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
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
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.