Jake Sully as his Na’vi avatar
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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 Parker is back tonight
with another great Hot Toys review - take it away, Jeff!
A big show of thanks once again to our glorious overseer… Mr Michael
Titanic under his belt, Jim Cameron had crowned himself the biggest
grossing director of all time. From now on, budgets and deadlines were
something for his ‘people’ to worry about. He could focus much more of
his time on his great passion for deep-sea exploration. But while
messing about in dinghies, well, boats… well, actually state of the
art, record breaking, multi million-dollar self financed mini
pressurised-subs, he decided to make another movie.
we all know now that Mr Cameron would go onto steal the ‘top grossing
movie of all time’ crown from him self (though with the extended 3 hour
‘directors cut’ Avengers movie due to get a theatrical release in
August, a certain Mr Whedon might just be in with a chance!). He had
now properly cemented himself at the top of the directorial table in
Hollywood… in terms of bums on seats and dollars in the bank, if not
Because lets not be too fawning here, Avatar was
a solid and entertaining movie, one that reinvented and redefined the
use of 3D technology, dragging the gimmick into the digital age, (yeah…
thanks Jim… nice one). However, at its heart it was hackneyed and
basically ‘imperialistic’ (for that read racist) tale that we are all
familiar with in stories from Fern Gully to Pocahontas. I will say
though, that in its defence the basic premise of the Greco/Roman hero
quest has been copied in every other story from the legends of King
Arthur, Star Wars, Harry Potter et al in a virtually unchanged guise.
Just add a wizard here and ignite a lightsaber there and your job is
done. Is there a truly original story left to tell? Of course there is,
but this wasn’t it.
because as I said, it was a movie that I ‘essentially’
liked. Its strongest point was in taking an alien world and creating a
fully realised backdrop for our story to unfold within. From the life
cycle of a glowing phosphorous seedpod to the bizarre anatomy of huge
hulking herbivore, just about every aspect of the flora and fauna of
the aboriginal inhabitants of Pandora had been researched, designed and
rendered to a highly believable state. The most important of these was
the Na’vi, because it was this race of sentient humanoid beings that
the whole story was to revolve around, if they hadn’t been believable
then the film would have stalled at the gates. But thanks to an
amazingly talented crew of concept artists, designers, renderers,
motion capture technicians and digital animators we ended up with some
elegant aliens we could very much put our faith in, whilst silently
fancying at the same time. If it’s considered wrong to be attracted to
an eight-foot tall blue chic with a tail I’d like to know where it’s
actually defined as wrong!
Yeah, thought so!
was another valid point, rather crudely made. Because when Jake was in
his ‘other’ mode, we had to have a race of beings that he could not
only sympathise and empathise with, but one that we had to believe he
could actually be physically attracted to. He was after all seeing
Neytiri through human eyes… if she had displayed more of… lets say
Jabba the Hutt’s anatomy, my guess is he might have been on that gun
ship launching the first wave of missiles that destroyed ‘Home Tree’.
Shallow, maybe, but its why the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) fund never
has a problem raising money for Pandas, but can’t seem to raise a dime
fort horny backed lesser spotted stick insect.
It seems like an
eternity ago that Hot Toys announced they had the Avatar licence,
followed by an equally long period to see the prototype figure
eventually unveiled… but then we had another long wait before the
figure was to be finally, ‘actually’ released, but here it is at last.
There is no word on any follow up figures yet, so I’m hoping this one
sells well enough to prompt Hot Toys to announce a follow up companion
figure of Neytiri (come on…. You HAVE to do at least her!). Others,
like Jake in his wheel chair and the loathsome Colonel Quaritch might
be too much to wish for at this stage… let alone the though of a fully
articulated 1/6 AMP suit, but a guy can dream can’t he.
is designed to be 1/6 scale next to a regular 12” figure, so to house
the big guy they needed a big box. This measures an impressive 22” x
10” x 8”. There is a simple matte white outer sleeve with a striking
full colour gloss laminated vista of Pandora sweeping across the front.
Inside the sleeve is a large window fronted box with a full creative
team production list on its back.
The figure is housed within between layers of vac formed clear and
black plastic with his numerous accessories and diorama base.
it’s all in all a large tasteful and impressive box, but when compared
to Hot Toys firing on all eight creative cylinders, this does feel just
a little on the flat side.
Sculpting - ****
the past I was privy to knowledge that some 3D rendered characters
‘may’ have had their 3D created images made available to some toy
manufacturers. So I did wonder if Cameron’s digital effects crew (most
of the design and rendering fell to Weta, but ILM and Digital Domain
also worked on the mammoth project) had helped Hot Toys out at all in
terms of the digital sculpting. That was until I saw the blogs of
Joseph Tsang and his amazing work on the completed figure. No, this was
a classic labour of love, done the traditional way by a very talented
Tsang has often worked on the more ‘exotic’ life forms that
Hot Toys have created, with everything from Ghost Rider to the new
Predators. He has a great eye for delivering finely observed details,
and he manages to do the same again here.
Jake is a more complex
figure than might be immediately evident, as although he is essentially
an alien, there is definitely more than a hint of the actor Sam
Worthington’s features in there too, which he has managed to nail quite
convincingly. I shall focus on the head and hands in this section and
keep the body for the articulation part, though it is worthy of note
here that from top to toe the entire figure was sculpted by Tsang.
facial expression is relatively neutral, the one factor that could
potentially count against this release as Jake is in his warrior
outfit, complete with war paint and ceremonial feathers (think Apache
brave going into battle and you wouldn’t be too far off the mark), so a
more aggressive, maybe even shouting sculpt might have been better.
complex nature of the way the hair is fabricated means a complete
second head would have undoubtedly pushed the price up too far, but an
alternate ‘face’ if executed like the DX Jack Sparrow might have been a
However that wasn’t to be, and I’m not here to
critique a ‘wish list’, I’m here to rate the merchandise. As such this
is a great piece of work, and though essentially sculpted as a solid
head, the finished product is a truly mixed media affair. The basic
head has (as I already said) captured a striking likeness of the
character with some beautiful observations on the partially open mouth,
but it’s the fine work on the braided hair on the top of his head, and
the way it graduates into the real plaited strands with beads and
feathers (both real and sculpted) that helps set this figure apart as
something quite special.
If you should choose to invest in
this figure, I’m convinced most really will enjoy just sitting and
drinking in all the incredible fine detailing, I swear I notice
something new every time I reposition him. Do however take care when
handling him, as I did have a couple of feathers come loose on me,
easily replaced with a spot of glue or simply poked back into the
braids, but be aware.
He comes with a selection of four hands,
and I admit I would have liked at least one more. We get a gun grip
right, a knife grip right, a fingers splayed left and a relaxed (semi
gripping left). These are undoubtedly enough to achieve a good range of
stock poses, but an extra relaxed right hand would have enabled some
cool poses for when the riffle is slung over his shoulder and the knife
So, there are a couple of things I would have liked
as extras, but when purely looking at the quality of the production
figure it is truly outstanding and fully deserving of highest accolade.
The thing we
humans are best equipped to judge is regular human flesh tones. It’s
what we are used to seeing all day and every day, so we are also
pre-programmed to intrinsically understand these shades without
explanation. And lets face it Hot Toys have proven themselves to be
past masters at getting these complex colourations just right.
However, Jake here is an alien, a Pandorian N’avi alien to be precise,
so that makes him a bright Smurf like ‘process’ blue.
So, being blue can we expect a subtle lifelike colouration?
Of course we can!
not only is Jake’s flesh tone blue, but his skin is covered in a series
of complex tribal war paint and ‘natural’ markings. Made even more
detailed and complex by the beaded and feathered jewellery that also
adorns his body.
The base tone of the plastic and vinyl used
looks to be blue, but is covered in gentle graduations to help enhance
its form. The ‘natural’ skin patternation and the stripes of war paint
look to have been applied mechanically, but very well for all that. If
you look closely through a magnifying glass (yeah, it is that subtle)
or at the enlarged images in my photos, you can actually make out the
tiny printers matrix within some of the tones. But as I say, you need
to get up super close to be able to see this, from a usual standpoint
it is all but invisible. The mouth is also beautifully carried out,
with just a hint of his teeth showing.
The thing that really
brings the head to life is the use of small inserted glass eyes, an
inspired way to handle this feature as even though they are not
positionable like with the DX series, it helps immeasurably in creating
the illusion of real tiny ‘wet’ eyes.
So, he may be a big old blue alien, but the detailed and delicate work
executed by JC Hong is just about perfect.
Na’vi physiology is
basically very similar to the human form,
only with much, much longer limbs, and it’s the length of these limbs
that also contributes to making the so darned tall. In the movie an
average male Na’vi was meant to come in at around 10 foot tall. Now if
in the world of 1/6th, an average 6 foot man measures 12 inches so it
obviously translates to a 10 foot individual measuring about 20 inches
(though maths was never a strong point). However the figure is 18
inches, but to my memory looks about right when stood next to a
‘normal’ 1/6th figure (from my memory of the movie anyway. If he had
been 20 inches I think he may have actually looked ridiculously big!
of the unique nature of this body it necessitated an all-new design,
sculpt and engineering job, and some compromises had to be made. We all
know that the native Na’vi spends his life in the simplest most minimal
of outfits, but that also means a helovalot of naked blue flesh is on
show. Naked, or nearly naked bodies are often the bane of many a 1/6th
manufacturers existence, though it is worthy of note that far more
muscle bodies are available now than ever before. But a naked body
inevitably means visible joints.
When Hot Toys very first
announced the Avatar license I did wonder if they might not have gone
down the same route they explored with King Leonidas from 300 (reviewed
I would still imagine it was an
avenue explored during the R&D, but now obviously one that
at the gate. In the end we have finished up with what is in effect a
scaled up ‘muscle’ body, similar to the ones used on figures like
Perseus, Wolverine, Indiana Jones etc.
This means we hit a happy
middle ground between good useable poseability and less aesthetically
intrusive joints. Of course you can’t keep everyone happy and some will
complain about his lack of extreme mobility while others claim the
joints are ugly. I’m more biased towards the first category, its
articulation all the way for me. If you are from the later category, go
buy a statue, this is meant to be a POSE- ABLE-ACTION-FIGURE… cheese
So what do we actually have here, well its less than
was exhibited in the early promo shots of the prototype, for example
the joint mid foot is now gone in favour of a seamless full foot, this
is in my opinion a smart move, as the hinged joint may have been a
little too intrusive even for me. Next up is the knee which has a
hinged rotating peg joint, meaning a 90 degree bend is available here,
the hips are pegged rotating ball joints so a good range in most
directions can be made. The groin is made of a softer vinyl to aid in
the positioning of the hips in deeper stances. The lower abdomen is
made of solid plastic but then the rest of the torso up to the neck is
also covered in the softer vinyl to hide the underlying engineering.
I’m happy with this solution as long as the materials utilised in the
manufacturing don’t either go brittle and crack or go soft and melt.
The range beneath the vinyl skin is good meaning he can abs-crunch
forward a little and also lean back to look up or hold his gun when in
a prone position. The shoulder joint tucks in under the softer skin and
is a fully functioning universal joint, able to move freely in all
directions. Next up we have the elbow, which like the knee is a pegged
hinge joint in the interests of making him look as good as possible. I
could really have done with a double joint here, and maybe even a cut
joint in the upper arm (after all he does have his arm jewellery to
hide the lines), but alas t’was not to be.
Lastly we have the
now classic double pegged and hinged ball joint, everybody pretty much
uses it now because it works so darned well.
That is it, a good
solid and robustly constructed base body that poses on the whole very
well. There are inevitably some limitations due to the compromises
struck in favour of not making him look like Sideshows slave Taylor
(shudders), but enough ‘disguising’ has been done to keep all but the
hardcore statue enthusiasts happy (and quite frankly they’ll NEVER get
are quite a few elements that you have to add to the figure when you
unbox him, but it’s a grey area as to what exactly constitutes
accessories over outfit. The things packed separately in the box are-
- one AVR-30 door gun
- one dagger/knife
- one braided bandolier with a scabbard for his knife
- one grenade bandolier
- six grenades
- four arm bands
- one necklace
- one communications necklace
- two extra hands (four including the ones fitted)
- one right lower arm covering
- one environment based figure stand.
of those items I covered in the outfit section, so here I shall stick
to the other items. His AVR-30 is super detailed, and though it is
essentially a fantasy weapon it has a lot of characteristics (as lets
face it’s I based on) an M60 machine gun, and it’s only because of his
Na’vi proportions that Jake can wield this at all. You will notice it
has an articulated coupling on its underside to attach it to a gunship
for when being used by a mere human. The rest of the weapon has no
articulated elements from what I can see other than the sliding buckle
on the carry strap, but all the detailing is solid nonetheless.
Likewise his dagger (obviously) has no moving parts, but is again
replicated beautifully to look like it is made from a bone/tusk with a
The scabbard to hold the knife is attached to a
fabric sash with some nice woven detailing and a small tooth toggle.
Criss-crossing his chest the other way is a military belt with multiple
small clips and six grenades attached to it, again all the fine
detailing here is beautifully rendered.
Lastly he has his rather
cool ‘Pandora environment’ figure stand. It’s sculpted to look like a
small section of the forest floor with a tree stump featuring some of
the green and blue glowing plant life of the planet. There are also a
few more human looking ferns around the edges. The cool feature is that
it does actually light up. Simply insert a couple of batteries into the
base then flick the switch at the back. It goes without saying that
this is obviously far more effective in low-light conditions where all
the plant life takes on an ethereal glow and the two sections of ground
under Jakes feet also light up. I admit the ferns do look a little
plasticy, but on the whole this is a very nice display piece, and will
help greatly in ensuring Jake doesn’t take any unwanted dives… because
lets face it, he is never gonna fit inside a regular Detolf, well, not
unless you take a shelf out!
are a shameless bunch… but I guess that is another point that Cameron
was (perhaps clumsily) trying to make, these are in effect the original
inhabitants of the Garden of Eden. A spiritually pure race of
beings, living in a perfect symbiotic harmony with the soul (Gaia if
you will) of their home planet Pandora. Even offering prayers and
incantations after the death of an animal they have hunted. This is an
anthropological ‘borrowing’ from many Native American, African and
indeed Australian Aboriginal cultures, in fact I guess it is fair to
say in a more ‘spiritual’ time all of humanity would have carried out
such superstitious practices. Sadly I don’t remember the last time I
gave thanks for a pack of vacuum-packed lamb chops, but hey, that’s
progress for ya!
And as such, living this pure existence in a
tropical climate means they have little need for multiple layers of
clothing. Instead they opt for the simplicity of loincloths and in the
case of Jake (in his warrior mode here) a few strategically placed
pieces of jewellery and armour.
Over his lower legs are
sculpted greaves that have woven lattice panels radiating around the
inner calf and shin to hold a more robust protective panels on the
outer side. This is textured to look like some Pandoran equivalent of
crocodile hide. To cover his modesty he wears a simple calico loincloth
with a long panel hanging at the front adorned with strings of beads.
The rear has a double sash/belt that ‘loops around the tail… as lets
face it must be a pain in the ass (quite literally) finding comfortable
clothes for a guy with a tail, and the simple act of sitting down opens
a whole other can of worms.
Next up he wears a moulded upper
torso/waist belt. It is again sculpted to look like it is made from
woven strands of hemp or leather and is held shut by a strip of Velcro
up its back. Around his upper arms and neck he wears tight fitting
ornamental jewellery adorned with both sculpted and real beads and
feathers, whilst around his neck he also wears a communication device
linked (though not physically) to the communications mic he has tucked
into his left ear. His right arm also has an armoured panel made to
look like its fabricated of a similar material to his leg guards, and
is held in place with a strap of tied leather.
Lastly he has
an ornamental headdress, which has sculpted twine, teeth and beads
woven into it, and all the fine sculpting here once again works well in
mimicking what we saw up on screen.
That is essentially it!
though his wardrobe is sparse, it is still nonetheless a great
representation of what we see worn in the movie. I’m sure there are
some who would have liked some of the ‘leather’ elements to have
actually been ‘pleather’ but for longevities sake and indeed aesthetic
reasons I have no problem with the way they have been fabricated, top
reviewing the 89 DX Joker recently I asked how far we were from a 1/6th
figure pushing through the $300 ceiling… well here we are! With a full
RRP of $315, Jake here has erupted through it confidently.
course for a 1/6th figure he is huge, standing at a height that most ¼
scale figure would be proud to achieve. So, one does have to take into
account that we have a totally new body that needed to be designed and
engineered. And a lot more plastic and vinyl was required in his
manufacture, making him heavier and bulkier for freight… plus Cameron’s
hefty license for the most popular movie of all time must be swallowing
up a big chunk of the unit price. So, I’m fully aware of why he ends up
costing so much, I’m merely pointing out that it is still a lot of
However, if you are one of the few on the fence, and if
the outlay won’t put you on the street living in the rather impressive
box he comes equipped with, then I have no problem recommending this
figure very, very highly!
Factor - ***1/2
it may have come across that I am not the biggest fan of the movie, I
am however 6’4”, I could do with losing a few pounds and I love comic
books and sci-fi films… so I guess that makes me a big fat geek (BFG)!
any self respecting BFG just has to admit that within the arena of
modern sci-fi movies that Avatar stands like a behemoth, straddling the
camps of mainstream entertainment and sci-fi with an ease that just a
few short years ago would have seemed pretty hard to pull off. As such,
if you want a collection that represents and spans the whole gamut of
modern pop culture, then this is a figure that cannot be ignored by any
And as for FUN, well it poses well, is
robustly built and the scale is well handled for him to be displayed
with your other ‘normal height’ figures. My personal ‘fun levels’ would
be greatly increased if we do get Neytiri to stand alongside him, but
even if we don’t this guy can do a solid job of at least representing
the movie in your collection.
A lot of what
I have to say was kind of covered in fun factor, other than to just
point out how fantastically well all the fine detailing on his ornate
tribal hair braiding and feathers turned out. The clever and convincing
use of mixed media, coupled with the uber delicate fabrication makes
this figure look stunning even when examined very close up.
it is sadly another time where the monetary outlay is the only factor
keeping this guy back from a full score. If you are a fan of the movie
then this is in my eyes the figure to get, I’ve seen some very good
statue representations of Jake, but in terms of fine detail, likeness,
ability to pose (a real big one for me) and of course those light
catching glossy iridescent eyes then this is the likely to be something
of a jewel in your collection.
Where to Buy:
has Jake available and in stock at an eye watering $314.99, it may be
time to sell a kidney! Or you can try Mike’s sponsor below where you
could potentially save $30 on the RRP… and lets face it 30 bucks is not
to be sniffed at!
Boy - in stock for $284.99
- in stock for$289.99
Or hit eBay
where the BIN prices are between $250 to $350… but keep an eye on those
international shipping prices, often those lower prices hit you with
big shipping fees at checkout, and don’t even get me started on import
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.