Packaging - **1/2
I'm not a huge fan of the
rather dull designs for the Now Playing line, and I've pointed that out
before. These do show off the figures inside pretty well, and they do
have photos of the rest of the line - and the entire victim - on the
back of the package. I do think the particular poster image they used
behind the figures looks good, and I do like the lack of twisty ties.
Sculpting - Big
Daddy, the Butcher ***1/2; Machete ***
Big Daddy looks terrific, capturing the make up from the movie in a
gruesome, violent expression. The open wounds and wrinkled, dried out
zombie flesh look excellent, and there's a ton of small detail and
texturing on the head sculpt. His body is covered in his overhauls, so
there's less detail here, with no attempt to give the cloth any
texture. The wrinkles and folds are generally sensible, but the arms do
look a bit odd, since they appear to be bunched up toward the elbow as
if the sleeves were too long, and yet the wrists stick out at the end.
Even with that minor weirdness in the flow of the clothing, it still
looks quite good, complete with sculpted (yep, even the little letters)
"Big Daddy" name tag.
Perhaps the biggest issue for Big Daddy is his slight pin
head. He's not quite Zippy, but he's leaning in that
direction. He's sculpted in a rather awkward pose, but that's the
zombie in him coming out, as his body doesn't quite flow and work the
same way it did when he was alive. He stands great on his own on the
large feet, and his right hand is sculpted to hold accessories, while
his left is splayed out in a gesture.
The Butcher also has an excellent head sculpt, with hair that has great
detailing, and doesn't get in the way of the neck articulation. His
face suffers from more natural decay and wrinkling that Big Daddy's,
and he's not real happy about it. The body sculpt is awkward as well of
course - these are zombies after all - but I like his pose slightly
better than Big Daddy's. While it's off kilter enough to give the
impression that this person isn't normal, it isn't so far out of whack
as to look goofy. The small detail sculpts on the open flesh on the
hands and cheeks looks good, and the figure also stands great on his
own with no support and no worries about tipping over. The right hand
is sculpted to hold the butcher knife, while the left has the exact
same splayed position as Big Daddy's. In fact, I'd say these two hand
sculpts started out identical, and they added some extra texture
details to the Butcher's.
One of the nicest features of the Butcher's sculpt is the asymmetric
appearance to the head and hair. The hair is flatter to the head on the
left, poofing out a bit on the right. This slightly mussed look adds
some additional realism to the appearance, and is very much like early
Mcfarlane work, when symmetry was a dirty word.
Finally, there's Machete, originally solicited as Blade. I suspect the
fact that there's a Marvel character of that name might have made them
change their mind on what to call this Tom Savini zombie.
Yep, it's Savini in the character makeup from the film. The body has
the least zombified stance, looking from the neck down like any guy in
a leather jacket and jeans. You might prefer this over the more awkward
poses, but I prefer the zombie look to extend to the full figure. The
face looks like the character enough that you'll know who it is, but
the square shape and elongated size of the head makes it appear a bit
more Frankensteinish than I like.
He stands great on his own, once again, and the right hand is sculpted
to hold the machete. His left is - guess what! - splayed just like the
other two, and is in fact the same initial sculpt with just some
The scale on these is 7", and not 6" as some of the sites reported
early on. Big Daddy stands about 7 1/4 inches tall, as does the
Butcher, and Machete is the shortest at around 6 1/2". They should fit
in nicely with other Cult Classics or Now Playing figures, and even
most 7" lines from other companies.
Paint - The
Butcher **1/2; Big Daddy, Machete **;
Ah, the current bane of SOTA's work. It's been noted by just about
every fan that the paint ops on the last few lines from SOTA,
particularly the last Now Playing series, have dropped both in number
and in application quality. This line continues to be of a weaker
quality than earlier series.
Big Daddy starts out well, with a good zombie skin tone, and a nice
gloss finish on the teeth, mouth and open wound on his skull, giving
them a wet look compared to the rest of the face. There's almost too
much blood and dirt in the mouth though, hiding some of the sculpting
The neck is a pin joint similar to what you see on Marvel Legends, so
that it can turn and tilt forward and backward, but has no side to side
tilt action. I'm mentioning this in the paint section because the first
time you til it all the way back, it will rub the paint off the plate
of the joint so that when you tilt it back to a straight position,
he'll have a rub spot on the back of his neck for all the world to see.
To continue with the complaints, he also has a very large stray blue
mark above his left eye, and obvious blue over spray on his neck and
the side of his face. Clearly he was assembled when they painted the
jumpsuit, and did not do a good job masking the head from over spray.
The rest of the paint work on the body is solid, if not outstanding.
There's the right amount of dirt and wash on the clothing, and the skin
tone of the hands matches the face well. They even did his fingernails,
which is always a nice detail.
The Butcher suffers from a mediocre paint application as well. His is
clearly a case of excess - too much wash on the face, too much watered
down blood smeared on the apron, and too much of some weird high gloss
black on his shoes and lower pant legs - did he walk through a puddle
of tar, and I'm forgetting it? Actually, I think it's supposed to be
blood, but it's definitely almost black and not particularly bloody
The skin tone is also inconsistent, particularly between the face and
neck where there's a jump from dark (face) to light (neck) without any
gradual transition. They were trying to get that decayed look, but it
appears as though the factory just didn't quite know how to pull it off
That gloss dark, dark red paint is evident on the hands and feet of
Machete too, so perhaps their using this gloss application to appear
like dark blood on all the darker clothes. If that was the effect they
were going for, it clearly didn't work for me. The small details on
Machete's jacket are done in silver, but are a tad sloppy, and my
figure has several spots of silver paint on the jeans where the painter
clearly goofed up. Gotta watch the tip of the brush, dude!
It's the work on the face that bothers me most about Machete though.
They went with a gray and white look for the decaying flesh, but
there's such a huge difference between the lightest areas of the nose,
cheekbones and some of the hairline and the darker areas of the neck
and cheeks that it cheapens the look of the figure, and really hurts
what might otherwise be a great sculpt under there.
Articulation - **
These aren't super articulated, but most folks probably won't need that
in their zombies.
Big Daddy has that neck joint I mentioned earlier, which won't allow
for side to side tilting like a ball joint, but does provide more
movement than a traditional cut joint. He also has ball jointed
shoulders, joined only at the torso, and cut wrists. That be it.
And that's it for the Butcher too. His neck joint works slightly better
than Big Daddy's though, and it doesn't appear to be causing an issue
with the joint. It's possible however that the joint was cast in a
plastic that matches the general paint color of the neck much better,
so any rubbing is less noticeable.
Machete actually adds one point of articulation. But don't get too
excited, as the cut waist really won't open up too many new posing
possibilities. His neck joint is the most restricted of the three since
he has longer hair, but the shoulders and wrists allow for some decent
Accessories - ***
When these were originally advertised, they had bases and brick wall
backdrops that could be interconnected. The removal of these bases as
part of the cost cutting is definitely a loss.
Big Daddy does have some sweet goodies though. He comes with the two
tools he used in the film - the jack hammer, and the automatic rifle.
These can fit in the right hand, but there's also an additional right
hand with a *slightly* (and I mean *slightly*) different hand sculpt
that's intended to work a little better with the gun. However, I
couldn't pop the right hand off - when I tried, it was clear that the
soft peg was going to tear before the hand came free. Rather than end
up with a bad right hand, I just stuck with using the initial hand with
both the gun and the jack hammer.
He has two pieces of the 'BAF', the head and the left arm. These have
lots of good gory sculpt detail, but the paint is a bit over the top,
actually taking away a little of the realism. The victim was married,
since he's wearing a wedding ring on the left hand.
The Butcher has only one weapon, his butcher knife. It's made from a
nice, hard heavy weight plastic, so there's no warping or wilting of
the handle or blade. The paint ops are good too, making it an excellent
He also has some pieces of the victim, including the left leg, torso
and intestines. These are also very nicely sculpted, with flattened
sides where they will lay against the ground, but the paint is over the
top, hurting the overall appearance a bit.
Machete comes with a toothbrush. No, of course not, he comes with a
machete, but I wanted to be sure you were paying attention. Like the
Butcher's knife, the machete is made from a nice, hard plastic, so it
won't warp or wilt over time up on the shelf. He also has three more
pieces of the victim: his right arm, right leg (and pelvis, all as one
piece), and some more intestines. You can never have too many
When I call the victim a 'baf', I'm being a little loose with the term.
Usually build a figure is actually something you put together from
pieces and in the end you have an actual figure. A couple of the pieces
can attach to the others - a leg and an arm - but for the most part,
this victim stays in pieces, to be strewn about their feet. The
intestines are sculpted though so you can place them up against the
gaping wounds in the pelvis and torso, and they appear to be spilling
out. Isn't that adorable! He also has plenty of
that extremely dark blood over the majority of his pieces, and it's
definitely over done. I like the idea of a BAF, no matter what the
scale, but this one isn't quite as well done as I'd hoped.
Fun Factor - ***
I'm not sure I'd sleep well at night in the same house with a kid that
thought these figures were 'fun', but I have to admit that the younger
fans of horror movies could put them to good use as the bad guys in
their war of the undead. There's not much articulation, but they are
mighty sturdy. Just remember to keep your door locked at night.
Value - **
Remember the final months of Palisades, as the prices of their main
lines started to rise to the $15, $16 and even $17 range? Hmmm.
I paid $16 each for these at Hot Topic. Now, Hot Topic sells comparable
figures from NECA for $13 or $14, tops. Why the big price jump on
these? Fortunately, you can pick them up at online retailers in the
more appropriate $12 - $13 range, but considering the paint quality,
that's still a bit high. Had these sported the type of paint work we
know SOTA is capable of - as is NECA and McToys - then they'd be a good
buy at $13. But with this sloppy paint, the price tag is harder to
Things to Watch Out For
When you go to pull off Big Daddy's hand, take your time. Mine was
clearly going to break, so I decided to simply live with the one hand
doing double duty - you may find the same is true for you.
Overall - **1/2
The big question on everyone's mind when it comes to SOTA is - will
they be here at the end of 2007?
These are actually pretty solid sculpts, and might even be excellent,
but the weak paint hides any perfection underneath. I often
point out when great paint improves a mediocre sculpt, but this is one
of those occasions where a poor paint job makes it difficult to
properly judge the sculpt below.
Clearly, SOTA is cutting unit
costs when it comes time to produce these things. They're willing to
spend the up front cash on the sculpts and molds, but when they got to
the actual production, they skimped. If they want to survive
this bumpy year, they're going to have to correct this asap.
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - Big Daddy, the Butcher ***1/2; Machete ***
Paint - **
Articulation - **
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall - **1/2