Dr. Zaius - Planet of the Apes
Sideshow Collectibles Premium Format statue

Dr. Zaius Planet of the Apes Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles

"Rock me, Dr. Zaius". Let's face it, while he may have been a critical part of the original Planet of the Apes films, most of us will never be able to get the Simpsons parody out of our heads. That's what makes the Simpsons - and POTA - such classics.

Dr. Zaius was old school establishment on future Earth, maintaining order through disinformation and obfuscation of the truth. By being in charge of both science and religion, he was able to crush the advancement of one with the other. As an orangutan, he was also one of the most visually memorable of the apes.

Sideshow has kept their POTA license alive with the release of a Premium Format Dr. Zaius. In recent years, I've tried to expand my PF collection to cover a wider range of films, rather than go deep on any one, so I was delighted by the announcement of a PF for this classic science fiction film.

As is the norm, Sideshow produced a regular (a limited edition of just 350) and an exclusive (truly limited at just 200 produced!) version of the good doctor. The regular cost $275, and the exclusive was $285, both on the higher side for PF's.

While I only have the exclusive, I'll be giving different final scores for the two versions. The exclusive only comes with the extra accessory, so it's possible to judge both by owning this one.
Dr. Zaius Planet of the Apes Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dr. Zaius Planet of the Apes Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dr. Zaius Planet of the Apes Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dr. Zaius Planet of the Apes Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dr. Zaius Planet of the Apes Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dr. Zaius Planet of the Apes Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles
Dr. Zaius Planet of the Apes Premium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles

Packaging - **
If you think you're seeing things with the box above, you're not. Yep, it's a regular cardboard box, with the image and text printed on one side. The exclusive sticker is applied as always, but I wouldn't be surprised if some get torn off in shipment. Inside this box is the foam insert - there's no nice interior packaging at all.

To add insult to injury, the interior foam is the cheap, soft kind that ends up all over the place whenever you handle it. I'm sure that Sideshow was trying to keep costs down with this release, and it shows all too clearly.

Sculpt - ***
One area that this PF has no issues is the head sculpt. It's an excellent representation of Zaius, perhaps the best we've seen. The open mouth expression stretches his face a bit, but that was true in the movie as well, where the prosthetic device tended to lengthen and squish inward on the sides when the ape mouths stood open.

The detailing on the hair is excellent, as is the wrinkling and skin texture. The hands are posed to work with the doll - a negative in my opinion if you didn't buy the exclusive - and he stands about 18 inches tall with the base. Since he's in a slightly crouched pose, this does seem to be just about the right size for quarter scale.

There are some sculpting issues, however. First, I'm not thrilled with the length of the hair, particularly in back. Because of the cocked head pose, this short hair exposes too much of the neck, and makes the beard look too long, when in fact it is not.

And what about that pose? Yea, that's a problem too. I know this is supposed to represent him down in the cave, being presented with the irrefutable evidence of man's earlier evolution, but it's just too awkward and odd.  It's not that he's hunched up a bit with bent knees - that's pretty much the way they always looked. Rather it's the odd head angle in combination with the odd direction of his gaze (down and to his right) that's throwing it off for me. He needs to be looking up, at you, as he speaks.

The sculpting on the base is quite nice, with several bones, a skull, and debris included.  He is attached with a single round metal post in his right foot, and thankfully, there is no name plate to be seen.

Paint - **
While the sculpt is good but hurt by series of nits, the paint is just one big problem.

I'll start with the good - I like both the skin tone and the color of the hair. There's a darker wash to the hair to fill in the texture and bring out the detail, and it's not over done, adding shadows but not looking like dirt.

While the skin tone is great, the added lines in the wrinkles are not. They are too obvious and done with too heavy a hand.

And the eyes - what happened here? The whites are almost completely discolored by bleeding paint, a situation that's just not acceptable at this kind of price point. Even the teeth are sloppy and poorly done.

Another huge let down in this category is the base. Everything on the base has been painted the same relatively even color. Bones, rocks, skull, ground...all the same color, all the same finish, all the same look. They did go back over the front of the skull, wiping some of it away, but the rest of the base is very monotone. Rather than look like the bones and rocks are dirty, they look very clearly like they are painted. Again, at this price point, the work needs to be much more realistic.

Articulation - Bupkis
This category does not figure into my final score, since as a statue this guy shouldn't have any articulation. However, early PF's did, so it's worth noting that it is not the case here. Think of it as an FYI only.

Accessories - Exclusive ***; Regular Bupkis
The regular version of the dear doctor comes with nothing beyond the statue and base.

However, the exclusive comes with the doll, originally found by Cornelius at the dig site and later presented to Zaius there.

The doll isn't completely screen accurate, although it is a million times better than the smaller version that came with the sixth scale Nova that Sideshow produced.

The hair is glued on, not rooted, and the outfit is torn and worn appropriately. She certainly doesn't say "momma", but I really like the appearance of flaking paint on the head and arms, and the scale is just about right.

Outfit - ***
The outfit tends to look a little baggy in photos, but in person I think the tailoring looks great. It fits a bit awkward, but it did in the film as well, and the amount of extra room in the pants and jacket seems right.

There are a few inconsistencies with the film though, at least from what I can tell. The bottom seam on the back of the tunic isn't straight, but is cut in at the center, like the front. I don't think that's right, although I couldn't find a photo to confirm it.

This is not his more intricate dress outfit that he wore in town, but the plainer clothing that he wore on the trip to the dig site. Even to my color blind eyes, the colors seem slightly off, being more green and less brown than what was in the movie. This is particularly true of the pleather sections on the chest, back and arms.

Value - *1/2
This is a high end Premium Format figure, running almost $300. One of the big cost drivers is the extremely limited run of course, but the quality of the statue should also warrant it. Unfortunately, it doesn't. The paint work definitely needs to be better, and there are other aesthetic issues (like the head pose) that are probably going to cause you further consternation.

Things To Watch Out For
Not much of anything. Short of dropping him on the floor, you shouldn't have any issues.

Overall - Exclusive **1/2; Regular **
I suspect fans of the movie are going to be torn over this statue. When it comes to high end collectibles, they movie is woefully under represented (at least for now), and most fans will really, really want this PF to be fantastic. This is going to clash with the reality of how it turned out - weak paint, less than ideal pose - creating a situation for cognitive dissonance and the rationalization that usually results.

If the pose isn't a problem for you, I do think that a repainted head and base would really improve the overall look of this statue. There's some great sculpting in those two areas, but the uninspired paint work simply isn't good enough to let it shine through, especially at this price point.

This is also one of those very rare times when the exclusive accessory really, really is necessary. Without it, the pose, the base and even the choice of outfit make far less sense, and he ends up looking even more awkward than he already does. You're only saving 10 bucks by buying the regular version, and losing a truly critical element to the overall design of the statue.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **
Sculpting - ***
Paint -  **
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - Exclusive ***; Regular Bupkis
Outfit - ***
Value - *1/2
Overall - Exclusive **1/2; Regular **

Where to Buy -
Sideshow is already sold out of both the regular and the exclusive, but to get the regular, other options include:

- Alter Ego Comics has him for $247.49.

- in the UK, Forbidden Planet has him at 230 GBP.

- you can try the wait list. or you can look for a deal on ebay.

Related Links -
Other POTA collectibles I've reviewed include:

- I reviewed Sideshow's Ape Marauder and Enforcer, Zira and Cornelius, and both the regular and exclusive versions of Dr. Zaius.

- I also looked at a couple of the smaller figures for the new remake.

- here's a guest review of Sideshow's General Ursus, Caesar, prisoner Taylor, Astronaut Brent, slave Brent,

- and the first guest review ever done at my site, way back over 8 years ago, was on the Medicom POTA figures.
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Dr. Zaius Planet of the Apes Premiium Format statue by Sideshow Collectibles

This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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