liked them better down, because it kept them from blocking her face, but when I go for my display pose, the tips will be bent up slightly. The wires make this possible, and are a very important addition to the outfit.

I mentioned the boot sculpt earlier (and yes, there's a tank top and pants underneath the dress), and they really did go all out. I've included a photo so you can appreciate the design.

Hot Toys Maleficent action figure

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Fun Factor - ***
Because of the care you'll need to take with the costume, this isn't a figure that's a lot of fun to work with. Because of the annoying train and hard to swap hands, you won't be changing up her pose a lot. Once you find a look you like, you'll probably be keeping it that way.

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Value - **
The new norm seems to be $230, which is where Maleficent comes in. That's about $40 - $50 higher than some of the new kids on the block, and there's not a lot here to explain the price point. While the costume and accessories are nice, they don't seem to warrant the cost, and I think we really should have gotten an alternate sculpt.

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Things to Watch Out For -
I managed to bust a wrist peg trying to work with the hands, so take extra care there. They supply a couple extras for just such a problem, but you still want to avoid the hassle if you can.

I found that putting the loop around the middle finger on the hand first, positioning the wrist post bent to the side, and then attaching the hand worked best for going on. Doing that in reverse seemed to work alright when removing too - bend the wrist back so the hand is at a ninety degree angle, then pop it off to put less pressure on the loop - but your mileage will vary. No matter the technique, take your time.

And then there's those damn snaps. I can't give you much help there - they do break pretty easy. I started at the bottom and worked my way up her back so that the train wasn't hanging in my way as I went, but I doubt the order will make a lot of difference.

Hot Toys Maleficent action figure

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Overall - ***
Getting the life-like part of a sculpt down is the biggest trick. It's a razor's edge - do you go for a dynamic expression and end up with something goofy, or avoid that risk and end up with something bland? Hitting the sweet spot is difficult, but that's what makes it so amazing when they do.

Had they pulled that off here, the overall would have grabbed another half star easy. That being said, it's still a terrific looking figure, and assuming you can get it into that one perfect pose without damaging anything, you'll be very happy with it.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***
Outfit - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - ***

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Sideshow has her in stock for $230.

- has her for $230.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Sideshow produced a PF of Maleficent, as well as the Evil Queen. In this same theme, they also did a very cool Captain Hook PF.

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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