Sideshow Collectibles The Dead
Subject 2221: The Harbinger

The Dead Harbinger zombie sixth scale action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

A 'harbinger' is defined as one who herald's the coming of another. They foreshadow a future event, or they prepare for the coming of others (such as military troops). They bear the news of something that's coming, and often get shot for it. 'Harbinger' is not a job you really want.

My favorite Sideshow series right now is not a licensed product, but their in house designed line called The Dead. This series of sixth scale zombies have included babysitters to bums, Santa to SWAT. The latest release ('subject 2221') is the Harbinger. What message does he bring? It can't be good.

The Harbinger is clearly a priest who has been infected with the virus. As is often the case with Sideshow figures, there's a regular version (limited to just 750) and an exclusive version (also limited to 750). I'll be reviewing the exclusive tonight, which includes a special accessory. The regular version sells for $70, while the exclusive is $75. Both are currently available at the Sideshow website.

Packaging - ***
Sideshow packaging is always top notch, but I do have to admit that the work here seems a bit lower cost than, say, the Star Wars line.  I really do like the outer sleeve concept though, and the inner box has a window pane without a fifth panel. That means less descriptive text, but you still get some. This line isn't one with a ton of back story, and that mystery is part of the appeal.

There's a couple twisties on the priest, and I'm not sure why - he's not going anywhere in this box, re-animated or not. However, you don't have to destroy the packaging to get him out, unlike the first release in this series, Patient Zero.
The Dead Harbinger zombie sixth scale action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
The Dead Harbinger zombie sixth scale action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
The Dead Harbinger zombie sixth scale action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
The Dead Harbinger zombie sixth scale action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
The Dead Harbinger zombie sixth scale action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
The Dead Harbinger zombie sixth scale action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
The Dead Harbinger zombie sixth scale action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
The Dead Harbinger zombie sixth scale action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

Sculpting - ***1/2
I'm a big fan of 95% of this sculpt, but there is one issue that pulls it down slightly for me.

I believe that this is the first time we've gotten an exposed brain with a Dead figure, and I'm loving it. The skin is peeled back over the forehead too, leaving a flap that hangs down by his left eye. That's a great touch that adds quite a bit of nasty to the look of his open wound.

Along with the exposed brain, there's some exposed skull, and the sculpted distinction between the various parts - flesh, skull, skin - is obvious and clear.

So what's the issue? That tongue!  What's going on there? Is he blowing raspberrys? Telling me "neener, neener?" I'm not feeling it, whatever it's supposed to be about. I would have been much happier with something a bit more traditional, like exposed teeth and gums.

Both hand sculpts are new, and done in a dried up, almost mummy-like way. The right hand is designed to hold the included Bible, but it looks good without it as well.

Paint - ***1/2
This priest has definitely seen better Sundays, and the paint work compliments the sculpted rotting flesh quite well.

Like the sculpt, the paint is used to differentiate the various layers - skin, rotting flesh, exposed bone, exposed brain. They've even included some graying hair, indicating that this fella was a bit older than some of the previous Dead converts.

The best paint work is on the eyes. Unlike most sixth scale figures, these should have a dead, mannequin appearance. Sideshow did that, but added that faded, almost translucent look to the iris' and pupils, adding to the corpse-like appearance.

The paint work isn't perfect, and some of the blood is applied with a heavy hand. There's no attempt to make the forearms or neck match the rotting flesh color of the face and hands, which can be a bit distracting in certain poses. And the finish is a bit glossy, which some might not like, but for me it actually works, giving the skin a sickly, wet look. 

Articulation - ***1/2
This guy is on the Prometheus body, and yea, he probably doesn't HAVE to be, but I'd expect to see that body on every new release from Sideshow at this point. There's no excuse - or reason - to release anything on the Buck now, even if the figure doesn't require quite as much articulation.

I'm liking the Pro more with each release. Gone are the floppy joints we had with Indy, resulting in a much higher score here. To reach the full four star level, similar to a TrueType or RAH, the joints still need to tighten up *slightly*. I didn't have any trouble getting him to take a variety of poses and hold them for extended periods without any trouble, and a good example is the poses where he is holding the Bible (a relatively heavy accessory) above his head without issue. But the body isn't quite as tight as I'd like, although your mileage may vary.

The Pro has a very natural hang to it, and the narrow shoulders don't create a visual issue with a character like this. The hands swap easily and with little risk of damage, although that won't be an issue either since this guy doesn't have any extra hands.

Accessories - **1/2
The regular figure really only comes with one accessory, other than the always included display stand of course. That's his huge, antique appearing Bible. The sculpt on it is terrific, and I love the texture and cross on the cover. No, it doesn't open, but it looks great nonetheless.

It's also designed to fit perfectly in his right hand...or more accurately, the hand is designed to hold it. The zombies in the Dead series have been given some of their most important possessions to continue to clutch in their undead lives, and the inclusion of the Good Book is a perfect addition here.

But that's it, and if I were reviewing the regular version, this score would be down another half star at least, maybe more. But the exclusive includes an extra goody that makes it worth the effort and time (and probably the extra five bucks) to hunt it down - a crow sitting atop a severed human hand.

The crow is a big one, but you know how those mid-west crows can be. There's some minor sculpt issues, like the mold line clearly visible on the neck and wing, but the feather detailing is good, and the hand is appropriately gruesome. Better yet, it's not just any's a zombie crow!  Look at the dead, lifeless eyes - that's a very cool touch. This is a great example of an accessory that doesn't necessarily mean much with just the figure it comes with, but will add quite a bit to a larger display of zombies.

I did have some issues getting him to stay standing. I had to press down and shift him a bit to his left to get him to stay upright, and you might want to make the change a bit more permanent with a quick hot water/cold water bath.

Outfit - ***1/2
The Harbinger is wearing fairly traditional vestments, not the ceremonial kind but more 'every day man of the cloth' sort of clothes.

He's wearing black pants of course, as well as black shoes. I'd be surprised if we haven't seen this shoe sculpt before, but I didn't instantly recognize it. Sideshow does a great job with footwear though, and these look realistic and fit properly.

He is wearing an outer robe, with nicely scaled round buttons in front. They went above and beyond with this piece of clothing, adding in wires around the sides and bottom of each of the 'flaps', so that they can be individually posed around his legs. They also add some mud and dirt to the bottom, giving him a little more of that disheveled appearance.

Over this he's wearing a sash/cumber bun that ties at his waist, and includes the sculpted rosary. The sculpted Christ looks quite good, and the overall rosary hangs fairly naturally from the sash. I would have preferred one that was removable, but I'll live. I suppose.

He has the plastic cleric collar of course, which can be worn either tucked in to both sides or half hanging out. I tucked it in for a couple shots, but preferred it hanging out. This figure is a little too clean overall for me considering the level of rot and damage to the face and hands, and pulling out the collar at least makes him appear a little more messed up.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Yea, he's not likely to end up in any toy boxes, but the fact is he'd be a mighty fun figure for kids who love monsters, and are into sixth scale figures.

Value - *1/2
I love my zombies, and I love the Dead series. But this guy is definitely overpriced at $70 - $75. Considering what you got from Sideshow with their new Stormtrooper at $90, there's just no comparison.

Get the regular guy for $60, and you can add another easy half star. Get the exclusive down around $60, and you can bump him up another full star to an average rating here.

Things To Watch Out For
When I first opened the box, my priest's collar was sticking out from both sides, with a cut in the middle. I didn't think that looked exactly right, since a real clerical collar either buttons in back or just slides in to the front of the collar on both sides with the break in the back.

Looking at the photos of the Harbinger on Sideshow's site, I noted that they had only one end sticking out, which makes more sense, and gives him a bit of a disheveled look. I simply pulled one end forward to hide the other end.

I'm bringing this up here, because once you do it, it's almost impossible to return it to the original look i.e. both ends sticking out. It's possible, but it's a lot of work, so be sure how you want it before you go down that path.

Overall - ***
I love zombies, particularly sixth scale zombies, and this guy is going to make an excellent addition to the display. The exclusive accessory is a nice add too, regardless of who else is on the shelf.

I'm glad to see the Pro body working better, and this makes me feel more confident that future releases using it will continue this trend of improvement.

He is a bit overpriced however, especially at the full retail tag. I know the days of the decent quality $40 12" figure are gone, but this guy really shouldn't be over $60, considering the number of accessories and the lack of any licensing costs. Still, as a big zombie fan, I didn't hesitate to add him to my display. I love the exposed brain, and having such a unique character - a priest! - zombified is a real treat. Yea, I'm sick, but knowing is half the battle.

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

Where to Buy -
Options include:

- Both are available direct from Sideshow right now. The regular version sells for $70, while the exclusive is $75. This is the only way to get the exclusive in the States other than ebay.

- Alter Ego Comics has the regular version for $63.

- for the UK collectors, Forbidden Planet has him at 50 GBP.

- and you can always search ebay for a good deal.

Related Links -
I like zombies.  Other reviews include:

- in the Dead series, I checked out Subject 5,

- also sixth scale is the the Peril Unlimited 12" zombie, The Peril Unlimited Bloody Betty, the Sideshow Shaun and Ed from Shaun of the Dead, and the Night of the Living Dead Cometary Zombie.

- in a smaller scale, there's the the GITD Flesh Eating Zombies, the Day of the Dead Bub, and the Shaun of the Dead 2 pack.

- my review of Cult Classics 4 that included the plaid shirt zombie from Dawn of the Dead and the zombie fighter Shaun from Shaun of the Dead; and the Cult Classics 3 Flyboy Zombie from Night of the Living Dead.

- then there's my review of Earl, from Mezco's line Attack of the Living Dead.

- check out the Marvel Legends monster boxed set that included the zombie from Tales of the Zombie.

- SOTA recently released the Land of the Dead figures.

- and don't forget the cool (but expensive) zombies from the sixth scale Dust series.

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

Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 3.75

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The Dead Harbinger zombie sixth scale action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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