Indiana Jones Deluxe Two Packs


These days, I can go weeks without seeing anything particularly exciting at the stores, particularly the biggies like Target or Toys R Us. But with a plethora of movies hitting this spring, and the toys associated with them hitting shelves as well, that's about to change.

In fact, today I hit a local Target only to first see Kung Fu Panda figures. Interesting, and I had a couple in my hand...and then a little further down were Hulk movie toys. Hmmmm, maybe I ought to pick up a Hulk and an Abomination for a review...and then I saw further down that my true prize was there, and all the rest of the figures in my hands were abandoned. Yep, they put out the first smattering of the Indiana Jones line.

This is the first time in my youngest son's life (he's 7) that I'll have a serious problem with toys. You see, both he and I are huge Indy fans, which means we are both going to want most of these figures. And Dad can barely afford to feed his own addiction, let alone his son's. Alas, his desire to have these is going to end up outweighing mine, but I'm sure he and I can come to some sort of mutual agreement on who gets what. And I'm sure it will be something simple too, like Dad gets none, and Ethan gets everything else.

But at least I get them long enough to do some reviews. I picked up four of the five 12" figures (a review coming next week), all the Adventure Heroes they had, and all three of the 'deluxe' Raiders two packs, reviewed tonight.

These two packs include a pair of German soldiers, Marion Ravenwood with a Cairo Henchman, and Indy in his desert garb with the Ark of the Covenant. Obviously, these three sets are based on the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, which is just peachy fine by me. I found them first at Target, and they rang up at $10 each. Our local Meijers already has peg space cleared for them, and I'm betting Toys R Us puts them out any day now. There was supposed to be a May 1st street date, but it doesn't look like it's one that's being followed to rigorously.

In this review, I'll be grading the two packs as three items, but the two figures in each set will get the same grade for each category. Hey, you can't buy one without the other, so that seems to make the most sense here.

Packaging - ***1/2
The two pack packaging looks terrific, and manages to capture the feel of all three (now four) films, yet remain somewhat generic. The background art behind each pair of figures is personalized to their particular scene in the film, which was a nice touch. Even better, this personalization extends to the back of the package where there is unique text explaining who or what each character is in that particular set. There are no twistie ties, another plus, but there were a couple rubber bands.

I am a little confused though - weren't were supposed to get the forms for the mail away offer in the packages? Or is that coming later? Now I have to go back and look up the info again.

Sculpting - Indy/Ark ***1/2; Soldiers,  Marion/Swordsman ***
The Indy has a surprisingly good head sculpt, at least in hand. Up close photos reveal a few more issues that aren't as apparent in hand, but the detailing in the cloth around his head is quite well done, and the likeness is reasonably good for this scale. Of course, these are designed to fit in with the usual 3 3/4" scale, although they are a little big. Indy stands 4" almost exactly.

Under the removable cloth robe, the sculpted body and clothes also have plenty of detail. The work on this figure reminds me of some of Hasbro's better Star Wars work, although it's not quite at the level of the best things they've done in that series. My only real serious issue with the Indy sculpt is the very wide set stance. The articulation won't allow you to do much with it, and it does make posing him a bit of a problem. Still, he does stand fine on his own, and the hand sculpts work perfectly with the accessories.

However, if I was just grading Indy, he might not get as high of a score. The excellent Ark pulls him up even further as a pair, with some excellent detailing in the feathers, scrolled edges, and even the panoramic scenes on the four sides. I'm not convinced that it's perfectly screen accurate, but it's damn good looking nonetheless. It opens up of course, and my face didn't melt off, so I'm assuming it's not the real thing. There is sand sculpted into the bottom, but it lacks texture so it looks more like wet sand than dry.

Unfortunately, the head sculpt quality on Indy does not transfer to Marion. While Indy might not be perfect, I can still see Harrison Ford in there someplace. Marion is just some chick with black hair. If she wasn't wearing the very distinctive costume from the streets of Cairo, I'd never guess that this was supposed to be her.

That's not to say that the face sculpt is particularly ugly, just nondescript. In fact, I think the sculpt would be of a very attractive woman, if not for some real issues with the paint.

Marion's body sculpt has the legs in a specific pose, and this is again a fairly wide stance. The more I worked with her on the photos, the less I liked it.  She stands great on her own though, and as with Indy, her hand sculpts work great with the accessories. She's shorter than the guys at about  3 1/2 inches tall.

The Cairo Henchman she comes with is a good sculpt, if not exceptional. There's some good detailing in the clothing, and he stands on his own fine as well as holds his own accessories. In fact, the work on the Henchman keeps the Sculpt score for this two pack from dropping lower.

Finally, there's the German Soldiers. Not, it's obvious that Hasbro is trying to hide the Nazi affiliation with the figures (unfortunately), but they did manage to make a pair of German soldiers that still look fairly accurate to the film. The bodies are the same, with only paint differences, but the head sculpts are actually unique. The heads are fairly generic male characters, with serious expressions. The detail work on the body is good, with a variety of pouches and packs added to the belt. The position of the larger ammo pouch on the left is a bit annoying, as it gets in the way of some arm poses, but overall it's not a major issue.

These guys also stand great on their own, and can hold their guns quite well. They come in at just about 4" tall too, fitting in well with the scale of the rest of the line.

Paint - Indy/Ark ***1/2; Soldiers, ***; Marion/Swordsman **1/2
The paint work on Indy is good if not outstanding, but just like with the sculpt, the work on the Ark pulls that two packs combo score up.

Indy has good work on his face, where there's a shadow used to imply the beard growth, and a slight wash on the turban. The turban is a bit too off white for my tastes, since it then doesn't really match the cloak very well, but it's a minor nit. The eyes are fairly clean, and the clothing under the robe is sweat stained and dirty, done up in a fairly realistic way.

The Ark is a very bright gold, very consistent and cleanly colored. At first I thought it was merely cast in the color, but on closer inspection I believe it was actually painted. This gave it a much more lustrous and shiny appearance, more fitting for something like this.

While Indy's paint job is quite nice, Marion's is not. There's more slop around her hairline, and both the eyes and eyebrows are poorly done. The heavy handed way they've been applied hurts what otherwise might have at least been an attractive sculpt, if not particularly accurate.

The paint work on her clothing is a bit better, including the dirt effects on her pants and small pattern on her shirt. Likewise, the overall paint work on the Henchman is decent, with clean lines and some great small detail work on the various patterns. If I were grading Marion on her own, she would have fallen another half star, but the Henchman keeps her afloat.  He can't get her up to three stars though even together.

The paint work on the soldiers won't cause you to rush home and call grandma, but there's no major problems, especially for a mass market line. Cut lines are clean, and while some parts appear to be cast in the color, there's enough added paint to make them interesting. One of the figures is blonde, the other brunette, and the shirt colors are slightly different as well.

Articulation - Indy/Ark, Soldiers ***1/2; Marion/Swordsman ***
Obviously the Ark isn't 'articulated', but it is nice to see that it opens up. Indy is articulated though, and I highly recommend removing the outer robe to make sure the articulation is all working correctly for you. When I removed mine, I found that the shoulders were turned entirely upside down, making the elbows far less useful.

The neck is technically a ball joint, but because of the turban wrapped around his neck, it works more like a basic cut joint. The shoulders are ball joints, done in the traditional peg/disc style. This same type joint is used for the elbows, ankles and knees, giving them a much broader range of movement than a simple pin joint. He also has a cut waist a T hips. I'm not thrilled with the wide stance of the sculpted legs, but I found that after removing the robe and playing around with the figure for awhile that the articulation works much better than I expected.

Marion and her opponent aren't as articulated as Indy, but do have some nice surprises. They necks are ball joints as well, but just like Indy, the hair and turban make them as posable as cut joints. They both have the same ball jointed shoulders and elbows, although the hard plastic robe on the Henchman restricts the movement slightly. Marion also has cut wrists, and both figures have cut waists and T hips. Marion has ankle joints that the Henchman lacks.

The lack of the cool knee joints hurts both of them a bit, but you can still get some decent poses out of the pair. There's no deep stances or wild action poses, but if you're accostumed to the usual Star Wars figure, you won't be too surprised with these.

The soldiers actually sport the most articulation of the three sets. Both have the ball jointed necks, but because they have no turbans or long hair, they can actually tilt a bit. It's not much, but it's better than nothing. They also have the ball jointed shoulders, elbows and knees like Indy, plus the cut wrists like Marion. They have a cut waist and T hips, and they have cut joints at the top of their boots. They combine the various articulation of the other three figures into one package, making them the most posable.

Now, it's still not uber-articulation, but it's on par with some of the better articulation we've seen in this scale from other lines and other companies.

Accessories - Indy/Ark ***1/2; Marion/Swordsman ***; Soldiers **
While the Ark would normally be considered an 'accessory', in the case of these two packs it really takes the place of the second figure, so I'm leaving it out of this score and instead considered it in the other categories.

However, Indy still does great here, with several surprising extras. First, there's his outer cloth robe, which is scaled pretty well for such a small figure. Usually the material is much too thick, but they managed to pull it off pretty well. The belt itself is still too long, but you should be able to cut about a quarter inch off or so and still have enough velcro on the end to keep it tight.

He also comes with his gun and coiled whip, but done in reasonable proportions. These fit in his hands nicely, or in the case of the whip, they even fit in the surprise you find under the robes.

No, that's not the surprise - it's his belt! He's wearing his loose fitting belt, complete with holster (no, the gun doesn't fit inside) and a loop to attach the whip! I was quite surprised by this, and it works much better than I had expected. He looks great either with or without the robe, a big plus as far as I'm concerned. On top of all that, he also comes with his man purse, which is well sculpted and fits his body nicely. There's even some nice small paint details on the buckles and buttons!

Of course, even with all these great accessories, you could ask yourself "where's the staff?"  I don't know about you, but I could have done without the pistol and gotten the staff instead.

While Marion and the Henchman didn't have the extra surprise for me, they do have some decent accessories. The Henchman has his sword of course, and Marion has both a sword (different sculpt) and frying pan. These weapons are all made from very soft rubber though, and are likely to wilt over time (or get damaged in the packaging). Marion also has the small monkey that's designed to sit on her upper arm or shoulder with the tail wrapped around her bicep. This actually works pretty well if the arm is positioned just right.

The soldiers got the short end of the stick when it came to accessories, each coming with just their rifle. Fortunately, the rifles are unique, but it's still just two total accessories when the other two packs have three or four. Their guns are made from that same soft rubbery plastic, making it tough to keep them straight. You'll probably need to give them the hot water/cold water treatment once you free them, just to get them in a reasonable pose.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
The combination of the solid articulation with a good character selection (both good and bad guys in reasonable numbers) make this first set of two packs plenty of fun. I can't wait to find a regular Indy as well as the rest of the single packs, but my son is already loving these.

Value - ***
These are a surprisingly good value at $10 a pair.  With most figures in this scale going for $6 - $7 these days, and often with fewer accessories, it was nice to see these coming in at $5 a figure.  The one exception is Indy with the Ark, but I have to say that the Ark was worth it to me.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much. These are designed for kids, and are therefore able to hold up to most reasonable play activities.

Overall - Indy/Ark ***1/2; Marion/Henchman, Soldiers ***
If I were grading Marion all by herself, she would have ended up with a much lower score due to the weaker sculpt and paint. She does have some cool accessories, and the fact that she comes packed with the decent Henchman helps hold her score up.  However, if I were going to skip one of these, it would be her and the Cairo Henchman.

For the soldiers, I was a bit disappointed in the lack of accessories, but as army builders they'll do just fine. I'm glad that we got them together rather than having to buy additional variants of main characters to get them, making it easier for the fan to put together a nice group of bad guys without getting stuck with unnecessary extras.

The Indy/Ark set is the must have of course, coming from such a cool part in the film AND including the nifty Ark. Since the heads are easy to pop off, you can also use this Indy body later for a jacketless version if you find that one of the single packed figures has a preferable head sculpt.

For the first figures from the line, I'm very pleased. Marion is really the only disappointment, and I have hopes that as the line progresses we'll get a more accurate or at least attractive version of her.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - Indy/Ark ***1/2; Soldiers, Marion/Swordsman ***
Paint - Indy/Ark ***1/2; Soldiers ***; Marion/Swordsman **1/2
Articulation - Indy/Ark, Soldiers ***1/2; Marion/Swordsman ***
Accessories - Indy/Ark ***1/2; Marion/Swordsman ***; Soldiers **
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***
Overall - Indy/Ark ***1/2; Marion/Henchman, Soldiers ***

Where to Buy -
Like I said, I snagged these at Target first, but other mass market stores should be swimming in them soon.

- Related Links -
Not too long ago, I reviewed one of the new LEGO Indy sets, as well as the disappointing Gentle Giant 7" version of Indy.

Disney has done a few other Indy figures, including this wave of small ones.  If you're looking for something a bit bigger, check out the very cool sixth scale Grail diary, or this sixth scale figure.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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