12" Slave Taylor and Nova

Ron Hatchell stops by tonight with a great review of the Slave Taylor and Nova two pack from Sideshow.  Ron is a huge POTA fan, and has some great shots at the end of the review of his set up.  Take it away, Ron!

From Sideshow website:

"On a planet where apes talk and walk like men, and men are primitive animals, an astronaut from Earth, Taylor, crash lands and is captured by gorilla soldiers. Thinking he is just another primitive human, the apes imprison Taylor with the beautiful but silent Nova. With help from their chimpanzee captors, Cornelius and Zira, Taylor and Nova make a daring escape into the Forbidden Zone, where they stumble upon the horrible secret of The Planet of the Apes. " Not for children under 3 years.

I received this pre-order in the mail Saturday the 21st of May and I've been waiting for these since before they were announced.

Packaging - ***1/2
This is my favorite packaging of all of their 2-pack 12" figure sets. The design of the box and the images of the actual Sideshow figures confidently showing the outstanding workmanship of their faces helps makes this design stands out and look excellent for display. The front of this two-pack has two large flaps that open from the center to the sides. Images of both Taylor and Nova's Sideshow figures' heads and chests grace the flaps, with Taylor on the left side and Nova on the right. The bottom center where both flaps meet is cut out to show the image of the Statue of Liberty and the "PLANET OF THE APES" logo. The flaps are secured with two Velcro circles each. Both flaps open to reveal the 12" figures, accessories, and two long paragraphs of each character's story in the movie and how the both of them related to each other. Without quoting what was written, I want to say I was impressed with the way the writer brought out the feelings that both Nova and Taylor developed for each other and the difference each made to the other. It really emphasized that these two were a couple and this was a love story. The back of the box shows two more large images of the Nova and Taylor figures, smaller images of 5 more figures from this movie, and 3 paragraphs telling the story of the movie itself.

The box inside the package that contains the plastic mold is again spared the hole-punches, so it is quicker to remove the plastic mold and it also helps make the inside of the box look better for displaying purposes. Each figure has ties securing their waists, wrists, ankles, and stands. Plastic strips support the lower legs. Dental floss-type string and some tape (here and there) secure all of the accessories except the rifle.

Sculpting - ***
The artist is Mat Falls, who has done the entire Planet of the Apes figures released so far, capturing each face so well that the figures need no introduction.

Taylor - His face is almost identical to the "astronaut" version, with some areas more pronounced and others less so. His body appears identical to the astronaut's, except for his feet, which are larger than the astronaut's feet are. This is more realistic and possible because his feet don't have to be smaller to fit boots on them.

Nova - Her face was done exceptionally well, with a beautiful face and dark brown, life-like, rooted hair. Her hair looks like it was cut by a non-professional, giving it a more realistic appearance. The hair sticks out further away from her face as it extends further down. I am currently using an army helmet to keep her hair hanging down and to "train" it to stay that way. This seems to help. Her upper half is anatomically correct, and she even has a belly button. Her right hand looks like it is ready to hold a pistol with her trigger finger extended, and her left hand looks like it is ready to shake another hand. Both sets of fingers are flexible enough bend some without breaking.

Paint - ***
Taylor - His face is almost identical to the astronaut's, with the most obvious difference is the Slave Taylor's eyes are bluer. The hair has more brown at the top and back than the astronaut's, with just a little shine, and, like the astronaut's, darker on the sides and more shine to the appearance. There are more differences on his body, as it has less shine than the astronaut's does, and most of it, except for the chest, face and hands, is painted to appear as if he is in need of a good bath. This lack of shine and additional dirt helps make him look more realistic.

Nova - This brown-eyed girl is very tanned and also very dirty looking, having spent her life living in the wild. Her scalp is painted brown, so while moving her hair around, it is very difficult to see the skin under her hair, making it more life-like looking.

Both - An outstanding job was done with this dirty looking paint. Something I didn't expect nor had any reason to. It is a very nice surprise that adds a great deal to the appearance of these figures.

Articulation - ***1/2
Taylor - With over 30 points of articulation, his head can turn completely around and move up and down about a quarter of an inch either way. There is full, realistic range of motion on the shoulders, upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, waist, hips, top of his thighs, knees, lower legs, and ankles. I had some difficulty getting him to stand on his own, as his ankles seemed a bit weak. All other joints were very tight. The figures comes with a "Planet of the Apes" stand.

Nova - With over 30 points of articulation, her head can turn completely around and move up and down with a far wider range. There is full, realistic range of motion on the shoulders, upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, waist, hips, top of her thighs, knees, lower legs, and ankles. I had some difficulty getting her to stand on her own, as her ankles seemed a bit weak. All other joints were very tight. The figures comes with a "Planet of the Apes" stand.

Outfit - ***1/2
There is not much in the outfit department this time around, of course. The animal skins are soft and leathery looking. They also look dirty, torn and all-around worn.

Taylor - Taylor's outfit consists of some animal skin to wrap around his private parts (one snap) and something resembling a poncho (also animal skin) that covers most of his body. He wore this "poncho" during a lot of his time with the apes, and is a welcome addition to his wardrobe.

Nova - Nova's outfit also consists of animal skins that cover her private parts and her chest, both with one snap each to help keep them on. The material is the same as Taylor's in look and feel.

Accessories - ****
Taylor - Taylor's accessories include an ape rifle, shaving knife and mirror, slave collar, and a 12-inch 'Planet of the Apes' figure stand. The Ape rifle has a moving bolt action and his hand can fit around the trigger area okay. The strap fits well over his shoulder, and more loosely than it would fit on an ape. The shaving knife has a crude looking handle (made by an ape, probably) and the silver mirror is dirty and dull on one side and shiny and clean on the other (you cannot see your reflection). The slave collar fits tightly over his mouth and chin, and snaps in the back. It is made of a tougher leathery material than the animal skins.

Nova - Nova's accessories include the talking human baby doll from the ape archeological dig, a 12 inch 'Planet of the Apes' figure stand, and two other accessories not mentioned on their website (a neck chain with two dog tags and a neck collar with a large handle attached). 

The doll is almost identical to Cornelius's doll, but dirtier with slightly different clothes. The dog tags on the chains looks great. There are two chains, each with a dog tag, and one chain is much smaller than the other, and both are secured together and lightly stitched onto her animal-skin top. There is even some print on the tags, but it is too small for me to actually read. The neck collar is a softer material than the muzzle, and dirtier looking, and it also snaps together behind the back of the neck. There are two leather circles attached to each other and to the collar, and these are attached to a 3 1/8" stick. This acts like a short version of the Ape Marauder's "Man Catcher", with the stick acting as a handle for the apes to pull the human around by the neck. This was used on Taylor when Dr. Zaius had a private meeting with Taylor in his office.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Children should be careful of some of the accessories, depending upon their age and other factors. But other than that, I would have enjoyed having these and the rest of the Planet of the Apes figures when I was a child, especially since I used to customize G.I. Joe's to look like the Apes. The lack of normal clothing attire might limit what else can be done with these characters other than interact with apes and other wild humans. But if you and your children like the Planet of the Apes characters, then you need to have a Taylor that interacted with the Apes, and his girlfriend Nova (yea, him Tarzan, she Jane). This could also make a nice gift for any couple who likes the original Planet of the Apes movie.

Value - ****
At $75.00 for both figures, this comes to less than the average price for a Sideshow figure. And with the very useful accessories that are included and the quality of the figures and the design of the package, this is one of Sideshow best values. This set is listed at Sideshow's website as "IN_STOCK" for the US/NON-EU Status and "PRE-ORDER" for the EU Status.

Overall - ***1/2
The overall workmanship on these two figures are outstanding in almost very single aspect, with very little that could be done to make these perfect.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Sideshow answered a couple additional questions for Jeff via email after the review was first completed:

1. How to safely switch the "heads" between the Forbidden Zone Taylor and the Slave Taylor so I could have the Slave body and outfit with the Forbidden Zone head, because he is the one with the beard?

- It’s actually an easy swap. The heads are “rotocast” (hollow), unlike most of our 12” figures (with solid PVC heads). With minimal force, you should be able to pop off the heads and swap them. If you get any resistance, try heating the head before removing or re-assembling.

2. Will you be releasing this version of Taylor (Slave outfit with beard: time just before getting caught until he shaved at the Forbidden Zone site)? 

- No, the only version of Slave Taylor (in the loincloth) is the one with the clean-shaven portrait and longer hair.

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

Things to Watch Out For:
Nothing that I can think of, except to try to untie/cut/etc. those "dental floss" strings from the "back" of the plastic mold so you reduce the chance of damaging the accessories that they hold in place.

Customizing (the "bearded" Slave Taylor) - I am not sure at this time if Sideshow is going to release the other Slave Taylor (the one with the beard that spent most of his time in the movie with the apes). In the meantime, I used the Slave outfit with the Forbidden Zone Taylor (the only one of the three with a beard). The FZ Taylor's body is somewhat shiny compared to the Slave version. I am "very afraid" of attempting to switch heads, so I switched clothes. The hardest part was pulling that shirt that the FZ Taylor wore underneath his astronaut jacket over his head. The rest just took time.

Where to buy: 
I pre-ordered mine through Sideshow, where they are still available in the US and Non-Europe, but in the "pre-order" status for Europe. Michael can point you to some other online options:

- Alter Ego Comics has the pair for just $60!

Figure from the collection of Ron Hatchell.

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