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Sweeney Todd
Hot Toys

Sweeney Todd action figure by Hot Toys


I'm not a huge fan of musicals, but occasionally one comes up that is so outstanding - at least to me - that it rises above it's humble trappings and becomes a classic film, music or not. Sweeney Todd starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter is one such film.

Medicom produced a sixth scale figure of the lead character several years ago, but I didn't bite. I felt it suffered from the same anime-fication that many of their human sculpts display, and at a $150+ price tag, didn't offer enough value. When Hot Toys announced they were producing their version, I was ready to pre-order in a heart beat.

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is now shipping, and runs around $200 depending on the retailer. Like the Godfather and Bruce Lee figures, he comes with not only accessories but a diorama of sorts, a complete display for your shelf.
Sweeney Todd action figure by Hot Toys
Sweeney Todd action figure by Hot Toys
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Sweeney Todd action figure by Hot Toys
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Sweeney Todd action figure by Hot Toys
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Sweeney Todd action figure by Hot Toys
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Sweeney Todd action figure by Hot Toys
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Sweeney Todd action figure by Hot Toys
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Sweeney Todd action figure by Hot Toys
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Sweeney Todd action figure by Hot Toys
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Sweeney Todd action figure by Hot Toys

Packaging - ***1/2
This figure comes in a bit more traditional of a box with a fifth panel flap and die cut interior window. The die cut is unique though - there is a red, bloody slash through the outer box, which translates inside to a swiping razor blade across the front of the window. While it's definitely minimalist in style, it works perfectly with the license.

The box is completely collector friendly too, and it is quite easy to remove the figure and accessories for display and put them back later for sale or storage with no real damage to the packaging. And of course, there's no annoying twist ties or rubber bands anywhere to be seen.

The included instructions give enough info on the chair and other accessories to prove useful, but there's not much complexity with this figure's assembly.

Sculpting - ****
Hot Toys has done their fair share of Johnny Depp sculpts with the extensive line of Pirates of the Caribbean figures. But Depp is a bit of a chameleon (quite literally in Rango) when it comes to his roles, and him as Jack Sparrow is not quite the same thing as him as Sweeney Todd.

And yet Hot Toys has snagged the look beautifully. There's no doubt it's Depp, and there's no doubt it's Todd. Getting both aspects is often difficult, but once again they've pulled it off.

Getting that right AND getting a realistic, life-like sculpt is the ultimate pinnacle, and with the fine textures, softly colored skin tones, and extremely detailed hair sculpts, Hot Toys has reached that summit again. The eyes have a humanity to them - a dangerous, scary humanity, but it's human nonetheless - and the wild hair with its loose strands is far more realistic than the usual sculpted doo.

However, in the hair is where my one quibble lies. In the close up photos, you'll notice the seam line where the back half of the hair is glued in place. Because the underlying area is black, it stands out in the skunk stripe area of his hair, and when I checked the Sideshow product photos, I saw the same issue in their close ups. Had they continued the lighter color into the seam, it would have been much less noticeable, and fortunately in person it's not as obvious.

Paint - ****
While Hot Toys production paint work is always outstanding, they went above and beyond in several key areas this time.

The dark shading around the eyes is very well done, with just the right amount of subtle blending into the skin. Likewise, the softly defined hair line has a much more realistic look than something more sharply cut, and there is just a faint whisper of a mustache and beard on his face. The glossy eyes catch the light just like the real deal, and the soft lip color is accurate without being effeminate.

Articulation - ****
The slim TrueType body shines here, with plenty of articulation for just about any pose.

The double ball neck - one at the top and bottom of the neck post - gives you plenty of posing potential and personality choices. The neck joint is one of the most critical for producing life-like stances, and none are better than this.

The rest of the body flows beautifully as well, and the design of all the joints makes it possible to get poses you can only dream of with other sixth scale lines. For example, the design of the shoulders and elbows allows the arms to come tight to the chest, behind the back, and tight to the sides of the torso, adding realism to any pose.

Most folks will have him sitting in the chair of course, and he accomplishes that pretty easily. If you work with the torso a bit - especially the ab-crunch - you can get a fairly accurate portrayal.

All the joints are sturdy and tight as well, able to hold the poses you put him in for long periods. While he comes with the usual display stand for those looking for consistency in their display, you won't really need it.

Accessories - ****
Like the Godfather, this guy is well equipped for lounging.

He's equipped for barberin' too, with a shaving mug, shaving brush, a white hand towel, three razors, and a case to hold his razors. To aid him in the shaving process, there is also a leather strap that attaches to the chair with a metal ring, and a shorter one that attaches to his belt. These appear to be actual leather or a very close facsimile.

The brush doesn't have actual bristles (it's fully sculpted), but still looks great. The box can hold the three razors, but I did have trouble getting it to close with them inside.

There's also a leather-like pouch that attaches to the belt and straps to his upper thigh, designed to hold one razor. It does that well, and with the faux rivets around the edge, looks terrific doing it.

There are six hands - three pairs. There's an ungloved set that are in a relaxed pose, a leather gloved set with a right designed to hold the blades and a relaxed left, and a knitted gloved set, again with a right to hold the straight razor and a relaxed left. I included shots where he is wearing both.

There's the usual display stand, but there's also the larger floor piece, complete with Sweeney Todd nameplate. This piece rests on top of the flaps of the heavy duty cardboard backdrop, allowing you to recreate his upstairs loft.

To finish out this overall diorama, he comes with his special barber chair. This comes in four pieces - the main chair, two smaller pedals that attach at the sides, and the gears that hook on the bottom. The chair doesn't actually move on the gears, but they are there to match the film appearance.

And match it they do quite well. Overall, this is a far more complex chair than what we saw with the Godfather, with a more intricate sculpt. It's scaled properly too, and Todd looks excellent resting there. This is probably the way most people will display the figure, and is the most iconic look. Better yet, perhaps another figure needs a 'shave', and can sit in the chair with Sweeney behind him?

I almost forgot - there's also extra wrist pegs/balls. I didn't have any trouble swapping hands, but it's nice to have them just in case.

Outfit - ***
The outfit is very complex, but unfortunately not one of the best executions we've seen from Hot Toys.

The pants look great, and the short boot sculpt allows for plenty of mobility in the ankles while matching the on screen look beautifully. The leather belt is easy to work with and very sturdy, always a plus. The pants are well tailored and the small tie around his neck looks great.

There is an underlying white shirt, a vest over that, a short coat over that, and the slightly longer black coat on top of everything else.  While Hot Toys does clothing scale better than anyone in the business, that many layers proves difficult even for them. By the time yo get to the outer coat, you have a lot of thick material, and the tailoring suffers a bit. The large lapels tend to rid too far over on the shoulders, and keeping the collars in line can be quite the trick.

The material, stitching and quality are all what you'd expect, but because of the slightly bulky result from the multiple layers, I'm betting most folks will strip him down to the dark vest.

Fun Factor - ***
While I wouldn't call this a 'toy' by any stretch of the imagination, the DNA of the great 12" action figures of the past is clearly carried forward. The figure is well built, and will hold up nicely to normal handling and posing with little risk of breakage or damage.

Value - **
As much as I love the chair, the $200 price tag is mighty tough to swallow. The Godfather is a very similar figure, and cost around $50 less. There's inflation...then there's a lot of money. Another comparison is the recent Bruce Lee from Enter the Dragon. He was commonly at that $200 - $225 range when first solicited, but he included two backdrops as well as costumes and portraits for two complete figures! There's no doubt that the complex chair included with the Demon Barber was expensive to produce, but it's tough to say if most folks will find that sufficient incentive to spend the big bucks.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not much. I did have some trouble getting the two foot pedals to stay attached on the chair base, but that was about it.

Overall - ***1/2
I almost - *almost* - went for the full four stars here, but there were really two issues holding me back. One was the visible seam in the hair, an issue that bugged me more once I noticed it. The other was the lumpy tailoring of the multiple layers of clothing, a situation best fixed by removing a couple of those layers.

The likeness and paint work are stupendous though, and once you throw in a ton of extras including the very cool chair, you end up with a figure that produces an aw inspiring impression on the shelf. While there's a couple minor nits, they aren't enough in size or quantity to dampen the basic effect. Fans of the character are going to be pleased, there's no doubt about that.

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

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Alter Ego Comics has him at $189.

- Fanboy Collectibles has him at $190.

- Big Bad Toy Store has him at $195.

- Hollywood Heroes has him at $210.

- Urban Collector has him at $210.

- Sideshow Collectibles is also selling him at $210.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I haven't reviewed any other Sweeney merchandise, but if you like this figure you should also check out the Godfather from Hot Toys.

Discussion:
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Sweeney Todd action figure by Hot Toys


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

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