onto the review, can an action figure of one of cinemas most iconic
actors playing one of cinemas greatest characters ever live up to
Packaging - ****
Sometimes 1/6 boxes are compact and sometimes they are big… this is very… no, very, VERY BIG!
becomes instantly apparent that HT have pulled out all the stops on
this production. I kid you not when I say the box is an art form in
itself, and one that I’m sure many a Godfather devotees will be
displaying in it’s own right.
Firstly you’re met by a large
silk finished black box measuring an impressive 55cm tall, 23cm wide
and 18cm deep. Towards the bottom, the front has an 8cm deep wrap
around matt paper panel bearing the Godfather logo above the characters
name, this wrap only goes round to the back of the top lid, so
thankfully you don’t need to slide it off every time you open the
figure. Above this is a die cut representation of Brando’s silhouetted
face catching the light, mimicking the old poster,
this is in a raised relief and appears at first to be red velvet. The
black lid then lifts off to show that the red is in fact the next layer
of the box. It’s actually flocked plastic, but the match up between the
die cut of the lid and the relief areas of this flocked layer is
millimetre perfect… very, very impressive.
You now lift off
this red overlay to be met by another black box bearing the logo, this
is secured by two Velcro tabs and after opening the double layer there
is a sheet of tissue which protects the vac formed window, under this
is the figure, his chair and other accessories… but it don’t stop
there. This whole secondary inner box lifts out to reveal… you guessed
it, another shallow box. This contains a plinth/stand and printed card
backdrop that folds to create a very impressive diorama for displaying
your figure and the accompanying chair. There’s also a full colour
booklet in this layer that gives us an insight into just how
importantly HT have taken this production. There are brief interviews
with all of the team behind getting the Don into your hands, everyone
from main man Howard Chan and JC Hong through to sculptors Yulli and
Kang in Ae, hell even Greg Anzalone, Tom Gilliland and Brant Bridges
from Sideshow have their say. The only travesty is that the designers
of this amazing packaging, messrs Dixon Chan and Monster Jr didn’t get
to tell us about their input, so I contacted Dixon and asked him what
part of the design he was most pleased with, he told me-
would be the fact that we manage to execute the idea without holding
back too much because of the size and weight of the whole thing and
also the cost.
This time the big praise goes to Monster Jr, as he
initiated the idea of the red silhouette, based on a Godfather's movie
I have to say, that though this package is far from
ecologically friendly, it is certainly the most impressive box I have
ever received a 1/6 figure in. I suppose you can look upon it as a
statement of intent, and that intent is to bowl you over with every
aspect of this figure, well so far, consider me bowled!
Sculpting - ****
So far the only other sculpts I have by Kang In Ae are her work on the Rocky III, Stalone (I originally credited this to Yulli, oops!) the ‘Giant’ James Dean and ‘The Wild One’ Brando where she cut her teeth on the great actor.
Knowing how important this figure is to Hot Toys I was surprised Yulli
wasn’t on full sculpting duties, she did supervise but Kang In Ae was
appointed with the task of producing the actual head. However, my
concerns were completely unfounded, she has done an amazing job, and I
mean jaw droppingly amazing!
It’s sometimes hard to believe that
Brando was actually only 48 when he played the Don, a man intended to
be in his early 60’s. The look was all down to wigs, make-up, a mouth-full of cotton wool and a whole heap of fine method acting that led to the creation of this classic character.
in Ae says in the accompanying booklet that she watched the movie many
times while working on this head sculpt, and that is plainly evident,
it’s just stupendous. The Don
is not an action man, he’s a Machiavellian character a subtle and
charismatic character who is shrouded in a sinister air of mystery. But
he’s also a family man, a man to whom honour and dignity are as
important as the very oxygen he breathes.
Now I’m not
saying it’s possible to convey all these characteristics in a single
sculpt, but believe you and me when I say it comes close. The
expression here is pretty impassive, like he’s just observing, but the
superfine work on the wrinkles around his eyes, the lines on his
forehead, every hair on his head, eyebrows and moustache are evident.
The curl of his lip and the puffy nature of those infamous cheeks are
all carried out fantastically, it’s virtually perfect.
also comes with three extra hands, bringing his total to five including
the ones he’s fitted with in the box (which are in a relaxed position).
The extras are a gesturing one for the left, another gesturing for the
right and another right to hold his glass. Both the left hands have a
wedding band sculpted as well.
All I can do here is try to convey
how good it all looks, but suffice to say no words can actually do
justice, you need to sit with it in your hands and turn it this way and
that, especially in ambient light, to pick up on the beautiful subtlety
of Kang’s work… just outstanding!
I can see this being popular
with huge swathes of collectors who might not usually go near 1/6th,
and at the price point they have managed to do this for, I’m sure
they’ll be gone pretty damn soon!
Paint - ****
this is just sheer and utter perfection! JC Hong has captured the
ageing flesh of this over indulged old man with amazing clarity. The
eyes are beautifully glossy, catching the light as we have now almost
come to expect as standard, and the mottling of the flesh tones,
showing moles and liver spots, wrinkles and creases is sublime, to use a hackneyed term, this is indeed a ‘tour de force’ in paint application.
has taken Kang’s wonderful work on the hair and shown, like the master
he is, just how old greying and thinning hair should be painted. I
don’t think the subtlety of the graduations and the feathering of the
edges could in reality be any better at this scale. The painting
actually continues onto the hands, and I don’t just mean they picked
his rings out, oh no. These show subtle veins, spotting and detail on
the nails, hell, you can even see the cuticles. All this is again
faultlessly handled adding up to one of the best paint apps you will
see at this scale, a definite full score!
Articulation - ****
No problems here, it’s your classic True Type
(TT) under the clothes, admittedly its sporting a fat-suit which
hampers his movement a little, but at the end of the day we’re talking
about a fat old Mafia boss, he’s not going to be doing any gymnastics,
in fact I can’t imagine the Don would even try walking particularly
fast, so this is just perfect for the character.
any pose you want with ease, from a general standing position through
to sitting in the chair either reclined or in a more pensive mood
and because of the TT’s great engineering, with a little work and
futzing he’ll look 100% convincing in some very subtle poses, thanks to
those extra hands and accessories. I’m sure someone will usurp the TT
soon, but for now this is just perfection.
Outfit - ****
class work continues with the outfit, which HT go so far as to describe
as '1/6th couture’, which isn’t an empty boast, far from it, every
detail of his dinner suit is replicated from the satin edging and small
‘buttonhole’ rose on the lapel.
but making a convincing 3 piece suit is a difficult thing to pull off
for a 12” figure, recently we’ve seen things getting better and better
and this continues the trend.
As a breakdown, firstly we
have the fat-suit, this is white and goes from the shoulders right down
to the mid thigh, it fits well and adds just enough weight without
looking too bulky. The shoes are a classic design painted to look like
patent leather with a matt sole, they are of the push in design,
meaning no actual feet, he wears black sock tops and then black dress
trousers over the top, these have front pleats and working belt loops
and pockets throughout. The satin piping up the outside seam is
actually a screen printed ‘plasticised’ effect, but works perfectly.
His shirt is of the wing collared evening variety, and the collar is
handled superbly and manages to be super thin, no stitching is visible
so I’m guessing a fabric glue and starch has been used, around this is
his black bow-tie, again the scale is faultless and it even has a
working micro sliding adjuster. The shirt appears to be a man made
material, but it works fantastically at mimicking fine cotton poplin at
this scale, it has black crystal buttons and cufflinks and all fits
like a dream. Over this is his black waistcoat, this again has working
satin edged pockets and from his left pocket hangs his small leather
watch strap. The waistcoat collar is also a satin finish and it does up
with some well concealed press studs, the ones on the inside flap are
even sewn right on the overlapping edge, and tiny jet black buttons are
glued to the outside so when the garment is closed it lays flat and
looks very convincing. The dinner jacket has the classic satin lapels
and pocket flaps, jet black cuff buttons and a single button on the
front. The lapels have a small dart stitch to hold them back and a
beautifully detailed rose buttonhole on the left side, this is held in
place by a tiny loop stitch, so take care when handling. The bottom hem
of the jacket also has a wire running through it, this makes posing it
far easier, as you can get it to look like it’s hanging well, with some
The whole ensemble comes together beautifully and
is simply one of the best put together ‘civilian’ outfits I’ve seen to
date. I have no bad seams or loose stitches, just a near perfect 1/6th
shirt and three piece suit that fits perfectly without looking bulky,
even though it is multi layered.
Accessories - ****+
The Don comes with a very selection array, including-
- His hat (this is part of the limited edition release)
- The infamous chair
- His grey cat
- A glass tumbler with mimicked red liquid.
- Two sets interchangeable hands and one hand for holding the glass
- 12-inch figure stand with Godfather nameplate
- Plinth/base with mimicked carpet covering and brass nameplate.
- Printed card back-drop, to form display diorama.
- Full colour printed booklet
very impressive array, and that chair really gives this character the
gravitas he deserves, meaning that even for you non ‘Godfather’ fans,
he’d look good posed amongst your other 1/6 figures, looking like some
puppet master crime-lord.
The detailing and build of the
chair are fantastic, plastic in construction the solid frame is
sculpted to mimic the ornate carving with a dark wood background onto
which are inlaid brass sculpted elements it has real padded pleather
arm rests. The main seat and back are also made of padded pleather with
a foam inner to give it a cushioned feel, these elements are also edged
with faux brass upholstery tacks, all very well executed and where the
chair joins the base there is also a slight rocking motion so it can be
reclined. My only misgiving would be that the wooden areas could do
with some wood grain detailing or paint effects, but in all fairness
you don’t get to see the close up details of the chair in the movie (I
watched it again a couple of times recently in preparation) and it may
have been lacquered, so it’s still a very good looking accessory, and
the finest chair I’ve personally ever seen at this scale.
Next up is the cat, this is in a set pose to be placed in his arms
or on his lap, it’s a nice addition and looks more realistic than I
originally thought it would, both the sculpt and paint app seem to have
been improved since the proto pics first came out. The glass is also a
cool addition, it’s a simple construction consisting of a small Perspex
tumbler with a red transparent liquid inside (mimicked with a red
Perspex plug), it’s a little prop but it works well for many poses.
The hat is an exclusive item, and to be fair it works fine on its own
but would work even better if it had come with a scarf and coat as
well… but never look a gift horse in the mouth, and as this item adds
nothing to the price for your early bird collectors its still a very
nice item that fits the figure well. It’s construction is virtually
identical to the hat’s that come with The Spirit and Michael Jackson,
so it’s a thin plastic material, coated in a good quality dense black
flocking, with a satin ribbon around the edge for detailing, very nice.
He also has the extra hands, one for holding the glass and two alternate gesturing hands, these can be used for general ‘mid conversation’
type poses or for resting against his temples. This figure also comes
with the classic HT MMS figure stand bearing his name and the movie
logo, but to be fair, unless you are very pressed for space I cant see
this getting a lot of use, why? Well, firstly I could get him to stand
just fine without it, and secondly you get a rather snazzy plinth to
either display him standing or put him sitting in the chair on.
can both be used like this on it’s own, or with the printed back-drop
which has a painting to mimic part of his study, with the lamp,
bookcase and closed blinds on the window. It’s another nice added bonus
as it wasn’t originally going to be part of the package, and it works
great as a backdrop for photography. However I prefer him just sitting
in the chair on the plinth, and once you find a position you are happy
with I think it looks even better than the Cinemaquette Godfather
(which, if I’m brutally honest, only bears a slight resemblance to
Brando), but with all these extras it gives you a wealth of
possibilities in the way you choose to display it.
the printed booklet, this is a nice idea and it’s cool to get a brief
insight into what the creative team think of their respective roles in
bringing this figure to life. It utilizes some cute design features
like printing on opaque stock and die cut slats to mimic the blinds,
the only slight let down is that the stock it’s printed on is a little
thin and flimsy, but again, like the printed back-drop and base it’
more of an added bonus and it certainly helps give the whole package
that hi-end ‘collectors item’ feel to it.
So, for this category HT
have gone well above the call of duty, and deserve to be recognized for
it… especially as they have managed to keep this at $150!
Fun Factor - ****
end of the day it’s an old man with a chair… but what an old man and
quite frankly what a chair! This is a figure for your more discerning
Movieophile that will enhance any collection but would also make a
fantastic standalone piece on your desk or shelf. It’s just sublime in
it’s level of detail and really is an instant talking piece.
Value - ****
Sideshow still has these on pre-order for $149.99
seriously, I mean, what are you waiting for. Just check out the photos,
just look at the accessories, but most of all look at the quality of
that figure. In a world where hi-end figures are increasingly creeping
ever and ever closer to $200, hell plenty have been there for a while,
then this is a bargain… yes, even at $150 of those very hard earned
bucks he is, in my most humble of opinions a veritable bargain!
For years, fans of The Godfather trilogy had little or no option
when it came to collectibles and statues, but in the last couple of
years it’s gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.
have been re-mastered and repackaged so many times it’s difficult to
know which is now the definitive version to watch, and as far as
collectibles, there is everything from toy cars, small-scale figures, big-scale figures, and even a designer vinyl figure
is planned from Michael Lau. But for me, even if space and price aren’t
an issue, at this moment the best representation of Don Vito Corleone
is this, and the price is a steal! I am officially bowled over from the
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ****
Overall - ****
to Buy -
Check Michael's review
for a complete list of sponsors carrying this fine figure.