Zizzle Pirates of the Caribbean
Jack, Pintel, Palifico, Davy Jones, Elizabeth,

Yo, ho, ho, a pirate's life for me...with the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie hitting this summer, we've got a frigate load of merchandise. A new company, Zizzle, has stepped into the ring with a mass market line of toys and goodies based on the film.

My interest was mainly in the 3 3/4" line. This first series includes two versions of Jack, Pintel, Bootleg Bill, Palifico, Elizabeth Swann (in pirate garb), Will Turner, and Davy Jones. I skipped the coatless Jack, Will Turner and Bill, but picked up the rest for a review tonight.

These are hitting Targets right now for around $7 each, and there are also playsets, larger figures (which are awful - don't even bother), dress up accessories, and other booty to be had.

Packaging -  ***
These are similar in size to other 3 3/4" packages, with a cardbacker and bubble. The cardbacks are fairly sturdy, with some personalization for each character on the front, and the rest of the lineup on the back. Nothing super exciting, but they do the job.

I do like the rough die cut though, giving the cardback that old, parchment look.  Each figure also has a specific blurb about him or her on the back of the card, always a nice touch.

Sculpting - Davy Jones, Palifico, Elizabeth Swann ***; Pintel, Jack **1/2
Keep in mind that this is Zizzle's first foray into a straight action figure line like this. Also keep in mind that unlike NECA's offerings, these are aimed at a mass market audience.

If you can keep those two things in mind, then you'll be able to see that these are really a pretty good job. I'm not a big fan of the head sculpts on Pintel and Jack, but their serviceable, and the work on Davy, Elizabeth and Palifico is a step above that.

Davy is the pick of the litter, with his nifty calamari beard, all you can eat lobster buffet left hand, and cool barnacles all over his body. There's tons of detail here, and while the paint could do a better job bringing out those details, it's still a nice sculpt.

Palifico is also an excellent detail sculpt, perhaps the best of the bunch. Unfortunately, there's so much detail, that it becomes busy and overwhelming, blending all together.

Elizabeth is a nice female sculpt, particularly from the neck down. The proportions and scale to the rest of the figures is surprisingly good, and while she's wearing pirate duds, you know she's all woman. The wrinkles in the clothes, the flow of the coat, the cut of the boots - everything is quite well done. Okay, her face isn't perfect, but much of that is due to the paint, rather than the sculpt itself.

Pintel and Jack aren't quite as nice, although again much of this is due to paint ops. You'll know who they are supposed to be, but you won't be amazed at the likeness.

These scale nicely with the Star Wars line, or any other 3 3/4" to 4" line. They also scale well amongst the group, with difference in height and bulk that make at least some sense.

Paint - Davy Jones, Palifico ***; Elizabeth **1/2; Pintel, Jack **
The paint applications left me a bit cold on the three of the five. Many of the faces have sloppy paint work, especially the eyes, and there's a lack of color to add depth or definition. There's a heavy wash as well, largely intended to make them appear dirty and unkempt, but it also hides some of the detail rather than highlighting it.

Small details tend to bleed, and there's plenty of examples of poor cuts between colors. The quality of the paint work is below the quality of the sculpts, and certainly below what I'd expect for $7 each. Jack's beard is an excellent example, and the skin tone comes down much further than you'd expect into the beard, making it appear s though he has a growth on his face, rather than just hair.

That's not quite as true with Davy and Palifico though. Both of these have better detail work, particularly with the small barnacles and growths. While Palifico lacks much color, he makes up for it with a very sea-like tone to his skin. Davy has an excellent color palette, and is easily the most visually striking of the bunch.

Articulation - ***
These aren't quite as well articulated as some Star Wars figures, but still better than others.

The all have ball jointed necks, but some have a greater range of movement than others. The long hair and beards tends to restrict them, and at best, they have a passable range of movement.

The all also have cut shoulders, a V or T crotch (depending on the character), pin elbows, and a cut waist. None have pin knees, although the jacket-less Jack that I skipped actually has them. None have cut wrists either, which is the one joint really missing.

All of them stand great on their own, even Davy Jones with his weird Mister Krabs right leg. Posing is a little limited, but adequate for a mass market toy in this scale.

Accessories - Davy Jones ***1/2; Jack, Elizabeth,Pintel ***; Palifico Bupkis
Most of these figures come with two accessories, except for poor Palifico.

Davy gets extra credit though, because he comes with the funky key, his unique stick, AND a very cool treasure chest. I'm assuming of course that this is Davy Jones' locker. The sculpt and paint are solid, and while it would have been nice if the chest opened, it's not a big disappointment.

Jack has a pistol and sword. Either of these fit in his right hand fine, but he has some trouble holding both at the same time due to his left hand sculpt. Also, he has a scabbard, but it's not designed to actually hold the sword, and while there's a hole in his belt that's apparantly for the gun, I was completely unsuccessful at getting it to fit. His hat, unlike the rest, is also removable, and has a notch sculpted in back to fit over his head just right.

On top of that, the gun has some of the weaker paint ops, and is made from a very soft plastic.

Elizabeth comes with not one but two swords, and the fit in her hands nicely. All the swords across the line have unique characteristics, and there's less reuse than I expected.

Pintel has a sword, and his actually works with his scabbard. He also has a very funky double barreled flintlock pistol, with a great sculpt. The weapons fit in his hands nicely, and look terrific.

Unfortunately for Palifico, he not only has a bad case of acne, but his swords are sculpted into his hands. I suspect this may actually be on purpose, and we may see in the film that by the time a pirate gets this scabby, the barnecles have encrusted the swords and hands to such a point that they become one. So while he's getting a bupkis here, it's not a major issue.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
While these aren't perfect sculpts and paint, they are a lot of fun. The articulation is good enough for play (although not perfect), and kids do love their pirate toys. They're a bunch of murdering, thieving, raping, scallywags - what's not to love? And the pirates are a lot of fun too.

Value - **
These are around $7. Now, it's painful enough to spend that kind of money on a Star Wars 3 3/4" figure, but these aren't quite up to that level of quality.

However, you know the license couldn't be cheap, and Zizzle is a new player. I can only complain so much about this price, when I know those two factors are playing into it as well.

Things to watch out for - 
As usual, you'll want to watch for the best paint, but otherwise, there were few to zero issues.

Overall -  Davy Jones, Palifico, Elizabeth Swann ***; Pintel, Jack **1/2
These are pre-2000 Star Wars quality. The body sculpts and detail work on the barnacles and fish appendages is great, but the likenesses still need a little work. However, this is Zizzle's first attempt, and it took Hasbro years before they even got to this level. These are well beyond the atrocious early Power of the Force stuff from the mid 90's, but isn't quite up to the level of the work we've seen in the Star Wars line in the last few years.

For me, the poorer paint ops on Jack and Pintel pulled them down from the rest of this pack. If I could only buy one, it would be Davy, but I've heard some good things about Boot Strap Bill as well.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Davy Jones, Palifico, Elizabeth Swann ***; Pintel, Jack **1/2
Paint - Davy Jones, Palifico ***; Elizabeth **1/2; Pintel, Jack **
Articulation - ***
Accessories - Davy Jones ***1/2; Jack, Elizabeth,Pintel ***; Palifico Bupkis
Fun Factor - * **1/2
Value - **
Overall -  Davy Jones, Palifico, Elizabeth Swann ***; Pintel, Jack **1/2

Where to Buy -
Target seems to be getting these in first.

Related Links:
Ah, there be lots of piratey goodness here:

- there's tonight's 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.

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

- 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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