Four Horsemen FANtastic Exclusive
Gothitropolis Timekeepers

Four Horsemen SDCC exclusive Timekeeper action figures

Let's finish out the week with another very cool SDCC exclusive, this time from the Four Horsemen.  I've detailed in the past their uber-cool FANtastic Exclusives that usually debut at SDCC.  The figure for this year was Scarabus, a big bad from the world of Gothitropolis.  Once again this year, which universe, which character, and other details were all chosen by fan voting.  You can see photos of Scarabus and hs variant versions at my Four Horsemen SDCC coverage.

Unfortunately, the issues with the production of the variants from last year's figure, as well as some other issues, made it impossible for them to get the regular figure out on time for the show.  Scarabus goes into production soon though and should see release in the fourth quarter.

Although he was missing, his evil minions the TimeKeepers were on hand.  There are three versions, named Baraeth (the red messenger of malice), Nybbaz (the blue harbinger of hallucinations) and Aestorath (the golden emissary of avarice).  They sold for $10 each, or you could buy the set for $25.  They only had 350 of each at the show, with the additional going on sale at their online store shortly.

Four Horsemen SDCC exclusive Timekeeper action figure

Four Horsemen SDCC exclusive Gothitropolis Timekeeper action figure
Four Horsemen SDCC exclusive Gothitropolis Timekeeper action figure
Four Horsemen SDCC exclusive Gothitropolis Timekeeper action figure
Four Horsemen SDCC exclusive Gothitropolis Timekeeper action figure
Four Horsemen SDCC exclusive Gothitropolis Timekeeper action figure
Four Horsemen SDCC exclusive Gothitropolis Timekeeper action figure

Packaging - ***
Each of these cute little buggers comes in his own tiny box, complete with J hook on top.  Not sure why an exclusive needed this style of box (it's more retailer-centric) but it's certainly attractive.

My biggest issue is actually around the twisty ties.  Even though these guys are so tiny, there's still three very thick twisties holding them in the plastic tray.

Be particularly careful when pulling out the staff for the hourglass weapon.  There is a sculpted thin divider in the middle, and it's very easy to snap the staff at this point pulling it out of the tray.  Trust me, I know.

Sculpting - ****
While these are all three basically the same character, the Four Horsemen went out of their way to not just do simple repaints.  These aren't even 'simple' redecos, and actually include quite a number of subtle changes to make them unique.

Let's talk about the general sculpt quality before getting to those details.  It's the Four Horsemen...guess what?  Fans of their work won't be surprised that the sculpting is fantastic.  Plenty of small detail, realistic proportions and a terrific, creative design all add up to great looking figures on the shelf.

What's going to strike you when you see them in person though is how small they are.  Standing about 3" tall at the top of their head (the ears stick up further), and with bony little arms and legs, they aren't exactly the most substantive figure you'll buy this year.  But if you know that going in, you'll be far less surprised by their diminutive size when you see them first hand.

As mentioned, each figure has some unique sculpted attributes to give them individuality.  Most notable is the ears.  While Nybbaz and Baraeth have sort of wing like ears,  Aestorath has what appears to be horns coming out of the side of his head.  And while Baraeth's and Nybbaz''s ears might be similar, there's still basic differences in design and detailing.

There are also small 'wings' at the Achilles tendon of each character.  These are designed to match in style with the 'ears', a very cool touch.

Nybbaz (the blue guy) also has a different collar.  While most of the rest of the details on the body and head are the same, these handful of changes are enough to clearly differentiate the three characters.

Paint - Aestorath ***1/2; Nybbaz, Baraeth ***
The paint work is adequate, although it's not quite as well done as some of the larger FANtastic exclusive figures.

Of the three, I liked the paint work on the gold Aestorath the best.  They did a nice job with weathering the bronze like appearance, making him appear like an ancient statue that might share a tomb with Scarabus.

The other two have a nice range of colors, especially Nybbaz.  His blue is bright and eye catching, and the different collar looks great against this vibrant background.

They do have a little more slop though, and there isn't quite as much detailing or highlighting as you might expect.

Articulation - **
Articulation issues continue to hound the Four Horsemen.  Issues around loose joints caused them no end of grief with the 2007 FANtastic exclusives, and now these little guys exhibit some issues again.

The low score here is NOT a matter of how much articulation was provided. There are plenty of joints, including a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders cut wrists, cut waist, pin jaw, and ab-crunch. There's even a joint for the wings where they pop into the ankles, and can tilt up or down.

Almost all these joints are critical in the poseablity of the figures.  The ball jointed neck adds tons of personality, and the pin joint on each side of the jaw makes giving him slightly different expressions possible.

The cut wrists allow for him to hold the massive weapon in several ways, and the cut waist and ab-crunch allow him to stand on his own.  In fact, without the ab-crunch, it would be tough to position him properly to keep is center of gravity in the right place.

I couldn't get the ball jointed shoulders to work.  I was able to free them up enough to move forward and backward like a cut joint, but not out to the side.  When I get some time, I might try the freezer trick, but it was a bit disappointing that they wouldn't move right out of the box.

So why the low score?  Because these guys fall apart like you would not believe. The heads pop off at the slightest touch, and in fact, Nybbaz's head was so floppy I had a tough time getting it to stay in any pose.

When the head pops off, the collar falls off, and I found myself constantly putting them back on while taking the photos.  Then the wings started falling off the feet...then the skirts wouldn't stay on...and finally, the hands started popping off.  By the time I finished shooting, I was thoroughly frustrated with re-assembling these guys.

Accessories - ***
There's not a ton, but what you get is quite appropriate.  They each have a large club-like weapon that resembles a heavy hourglass.  While all three accessories are identical in sculpt, each character has a differently colored hourglass interior - green, red and purple (I might be dark blue).

I really like the sculpt and paint work on these weapons, and in fact, had it not been for one issue, there might have been an extra half star here.  But the holes provided to insert the handle were too small, and you have to carve them out a bit with a knife first before you can insert the handle.

There's also a small 'skirt' that pops on to the back of the figures.  Baraeth and Aestorath have this, but my Nybbaz did not...not sure if he was supposed to have one though.

Fun Factor - **
They're cool, they're cute, but kids would get frustrated very quickly with the parts dropping off all around them.

Value - **1/2
I waffled around a bit but settled on three stars here, and with good reason.  As SDCC exclusives go, $10 is pretty damn cheap no matter WHAT the exclusive is.  Add in the small production run, and the fact that if you buy all three you can get them for about $8 each, and you're getting a pretty good deal.  Yea, they're tiny, but all that articulation doesn't come cheap.

Things To Watch Out For
As I mentioned earlier, the handle for the weapon can be broken pretty easily when you're pulling it out of the package.

And don't forget to have a knife handy to carve out the small hole for the handle on the weapon.  Don't try to force it if it doesn't want to fit!

Overall - ***
It's nice to see such a cool idea as the FANtastic Exclusive make it into it's third year.  It's a huge risk for a company to try something truly unique and unlicensed, especially a small group like the Four Horsemen.  I for one am quite happy that they've been willing to do this for their fans.

I do hope that we see the articulation issues get under control with the release of Scarabus. I know the later release of the 2007 FANtastic Exclusive were a big improvement, and I'm hoping that's the case with the full sized Scarabus.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - **
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
They should be available at the Four Horsemen's online store soon, or ou can also search ebay using the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.

Related Links -
I've covered a few of the previous FANtastic exclusives and variants, including Ssejjhhorr, Xetheus, and Vaskhh.

Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it! 

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Four Horsemen SDCC exclusive Gothitropolis Timekeeper action figure

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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