Man of Faith - Moses
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
|Jeff is back tonight with a
look at a rather unique action figure, but one that's done surprsingly
well - tell us all about it, Jeff!
Thanks as always to Michael, a man who is no stranger to reviewing
Moses himself, as he did here
a few years back. But the passage of time has lead to an increase in
scale, and a huge leap in quality.
If there’s one thing that unites and divides more than politics and
religion, its action figures based on people and characters from
politics and religion. And so, I must be cautious!
When this figure was first announced on the forums, it was like the
very gates of Hades had been cast open. People who normally seemed able
discuss to the collectables we all care so much about in a calm and
measured manner, (well most of the time) threw caution to the wind and
became manic Christian zealots and holier than thou atheists!
It taught me that when it comes to certain fields, it’s best to play
your cards close to your chest, meaning I shall try and review this
figure whilst walking a tightrope of offension.
I will say however here at the offset that I am not a religious person;
in fact I don’t even consider myself spiritual on any level whatsoever.
I am however deeply interested in theology, and our house is full of
images and iconography from all the worlds credos and faiths (my wife
majored in anthropology).
The company behind this figure is a new player going by the name JCL
and they have a mission (which I guess is evident in that those
initials stand for ‘Jesus Christ Loves’), not just to bring us top
class toys and collectables, but also to try and spread the word of the
|Once again I
underline that I have no religious agenda, I have no wish
to spread anyone’s beliefs other than my own, so for me this is just a
100% cool figure. It doesn’t make me want to pick up the nearest bible
and start reciting the 23rd psalm, but it does hammer home just how
instantly recognisable the characters and situations of the bible are
in terms of global iconography. So if you dig that on any level read
on… If not, what the heck, read it anyway it might stir some feelings
and emotions, maybe even some memories, some negative, some positive,
but lets face it, any feelings are better than the banal and numb state
of futile existence that permeates most things these days…
That was meant to be ironic…
And back to toys...
There was a time, not so very long ago that virtually every 1/6th
figure came in a 5 panel flap fronted box. It’s a tried and tested
formula, and as the old adage goes, ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’.
Meaning that this is the formula JCL has opted to take. The cover has a
super blown up photo of the figures head along with the ‘Man of Faith,
collection series’ logo and his name in large letters.
The back has a brief biography of the life and times of Mr Moses or
‘משה ‘ as it should be written in Hebrew, though he is also believed to
have gone by ten other names, as you can read here,
in fact the number ten seems to crop up a lot with Moses, ten Egyptian
plagues, ten commandments… well, that’s three at least!
Sorry I’m rambling again. Anyway, this biography is illustrated with
three pics of the figure in various poses and showing some of his
accessories. Within the box the figure is held in a vac formed tray
somewhat annoyingly tightly by no less than seven twisty ties… too many
in anyone’s language be it Hebrew, English or even Welsh. They were so
tight I ended up using wire-snippers to get him out. However, as
annoying as they were, they certainly meant that the figure arrived in
top condition, with no broken parts or paint rubs.
So, not an exceptional bit of packaging design, but for a new company
it’s not bad either, and the construction is robust enough to keep the
contents safe. And let’s face it, that’s its primary job!
Sculpting - ***3/4
It’s fair to say that no one now ACTUALLY knows what Moses looked like.
Your historians, academics and archaeologists will tell you that coming
from the geographical location he did, at the time that he is purported
to have existed, means his physical appearance would be far from the
Hollywood ‘biblical epic’ representations many of us now hold up as
ideals. But to be fair the movie images and styles were in turn based
heavily on the classical paintings of the Renaissance period, paintings
that were often commissioned by wealthy families and the church itself.
So the artists carrying out these commissions used live models of that
time, and dressed the figures in a romanticised and often semi
classical European way that would please the audience of the day.
So, what am I getting at? Well, what we actually have here is an
unofficial, but strikingly close representation of Charlton Heston in
Cecil B DeMille’s 1956 (ass numbing) movie ‘The Ten Commandments’. As I
said this isn’t officially meant to be Heston, which for me is a good
thing, but if you look at a picture like this
then you can see its been a pretty big inspiration on how this
character should look. The face is a great piece of sculpting from such
a new company. He has a realistic appearance and a stoic, stern
expression, as one would expect from a man that carries the future of
his people on his shoulders. Let’s face it, if he wasn’t receiving the
Ten Commandments and dealing with golden calves he was talking to
burning bushes and parting the red sea, this was a busy man!
As I said, there is more than a passing resemblance to the NRA’s
finest, but there is also enough of a difference to keep JCL out of the
law courts. It also means this would work well as the base figure on a
bash of anyone from Ben Gunn to Merlin or even Jorus C’baoth (he’d look
good standing next to your Sideshow Thrawn figure, with minimal work).
The detailing on the hair is nice and crisp, falling back over the head
in a very dramatic, but also quite natural way. He also comes with a
selection of five hands in various positions; all are sculpted
competently and work well with his accessories.
So, a more than capable piece of work, in fact it’s so good it’ll stand
alongside your Hot Toys, Enterbay, Triad and Sideshow figures in a very
favourable light, and considering this is their FIRST offering the
future looks bright… as long as folks actually buy the product!
I am hugely impressed with this paint app, it shows a far higher finish
than many other 1/6th manufacturers seem able to achieve (of course
there are some hi-end producers that far surpass it, but with a price
that reflects this), and for a price of $69… no, that wasn’t a typo…
$69. When was the last time you scored a really good quality figure for
Obviously there is no licence fee to pay (unless the big guy has gone
commercial), but even so, this still stands out as a pearl amongst oh
so many swine. The flesh tones are warm and convincing with great
choice of tones used. The blue eyes are crisp and clear with no
horrible doll dot. The facial hair is feathered in with a good degree
of subtlety and graduates into the main body of his hair in a
reasonably convincing way. Of course if this were a $120 to $150 figure
I’d perhaps be a little more severe in my critique of the finished
figure, but for $69 this is actually pretty darned impressive!
As I already mentioned, this is squarely based on the Charlton Heston
portrayal of Moses, just look at the classic old poster here,
all the robes, belts, sashes, gauntlets, cloak and sandals are virtual
facsimiles of the costume used in the movie. In all fairness this is a
relatively straightforward outfit to do, but that doesn’t undermine the
fact that JCL have done a sterling job in tailoring it well and
choosing fabrics that hang convincingly for this scale.
His wardrobe consists of actual leather and cord sandals (not
sculpted), a burgundy robe that wraps over his front and is held closed
by a leather-studded belt. Over this belt he has a red and black
stripped knotted sash which ends with frayed tassels. Each wrist has a
laced up leather gauntlet lined with tiny metal studs and then lastly
he wears an outer robe/cloak with bold vertical stripes of red, black
and white. The overall quality here is good, with tidy work on the
seams and stitching. The back of the collar has a deliberately rough
finish, mimicking the rough ‘zig-zag’ stitching of a simple and crudely
fabricated garment. The bottom edge of the outer robe also has a
drawstring that can help in ruching up the material for some poses.
So a simple outfit, but really rather elegantly carried out.
The basic functionality here
is pretty good, not very top end good, but again considering the price,
it gives a good range of mobility. Think hi-end military figures from
the late nineties rather than the newly developed, cutting edge stuff
at the forefront of today’s ‘elite’ releases.
The feet have a gap between the toes for the sandals to fit between and
the range of movement at the ankle is good with the ability to turn,
point and tilt. The knees are double jointed and there’s a cut joint in
the upper thigh. The hip is a universal hinged joint, so again a full
range of movement is available. Next up the waist is a traditional old
fashioned elastic held joint (like old GI Joe’s from back in the day),
meaning a reasonable degree of tilt and bend is possible here as well.
There is a simple hinged joint in the mid-torso, so a small degree of
movement forward and back can be achieved. The shoulders are
pegged universal joints and like the legs there is a cut joint at the
top followed by a double elbow and the wrist is a double pegged
rotating cut joint, much like the True Type and indeed a good many
other 1/6th base bodies. Lastly the neck is able to tilt and bend both
where it joins the head and the body.
So as I said, not cutting edge, but more than serviceable!
The only reason for the lack of a full score in this category is the
fact that this figure has quite a bit of flesh on show, meaning the
‘ripped’ physique, (especially on the chest/pectoral area) seems just a
little too extreme for a man of Moses years and indeed character, but
in terms of posing you shouldn’t have any problems. I took a few snaps
of the base body having a small workout here,
but be warned, the sight of ‘The Lawgiver’ in a semi naked state might
be deemed too much for some!
When looking at the story of Moses as a whole there is a lot to take
in. As I already said, he was a busy boy. However this depiction is
showing him in his elder years (he’s said to have been 120 when he
died), and this is meant to be directly after receiving the Ten
Commandments from God on mount Sinai. So we get the two stone tablets
with the commandments written out in the traditional Anglo-Saxon
derivative of the Latin alphabet (English, to the uninitiated), I have
to admit I would have much preferred ancient Hebrew, or at least
something approximating it like this
but I guess what we get makes more sense, in as much as JCL want these
figures to be educational in the respect of spreading the word of this
particular god. The tablets are plastic and based on the colouration of
the ones used in the DeMille movie, which for me are a little on the
red side, a more natural grey stone colour would have been preferred.
We also get his staff, a staff that is meant to have held holy
significance, it was instrumental in parting the Red Sea, it drew water
from rock, invoked the great plagues upon Egypt and even transformed
itself into a snake (Gandalf eat your heart out!). Some believers still
hold faith that the original staff is held at Topkapı Palace in Turkey…
but baring in mind that various religious sites hold claim to the Holy
Prepuce (look it up) and enough timber from the ‘one true cross’ to
rebuild the Ark…. It’s doubtful?
Here it is also made of plastic but fashioned to represent a simple
stick made of wood, perhaps the branch of an olive tree. It fits well
into the specially designed left hand, which is amongst the five we get
with the figure; the others are two relaxed and two in a gripping
position for the stone tablets.
Lastly we get a rather nifty environment base; it’s sculpted to look
like a patch of rock from Mount Sinai and even has sculpted footprints
and a hole to grip the staff. There is a ‘crotch hammock’ style stand
included that can be inserted into the rock for extra stability, but I
found just using the hole for the staff and making the figure grip it
was enough. However, if you plan on the pose where Moses is holding the
tablets side by side
it could come in handy.
Ultimately this could never be considered a huge haul, but at the
price-point this sells for it’s a nice selection, made all the more
worthy with the inclusion of the environment base.
Factor - ***
Hey it’s Moses, he comes with his mythical staff and two tablets baring
the Ten Commandments, what is not fun about that?
OK, I guess that might just be me then, but I can’t be alone in seeing
the full potential of this line. The website states that the next
release will be Jesus, and a little insider information said a figure
of David with Goliaths head was being worked on as well.
I like the idea of littering a display with a few classic characters
from the scriptures, and this was a great one to kick off with.
for money - ****
@ $69 this is a bona fide bargain, and not only does it depict one of
the Bibles most enigmatic and important characters; it also has a
metric tonne of bash potential. The whole shebang is well constructed
and in these days of regularly paying over $100 for a figure (hell,
$150 is increasingly the norm), this comes is as a breath of fresh air
that won’t have you wincing when the credit card bill arrives!
The sculpt here is pretty top notch, the paint work is solid and the
tailoring (though far from complicated) is carried out well, with a
good job having been done on the choice of cloths to fabricate it in.
So when you factor in the more than reasonable price, then you have
what surely deserves to be a hit on your hands. But there is one big
sticking point… faith!
either have it, or you don’t… but does it matter?
Will these be seen as sacrilegious and frivolous by the devout
followers of Christianity and indeed Judaism, and will those that don’t
follow any form of organised religion (hello) even want this in their
I have to say that some religious ephemera can easily fall into the
gaudy and kitsch arena of merchandise, but this manages to end up
purely as great representation of Moses based on the iconic image of
Heston playing the role. It has me wondering whether the next release
of Christ will be based on a celluloid portrayal. Being a man of a
certain age, I have always had the romantic image of Robert Powell as
the face of Jesus
which admittedly is yet another very Westernised ideal for his look,
but it is again heavily influenced by those old renaissance paintings.
comes next, and however this line pans out, what we have here is a very
strong first release, and I came very close to giving it a top score. I
just hope I don’t get sent to the other place for my lack of it!
Where to buy
You can get this guy direct from JCL here
or you can track it down on
ebay where he’s selling for $79.99… Amen!
Did you enjoy
the review? Plus 1 it!
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.