12" Sao Feng

Over at Quick Stop today, I discussed how we're getting slammed with blockbuster movies this year, one after the other, for the next3 full months. We're talking every weekend, no breathers. But if that isn't bad (or good) enough, this year we get three major films by the time we hit Memorial Day weekend!

The last of those three is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Or as I'll refer to it for the rest of this review, POTC 3. I suspect that if you thought POTC 2 was brimming with action and plot, that you best be prepared for serious overload in this finale. With pirates the world over coming together to stop the East Indian Trading Company (and Davy Jones), we're going to get plenty of new characters as well. One of those new characters is Captain Sao Feng, played by the exceptional Chow Yun Fat.

I'm not sure about the origins of Sao Feng, although I believe that he was the inspiration for Feng Shui. Something to do with how he likes to rearrange your internal organs in a way that's pleasing to him.

Zizzle continues their line of action figures, including the sixth scale versions. Sao has made it into this particular scale, and is available at regular retailers for around $20.

Packaging - ***
The packaging isn't too much to look at, but it does conserve space, and for a mass market item, is somewhat collector friendly. There's still a lot of twisties you'd have to replace to put him back, but nothing you have to actual destroy.

This would only be a **1/2 star box though if it wasn't for the personalization on the back. There's a short bio on Feng, and that sort of addition to what could have simply been a generic package is nice to see in a mass market item.

Sculpting - ***
I haven't seen the film yet, obviously, but I have checked this head sculpt against the movie stills of Feng. And of the Zizzle sixth scale figures, this one looks the most like the character it is supposed to represent.

The eyes are off a little, but not much. There's good detail work here, with the scarring and wrinkling done quite well. The expression is a tad blank, with the eyes open a bit too wide, but these are relatively minor quibbles considering some of the other Zizzle work. And the head is in proportion to the body, unlike the new Elizabeth Swann that comes in the two pack with Jack.

The hands are a decent sculpt as well, with one designed to hold the sword and the other designed in an open gesture. Unfortunately, they are way oversized once again, and look woefully out of place on the body.

Paint - **
There's not a ton of paint here, and what is here is very much done in a mass market style. While the sculpt of the head is actually pretty good, the marginal paint ops don't do much to highlight the sculpt work.

The head and hands are cast in the skin tone plastic, with details painted on. In the case of the hands, that's almost nothing, which is too bad because the long, dangerous looking fingernails could have used some detail work to really bring them out. He does have his ring painted however, albeit a tad sloppily.

On the head, this means the eyebrows, eyes, beard and tattoo are added in paint. The work is clean if not extraordinary, with straight eyes. He's got a bit of the mannequin thing going on though, and the cast plastic skin tone doesn't help reduce that effect. While the scarring is added to his face, they weren't accentuated with paint in any way. While that might be the case in the film, I suspect they'll be more prominent.

And speaking of the tattoo and the film, it seems that the toy shows it off much more than in the film, or at least the stills so far. I couldn't find a good photo where it was visible, and certainly not one where it was this dark and obvious.

Feng has the addition of the body armor, which sports the most paint of the overall figure. There's not a lot of detail added here, and what is (like the red circles) can be a bit sloppy and poorly cut. But it's very much in line with what the average toy on the peg looks like, so there's no real surprise.

Articulation - ***
This is the same general body we've seen with past 12" figures from Zizzle, except he doesn't have the God awful sculpted boot legs. This body reminds me more of the later stage Joe bodies, or some of the better Soldiers of the World bodies.

He has a cut neck, which is my biggest issue with the figure. Not having a ball jointed neck on a sixth scale figure at this point is pretty unacceptable. The head does turn side to side pretty much unrestricted, but if he had the ball neck, the poses would have looked much more lifelike.

He does have ball jointed shoulders and hips, with single pin elbows and knees. The knees and elbows also have posts that insert into the upper part of the limb though, which allows the lower limb to turn as well. This mimics the movement you'd get with a cut bicep and hip, and works pretty well.

There's also pin wrists and ankles, and these are also on posts that insert into the forearms and calves, allowing them to turn. Finally, there's the cut waist joint.

Overall, that's decent articulation with the exception of the cut neck joint. I found the joints to be tight and stable as well, and I could get quite a few good poses. Had they included the ball jointed neck, I would have been extremely happy with this body. It still doesn't quite hang as naturally as other higher end bodies, but at this price point it's quite nice.

Outfit - ***
While the outfit on Feng isn't quite as complex as the earlier Jack Sparrow, the quality is a smidge better.

He's wearing the funky pants, but the material is a decent quality with good stitching. The shirt with tails looks good, and has some of the intricate patterns that we see in the film stills. They aren't all there, and what is here is more of an iron-on type transfer rather than silk screened, but the quality is decent for the price range.

Over the shirt is his rubber armor. I mentioned earlier that the sculpt and paint are solid if not exceptional, and the complete outfit looks better than any of the first series figures. Part of this is due to the tailoring, and the outfit hangs and fits much better than the previous bulky, out of scale clothing.  This also means that getting him out of the outfit is a bit tougher though, and I still haven't quite figured out how to get the rubber armor off.

There are also gauntlets of this same material for the forearms, and they are sculpted permanently as part of the forearm to avoid interfering with the articulation too much. They look good, and are in scale with the rest of the outfit, if you ignore the obviously out of scale paws.

I'm also mentioning his 'hankie' here. This piece of red cloth is attached permanently to his right hand. You can tear it off if you'd like, but that's not the intention. It looks fairly good though, and gives him a bit of the flair. You might not like your pirates with flair, but I think it works with Feng.

Accessories - *1/2
Feng comes with one accessory - his 'two handed Singapore saber', or so the front of the box tells me. This is a terrible, cheap piece of plastic, made of soft rubber that practically wilts in your hand. This was done of course with the intention that no little kid could put out an eye, but it's so soft that it can barely hold its shape. It's also very likely that kids will tear the hilt off the sword during play because the plastic is so weak.

And while it might be billed as 'two handed', the hilt is far too small for it to be held in both of Feng's mighty meat hooks.

Fun Factor - ***
This is actually a pretty good toy, even with the obvious issues. Oh, kids will lose interest in the sword pretty quickly, but the costume is well suited to kids, and the joints and plastic seem capable of standing up to 'normal' play. If you're kid is like I was, that means falling off the top of the highest slide at the park, or taking a BB to the chest repeatedly.

Value - **1/2
At around twenty bucks, you're getting a reasonably articulated sixth scale figure, with a decent outfit and acceptable sculpt. And it's a licensed product, not some generic soldier. That's a decent value, especially considering what Mattel is trying to charge for their 12" versions of superheroes these days.  You won't jump up and down over it, bit it'll feel about right.

Things to Watch Out For - 
I'm betting the average 8 year old will tear that sword apart in about five minutes, but otherwise this figure is quite sturdy and probably quite consistent in it's quality (or lack there of).

Overall - **1/2
When I reviewed Jack in this series, he managed to pull out three stars in the end. He has a pretty decent outfit, and his biggest problem was the oversized hands and God awful sculpted boots. But looking back on it, I was probably a half star too generous that time around. Will was the worse figure, and although I never reviewed him, he'd have been lucky to get two stars overall from me.

Feng almost got three, largely because he doesn't have those awful boots to contend with. Still, he has the oversized hands, the bad sword, and a less complex outfit. He's not a terrible value, and I'm happy to say that I think he's the best Zizzle has managed in their 12" line up. I couldn't bring myself to buy the Davy Jones or the new Elizabeth Swann though, so I haven't been able to see those two out of the package.

Collectors of high end sixth scale action figures are going to think I'm being too easy on this guy - collectors who still love toys for toys are going to think I'm being to harsh. In the end, something in the **1/2 - *** range overall seems right, and it will be affected up or down slightly by your own personal tastes.

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

Where to Buy -
I'm betting most retailers that carry the single 12" Zizzle POTC figures will get this guy in, but I found him at K-mart first.

Related Links -
Other Pirate reviews:

- not too long ago, I reviewed the series 2 figures from NECA, and the Clanker from the newest series.

- then there's the 12" Jack Sparrow from Zizzle, and had a guest review of the Will Turner.

- I reviewed the new cursed boxed set of Jack and Barbossa.

- there's a guest review of Elizabeth Swann and my review of the second cursed Pirate, as well as my review of Pintel at Movie Poop Shoot, and Regatti here.

- NECA did a full first series, including Barossa, Turner, Sparrow and a dead Pirate.

- they also did a terrific 18" version of Sparrow.

- Zizzle's line of 3 3/4" has gotten a review of some of the figures, along with a guest review of the Isla Cruces set, and the Pirate Fleet vehicles.

- Disney released some figures based on the actual park attraction, and not the film.

- Disney also has their own set of POTC figures out now at their stores, including Jack and Davy of course.

- Mezco recently released some very cool Pirate Mez-itz, not based on any license, but cool nonetheless.

- and if you like your pirates a little more 'real', there's always Blackbeard from Sideshow.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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