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The Godfather
By Hot Toys

The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys

The Godfather is one of the greatest films of all time, and certainly one of the greatest movies about organized crime ever made. It has millions of fans, and is deeply ingrained in the culture of America.

But it's not exactly Star Wars when it comes to licensed product. Hey, it's not like there's any cute aliens, or even ugly ones at that. Unless you count Fredo, but I'm pretty sure he was an American citizen.

So it was surprising to hear that Hot Toys was producing an expensive high end sixth scale action figure of the Don himself, Vito Corleone. Hot Toys has been dipping into such classic movie characters though, including Brando and James Dean from their 50's films. And while other companies might be able to pull off great monsters and guys in costumes, Hot Toys is the only company able to do real people with such authenticity.  And so the fans rejoiced, and waited with anticipation.

Sideshow and Hot Toys have developed a comfortable working relationship over the last couple years, and have started getting exclusive versions of Hot Toys products to sell. This time around, they've got an exclusive Godfather, with an extra accessory - his hat. That's the version I'll be reviewing, although the hat itself will have very little to do with the scoring.

Don't get this figure confused with the expensive high end sixth scale figure of Don Vito Corleone being made by Enterbay. Since they come with similar accessories, it's mighty easy to do. But the Enterbay version costs more (around $170 or so), and is not yet out.

This figure is available for the usual $150, and I have a number of great sponsors listed at the end of the review who are carrying him. But is it an offer you can't refuse? I'm even embarrassed I just said that.
The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys
The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys
The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys
The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys
The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys
The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys
The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys
The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys
The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys
The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys
The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys

Packaging - ****
The 'wow' factor with this figure starts from the moment you see the box. It's simply outstanding.

It's much larger than the usual sixth scale box, almost as tall as a Premium Format box. This is to accommodate the chair, as well as the large cardboard background.

The design is like a box of roses, which is an appropriate theme. The silhouette of the Don, based on the original film poster, is done in bright red, but isn't merely painted on the box top - it's a 3-dimensional effect! There is an interior plastic tray, with a red flocked surface. This tray has the artwork embossed, and it rises through the die cut cover. This is a very cool effect in person, and makes the perfect initial impression. You know what's inside is going to be special...

Open it up and you'll find two smaller boxes, one on top of the other. The outer box contains the figure, chair, and accessories held in place with the normal plastic tray and cover. There's no twisties, and everything is completely collector friendly.

The lower box contains the heavy cardboard backdrop, as well as a nifty book with additional photos of the figure, background on the artists and company, as well as quotes from various folks as to the quality and beauty of the figure.

This is one of the nicest presentations I've ever seen. Buyers recognize that if the company producing the figure believes it's important enough and special enough to receive this kind of treatment, then they'll be all the likely to take great care with the overall quality.

Sculpt - ****
It's one thing to do a great looking monster, or a masked character. But to get a real person just right, especially in this scale, is a real trick. And yet Hot Toys seems to pull that particular rabbit out if their hat every time.

Once again they create a realistic, life-like portrait complete with subtle wrinkles, skin texturing, and just about the best expression for the widest range of poses possible.

Don Vito was a character in his sixties, with the requisite signs of aging in his face and skin. Brando himself was also a man with a very distinct face, especially during and after middle age, and Hot Toys has captured the likeness in amazing detail.

Even the hair is beautifully sculpted, with a fine texture that implies thin strands, rather than tootsie roll chunks.

The size of the head is proportionally correct for the body, and the hands are about the right size as well. The hand sculpts are designed to work with the accessories, and to allow for a very wide range of poses.

Paint - ****
When it comes time to exam why Hot Toys has become such a dominate player in this market, and to understand what is behind their success, lots of things will be discussed. But I'll sum it up in one word - paint. Yes, they do terrific sculpts, but so do other companies. In fact, I believe there are some truly outstanding portrait sculpts in your collection from companies like Sideshow and Medicom, and you just don't know it. Why? Because the paint doesn't allow you to.

Yes, they do amazing outfits and accessories, but again, other sixth scale companies have had that nailed for years. You could argue that the TrueType has set them apart, but the RAH that Medicom uses is nothing to sneeze at. You could also say that they are passionate about their product, and clearly love what they do, but I'd argue that there are other companies just as passionate.

The fact that they do all these things, and not just some of them, helps to set them apart. But the one area that they have a lock on that no one else seems quite able to master is production paint.

Every aspect of the paint work on this head sculpt is immaculate. The bright, shiny eyes have life, and look nothing like a mannequin or zombie. The skin tone is just the right shade of tan, with realistic age spots and variations. The subtle transition of the hair color from lighter to darker gray is done with a fine eye for detail, and the eyebrows and mustache show how facial hair should always be done.

If this were a custom painted head sculpt, you'd be impressed. But it's not - it comes out of a factory. Other companies are trying to crack the secret, but they haven't found it yet. Their biggest competition is Enterbay right now, and hot Toys is going to have to keep an eye on them if they want to stay in their current lead position.

Articulation - ****
Once again we get the TrueType body, which has all the exceptional articulation it's always had. It hangs naturally, and allows the figure to hold its center of gravity in a very life-like way.

While the shoulders on this particular body are quite wide (it's designed for superheroes and buff characters), it works quite well here because of the padded fat suit and multiple layers of clothing. I did have some problems with the coat shoulders bunching up a bit due to the shape of the body, but it's a very minor complaint.

Accessories - ****
Hot Toys always does a great job in this category, but this time they really went all out to make your display of the figure as impressive as possible.

The Don comes with his small lapel rose, his cat, three extra hands, his trademark desk chair, a chunk of raised flooring that has a fabric carpet texture and brass nameplate, a small glass with removable red liquid, a nifty cardboard backdrop, and the usual standing display stand.

Now, I know that adding in the usual stand is expected at this point, but this is one time where I can't find any possible reason for you to use it. Like always, the figure stands perfectly fine on his own, there really isn't any extreme pose you'll need to put him in, and on top of it, the odds are you'll just have him sitting in his chair. but I suppose it's important to keep up the tradition.

The version I'm reviewing tonight is actually the Sideshow exclusive. They are a key U.S. distributor for Hot Toys, and they occasionally get exclusive versions of their figures as well. This time, their version of the Godfather comes with his hat from the film. Now, it's a little out of place without the overcoat as well, but at least it's in the movie.

Unfortunately, it looks pretty bad on him. Let's be honest: in this scale, separate hats rarely look right. They end up too big on the head, and it's always a better idea to have a separate head sculpt with a permanent hat.  But you can place the hat in his hands, and it looks decent. It's a plastic material with a soft flocking, and as a separate non-worn accessory, works well enough.

The cat turned out better than I expected, with a bit more detail in both the sculpt and paint than the original prototype. The scale is good, and the selected pose works better than I thought it would. You still have to find the right pose for him, but there's at least two or three ways for him to hold the cat that look great.

The three additional hands are designed to work with the widest range of poses possible. The two he comes wearing are done in a relaxed, open hand pose. One right hand is designed to work specifically with the included glass, while the other right and one left are done with slightly extended fingers. You can get just about any stern or pensive pose out of these, and they swap easily enough.

Then there's the tumbler, with included red liquid. It fits in his hand, and is properly scaled. The red liquid also comes out, so if you'd like to have him holding an empty glass, you can do it. If I were his waiter, I wouldn't leave the glass empty too long though - I'm not positive, but I bet the trunk of a car and some cement would be part of the 'tip'.

The included diorama is really three pieces. First and most critical is his desk chair. While it's all plastic, the leather and wood sections look like the real deal. The sculpting is excellent, with plenty of detailing in the intricate patterns. Even the individual upholstery nail heads are sculpted!

Some folks have had trouble getting him to sit with his feet on the ground, but this is because the chair is articulated, allowing it to lean back on a ball joint. Unfortunately, this joint is fairly loose, so his weight is enough to cause it to lean back. In that position, he can't quite reach the floor. It's easy enough to fix though with a small piece of paper, or you can put a dab of super glue in there and work the joint continuously until it hardens, adding a little extra 'plastic' to the joint.

For those looking to use the chair as their display, they've also included a small chunk of carpeted floor. This is actual fabric too, and not just sculpted carpet. It raises him or the chair up off the shelf about a half inch, and includes a brass name plate on the front. It's plenty big enough for the chair and his feet, with a little room left over.

To fully complete the display, they also added in a large cardboard backdrop that simulates the interior of his office. This stands high enough to be well above his head, and the three sides match up perfectly with the size of the carpeted base. There are actually three pieces of cardboard at the bottom of each section that fold forward, meeting cleanly with each other AND with the plastic base, making a great looking overall diorama.

Outfit - ****
You'll recognize the tuxedo, since the wedding scene and activities around it played such a key role in the film.

He has the tux pants, jacket, and vest, with corresponding bow tie.. There's the black shoes of course, with socks, and the bright white dress shirt, with the specific collar for the bow tie.

The white shirt is made from the same thin nylon material that Hot Toys has been using for all their recent suited figures, like Harvey Dent or the Tony Stark outfit. It fits extremely well, and has some fantastic detailing. The collar works great with the bow tie, and the tiny buttons and cuff links are even diamond studded! Okay, they aren't real diamonds, but they certainly look the part.

My shirt has a wrinkle in front, but that's something you can easily iron out. In fact, it's always a good idea to strip a figure like this down, iron everything, and redress him yourself. You'll usually get a much better looking result. However, I always shoot the figure as it is out of the box, so you know what you'll be getting.

The vest also fits well, with small snaps holding it closed over his belly. The back of these snaps is sewn off the edge of the material, so that they can snap together but not add any bulk or pooch to the front of the vest. Very nice! There's a leather watch fob on the right side, but this is sewn into the pocket - there's no watch attached. The collar is tacked in place with some thread (called a 'dart stitch', or so Jeff Parker tells me), and the satin finish on the back looks great.

The high quality tailoring and stitching extends to the jacket and pants as well. The pants fit great, and include real pockets as well as the usual tux stripe down the sides. There's no belt or suspenders, but that's a minor issue.

The jacket also has the lapels held in place with a dart stitch, and this is a great idea. I've seen far too many figures in this scale end up with weird lapels and collars out of the package due to folding. Adding this unobtrusive stitch really improves the final look.

The jacket also has a small wire running around the bottom edge, which allows you to position the bottom of the coat just right. In this scale, the material can stick out at odd angles, making the toy-like nature and size of the figure obvious. With the wire, you can bring the material in closer to the body, creating a more natural look. It's also a tremendous help when positioning the figure in the chair, since it allows you to keep the jacket from sticking out oddly around his waist and lap.

The final piece of exterior clothing is the bow tie. It's perfectly scaled, and includes a working plastic adjustment buckle in back. It does tend to loosen up as you're posing him, so keep an eye on it.

Underneath all this clothing is a specially designed fat suit. Fat suits are often a failure in this scale - look no further than Sideshow's attempt with Ed. Hot Toys got it right though, adding the fat to the lower belly, lower back and butt, and thighs. The suit actually runs from his neck to mid-thigh, but the padding is in all the right places.

The padding is also not extreme, but you can take more or less advantage of it depending on the pose. For example, in the shot to the left, he's standing with his belly pushed out further than usual, which makes the fat suit look even fatter. In the photos before and after that, he's standing straighter, without the jacket, and you can see that the fat suit isn't adding all that much additional bulk. It's all in the presentation.

He's also wearing black high gloss shoes with a matte finish on the soles. These are the usual snap on feet-shoes, and he has the tube-like socks to cover his old man ankles.

Fun Factor - ***
Kids would have zero interest in an old fat guy in a tuxedo, so don't even think about it. But adults who are fans of the movie will have way more fun than they should posing and displaying this guy.

Value - ***1/2
A $150 figure getting a well above average value score? Yep, that's what happens when you add in a ton of goodies.

Hot Toys have set the bar high for themselves, and we expect amazing sculpts, paints and outfits. But this time they also gave us all the elements of a terrific diorama, engineering it to look as good as possible on your shelf. And yet, they charged us just the same as any other figure they produce - how can that not be a great value?

Things To Watch Out For
There's nothing here that's easy to break or damage. In fact, he's just as sturdy as some mass market 12" figures. Of course, if you son smacks his G.I. Joe's head against the wall and gives it a scuff, you don't mind.  If he does it with the Don, he's going to find a Playmobil horse head in his bead.

But there are a couple small items that would be very easy to lose, like the small rose. The loop that holds it to the jacket is quite small, and it can fall out and get lost pretty easily.

Likewise, the bow tie can come loose in back when you're handling it, and next thing you know you're on your hands and knees searching for it.

Overall - ****
This is one of the nicest figures in my collection, let alone produced this year. It's not just that the head sculpt and production paint are a work of art, but it's the inclusion of the diorama accessories, excellent outfit, and overall presentation of the figure that makes it hard to believe anyone - including Hot Toys themselves - will be able to top it as best sixth scale action figure for 2009. And I'm not even that big of a fan of The Godfather!

I know that Sideshow is doing a Premium Format figure to be released later this year, but from the photos we've seen so far, it won't come close to the beauty of this figure. Unless you're a size junkie, pick up this figure instead and spend the extra $100 on something else.

As to the Enterbay version...it's tough to say right now. I have a hard time believing it will be better...but anything is possible. More likely, it will be a toss up between the two, with minor differences sending it one way or the other depending on your personal preference.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint -  ****
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
You have a number of great options:

- Sideshow's Exclusive is in stock right now on a second chance opportunity. Hey, it's just $150, same as the regular, so while the hat might not be that great, it's not costing anything extra. Unless...

- you snag it at Alter Ego Comics, where it's $135, or...

- you pick it up at, where it's CornerStoreComics has it for $135.

- if you're in the UK, Forbidden Planet has it for 170 GBP.

- or you can hit ebay.

Related Links -
Like I said, Don Vito hasn't had a ton of collectibles based on him, but there was the God awful Mcfarlane Toys version. I was way too kind on that thing.


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The Godfather sixth scale action figure Don Vito Corleone by Hot Toys



This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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