SEARCH REVIEWS    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE >


Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides 6" Figures
Captain Sparrow and Blackbeard

Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks


Jack Sparrow...excuse me, Captain Jack Sparrow, has become one of the great film characters of all time. While the first three films were a bit like sailing themselves, with smooth story telling during certain periods, and chaotic, rough plotting at others, there's no argument that Johnny Depp created one of the coolest pirates to ever pillage and plunder.

Because of that, it was no surprise that Disney and Depp decided to go back for a fourth installment. On Stranger Tides adds in a new character in Blackbeard, played by the exceptional Ian McShane, as well as his daughter, played by Penelope Cruz. While Barbossa is back, Will and Elizabeth are out, something I'm betting most fans won't be too upset about. Whether or not Cruz can be effective remains to be seen, but I'm looking forward to McShane's take on the evil Blackbeard.

Jakks picked up the license to produce action figures and playsets for the fourth installment, and these are just now hitting. I picked up two of the 6" scale figures for review tonight - Jack and Blackbeard. There's also Gibbs, Barbossa and Angelica in this first wave, and they each come with a piece for a Build A Figure character called 'Gunner'. Expect to pay around $15 or so each, while the 4" figures are running $8 or so.
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks
Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks

Packaging - ***1/2
While the basic design is rather...well, basic, I have to say that there's one feature here which caused me to up the score considerably.

It's not the design, although that works fine. It's attractive, shows off the full set of wave 1 on the back, has some character specific personalization, isn't too wasteful, and explains the Build A Figure concept clearly. And yes, they are using the BAF name, thankfully. The package is even multi-lingual, which makes it smarter than me!

Nope, it's not all that that ups the score, although I appreciate these things. It's that once you have the bubble free from the cardback, you'll realize that there's no twisties in your way! In fact, Blackbeard is clear of any constraints, while Jack does have a couple clear rubber bands holding him in place. That's a huge improvement over the half dozen twist ties we'd normally get with figures in this scale.

Sculpting - Blackbeard ***; Jack **
Both figures are a bit pre-posed due to the limited articulation, and the overall impression depends heavily on the selection of the sculpted pose.

The head sculpt on Blackbeard isn't a dead on representation of McShane as the character, but it's not bad. It's slightly generic, but there's enough of the actor in there to recognize that this is the famous pirate we've seen in the previews. The hair sculpt is good, and the detail work on the costume - including the buttons, straps, and buckles - is extremely nice.

He's in a wide stance, with arms extended. While you can adjust things slightly with the basic articulation, it helps that this sculpted pose works great for a number of fighting stances.

Jack is very limited in terms of articulation as well, but his pose is really bizarre. It's sort of a Swan Lake meets Pirates thing, with him leaping gracefully forward. I guess. It looks awkward, especially with his center of gravity over the lifted back leg, and not over the planted front foot.

The head sculpt is also fairly generic, and getting it to look like Depp is more critical here than getting Blackbeard to look like McShane. The expression is very blank, almost non-existent, which conflicts visually with the extreme pose. He looks like he's in the thick of battle, and yet totally bored by it.

The head band is huge, sticking way up and almost as big as the rest of his entire face. This stretches his head way out, and looks like a large hat rather than a head band.

It's interesting - Blackbeard looks better in his hat than out, and Jack looks better out of his hat rather than in.

Blackbeard stands about 6 3/4 inches tall, and both figures stand fine on their own, as long as you use the included stand with Jack. This is the current 6" scale, slightly oversized, and they should fit in pretty well with other modern lines.

Paint - Blackbeard ***; Jack **1/2
The paint work is fairly good on both figure, at least from the neck down. The costumes have fairly clean lines, with intentional slop in some areas to give it that lived in, realistic look.

The faces are clean, but maybe a bit too clean. The hair line on Blackbeard is so sharp it's obviously painted, and the face tone is a little too even. Still, when it comes to Blackbeard, I'm pleasantly surprised. This is good work for a mass market series, and even better work considering some of Jakks past attempts.

There's plenty of subtle color on Blackbeard's costume, right down to the tips of his boots. They also used a mix of matte and gloss finishes to help differentiate between the various black pieces of clothing.

Jack doesn't fair quite as well. The face work is sloppy, especially the facial hair. And the paint work adds to the dull, mannequin look initially created by the sculpt.

Articulation - Blackbeard **1/2; Jack *1/2
Neither of these figures is highly articulated, but because of the design of the poses, one works much better than the other.

The good one would be Blackbeard, where they went for a simple but effective wide stance. The neck is a ball joint that's a little restricted by the hair, but works better than I expected. The shoulders are "NECA" style, the post and disc type that can allow inward and outward movement along with forward and back. However, due to the sculpting on the coat, you can't raise the arms all the way to parallel with the ground.

The wrists are cut joints, as are the calves, and the hips are a simple T joint. He even has a cut waist, and while all these joints don't add up to much on paper, they do mean that you can get some decent fighting poses out of the figure.

Jack is pretty much stuck in the goofy pose he's been sculpted in. The neck is a cut joint, as are both shoulders and both wrists. He has pin elbows, something Blackbeard does not, but without ball shoulders, they don't give him much in the way of unique poses.

There's no articulation from the shoulders down - no waist, no hips, no knees, no ankles...nothing. And because of the simple cut shoulders, there's not much you can really do with the arm articulation you have.

Accessories - Blackbeard ***; Jack **1/2
Both figures come with the Build A Figure part to construct Gunner. From what I can tell he's one of the pirate crewman, at least from the small picture on the package and the two legs now in my possession. Yep, both Jack and Blackbeard come with a leg, while Barbossa and Angelica each have an arm, and Gibbs has the head and torso.

Along with that BAF piece, Blackbeard comes with his broad sword, flintlock pistol, hat and bandoleer/sheath combo. I'm counting the hat and sheath since they are both easily removable.

The sword looks great with a unique design and sculpted hilt. It fits nicely in his right hand, but does not go in the scabbard - it's a solid piece with no hole.

The scabbard and belt look good around his shoulder, but as I just mentioned, the sheath can't actually be used.

The flintlock seems a smidge undersized, but the sculpt and paint are good.

Finally, there's his hat, which is surprisingly well done for this scale. It fits tightly down over his head, and does not look out of scale or ridiculous. The paint work is also quite good, including the silver symbol in the center.

Jack comes with a rubbery tri-corner hat as well, but his doesn't fit as well or look as nice. This is due in large part to the oversized forehead.

He also has a sword that fits into his right hand, but it's less complex in terms of sculpt and paint. His shoulder belt and scabbard aren't quite as easy to remove, although I suspect you could if you really wanted to, and like Blackbeard, the sheath is a solid piece. That means the sword cannot fit inside.

Finally, Jack comes with a sandy, dirty base, with two clear plastic posts to hold him in place. He's leaping in that funky Swan Lake pose, and this base makes it possible to keep him upright. The posts and base work fine, but they do nothing to correct the awkward look of the pose.

Fun Factor - Blackbeard ***; Jack *1/2
Kids don't necessarily need a ton of articulation to have fun with a figure, but it does need the ability to stand on its own. If it stands up, it can be knocked down in battle. If it can't, it's tremendously frustrating for the average 8 year old.

Blackbeard stands just fine, and the wide pose is threatening and battle ready. While he's not super articulated, kid's can still recreate on screen fights pretty easily.

Jack is very much the opposite. The funky pose makes it impossible for him to stand without the base, and with the base he's not particularly well suited to play. As a toy, he comes up short.

Value - **
The day is here when we're paying $15 for any 6" - 7" scale action figure. And that's a sad day, as I simply don't see how the market can handle the price point.

Things to Watch Out For -
While I have my issues with these figures, none of it has to do with basic build quality. Both are very sturdy, made from very heavy plastic, and the joints are all tight and solid. Nothing here to worry about in terms of breakage or damage.

Overall - Blackbeard ***; Jack **
I really don't like this Jack. The awkward pose, blank expression, and lack of articulation really tank the figure, and I certainly hope we get an improved version with series 2.

Blackbeard is better than I anticipated, however. He's still got a few issues, not the least of which is that $15 price tag, but he was much more posable than his limited articulation would indicate, and the sculpt and paint were both solid work. I make pick up Gibbs, Barbossa and Angelica just to put together the BAF, although I think Blackbeard is going to be the winner of the first wave.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - Blackbeard ***; Jack **
Paint - Blackbeard ***; Jack **1/2
Articulation - Blackbeard **1/2; Jack *1/2
Accessories - Blackbeard ***; Jack **1/2
Fun Factor - Blackbeard ***; Jack *1/2
Value - **
Overall - Blackbeard ***; Jack **

Where to Buy -
You're going to find these at the major retailers, like Toys R Us and Target. There's also the 4" series, as well as some playsets and dress up items. I paid $15 each for these at Wal-mart.

Related Links -
I've covered lots of Pirates booty:

- my current favorite Jack Sparrow is the Sideshow Premium Format statue.

- Hot Toys has produced some amazing 12" figures, including Cannibal Jack and Davy Jones, regular Jack and Sao Feng, as well as Will Turner.

- NECA did a fair share of smaller figures, including Sao Feng, a full series 2 figures, Clanker, the new cursed boxed set of Jack and Barbossa, second cursed Pirate, Pintel,  Regatti, the full first series, and a terrific 18" version of Sparrow.

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

- 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 the 12" Blackbeard from Sideshow, or their large scale Premium Format of Blackbeard.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find thousands more just like it!

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR MORE PHOTOS!



Share this review with others! 
 
Digg it!
 StumbleUpon Toolbar
Stumble It!
 
Reddit

Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides action figures by Jakks


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

This page copyright 2000 - 2011, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Click here for copyright permissions! Hosted by 1 Hour Hosting.com