Hot Toys Cannibal Jack Sparrow and Will Turner


"The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Jeff Parker is back tonight with a guest review of a the next release in the Hot Toys Pirates of the Caribbean line - take it away, Jeff!

A big thank you as always to Michael, I recently got to meet the man…nay, the legend when he visited our sceptred isle on a business trip. We took a stroll down to Pink Floyd’s favourite old watering hole ‘The Anchor’ in Cambridge. We shared a drink and shot the breeze about movies, TV, kids, life, property prices, the state of our planet, but MOST importantly toys!

And that leads me on nicely to the matter at hand, here at long last are figures five and six (Will Turner MMS 56 and Cannibal Jack MMS 57) in what for me is fast becoming Hot Toys’ (HT) signature line, Pirates of the Caribbean (POTC). 

Sure they’ve produced more figures from the Alien and Predator franchises but the quality of the sculpts and factory paint applications on these all-importantly ‘human’ figures has raised the bar for the whole 1/6 industry. 

It seems to me that the main man at Hot Toys, Howard Chan, has a great eye for what licences will interest both people in the Far East and the West, that, coupled with a vision of what ‘exactly’ he wants to create and he’s recruited the very best people to help him deliver.
Shortly to follow in this line is the mondo-anticipated Davy Jones, the prototype photos look amazing, so expectations are very high! 

But what then for this line?

I know a lot of people are praying for Hector Barbossa with monkey Jack, as am I, but I’d love to see some of Davy’s cursed crew and a version of Elizabeth Swann from Dead Man’s Chest (DMC) in her ‘slap my thigh’ Piratess (is that a word… it is now) outfit, but only time will tell.

And of course, let us not forget, that as Jack said: “Whoa! No, no! Big fire! Big fire! I am chief, want big fire, a boogie snickel snickel, tout suite, come on! More wood! Eunuchy, snip-snip! Save me. Savvy?”

I’ve already reviewed the other four figures in this line, they can be found here: Jack and Sao, Elizabeth and Sao (V2).

Packaging: ***1/2
The ‘Jack’ box shows that the overall palette adopted for the DMC line is going to have a green colour scheme, Will’s continues with the red already set by the previous four figures. Apart from that, as far as design goes, these follow the precedent set by the previous POTC figures, with a slight twist on Cannibal Jack’s box. Both come with the slip on metallic sleeves and inside Will’s box, like the others has a flap-fronted window box, inside he lays in a vac-formed tray with his accessories next to him whilst being held in place by five twisties. 

Jack’s box, however, is more like the Superman/Clark Kent 2 in 1 from HT last year. So we get a window showing the fully-assembled ‘smiling’ Jack on one side, again held in place with five twisties with his accessories; and opposite is a another tray with die-cut windows showing the cannibal Jack head sculpt along side the paraphernalia you need to re-dress the figure in his ‘Cannibal King’ splendour - the sides are held together with Velcro fasteners. Both boxes are covered in plenty of photos of the figures highlighting the accessories and elements of the sculpt and tailoring; two very nice boxes indeed.

Sculpt: Cannibal Jack ****+, Smiling Jack & Will ***3/4
Kicking off with Will, this is a great sculpt of Orlando Bloom, in my most humble opinion the best 1/6 I’ve seen of him to date. SST’s Legolas was nice but looked a little too heavy in the chin area, and whilst this isn’t absolutely perfect it’s pretty damn close, and by the laws of HT ever-improving sculpts, when they get round to a ‘Dead Man’s Chest’ or even ‘Curse of the Black Pearl’ Will, he should be absolute perfecto! But as I said, this is still an outstanding sculpt and all the lay people I have shown this to (i.e. for that you can read ‘normal’ people or ‘non collectors’) have seen the likeness straight away and commented on how good it is.

But Jack… oh Jack! 

Yulli has managed to top her earlier work on Johnny Depp’s erroneous pirate, I really liked the first sculpt (that can be seen in the link above) but these are just as good. I think the original still just pips the smiling face for me, though I’m sure many people will disagree as that smirk in many ways says so much about Jack’s character. But the cannibal head is undisputedly the pick of the bunch! It captures that over-the-top shocked expression that Depp used on so many occasions whilst portraying Jack and put simply it’s at present the finest production sculpt I have ever seen at 1/6 scale.

Paint: Cannibal Jack **** Smiling Jack+ Will***3/4
Over the course of the last year or so Hot Toys paint applications have really started to shine, they’ve taken factory application to a level hitherto only achieved by extremely talented customisers. 

Nearly all these ‘new generation’ paint apps can be assigned to J.C. Hong. I first became aware of his name on the credits to the first Enterbay Bruce Lee figure, but then I noticed his name popping up time and time again on Hot Toys’ releases. I’d say it’s almost undeniable that the best paint apps in 1/6 over the last year were Hot Toys’ Pirates of the Caribbean, Prison Break, Superman Returns and The Warlords and all these were originated by J.C. Hong. I’ve said it before, the dynamic duo of his paint work and Yulli’s sculpting really is the dream team of the moment.

So, kicking off with Will Turner, lovely clean skin tones, with great subtle work on his lips, eyebrows, beard and moustache. The eyes are also outstanding, super crisp work on the detail and the high-gloss paint used makes them look really wet enabling them to catch light and reflect it, and this gives them so much life. 

If I had to level any criticism it would be that the paint is so good on the face and hands that the next hurdle is going to be complete (or at least where visible) body paint, as the warm tones achieved on the face don’t continue down onto the neck and chest, making them seem rather flat by comparison and making the difference in finish more obvious, I feel the base plastic used for Will’s body could have done with being a slightly warmer colour, but where the paint is applied it’s virtually faultless.

Now onto Jack! The smiling head has a similar job to the first one released last year, but the overall skin colouring is slightly lighter, pinker and not quite as swarthy/dirty. The edges of the beard and moustache aren’t quite as subtle and the lips are pinker as well, but the eyes on the new one, like Will’s described above, utilise the hyper-realistic, high-gloss wet look. The hair colour on both the new heads is a more glossy, darker colour, this seems to make the sculpted details catch the light much better. 

And now lastly, the ‘pièce de résistance’ is the cannibal head and his accompanying head-dress; the paint here is nothing short of remarkable and I’ll go out on a limb and say they are the best I’ve seen to date. The basic skin tones and beard are of the same high quality set above, but the shocked/surprised wide eye paint applications coupled with the fine detail on the tribal, multiple eyes covering his face are just breathtaking. This fine detail then carries on up to the headdress which is covered in all kinds of voodoo, juju: we have monkey ribs, snakes, skulls, bones, claws, ears, mummified hands, twigs and real feathers; it’s just about the best accessory/piece of outfit/figure ephemera I’ve seen. Am I gushing too much, can you tell how much I like this figure? 

It’s basically a modern classic. Jack Sparrow has become a bona fide movie icon and this figure, though perhaps not quite as iconic as the long coat and tri-corner hat, represents him fantastically as he looked in one of the funniest set pieces of the trilogy.

Articulation - Jack ***3/4, Will ***1/2
They both come on Hot Toys’ standard body, the True-Type, but Will’s has one slight modification: instead of the double-jointed neck, it is sculpted solid into the shoulders. The reasoning behind this seems twofold: firstly it’s to improve the aesthetic of his chest viewed with his open collared shirt, which is open a lot lower than Jack’s; and secondly, he has a sculpted ponytail at the back, this has a degree of movement, but it’s worn close into the neck so if he had had the joint at the base of the neck and you made him look up acutely you would almost certainly of damaged the pony-tail, maybe even have broken it off. As with the first Jack figure the sculpting on the cuff on his right wrist hampers the articulation there and the rigid boots on both mean there is no movement at the ankle. Apart from these modifications the two bodies are as far as I can tell identical. The rigid neck also makes Will stand a few millimetres higher than Jack. Now I’m not someone who gets all that hung up on figures differing heights unless it gets ridiculous. But I’ve compiled a list of the various POTC actors and their heights, so if it does bother you it’s time to do some fine-tuning.

In ascending order we have:

Keira Knightly 5’ 7”
Johnny Depp 5’ 10”
Orlando Bloom 5’ 11”
Geoffrey Rush 6' 
Chow Yun Fat 6’ 1”
Bill Nighy 6’ 2”
Jack Davenport 6' 2"

If you want to find your favourite celebs’ height you can find quite a few here.

Accessories: Jack **** Will ***
Compared to Jack, poor old Will is somewhat lacking - he comes with some of what I consider to be accessories already on his person. He has a necklace, pistol, knife plus sheath and shoulder belt that directly houses his sword, he has no scabbard like Jack’s and apart from his stand that’s it. It’s good that HT has picked up on giving Will his own specific sword and flintlock rather than re-using old ones and the details on his ‘simple’ dagger/knife are also very well observed. Not a bad selection, but when you compare it to Jack’s…well?

With Jack you get the basic smiling figure onto which you can put his compass, keys, charm, animal pelts, sword and scabbard and on top of this we get the unique cannibal head sculpt, the tribal headdress, feather sceptre, toe necklace and his stand. Like the Supes 2 in 1 from HT last year we are spoilt for choice and considering Will and Jack retail for the same price it’s a pretty outstanding selection. 
Like the earlier POTC figures both also come with a certificate bearing the character’s name, movie title and listing the production credits.

Outfit: ****
These are two outstanding outfits, I almost marked Will’s down slightly, just because viewing next to the others in the series it wasn’t quite as impressive, but that really is down to the fact his screen-worn outfit wasn’t quite as cool or intricate as the others, but when purely judged as a representation of said outfit it’s pretty amazing. The detailing on his shirt cuffs, the buttons on his pleather waist coat and jacket, the pleather belts and the fine weave and tassels on his sash mean this just has to be a four-star outfit; a supreme bit of 1/6 tailoring, Will looks as good with his coat off as he does with it on, but I’d advise a bit of futzing, in fact I completely striped mine down as his shirt has a velcro fastening under his groin. I chose to undo this as I wanted to pull his shirt up to look more natural around his neck. 

His full wardrobe consists of solid knee-high boots (these are a similar sculpt to Jack’s, but the turnover doesn’t hang quite as low and they are painted a darker mahogany as opposed to Jacks chestnut brown), trousers with working pockets, maroon shirt, pleather waistcoat, woven waist sash, belt and frock coat again with working pockets, all are supremely tailored and have a degree of weathering.

Jack’s basic attire is the same as last time, but the two items sorely missed on this figure (and one of the reasons the first release looked so cool and will remain so desirable) is the absence of his weathered frock coat and tri-corner hat, a hat that has admittedly by in-joke and design become as synonymous with the character as Indy’s fedora. So if you want ‘that’ iconic look you’re gonna have to hope someone parts out the bits you need or get the first one as well.

This time around Jack’s get-up consists of his rigid boots, draw-string trousers with working pockets, white shirt (well, as white as you’d expect for someone living Jack’s lifestyle), linen waistcoat, waist-sash, two waist belts and his shoulder belt for his sword, we then also get his headdress and various other pieces of cannibal and pirate ephemera to wear about his person. The finished overall look gives him a very complex and multi layered appearance. While reviewing these my wife announced he’s her favourite of all the figs I’ve gotten so far and she wants him for her bookshelf, to go next to Liz Swann, this is happening more and more, it means poor old SST Aragorn will be relegated to his box again for a while!

Fun Factor: Cannibal Jack ****, Smiling Jack and Will ***1/2
As I always say, these are not play things, these are for collectors to display and in the arena of high-end, 1/6, fabric-dressed, poseable figures, Hot Toys are at the moment the king of the hill. But the fact that this version of witty Jack in his cannibal king outfit has so much humour oozing from every pore makes it a great display item and talking point as well.

Value: Jack ****, Will ***
SST were asking $129.99 for each of these, in my book that makes Will the going rate for high-end licenced 1/6 figures; in my opinion, a bit like the HT, Supes 2 in 1, it makes Jack a bit of a bargain. 

I’m not sure if Jack is as popular a character as Supes who sold out in less time than it takes a speeding bullet to pass though your wallet, but I can still see these selling well, and I’m just waiting to see someone repaint the cannibal head into normal skin tones, as that expression is just so Jack and so cool and will look pretty sweet without the cannibal face paint.

Overall: Jack ****, Will ***1/2
Even at $129 I think these are outstanding figures. The level of care given to every aspect of the manufacturing on these makes them little works of art. POTC isn’t my favourite movie franchise by a long shot, but like I said above, these have become the Hot Toys signature line for me, so as a collector of what I consider to be what best represents the state of this particular art, these are the poster boys… roll on Davy Jones!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting- Cannibal Jack ****+, Smiling Jack & Will ***3/4
Paint - Cannibal Jack **** Smiling Jack+ Will***3/4
Articulation - Jack ***3/4, Will ***1/2
Accessories - Jack ****, Will ***
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - Cannibal Jack ****, Smiling Jack and Will ***1/2
Value - Jack ****; Will ***
Overall - Jack ****; Will ***1/2

Where to buy-
Sadly SST have sold out of both Jack and Will, they were up for $129.00 each.  However some of Michael’s sponsors do have it, and some are a bit cheaper, so check these out:

Amazing Toyz
Jack $116.99 - PRE ORDER
Will $116.99 - PRE ORDER
They also have the 1st Jack, Sao and Liz for $90 and under. 

Dark Shadow
Jack $129.99 - SOLD OUT
Will $117.00 - PRE ORDER

I just checked eBay where you can find Will for between $114 to $135 and Jack for between $129 and $140, there is also a wealth of stuff being parted out on these two figures right now, but that tends to be snapped up pretty quickly.


Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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