The review will actually cover the version with the extra head, but
unfortunately your only option to pick one of these up now is ebay. I do
have quite a few options for picking up the regular version included at the end
of the review, however.
Packaging - ****
What could I possibly complain about? Excellent graphics, long, well
written text, and a completely collector friendly package. It simply
doesn't get any better than this.
Sculpting - ***
This score is for the head and hands of Vlad - I'll cover the accessories in
The hand sculpts are fine, and he can easily hold the majority of his
accessories, including the sword, mace and cup. The fingers are soft
enough to manipulate around the accessories without being to soft.
The head sculpt is...different. Obviously, there are no digital photos of Vlad, so we rely on the next best thing - paintings done during the 15th century.
The head sculpt reproduced for this figure is very faithful to these paintings, and that's really where the issue of weirdness comes in.
Of course a painting isn't an exact representation of a human's likeness. It's influenced by the ability of the artist, the current style of art, and by the wishes of the person
paying for the portrait (or threatening to impale you on a stick if they don't like it). All these issues have
come together to create portraits of Vlad that aren't quite human in proportion and
characteristics. I suspect this is mostly due to the style of art during this period, with certain facial features over
emphasized, and others de-emphasized.
What comes out of that is a Vlad with a very large nose, very large eyes, and oddly sunken, almost deformed check bones. While his appearance matches the art extremely well, it doesn't make for a particularly realistic looking human.
The head sculpt from Sideshow does it's best to capture that look, while remaining
somewhat tied to actual human anatomy. However, they don't quite pull it off, and
the slightly flat, squished appearance of his head gives him a slightly surreal appearance.
Add the hat hair he had to have to allow the sculpted hat to fit, and he's certainly never going to be a leading man.
Paint - ***1/2
The paint application shows off the usual Sideshow accuracy. The
majority of the paint ops are on the head and accessories, and they are
extremely clean all around.
The flesh tone seems a little odd, again perhaps matching up with the early
paintings a little too literally. But it's cleanly applied, and there's a
nice consistency. The eye detail is great, and the hair lines show no
bleed or slop.
Articulation - ****
Do you like the Sideshow body? Then you'll love it. If not, you
won't, and by now, with little change over the course of the last year or so,
you probably know what to expect.
The ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps, double jointed
elbows and knees, ball jointed hips, chest, waist, special Sideshow wrists and
ankles, and cut thighs all add up to plenty of articulation. This time the
body was nice and tight as well, so I had no trouble standing him in a variety
Outfit - ****
Wow! That's the best word to describe his red, fur trimmed coat.
It's perfectly tailored, with excellent stitching and a complete lining.
The soft velour type material works perfectly in this scale.
He also has his shirt, complete with tiny buttons, and his leggings.
There's sculpted boots that fit his feet perfectly (although they can be tough
to get on and off), and his sculpted hat. The hat again matches the early
paintings exactly, and that's a good thing in this case.
Accessories - **** (with head); ***1/2 (without)
Even without the nifty severed head, he comes replete with a nice selection of
Since I counted the hat as part of his wardrobe, I won't double count it
here. He does have several weapons, including his pike (that arrives in
two pieces, but has a very long plastic pin to hold them together), swoard and
scabbard, and mace. There's also his goblet full of blood, and if you're
one of the lucky (or smart) first 500, you get the extremely cool aforementioned
The weapons all look great, and fit nicely in his hands. The goblet of
blood, while not necessarily historically accurate, looks great. But the
real winner here is the severed head - cast in solid plastic, it has a hole
running cleanly through to allow it to be 'impaled' on the pike. The
sculpt and paint ops are fantastic. It is quite heavy however, and I have
a bad feeling that over time the pike will begin to bend. I'm going to be
watching carefully on mine to avoid such a disaster.
Fun Factor - *1/2
Unless you're planning on raising serial killers, I'd avoid giving this to
kids. Add a rather pokey sword and pike, and you've got a very un-kid
However, drop the severed head, and he might be a cool addition to an older
child's military line up.
Value - **1/2
The detail work, especially in the outfit, is extremely nice, but the price
is just a smidge too high to be a great value. I don't feel ripped at $45
for the severed head version, but without that, it should be in the $35 - $40
range. I have several on-line stores at the end of the review where that
price is possible.