Greek Hoplite
from Ignite

We've seen a flurry of films in recent years based on ancient wars and warriors, many of them Greek. There's a good reason for that - those Greeks knew how to fight a war.

It seems only fitting then that high end sixth scale manufacturer Ignite would do a Greek warrior. And not just any Greek warrior, but a Hoplite, one of the heavy infantry.

Ignite's strategy is to produce the most accurate outfits and accessories possible. They work with very high quality materials, including metal for many of the weapons and pieces of armor. All this comes at a price of course, and Ignite's 12" figures are fairly expensive. However, the additional cost is more than justified by the painstaking attention to detail.

This figure has just started shipping, and you can pick it up through your favorite sixth scale online dealer, or directly from Ignite's own web site.

Packaging - ****
The package still suffers slightly from a less sturdy cardboard than some of the competition, but it's both very collector friendly, with a minimal use of twisties and tape, and very little work involved if you wish to return him to his plastic coffin. The graphics are great, and no one does a better job of including historically accurate in depth text on each character. That's a very valuable asset with a period figure like this.

Sculpting - **1/2
Ignite often sculpts the heads to look like famous people. Their Viking Bowman was clearly Orlando Bloom, while their Gladiator has more than a passing resemblance to Russell Crowe. However, this time I'm stumped. Maybe this is Jesus as a Greek warrior?

Not being able to recognize him isn't a bad thing though. There's nothing wrong with generic head sculpts for generic figures, and it's often better to go that route. Still, this head sculpt is not my favorite compared to their previous work.

It's a rotocast head, not solid, and it loses some detail because of it. The paint ops don't help (more on that in a minute), but the softer and slightly deformed appearance of the face doesn't do much for me. Of course, with this kick ass helmet, he's never going to be seen anyway.

The hands have fairly generic sculpts, and don't work particularly well with the weapons. They work better with the shield however.

Paint - **
The paint is where the head sculpt really took a hit for me. He has a very odd skin tone, with bags under his eyes, and a very 'toy' like zombie appearance. While some of this is due to the sculpt, the majority is a product of weak paint ops.

The paint work is neat, but lifeless, and the odd skin tone really throws it off for me.  He cheeks are far too ruddy, and he definitely needs to lay off the sauce.

There's also a bit of slop on the face, especially around the hair line.  In general, the paint ops on the head aren't up to the quality we've seen with past Ignite releases.

The paint ops on several of the accessories is a whole 'nother story, but we'll get to that in more detail further in the review.

Articulation - ***1/2
This is the same Ignite body we've seen before, with the full range of joints that you expect on any standard sixth scale figures these days. There's all the double joints, cut joints and ball joints that you have come to expect, and the joints have a nice range of movement.

This figure is also outfitted with some very heavy accessories, including the helmet, shield and 'cuirass' (body armor). However, his knees, ankles and hips are exceptionally tight joints, so much so that it appears that Ignite realized it could be an issue and made some modifications to ensure the body could hold this weight without any issues. I had no trouble getting mine to stand and stay standing in a variety of poses.

I would like to see better wrist and neck joints on the Ignite figures however. The wrists are simple cut joints, and the neck is a fairly limited ball joint, which really hinders some of the posing possibilities.

Accessories - ****
There are four main accessories outside of his outfit - his sword, the corresponding scabbard, his spear, and his huge shield.

The shield is plastic, which is a good thing since it would weigh far too much for a figure this size to hold up otherwise. It has a spiffy attachment on the back to allow him to easily hold it, with a complex rope arrangement. The paint ops are excellent, with fantastic decorations and color.

The sword is metal of course, with a similar design to some gladiator swords. It fits easily in the scabbard, and a rope keeps the whole arrangement around his shoulders.

His spear has not one but two metal ends - a spear end and an pike end. If the spear should break in half, he could use either end as a shorter range weapon. The ends are metal, with a plastic shaft. Be particularly careful with this spear/pike, since you could put an eye out pretty easily. This is NOT a toy for children!

The hand sculpts don't work particularly well with the small spear shaft or sword handle, but the accessories themselves look great.

Outfit - ****
The nicest aspect of this figure is easily the outfit.  It includes the helmet, chest armor (cuirass), tunic (okay, so it's really a dress), sandals, and leg armor (greaves).

The helmet and armor is made from metal, and is very well done.  The plume on top of the helmet is rooted nylon, very sturdy and fairly thick.  The helmet has a foam pad in the inside top (something I suspect the Greek's would have really appreciated) to allow it to sit properly on his head.

The cuirass is muscled, and can actually be removed.  The two metal hinges at either side of his ribs come apart in a way that's very similar to how a door hinge comes apart.  Pop the pins out upward, and it call comes right off.  The metal used for the armor is lightweight, but sturdy enough that it won't bend or dent easily.

Likewise for the greaves, which are silver on my figure.  The photos at the Ignite site show them as gold, just like the chest piece, but mine are a bright shiny silver.  They're tied in place with laces in back.

The sandals are also the laced variety, and are actually rubber that looks very much like leather.  There's an interesting cleat pattern on the bottom, which is surprising, at least to me.  Who would have thought they'd have cleats on their sandals!  Makes good sense though.

Finally, there's his dress.  He's going commando, although I suspect this is not quite historically accurate.  It just seems like a bad idea to go into battle with Big Jim and the twins completely unprotected.  But maybe that's just me.

Fun Factor - *1/2
Ignite doesn't make toys for kids - they make sixth scale collectibles for adults. They are going for 'museum' quality, and I can easily see their work being displayed as part of a diorama in the finest institution. But don't go giving this guy to a 6 year old kid, unless you're the type that likes spending time at the local emergency room.

Value - **
I'm grading this at list price - $80. That's steep, although not as steep as the harsh prices you have to pay for Medicom or Takara sixth scale imports. Compared to work by Dragon, bbi and Sideshow though, it's about $20 too much.

However, if you do some shopping around, you can find this figure for about $60, and at that price you can easily add another half star to this score.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Always be careful popping the metal accessories out of the tray. The metal doesn't have the flexibility of plastic, and might snap if you put to much pressure on it.

Overall -  **1/2
The outfit and weapons on this figure are the usual exceptional craftsmanship from Ignite.  Unfortunately, the head sculpt and paint ops on the head leave me cold.  If you are willing to ignore the head, and assume that you'll have him in the helmet 99% of the time anyway, the overall score would actually be a bit higher.

Packaging - ****
Sculpt - **1/2
Paint - **
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - *
Value - **
Overall - **1/2

Where to Buy -
You can buy the Hoptite directly from Ignite for $80, or hit your favorite online sixth scale dealer. Shop around and you should be able to find him for as little as $60.

There's actually two versions of this guy that I've seen photos of now, and you might want to be careful when ordering since they are distinctly different.  See this thread to see photos of both.

Related Links -
I've reviewed quite a few of the past Ignite figures, including:

- there's the Viking Bowman, German Knight, Knight of Outremer, Crusader and Viking, Gladiator, and my favorite, the Napolean Guard.

- Dragon has also done some early warriors, including the barbarian Atilla and the viking Olaf.

- and of course Sideshow has their Vlad the Impaler from a similar time frame.

- and if you want to check out Ignite's upcoming product, hit their website for details.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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