Sculpting - ***
Let's be honest - Praji wasn't exactly Paul Newman. But he did have a
face with plenty of personality, something a sculptor can hang his hat on.
Unfortunately, the head sculpt doesn't quite work for me as the
character. It's close, but a bit extreme and harsh. Part of this
may be the paint application though, and if it were hand done by one of the
fine custom painters out there (I just had some work done by Les Walker, and
can highly recommend him - drop me an email if you need details), I suspect
the sculpt would shine through a bit better. But there is still enough
of a caricature feel to this sculpt that it's not high on my list.
The best part though is the eyes. They are very lifelike, and very
finely sculpted with deep set eyeballs in clearly defined sockets.
Another big plus this time around is that the head looks just about the
perfect size. This is still the older body, but there's no sign of any melon
The hands are sculpted to hold the weapons, although you'll want to be
careful as the fingers are quite stiff and could damage the guns if you put
them in the hands or take out a bit too roughly.
If this were a character where I really cared deeply about the head
sculpt - say, Han Solo or Princess Leia - this score would end up in more
trouble. But is anyone actually buying this figure because they want
Praji? Of course not - they want a great looking Imperial Commander.
And while the sculpt is a bit off, screen accuracy wise, it still is fairly
realistic and lifelike, making him look solid on the shelf for the average
person who would have no idea who Praji is anyway.
Paint - ***
There's no serious quality issues here, and the application is actually
quite good for a factory job.
My issues all are more aesthetic, covering things that personally bug me.
For example, I hate the painted nostrils. Yes, they are going for that
dark, shadowed look, but these nostrils are so deep that they'd look that
way on their own. In person, the painted holes look much too obvious
I'm also not a huge fan of the lip color, which gives him a bit too much
of the lipstick look. Praji is more of an autumn.
They did go with the gloss on the eyes, which is always a big plus.
And the skin tone is fairly realistic and even, with no glaring gloss to
Articulation - ***
Everyone is greatly anticipating the new Sideshow body, but this isn't it.
They body works adequately, especially for a character like this who you'll
probably pose as I did in the very first photo anyway. The body
doesn't hang as naturally as the Hot Toys or Medicom, but it's sufficient
for this particularly character.
Accessories - ***1/2
Ah, here's a place where Sideshow really stepped it up, which is nice
considering the character could have been rather dull otherwise.
He has a blaster pistol and rifle, and Sideshow's weapon sculpts have
really improved. Both of these look terrific, with a ton of small
detail. The pistol has the cool coil along the top, made from a very
stiff, thin wire. The pistol is perfectly scaled, fits nicely in his
hand (although I'd be careful not to break the small trigger with his fat
finger), and looks terrific in or out of the holster.
The blaster rifle has the cool folding stock, similar to Leia's.
Again, there's a ton of great sculpting details, and the stock looks perfect
either folded in or out.
He has an extra set of ungloved hands, but getting the hands on and off
is a bit of a trick. In fact, unless you're really sold on going
without the gloves for some reason, I'd just leave them on.
He also comes with two small Imperial 'tubes', that fit in the uniform on
either side of the chest. These little silver tubes are under the
hands in the box, but fall out quite easily - mine were floating around inside the
package when I opened him up. They are extremely easy to lose, so I'd
suggest checking that they are still there every time you handle the figure.
He also has the usual stand of course, although there's really no reason
you'll need to use it.
Outfit - ***1/2
The other area where this figure steps it up is the outfit. Since
that's what most people are buying this figure for, that's good news.
The costume consists of the tunic, riding style pants, high top boots,
holster/belt, and not one but two versions of his distinctive cap.
The boots don't seem *quite* screen accurate to me, but they are made
from a nice leathery plastic material, with a high gloss shine. The pants and
tunic are very well tailored, fitting the thin Sideshow body surprisingly
well. The tunic front can be folded down (there's no wire though)
because it is attached on the top right shoulder using very thin velcro.
The stitching is high quality all around, and the two pieces look terrific
together. The tunic does ride up a bit on his neck, making him look a
bit like he lacks one entirely, but it's a minor issue.
If you do pull off the gloves, you'll find that the sleeves are a little
short, not able to completely cover the wrist joints, but as I said earlier,
I wouldn't suggest this anyway.
The belt fits tightly, but has a pretty easy buckle to work with. A
long post on the back of the buckle simply fits in a hole on the belt.
The holster is not removable, and has a bit of a bright color compared to
the rest of the uniform. I was expecting black leather rather than
this bright brown, but I can't find a photo of the uniform to confirm which
color it should be.
The holster has a strap to confine the gun that works with a magnet, much
like Bespin Luke. However, this strap worked much better for me than
that one, and it doesn't have the too thin and easy to break tie down strap.
The gun fits inside it perfectly with little chance for damage.
Finally, there's the hats. I much prefer the sculpted plastic
version, rather than the cloth version, but the cloth version isn't as dopey
as I had expected. I shot photos with him wearing both - you should be
able to tell which is which. You can get the cloth version to look pretty
good if you get it pulled down far enough on the back of his head. The
sculpted plastic one fits great, and looks good in just about any pose.
Value - **
Sixty bucks? For Praji? The issue here for a lot of collectors
won't be that the usual Sideshow quality Star Wars figure isn't worth $60,
but that a character like Praji is unlikely to stir their loins enough to
convince them to free up the coin. This is clearly a figure for the
hard core fan.
Things to Watch Out For -
There were two key things to pay attention to.
As I mentioned earlier, be very careful with the silver tubes.
These things fall out of the pockets very easily, and once they do you might
have a tough time finding them. Every time you repose or handle the
figure, I'd suggest you double check that they're still there. And
when you're first pulling him out of his box, be sure to look for them,
since they'll probably be floating around lose in the package some place.
The other issue is with the swappable hands. I swapped them for the
photos, but I wouldn't if you didn't absolutely need to. His gloved
look is obviously more iconic, and getting the gloves back on once you
pulled them off is more effort than it's worth. If you do remove them,
I'd suggest getting the wrist peg lined up as straight as possible, then
bending the elbow at a 90 degree angle. Lay the figure down so that
the upper half of the arm is flat on a table with the lower forearm sticking
up straight, and press the glove hand down on to the peg. It will pop
into place if everything is lined up just right.
Overall - ***
Most license figures are all about head sculpt likeness first (including the
paint), everything else second. This character is unique, in that it's
exactly the opposite.