12" German Knight from Ignite

For collectors of early historical warriors, Ignite has been a breath of fresh air. With some great outfits and die cast metal accessories, they've brought us tremendously accurate portrayals of some great, classic warriors. we've gotten vikings, knights, mercenaries, and even one of the poor slubs who was stuck carrying the pots and pans for the Romans.

These aren't cheap figures by any means though, and the cost is driven up by the complex outfits and metal accessories. Still, for the collector looking for early warriors, Ignite is the place to go. Other companies are starting to take notice of their success, but no one has yet stepped up with the same level of quality.

Tonight's review covers the German Knight, circa 1290. This is a rather unique figure, and that's putting it lightly. If you're looking for something to really stand out on the shelf, then this is your guy. They also have a very cool Viking Bowman and a Greek Hoplite coming very soon.

It's also worth noting that they've updated their website, and not only does it look great, but you can order product directly from them now as well.

Packaging - ****
Ignite has always done a stellar job with the packaging. Again, we get a nice long history on the box, with a ton of text on the fifth panel. There are lots of shots on the outside of the figure in various poses, and plenty of info on the accessories and outfit. It's also fairly collector friendly, and the packages seem to be a tad more sturdy than their early boxes.

Sculpting - ***
Ignite usually bases their head sculpts on somebody famous, and I'm assuming that's the case here. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing who it is. I also have a feeling that I should know though, and that someone is going to point it out to me about 30 seconds after this review goes up. I'll be sure to update it with your opinions on who it is.

The head sculpt works fine in a generic fashion as well though, with no goofy expression or weird hairstyle. It's well defined and not too soft, but he does suffer a bit from the zombie look. Of course, since he'll be wearing his spiffy helmet most of the time, you won't notice too much.

Actually, his expression, with wide eyes and slightly lifted eyebrows, seems quite appropriate. I think he just passed by a mirror, and realized "Holy crap, I'm wearing a goat on my head!". Yes, he's wearing a goat on his head. We'll discuss that more when we get to the outfit. I know, waiting is killing me too.

Paint - ***
The paint ops are clean and neat, but lack life. The zombie look I mentioned above is exacerbated by the paint ops, not enhanced by it, and I really do recommend sticking with the helmet. That's the reason you bought this figure anyway, isn't it?

The paint work on the accessories is another amazing story altogether, but I'll get to that later in the Accessories section.

Articulation - ***1/2
The Ignite bodies have tons of articulation, just as you'd expect, including enough double joints, cut joints and ball joints to make the articulation junkie happy. This also means you can pose him in a ton of ways, as long as the joints are tight enough. The weapons and outfit are always heavy, due to the many layers and use of metal, so loose joints can easily cause problems. The joints on my figure weren't too loose, but they were a little softer than I had hoped. Still, I didn't have any trouble getting him to stand on his own, and he can wield his weapons and shield in most poses.

Outfit - ***1/2
Okay, let's just get it right out in the open, and not hide from it - the German Knight has a goat on his head. No matter how many times I say it, it still sounds funny.

A couple years ago, the Army redesigned their fatigues, and lots of people complained. It should be pretty obvious from these photos that it could have been far, far worse. Our boys can hide in the desert. About the best this guy can do is sneak up on a goat herder.

The helmet is die cast metal, and is very similar in style to the one that came with the Crusader. Except for one very obvious exception. The helmet itself opens front to back for easy on and easy off, but the goat legs hang over the front. They have this covered, as you can simply turn the goat toward the back and open the helmet. The goat works pretty good as a clasp to hold the two halves tight.

I'm assuming the goat has some other distinct purpose as well. I didn't see anything in the box text about it, although you'd think they might mention something this obvious. Clearly these guys thought the goat was some sort of bad ass - the thing is even sticking its tongue out! - but it reminds me of some sort of Monty Python bit, where they were attempting to incite extreme laughter in the opponent to incapacitate them. Come to think of it, that might have actually worked.

It's not unheard of for tribal warriors to decorate their heads with animals, and bears and other ferocious beasts are pretty common. But a goat? Maybe it was some sort of sponsorship, like Bob's Hardware buying softball uniforms. Still, they could have gone with somebody better than Vladimir's Goat Farm.

Okay, so I'm ragging on the poor guy's head wear. But in all seriousness, that is actually what makes this figure so interesting to have on the shelf. He certainly stands out against the other knights, and that's what you really want, isn't it? I have to applaud Ignite for going with something so truly unique and unusual.

The rest of the outfit follows the usual Ignite mantra of being as historically accurate as possible. There's at least eight different pieces of clothing, including leggings, boxers, undershirts and hoods. The various pieces of clothing are layered, and the leggings even use a garter belt type arrangement.

The only aspect of the clothing that isn't as accurate as possible is the material, since the outer mail isn't metal. That's not surprising though, considering just how expensive - and heavy - that would make them.

There was one article of clothing that did bug me though, and caused some issues - the red bandana around his helmet.  This piece of cloth covers up the gap between the goat and the top of the helmet, but it was not hemmed, and started fraying at the edges right away.  It also had a tendency to get sucked up underneath the goat when he was turned, and was more of a headache than a plus.

Accessories - ****
The knight comes with a range of weapons to bash in the cow helmets, or pig helmets, or chipmunk helmets of whatever other warriors he might meet. There are two beautiful swords, both detailed and intricate, and both die cast. The fit in their respective scabbards nicely, and can be worn on his person in the belt.

He also has a very heavy mace, again made of die cast metal, with some formidable looking spikes. This can slip in his belt or be carried in his hands.

Finally, there's the very nicely done shield. Shields seem to be one of Ignite's specialty, with proper straps both for carrying the shield and wielding it, along with accurate padding. The paint ops on the shield are excellent, and it looks great on the figure's arm or hanging at his side.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
If you have kids into sixth scale, they'll love these guys. However, I suspect the whole goat/helmet thing is going to be a tough sell for an eight year old, even one who is into 12" warriors. At that age, unique isn't necessarily a good thing.

Now that I think about it, let's hope these guys didn't get to carve whatever they wanted as their 'mascot', and this guy picked a goat. Can you imagine the heckling?

Value - **
Suggested retail on these guys is now $80, up about $20 from their original figures. That's direct from Ignite though, and if you shop around at some of the better known online sixth scale dealers, I bet you can find him for $60 - $70. Even at that price though, he's pushing the value score a little below average.

Things to watch out for - 
Nothing worth noting, since the only real issue would be if you got a floppy body, and there's really no way to know in advance.

Overall - ***
I gave him a pretty tough time for his goat, but in reality, this is a really unique looking figure, and stands out amongst the other ancient warriors.  There's no doubt he'll be a conversation starter!

He has a few nits you can pick, and he's definitely not cheap.  But if you're looking for something that will get people talking, you've found the right figure.  I do wish there was a little more history of the helmet decoration on the box, since now I'll have to go investigate it further so I don't appear stupid when people ask.  And you know they will ask.

Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Outfit - ****
Accessories - ****
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy - 
You can get these directly from Ignite, along with several of their past releases and their upcoming figures.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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