Dog Soldier's Buffalo Soldier 

Dog Soldiers has released their third sixth scale figure, based on the American West.  Dog Soldiers focuses on historic accuracy, giving collectors accurate details.  Their two earlier figures, the Apache Warrior and the Cheyenne Warrior, were excellent examples of this focus. 

This time they set their sites on another figure often overlooked - the Buffalo Soldier.  This nickname for the African American Cavalry troops was given by their Native American foes, but it spread to wide use throughout the cavalry.  While they were often subjected to terrible conditions and extreme prejudice, they served their country with pride and skill.

Dog Soldiers is pretty much a one man operation - Mike Gauldin.  He's done a terrific job providing the sixth scale collector some detailed and accurate figures, and he has quite a few more planned.

Packaging - ***1/2
The packaging has improved over the previous release.  The graphics are great, and Mike did the cover art himself.  The interior flap has detailed text on the history of the African American Cavalry, well written and fairly comprehensive for an action figure box.

It's also fairly collector friendly, but I was a little disappointed that the plastic bag that holds the stand was taped to the back of the insert.

Sculpting - ***
The sculpt itself is a nicely done, generic AA head.  There's quite a bit of detail, although this is a soft plastic, hollow head, and not a solid head.

That's the only real knock here, as I much prefer the look and feel of solid head sculpts, but they've done a very nice job with the soft plastic, better than I thought possible.

The hand sculpt is also well done, and the softer hands allow you to place the accessories in them easily without damaging anything.

Paint - ***
The paint ops here are centered around the head and the accessories.

The accessories are terrific, but I'll talk more about those in their own category.  The paint work on the head looks good, particularly the hair and moustache.  The eyes are a little off on mine, with one iris slightly higher than the other, but I suspect that's not a consistent problem.

Articulation - ***
The earlier Dog Soldiers body was low on articulation, very much like old Hall of Fame Joes.  While this new body isn't up to the level of Sideshow, bbi or Dragon, it's still quite an improvement.

The knees and elbows aren't double jointed, and there aren't cut joints on the biceps and thighs, but the joints all have an excellent range of motion for this style.  The figure stands well on it's own although they supply a crotch stand, and the joints were tight.

Outfit - ***1/2
Here's an area where these figures really shine.  This figure is based on the Cavalry from the early 1870's, when they were finally issued many new pieces rather than just getting stuck with left over Civil War era equipment.

His outfit consists of his hat, shirt, trousers, boots and coat.  The shirt is very accurate, styled as it was then rather than looking like he just picked it up off the Sears rack.  While the height of the trousers might put some off, they look correct, with suspenders to hold them up, and real pockets in front.

The jacket has perfect tiny little brass buttons, excellent stitching on the stripes and edging, and is made of very heavy material.

The boots are a great sculpt, with separate and removable spurs.  Finishing off the outfit is his slouch hat, which has a very wide brim (a bit wide for my tastes considering the size of his head), but looks great on him.

Accessories - ****
And here's the other category where Dog Soldiers attention to detail really stands out!  Your Buffalo Soldier comes fully equipped with a ton of excellent gear.

He comes with a standard cavalry sword belt, with an NCO buckle.  The way the buckle attaches is unique to this figure I believe, and is an excellent design that will hold up well, yet is easy to buckle and unbuckle.

On this belt you have his holster, two ammo pouches, and knife sheath.  The generic Bowie knife fits perfectly in the hard plastic sheath, and the Colt Army revolver fits nicely in the holster.  The only problem is that I couldn't get the holster flap to close over the revoler's butt once it was inside.

I really like the high quality of the plastic used in the revolver, knife and Springfield rifle.  The details on all three are excellent, and the rifle has a moving hammer.

The last item is the carbine sling, which goes over one shoulder and attaches to the rifle with a clip on a metal ring.  This allowed the soldier to ride with his rifle close to his hand where he could fire quickly, but drop the rifle to his side easily without losing it.

They also include a nice crotch stand, although you don't really need it.  I did end up using it though for long term display, just so I don't have to worry about picking him up off the floor three months from now.

Value - **1/2
At $36, this figure is an average value in it's class.  The lower articulation here over figures like those from Dragon and bbi hurt it a bit, but the fact that these are being produced by a one man show, and are being created for characters that we might never see from the big boys improves the basic score.

Overall - ***
The third figure from Dog Soldiers is a definite improvement in articulation from the first two.  This figure is very close to ***1/2, and if they make it to a slightly better body, with a hard plastic head, they could easily reach the four star phase.

If you're a big fan of western figures, or early American figures, I recommend you pick one of these up and check it out.

Where to Buy
The best way to pick them up is directly from Dog Soldiers, for about $36 plus shipping.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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