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Review of Rango, Priscilla - vinyl action figures

Hot Toys
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Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

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Rango, Priscilla vinyl action figure by Hot Toys

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Introduction

Who is the modern master of animated film? Yes, it's Pixar of course. And Dreamworks is doing all they can to stay number 2, and even occasionally challenge the bounding desk lamp for that top spot.

But on occasion somebody else pokes their tiny heads up out of the sand and makes a stir. Paramount Studios, in conjunction with Nickelodeon Films (and with a lot of help from Industrial Light and Magic) did said poking with their release of Rango, a wonderful film with gorgeous visuals, excellent voice acting, and an extremely entertaining story. With Pixar and Dreamworks both doing sequels as their big releases this year (Cars 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2), Rango is an early and solid contender for an Oscar.

Since this was a definitely quirky and odd tale, more suited to adults than kids in some respects, no one took on toys outside of some happy meal goodies. But Hot Toys recognized how cool the character designs were, and have brought out two of their 'vinyl collectible figures' based on the film. You can purchase Rango himself, or you can buy him in the deluxe two pack with Priscilla, the little girl who's a lot tougher than she looks.

This is a bit of an early review, but these should start shipping any day. I'm looking at the two pack, which will run $70 - $80, depending on the retailer.

Rango, Priscilla vinyl action figure by Hot Toys

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Packaging - ***1/2
The figures come packed together in a window box with front flap. While the window allows you to see them, they are both wrapped in plastic to avoid damage, obscuring your view a bit.

The packaging is completely collector friendly though, and you can pop them out and pop them back in at your leisure without any real damage.

These aren't official limited editions, so there's no numbering or Certificates of Authenticity.

Rango, Priscilla vinyl action figure by Hot Toys

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Sculpting - ***1/2
The sculpts seem designed to work together, with Priscilla looking up at Rango, and Rango looking down at her. This is actually my biggest gripe.

The detail work is excellent on Rango, especially the textured scaly skin. The rough eyeballs look terrific, and the general pose is well selected. 

However, he has no articulation, and the downward stare is not as useful on the shelf. I really wanted to bring his head up so it could be more easily seen on display, but alas, it's not possible, and that's where he takes a small hit.

Priscilla doesn't suffer from that same problem. Her slightly upward gaze works great for display, and it's sort of her iconic look from when she first meets the lead character on the dusty streets of Dirt. The overall pose is terrific, and the sculpted outfit works well. But the sculpted fur on her face isn't quite as detailed or as sharply defined as I expect with Hot Toys, and it was a bit of a surprise. It's good - don't get me wrong. It's just not quite four star stuff.

Rango, Priscilla vinyl action figure by Hot Toys

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Paint - Rango ****; Priscilla ***1/2

Rango fits in with the usual paint that we see from Hot Toys, but I did have a couple minor nits with his little friend.

There's lots of nice subtle shading on Rango, especially on his lizard skin. It matches up with the film quite well, and has the same exceptionally realistic look that the character sported on screen. They've added some dirt and wear to the clothing and hat, which works pretty well for the most part. Lines are clean where they're supposed to be clean, sloppy where they're supposed to be sloppy, and the overall quality is topnotch.

Priscilla is close, but I did find a couple annoyances. Her best feature are the eyes - the round clear orbs remind me of those freaky glass eyes taxidermists use. Any other company would have tried to replicate her eyes with simple painted plastic and figured that was good enough, but Hot Toys went the extra mile and came up with a solution that matches the film look perfectly.

At first glance, the rest of the paint work is solid. Colors seem correct, and she has a bolder pallet than Rango. Closer inspection reveals some slop on the finer lines of the school girl uniform though, a bit more than I expect at this price point.

But my biggest nit that pulls her down a half star is the shading of the fur on her face. While the skin tones on Rango look amazing, here the shading looks more forced and unrealistic. I was really hoping for perfection with Priscilla, and it's not quite there for me.

Rango, Priscilla vinyl action figure by Hot Toys

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Articulation - Bupkis
While I didn't expect much articulation with a vinyl figure, I do expect some. For example, the Up set also from Hot Toys had a couple cut joints each. Both of these figures could have been greatly improved with some basic articulation, especially a ball neck. I really wish I could adjust Rango's head - that one point would have really improved the overall appearance and value to me.

Rango, Priscilla vinyl action figure by Hot Toys

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Accessories - **1/2
Rango comes with his hat, which is removable. In fact, it falls right off, since there's no post or sculpted overhanging edges to hold it in place. It does sit firmly on his head though, so unless you pick him up, it's not going anywhere. He also looks good either with or without it, since by skipping any sort of attachment they've left his head cleanly sculpted.

The only other true accessory is the interior cardboard tray which can be used as a backdrop. In fact, it's designed for this purpose, much like the ones we got with Carl and Russell. It's not quite as nice as those, and there's only one, not two, but you can easily place both characters in front of it when it's fully folded out.

Rango, Priscilla vinyl action figure by Hot Toys

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Value - **1/2
The set runs around $75, depending on the retailer. That's what I'm grading on, and considering that most VCD's in this size from Hot Toys or Medicom run $60 just for a single figure, that's a solid deal for both.

Rango runs in that $55 range by himself though, and without the cut neck joint he's not quite as good of a deal. If you're going to pick these up, I'd spring the extra $20 - $25 to have Priscilla too.

Rango, Priscilla vinyl action figure by Hot Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
Watch the tiny spurs on Rango. The little points are quite thin, and putting pressure on them can bend and break them.

Overall - Rango ***1/2; Priscilla ***
These are very similar to the Carl and Russell set from the film UP. The sculpts and paint are solid, and I like the overall look on the shelf.

However, had we gotten just a point or two of articulation - especially the neck on Rango - these could have been another half star higher.This is one of those situations where just a little articulation would have gone a very long way, especially with the reluctant hero. For Priscilla, I think it's the slightly off paint work on her face that keeps her from the better score overall.

Still, it's a nice set and is likely to be the best Rango merchandise we see for a very long time. If you're a big fan of the film and the character designs, pick these up, and spring for the two pack - Priscilla is only costing you an extra $25 tops, and she's well worth that.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - Rango ****; Priscilla ***1/2
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - **1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - Rango ***1/2; Priscilla ***

Rango, Priscilla vinyl action figure by Hot Toys

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has just Rango for $50.

- has Rango by himself for $53 and the pair for $80.

- has the pair for $80.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I don't have any other Rango reviews of course, but Hot Toys also did a terrific Carl and Russell from the Pixar film UP in this same style. And while not exactly the same, Gentle Giant did a nice set of maquettes that are in the same general size, one for Wall-E, Ratatouille and Bolt.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

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Rango, Priscilla vinyl action figure by Hot Toys

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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