Viking II

The last six months have given sixth scale collectors even greater variety in their choices, at least in terms of time periods.  Tired of WWII or modern forces?  Now there's a nice selection of knights, vikings, cowboys and other early warriors on the market.

Ignite is renowned for it's historical accuracy, and have produced several high end 12" figures so far.  Tonight I'm reviewing "Viking II", sort of like Scooby Doo 2 without the weak script.

I reviewed their first Viking last summer, and recently reviewed the Dog Soliders Viking.  Ignite has now released another Viking, in a slightly less commonly known outfit, but as cool and colorful as the others.

Next up from Ignite is a Roman Republican Legionary.  They have a number of photos up at the site, and it's very similar to their previous Roman Centurion.

Packaging - ***1/2
One of the nice things about Ignite's packaging is the excellent text.  They delve very heavily into the history of this figure, and you'll feel like you just finished watching the History channel.

The packaging is also completely collector friendly, and you can return everything as easily as it comes out.  The only issue is that the package is a tad weak, and likely to damage fairly easily.

Sculpting - **1/2
This category is really the only disappointment I had with this figure.  Ignite needs to raise the level of quality of their head sculpts to make it to the next level.

It's not that the head is a bad sculpt, but rather that the manufacturing process is lacking.  The overall look of the character is fine, but the rotocast head is very soft in appearance, lacking detail and depth.  Compare it to a rotocast head like that on the 18" Hellboy, and you'll see what I mean.

While the past head sculpts haven't been stupendous, they were usually covered up by helmets.  This time, our Viking is wearing a big fur hat that just screams "hey, look at me, I'm wearing a big fur hat!".  It calls a lot of attention to his face, and that's not a good thing.  By the way, who do you think this is supposed to be?  Ignite tends to pattern their head sculpts after actual actors - Richard Gere perhaps?

Ignite needs to look at the generic head sculpts used by Sideshow, and work toward that goal.  Combine that type of excellent head sculpt with their already fantastic outfit and accessories, and they can't be beat.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint ops are great, particularly on the accessories.  There's not a lot on the head, but what is there is well done.

The eyes are straight and clean, and the hair line shows no bleed or slop.  The skin tone is appropriate, and there's no zombie look.

The paint work on items like the horn or shield is where they really shine though.  Not only is the work historically accurate, it's clean and technically accurate as well.

Articulation - ***
There's tons of articulation here, so that's clearly not an issue.  He has all the joints most folks need, but not quite as many as some other competitors like bbi, Dragon or Sideshow.

He has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders and hips, pin elbows, double jointed knees, ankles, wrists, chest, and waist.  He lacks some things like double joints on the elbows, or cut joints on the thighs.  Still, for most purposes, he has more than enough articulation.

He also has a tighter body than the previous Ignite figures.  I don't know if I just got lucky with this one, or they've made a change, but I had no trouble keeping him standing and holding the heavy metal weapons.

Accessories - ***1/2
There's no doubt that Ignite hits it out of the park in this category.  They do real metal weapons like nobody's business.

So why not four stars?  Mostly it's one of numbers - he has fewer metal and high end accessories than his predecessors.

There's the sword, knife, axe and shield that have metal components.  All are excellent, although the knife, the shield (with a new paint job) and axe head are re-used from the first Viking.  The large axe handle is new of course.

There's reuse in some of the other accessories as well - the belt, bag (with cool bone clasp that really works), and knife sheath are all identical to the first Viking.

The sword is new - at least in terms of the hilt sculpt - as is the scabbard and the decorated horn.

Outfit - ***1/2
Like the accessories, there's a lot of reuse in the costume.  Were these all new pieces, this would be an easy four stars.

The fur hat is new, and looks great.  It fits well, and is appropriately goofy.  Also new is the cape, with an excellent bone clasp (with a snap on the inside).  Finally, the exterior red tunic is also new, and has the usual amazing stitching, tailoring and quality that Ignite puts in their clothing.

The boots, pants (in a new color), belt, and I think (though I'm not positive) even the white undershirt are reused from the previous Viking.  They look as good this time as they did the last time, but with this much reuse you'd expect a lower price.

Value - **
You can expect to pay at least $55, probably closer to $60 for this figure.  The die cast accessories drive up the price of course.

Normally, I don't hit them too hard for this, considering that Sideshow, bbi and Dragon are pusing $45 to $50 these days without the diecast stuff.  Still, even on a good day, that's a lot of clams.

I'm hitting them harder this time than usual though due to all the reuse.  With only a couple new accessories, and just part of the outfit, these are definitely making a better margin than the past figures.

Overall - ***
If you have the previous Viking, this is more of a **1/2.  That's because you're not getting a lot new here for the green.  However, if you don't have the first version, this one is an easy three stars.

The only thing holding it back from a higher score is the head sculpt.  Again, it's not a poor sculpt, but rather the manufacture of the head that has to improve.  Keep all the quality in the outfit and accessories, stick with the extreme attention to historical accuracy, tweak the body a little, and up the ante on the head sculpts - there won't be any doubt about the value of these figures then.

Where to Buy - 
The best bet for finding these is to head over to Ignite's web site and check out their list of retailers and distributors.  They have three or four really good choices there, and you can find them as cheap as $56 or so.



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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