Hasbro Indiana Jones 3 3/4" figures

"The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

I've covered a number of the different 3 3/4" Indy figures, but tonight guest reviewer Josh checks in with a bunch more in the series.  Take it away, Josh!

Greetings! So with the awesomeness that is Iron man already plating to packed houses across the country, it looks like this could be one of the best Summer’s in a long time not just for comic book or superhero fans, but for anyone who loves going to the movies. The last time I remember a summer so jam packed with potential blockbuster flicks was the Summer of 1989, when we had Batman, Ghostbusters 2, Back to the Future Part 2 and on and on. There was also a film called Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that was released that year, and now, it looks like the Summer of 2008 could easily eclipse 1989 as one of the best summers for movies.

Which brings us to the point of the review, perhaps you have heard about this little art house film that will be released on May 22. I haven’t heard too much about it just yet, but perhaps you have (heavy sarcasm). Its title? Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull. For the record it will be referred to as KOTCS in this review because, well the actual title sucks.

Being that I am a fan of all things Indy I decided to buy EVERYTHING Indy, well at least everything from the 3 ¾ line. And tonight’s review will cover the 9 figures that are in the KOTCS wave. Those figures are: Indiana Jones, Indy with rocket launcher, Mutt with sword and jacket, Mutt with knife and no jacket, Irina Spalko, Col. Dovchenko, Russian Soldier, Cemetery Warrior and the Ugha Warrior.

So lets begin shall we?

Packaging - ***
I have to say I really do like the packaging. Its attractive and jumps off the shelf. It also is personalized to each specific character with photos of them from the film in addition to a short explanation of their character. Why it looses points is simply because it is not that collector friendly. I guess if you are a ninja and can slife the figure in and out of the card back carefully it might be do-able, but for the most part, some destruction of the package will occur.

Sculpting - Indy 1 &2:***, Mutt 1&2:***, Spalko:**, Dovchenko:***, Russian Soldier:***, Cemetery Warrior:****, Ugha:***½
If you notice, I have lumped in the two Indy’s and Mutt’s in the same category. Why you might ask? Simple, they are basically the exact same sculpt with different accessories. Lets start with the Indy’s. They did a good job of getting a decent likeness of Harrison Ford in there. In fact with a little custom work, he might even make for a nice Raiders figure if you pop the head off and swap it out. They have aged Indy a little here, but the sculpt work on both Indy’s is far better than the generic head sculpt of the Raiders Wave. There is also some nice texturing in Indy’s costume. One comes WITH the jacket the other without. The belt with holster is well done and in scale, no oversized holster this time around. Even the whips are well done as is his bag and strap. Even Indy’s accessories are well done. Jacket Indy comes with a swappable hand one that holds the Crystal Skull of Akator and one that holds the whip or gun. The small accessories are well sculpted as is the Crystal Skull. His hands are well sculpted and work with the accessories very well. While everything on the Indy with Jacket is sculpted and textured very well, but he has some issues with his hat, which I will cover in the accessories section. Otherwise not bad figures with nice sculpting.

Mutt is in the same boat. There is definitely Shia LeBouf in that sculpt. But Mutt suffers from some wonky paint ops. We will talk about that later. Mutt has good sculpting on his jeans and t shirt and even the black leather jacket looks nice. An interesting note, for Indy they went with a matte paint wash, but for Mutt they went with a gloss finish to show the slick new leather look. Mutt has some nice detail work on his leather jacket with all the buttons and zippers and buckles present. His boots even have the silver buckle sculpted in. Mutt w/Jacket comes with a sword that is nicely done (more about what its made out of in accessories) and Mutt w/out jacket has his switchblade and that is also well done.

Irina Spalko unfortunately suffers from the dreaded “Hasbro-it is.” WHY cant the ‘Bro sculpt a female? It vexes me. They have access to digital scanners for the actors and actresses, WHY can’t we have a nice figure who looks like Cate Blanchett? Instead we get a figure who looks like “Mrs. Swann” from Mad TV. So why 2 stars? Well head sculpt aside, the work on the body of the figure is well done, with nice detail on the gloves and uniform and boots.

Dovchenko is actually very well done. Almost on the opposite end of the spectrum from Spalko. He looks close to his real life counterpart, but his uniform is sculpted exceptionally well. The subtle folds in the uniform are well done, and the ’Bro has gone with a nice matte wash on the figure. Its not heave handed but really brings out the details of the sculpting. More on the paint later. The pants, boots and hands all are well done and even his AK47 and handgun are well done.

The Russian Soldier is a little generic for my taste, but that’s not a bad thing. For those of you into troop building, these guys will fit the bit well. Again, like Dovchnko there is some very nice sculpting work going on here. From the how the uniform lies across the figures chest, to the hat and epaulets on the shoulders, it’s a nice figure. The gun is the same sculpt that Dovchenko has and its still nice.

The Cemetery Warrior is also a nice figure with a truly unique and very cool head sculpt. The sculpt actually appears to be two different pieces. The first is the underlying head. There are SOME features like eyes and mouth, but with the skeleton mask its hard to see if it’s a generic face or something more character specific. On top of that is the Skeleton mask and it is done very well with nice sculpting on the jaw and teeth. It also allows for the eyes on the underlying face to show through giving him a very creepy appearance. The rest of the figure is sculpted nicely with his ragged clothes and moccasins. He suffers from a more toy-like appearance, but ill talk bout that more in the paint section.

Finally the Ugha Warrior. The head sculpt is actually very nice and I suspect my issues with it are paint related. The rest of the body also has nice work including the vines that cover the torso and the loin cloth covering his “cash and prizes.” There is nice detail on his arm bands and head bands as well as his necklace. The Ugha is also a great sculpt of the human body and I think this is the first time the ‘Bro has ever sculpted a near nude figure. I mention it because the proportions of the figure are very nice and with a little customization this could serve as a basis for many customs.

Paint - Indy 1&2 ***, Mutt 1&2 **½, Spalko *½, Dovchenko ***, Russian Soldier ***, Cemetery Warrior **½ , Ugha Warrior **½
It’s been said countless times that a good sculpt doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t have a good paint job. I could not agree more with that statement. Paint can make or break a figure. And here, that rule holds true.

The two Indy’s actually have nice paint work. Both faces are clean with nice paint work on the gray hair. Both eyes are neat and straight and they did a nice job at the 5 o’clock shadow without it being too heavy. The paint on the body is also nice with a nice “dirty” looking wash on the Indy with jacket and good consistent colors on both. The bag is also well done, with all the buckles painted and expertly so. My big gripe here is that the pants are cast in color. So they have a really high gloss look to them. So while everything has this nice “adventure worn” look to it, It looks like Indy found leather pants.

Mutt, while having a decent sculpt has some paint issues. Eyebrows continue to be an issue with the’Bro. Poor Mutt looks like a Mary Kay Experiment gone wrong. Some are too high, some are too thick. It was a chore finding the one with the least issues. Also, the whole figure is very glossy, making it feel like a toy. Now some parts of Mutt SHOULD be glossy. His jacket and boots for example. Sadly Mutt gets glossy everything and while it works on SOME of his parts.. It sure doesn’t work on all. The Mutt w/out jacket isn’t as bad with the matte finish on his bare arms, but his t shirt is still glossy.

Spalko. Sigh…I want to like this figure. I really really do. I mean she is the big bad in the movie for crying out loud. I want a kick ass villain to square off against my kick ass hero. If a bad sculpt wasn’t enough, It looks like poor Irina had her face painted by a group of Parkinson’s patients. (too soon?) She has some sloppy cut lines from her hair to her face, eyes that are fairly straight and some work on the buttons and buckles of hr costume. My issue is, she is only a two tone character color wise. So she is primarily sculpted in color.. So the gray is shiny, again giving her a toy like look. Her boots and gloves are also done in a matte black.

Dovchenko is quickly becoming my favorite in this wave next to Indy. Not only is he a good looking figure but his paint is well done too. I’ve covered the nice sculpt above, but he also has a very nice matte finish to him that makes each detail stand out.. And really, on occasion you have to do a double take because it does at a glance look like real clothes. His belts, buckles and hat are all well done with just a little slop here and there. His boots are a slightly glossier finish and really makes the figure pop. Paint work on the face is very nice with good lines between the sculpted on hat and hair. Its still not up to the level of the recent Star Wars figures, but its getting there.

The Russian Soldier, is also well done with similar paint to Dovchenko. The soldier suffers from the cast in color issue especially on the legs, but otherwise is another nice figure with good eyes, and minimal slop.

The Cemetery Warrior conflicts me. I love the figure, I’m totally digging on the sculpt, but for the most part he is cast in color. Making his entire costume shiny. Unless his part in the movie takes place in the rain, I want a nice paint job to match the movie. His head however is very well done. With little to no slop on the black hair falling onto the white skull. Also both eyes under the mask are neat and straight and the skull mask itself has a nice wash over it to bring out some of the texture. I just wish he wasn’t cast in color.. Cause this figure could easily have been 4 stars. The potential is most definitely there.

The Ugha Warrior I can sort of forgive for being cast in color. He is after all almost naked. So id much rather have a consistent skin then to have the paint try to capture it. He also suffers from the glossy issues, but since he is only sporting a loin cloth, its almost forgivable. I mean. he does exist in the jungles of Peru, and its kinda hot there. So you know, he has a glandular issue. Don’t judge. Actually aside from some wonky eyes. He is looking up and to the left. At what I don’t know. But I would have liked eyes that were straight. He has some nice paint work on the rest of the body, with a lot of the very tiny details being well done and virtually no slop.

Articulation - Indy 1&2 ***, Mutt 1&2 **, Spalko **½, Dovchenko **½ , Russian Soldier ***, Cemetery Warrior ***, Ugha Warrior ***
Some folks may feel the level of articulation isn’t up to par of the newer Star Wars releases, and frankly it isn’t. But what is there in terms of articulation works well and I think works well with the sculpt. There are a few issues with Indy, namely his feet, I’ll get into that in a minute. First here is a list of articulation for the figures:

Indy #1: Ball jointed head, pin/disk shoulders, elbows, cut wrists, cut waist, t-hips, pin/disk knees and pin disk ankles.
Indy#2: Ball jointed head, pin/disk shoulders. Elbows, cut waist, t-hips, pin/disk knees and feet.

Mutt 1&2: Ball neck, pin/disk shoulders and elbows, cut waist, cut wrists, t-hips, pin/disk knees and feet. It needs to be said that Mutt has identical articulation for both versions.. With and without his leather jacket.

Spalko: Ball head, pin/disk shoulders and elbows, cuts at the top of her gloves, t-hips, pin/disk knees and cuts at the top of her boots.

Dovchenko: Ball neck, shoulders and elbows are the pin/disk as are the knees. Cut waist and he has t-hips and pin/disk feet.

Russian Soldier is identical to Dovchenko.
Cemetery Warrior and Ugha Warrior are also identical to Dovchenko.

So does the articulation work? In most cases yea it does. The Indy with jacket is just like the Indy from the Raiders wave, but with the older Harrison sculpt. So he works very well and I had no issue getting him into any pose that was iconic Indy. Jacket-less Indy is a little less effective simply because he has no cuts at his wrists. That locks you into only a certain number of poses.

Mutt also is a little limited. I’m not sure it has to do with the actual cuts as it does with how his legs are attached. Its more of a design flaw than anything. While Indy has a wide stance, Mutt is fairly narrow. So any deep poses you try only limit you to straight forward and straight back. This is true for BOTH Mutt’s and really impacts how he can be posed.

Spalko isn’t bad, in fact they what her articulation works with her sculpt is nice, problem is, to keep her in scale with the other figures she is VERY thin and the plastic they used for her is soft, that translates into a lot of things being pulled when you try to move a joint. I guess I should also mention that ALL the joints are VERY tight, with many of them having to be worked a little bit to get them moving.

Dovchenko, the Russian Soldier and the Cemetery and Ugha warriors all have great articulation. Very good joints and everything is tight and free and all are able to get into a variety of poses and stay there.. AND stay standing. I was most impressed with the Ugha, since he is barefoot I was concerned he would be the most prone to balance issues, but he is actually the most stable of the bunch, go figure.

Accessories - Indy 1 *** 2 **, Mutt 1 ** 2 **½ , Spalko **, Dovchenko **½ , Russian Soldier **, Cemetery Warrior **, Ugha Warrior **½
Indy 1 actually does the best here, with his bag, curled and uncurled whip, gun, hat, extra hand and hand with the crystal skull. All of the accessories fit well into his hands and look good. But the hat is why he doesn’t get a full 4 stars in this category. While it is sculpted nice.. It is WAY to oversized. Just too large all around. I guess its designed that way so kids cant swallow it easily, but it looks silly. Indy 2 had his bag, uncurled whip and rocket launcher. He is also missing his hat, I guess we will have to see the movie to see if this is a screen accurate figure or not. Mutt1 comes with his sword and that’s bout it. Mutt 2 comes with his switchblade and a HUGE snake, ohh exciting. Spalko comes with her sword, and a handgun. Dovchenko comes with a handgun and an AK-47. The Russian Soldier is outfitted with just an AK. The Cemetery Warrior has his blow gun and pouch while the Ugha warrior has his bolo and axe. All the accessories work well with the hand sculpts and are well done, even if they are kinda sparse on some figures.

I am also keeping mum on the artifacts that come with each figure. I know if you look around you can find out what they come with, and they are not random so you will get the same thing with every character. But I believe in the element of surprise, and well I want everyone to have the same sense of excitement as Dr. Jones does when he acquires another “rare antiquity”

Fun Factor/Overall - ***
For us die hard collectors, some of these figures might be lacking, but for kids these are perfect, they scream adventure and its hard not to look at them and want to pose them and create your own Indy adventure. Its just damn nice to see Indy toys on the shelf and know that there is more to come. So that in itself is enough to warrant buying these!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Indy 1 &2:***, Mutt 1&2:***, Spalko:**, Dovchenko:***, Russian Soldier:***, Cemetery Warrior:****, Ugha:***½
Paint - Indy 1&2 ***, Mutt 1&2 **½, Spalko *½, Dovchenko ***, Russian Soldier ***, Cemetery Warrior **½ , Ugha Warrior **½
Articulation - Indy 1&2 ***, Mutt 1&2 **, Spalko **½, Dovchenko **½ , Russian Soldier ***, Cemetery Warrior ***, Ugha Warrior ***
Accessories - Indy 1 *** 2 **, Mutt 1 ** 2 **½ , Spalko **, Dovchenko **½ , Russian Soldier **, Cemetery Warrior **, Ugha Warrior **½
Overall/Fun Factor - *** 

Where to Buy -
Check out the major retailers!

Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

Figure from the collection of Josh.

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