Packaging - ****
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
The 'wow' factor with this figure starts from the moment you see the
box. It's simply outstanding.
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...
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
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.
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
Even the hair is beautifully
sculpted, with a fine texture that implies thin strands, rather than
tootsie roll chunks.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
horse head in his bead.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ****