Uighur - Fist of the North Star

   "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."

Ridureyu is back with another look at a great Revoltech figure - tell us all about him, R!

When you make a prison for dangerous martial artists, shouldn't the warden be the toughest of them all?  That's the idea behind Uighur, a character from the 1980s manga/anime, Fist of the North Star.  Uighur was the warden of Cassandra Prison, "The City of Wailing Demons," where Raoh, the main antagonist of the series, locked up all the warriors and martial artists he didn't kill.  Considering this series' concept of kung-fu fighting, that's saying something.  Uighur's sheer brutality turned it from a mere prison into a living legend of terror with himself at the helm, even though the prison couldn't have been more than a year old at most.  Its main significance in the series is that Toki, one of the four brothers of the North Star technique, was kept there.  But before Kenshiro could rescue his older brother, he had to face down the Warden of Hell.  Uighur proves to be a difficult opponent, but ultimately gets buried in the grave he had dug for Kenshiro.

Uighur is another one of those tricky names to translate, with his name occasionally coming up as "Wigul" or "Wiggle."  But it's easy to figure out.  The Uighur or Uyghur people (Pronounced Wee-Grr) are a Turkic ethnic group in central-eastern Asia which traces its roots back to Mongolia.  Since Uighur actually states his Mongolian heritage in the series, this means that his name is kind of like calling a cowboy "Tex."  But how's that for ethnicity, folks?  Instead of identifying a character as "British," "Generically American," or "From somewhere in Africa," Uighur gets to be part of an obscure, oppressed group of Islamic Mongolians.  Impressive!  Aside from his name, the character is famous for being one of the few villains who actually gave Kenshiro a hard time.  He died in the end, but he won the first round of their fight and, if he had only capitalized, he could have easily killed the hero.  He also appears in the movie as Raoh's right-hand man, although he goes down much more easily against a different character.

Revoltech (That's "Revol-Tech" as in "revolve," not "revolt") is a Japanese toy company owned by Kaiyodo that is known for their innovations in articulation, particularly the "revoltech" joint, a unique kind of ratcheting ball-and-socket combination.  Most of their toys are robots, although they have recently branched out into more humanoid figures, such as their Fist of the North Star "Revolution" line.  These toys have covered most major and minor characters of the series, even including a few exploding punks just for the fun of it.  Uighur is figure #08 in the line.

Packaging - **
Uighur's packaging is essentially the same as the rest of the line - a large cardboard box with several stacked plastic trays containing the figure and all of its accessories.  It does a great job protecting Uighur and displaying him (albeit without his cape), but more impressive is the tetrislike way it manages to fit in all of his accessories without unnecessarily crushing or bending anything.  The top layer has Uighur and his hands, with the separate sections of his cape in the next layer (also protected with an extra shell), and the very bottom contains his stand and four whips.  Everything is insulated either with a plastic shell on top, or with loose plastic as padding.  None of the pieces are hard to get out of the packaging, and even though it uses a lot of material, it protects them pretty well.  You don't have to worry about the import getting damaged on its way across the ocean to you.

Sculpting - ***
This sculpt is perfect, and yet loses a star.  Why?  Because of scale.  Fist of the North Star has a fair amount of "giant" thugs and bad guys, yet most of them really aren't that big.  Zeed, the thug in the first episode, is a great example.  If you look carefully, you can tell that he's only about a head taller than Ken, yet in some scenes he's drawn like King Kong for perspective and emphasis.  Not so with Uighur, as his size is actually a plot point!  He is called a "giant" by his men, states his weight as 770 lbs, and has to be folded in half to fit into Ken's grave - Ken is about six feet tall, which just emphasizes how huge Uighur is.  The figure is taller than other Revoltech Fist of the North Star pieces, but not nearly enough so.  He's about 6 1/2" tall compared to the usual 6", but what this means is that he's instead even with the average Marvel or DC figure, when he should be roughly the size of Maestro Hulk!  However, there are some toys Uighur is in scale with - he's perfectly in scale with 3-3/4" toys.  There are some Fist of the North Star figures in that scale, but they are either 25-year-old GI Joe knockoffs or unarticulated figurines.  As an example, note the picture that has Uighur standing next to two versions of Rei - the Revoltech toy and an unarticulated 3-3/4" figurine.  Uighur is in proper scale with the small one, not the large one.  I understand that it would have driven the price of the figure up, but the scale issue still seems really jarring in light of how overwhelmingly huge Uighur is supposed to be.

Scale aside, the sculpt is fantastic.  His head is particularly good, with a well-designed beard, a clear, rage-filled expression, and a great helmet.  The mohawk crest looks great, and even the horns are correct, but more on those later.  His body is equally well-done, bulging with veiny muscles.  His thick torso actually gets a little in the way of his articulation, but Uighur just wouldn't be Uighur if he didn't look like a steroid freak.  The rest of his skimpy outfit is also well-designed, particularly the jewels on his gauntlets and boots, or the fur on his little man-skirt.  His hands are bigger than other Revoltech hands, and have bulging veins in them.  The only complaint besides scale is that the sculpt tries its best to hide articulation points, but does not succeed - that's the way it is for the entire line, however, and his cape certainly helps with the shoulders.

Paint - ****
Uighur's paint is flawless.  One look at his face is proof of that - the eyes, teeth, beard, and even lips are painted with a level of quality usually not seen in figures under 12" or 18".  The rest of him is just as good, with a wash used to bring out his muscles in a way that actually looks like flesh.  As a side note, some of the red from Uighur's cape has a tendency to rub off on him if scraped against his body, but it's barely noticeable (A little bit on the right arm of mine, if you can spot it).  His accessories are also well-painted, even with the cape's problem.  There really is nothing to complain about with Uighur's paint job, which is really good.  It's surprisingly complex.

Articulation - ***
Uighur has standard Revoltech articulation, although there are a few issues that subtract from its score.  To begin with, his body is simply too bulky to provide one of his best poses - the Mongolian Warrior's Road Shoulder Charge, in which he puts all 770 lbs of his weight into one big shoulder block, and actually knocked Kenshiro unconscious with it.  The closest you can get to the pose is kind of a weak flex.  This looks good, but it's no Warrior's Road.  If his arms could just close in a little tiny bit more, it would be perfect.  His leg articulation also seems substandard because of his loincloth.  It restricts his movement, so don't expect Uighur to sit or go into a flying kick any time soon.  Thankfully, the Revoltech joints all pop out with ease, and none were even remotely stuck.  The knee joints in particular come out if subjected to stress, which helps the figure stay durable.  Unfortunately, Uighur's weight with his cape on might wear down his ankles and send him tumbling back eventually.  Keep the back part of his stand up at all times, even when not suspending him.  It will be enough to keep him on his feet.  Uighur's articulation is pretty visible, and his shoulders look awful without the cape, but the knees and ankles are pretty well-hidden.  There's only so much that can be done with naked flesh, and Uighur wears about as much clothing as He-Man.

Accessories - ****
The only negative is that Uighur does not come with very many alternate hands.  He has a pair of closed fists, a pair of open hands, and a pair of hands designed to grasp his weapons.  Unfortunately, the grasping hands are open unevenly - one holds his accessories well while the other is kind of lose, but these negatives are made up for by everything else he has.

Aside from a generic Revoltech stand (remember to flex the top part's ball joint early to loosen it up) which could have been bigger or thicker to account for his weight, Uighur comes with two regular whips, two "thousand-streak" whips, a three-section cape, and removable horns for his helmet, which are the handles for his bigger whips.  Uighur likes his whips.  They are major parts of his fighting style.  The two regular whips are his primary weapons, and he uses them as part of his "Mt. Tai Twin-Streak Whip" fighting style, in which he attacks faster than a human's reaction time, and uses them to cut his opponent to ribbons.  If the twin-streak whips fail, he goes for his secret weapon - the Thousand-Streak Whips.  Oddly, Uighur pulls the multi-tailed whips out of his helmet, which leads to some very curious questions about the shape of his skull.  Those ones have six strands each, and he uses them to entangle any enemies he could not cut with the earlier attacks.  All of the whips look sufficiently whiplike (with little spaded scourges at the tips), and the thousand-streak whips fit nicely over the pegs on his helmet horns.  They are made of loose, flexible plastic, although they tend to want to keep a straight line. A little bit of hot water treatment can fix them, or you can just use parts of his sculpt or cape to hold the whips down.  They don't seem to be the type to break from stress or bending.  His right hand is just a little too loose, and takes some effort to fit either type of whip handle, but they are okay - even the curved horns fit into both hands.  Neither hand is big enough to let him hold several coils from a whip, however, which is somewhat disappointing, but overall they are exactly what they need to be.

The cape is also articulated, and comes in three segments.  You can remove either or both of the sides to give him more articulation room(or give it to another figure), which is pretty handy.  The cape has a central peg which plugs into a hole high on Uighur's back, although you can remove the peg easily, as other figures do not have the same hole.  There is a lower hole on Uighur's waist (through the loincloth) for the top part of his stand, and there are probably a couple of aerial poses you could put him in.

Could this figure have come with more?  Possibly, as Uighur interacted with more than a few props.  The stone guillotine he used on inmates would be too large, although I could see him coming with a coiled whip, alternate head with a blade instead of the mohawk crest, the attack hawk he used to savage prisoners, the spiked wall he tried to ram Kenshiro into, or perhaps even one of the many tombstones that filled the prison yard.  None of those are really necessary, but they would have been nice.  There is a recent Zartan figure from the G.I. Joe line that comes with the perfect bird for Uighur, though - it can even perch on his finger, so no complaints there.  He lacks in alternate hands, but he doesn't really need any others, and the whips and cape likely took up a lot of the budget.  Maybe he could have a hand grasping a few hairs from his beard to imitate a scene - Uighur plucked hairs from his beard to determine how many prisoners he was going to execute that day.

Value - **1/2
I hate how much Revoltech toys cost, although $30 is only $10 more than the average MOTU Classics figure (much less than E-bay costs).  Uighur is a little hard to find on the secondary market, as retailers tend to sell out of him early.  He should still be available on Amazon at the time of this writing for roughly $30, however.

Fun Factor - ****
Scale issues aside, Uighur is a great figure.  He also doesn't scream "ANIME" for people who don't really like Japan, and fits in pretty well among He-Man figures (albeit with a much better sculpt and paint).  Just call him Lashor, Skeletor's Viking Torturer, and you're set.  Unless you think that's too close to Tung Lashor, at which point he becomes Whip-Man.  If you want to keep him in-scale, he's great for savaging G.I. Joe and Star Wars figures, and there are some Fist of the North Star offerings in the right scale, they just lack articulation.  For a figure made of one of the random giant thugs from Fist of the North Star, this one shows a tremendous amount of quality.  And hey, you can learn a little more about Asian ethnic politics while you're at it!

Overall- ***1/2
Uighur is such a great figure that it's just too bad he's saddled with that terrible scale problem.  Seriously - other things, such as his open right hand or limited loincloth articulation are easy to overlook, but he just seems shrimpy in an actual Fist of the North Star display.  Uighur is huge, imposing, and terrifying - maybe not so huge with this figure, but the character is still memorable.  Who else can turn "I can't hear you?" from part of a cheer into a forerunner of death?  The same number of Mongolians who dress like Vikings, that's who!

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

This page copyright 2000 - 2010, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour