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Walking Dead Season 3 Blu-Ray Case
The Governor's Trophy Case
McFarlane Toys

Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys


Season three of the terrific show The Walking Dead brought us the terrific villain known as the Governor. While he was just as wack in the comics, seeing his form of psychosis on screen was an amazing experience, brought to life with excellent direction and dialog, not to mention a great job by the actor David Morissey.

When McFarlane Toys announced they were producing another limited edition blu-ray case for the third season release, I was at first a bit skeptical. While the second season case always brings attention from guests at my house, I thought the quality was lacking when I reviewed it.

Then they showed initial photos of the design, and I pre-ordered immediately. The Governor kept a collection of zombie heads floating in aquariums in his secret office. They designed the new case around that concept, including a light up feature as well.

Last Tuesday the set started shipping, and I picked up mine from Amazon for $95. It seems to me that they were a bit more expensive than that when they were first announced, but the price dropped slightly over the last few months of the pre-order period.

I've included a lot of photos of this set, with and without water, with and without lights, so that you can judge for yourself whether or not it's the sort of thing you need on your shelf.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys
Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys

Packaging - ***
It comes in an appropriately sized boxed, with some decent graphics and text. There's no certificate of authenticity or limited edition numbering, but with something like this that's not surprising. As a boxed set, it's easy enough to remove from the package and return it to the box later without any damage, if you feel the need.

Sculpting - ***1/2
There are five unique zombie heads included with the case. One aquarium is designed to hold three, while the other can hold two.

You have to play around a bit to get just the right combination of heads in each tank. Some take up quite a  bit more room than others, and are therefore better suited to the two head tank than the three, but it's really your call.

Each head fits on a plastic 'wall' at the back of the aquarium, where a slot has been cut to accommodate the hanger. The hanger is attached to the back of the head with a spring, so there's a little bounce to the heads, making it seem even more like they are floating. While each head is at a slight angle, you can also adjust the spring a bit yourself if you want any of them to have a greater tilt, but BE CAREFUL.

Once you have the heads in place, you can drop the bits of flesh into the tanks and fill with water. The black lids snap on and off the tanks, but are not waterproof, so when you're putting the tanks in the case (or taking them out) be careful not to tilt them too far.

The sides and back of the case are sculpted with a textured wood grain, and painted appropriately. It's a nice detail that most people won't notice, but if it wasn't there it would look a bit plain.

Each of the five heads are nicely sculpted with the detail you expect from McFarlane monsters. And as you might also expect, they are an odd scale. They are much too big to fit in with sixth scale figures, which is a disappointment, what with ThreeZero having the license now. They are closer to quarter scale, but not quite that big either, closer to 1/5th overall. The overall height of the case is 9 1/2".

I'm not going to complain though, since they were constrained by the size of the blu-ray case itself. It fits inside the case across the back, and to make the heads look about the same inside the aquariums as they did on the show, they needed to go with this scale.

Speaking of what they looked like on the show, these don't look like exact matches to any one in particular, at least to me. They have some of the same general disfigurements, but I don't think they were trying to match exact heads.

I've included photos with water and without, with lights on and without, so you can judge just how you'd like to use the case. The first photo at the top is with water, while the next two are without. Then after the photos of the individual heads, there are two photos with water. I finish up with a couple large photos of the tanks without water again.

The water looks great, but I recommend going with distilled water, since it's going to evaporate over time and you don't want crud left on the tank or heads.  I have a couple thoughts on getting an even better appearance with the tanks but haven't tried it yet - any volunteers? Mineral water is thicker, and would allow the plastic pieces to remain floating longer. It also wouldn't evaporate, but whether it would effect the heads or aquariums is the question.

I also think that the big thing missing here is particulate floating in the water. What to use is the question though, since again you don't want it reacting with the paint or plastic. Corn starch is a possibility, since it's pretty inert, and if you get some that is extremely fine it should look about right. However, when the water evaporates, it will be left behind, so you may find yourself filling the tanks more regularly.

Paint - ***
The work on the heads is pretty standard McFarlane - lots of gross color, not a lot of attention to detail, but a decent dead flesh appearance overall. With the heads out of the tank under bright light, the paint is less effective, but inside the watery grave they look good.

Perhaps the best feature of the paint or coloration overall is with the aquariums. The clear plastic is tinted yellow, giving the water a sickly, putrid look. It's a very nice touch, and adds more gross to an already yuckalicious display.

I notice that the big difference with water inside the tanks is the uniformity of the yellow color. Without the water, the yellowish tinge is much less noticeable.

Accessories - ***
The fact that there's anything extra here at all is surprise enough. Add in that it's a cool idea, and you get a decent addition to the overall score.

I suppose you could call the blu-ray discs, which come in a nice hard cover tri-fold container, an 'accessory' as well, but I'm only counting it's inclusion as part of my Value score.

What I'm adding in here are the tiny bits of flesh, eight in all, that you can place in each tank. They don't float, sadly, but they do lay on the bottom looking extra disgusting. Had they been a little thinner, or perhaps made from a material that would have allowed them to actually float, I would have gone with an even better score here.

Light Feature - ****
There are six small LED lights in the case, three on the top shelf and three on the bottom. Everyone knows that the best 'monster lighting' is from the bottom, so the placement here works perfectly, giving each head a monstery shadow across the facial features.

The set takes four AAA batteries, and they are not included. They are inserted in a compartment in the bottom.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the light up feature is the switch - it's the small number three on the front of the case. It's very inconspicuous, and it's very easy to use - the perfect combination!

Value - **1/2
The season 2 case that McToys did was $60, and of course it also included the blu-ray discs. That seemed reasonable, since you were getting the season on disc for abut $30, and the head case for another $30.

This time the whole package will run closer to $100. Let's assume again that the season will cost you $30 on blu-ray, at least for now, which leaves about $65 for the light up case.

If I think about this one in terms of pure cost, it comes up a little short. The five heads are nice, well worth $30, but is the plastic case with six small LED's worth another $35? Probably not.

But I'm going with an average score because there's something intrinsically cool about the design that sets it above almost all the other blu-ray cases we've seen. It has a size, complexity, and show relatedness that make it well worth the extra cash.

Things to Watch Out For -
The blu-ray package is a tight fit in back, so be sure to remove the silly paper advertisement. If you don't, you'll have a tough time inserting and removing the case, which is just asking for trouble once you have the water in place.

Overall - ***1/2
I wasn't a huge fan of the second season case, but McFarlane has done a much better job with this outing, from the design to the execution. While part of me wishes it had been done in sixth scale, I understand why it wasn't, and it's a minor nit at best.

Of course, the question now is - how will they top this one with season 4? They've set the bar pretty high when it comes to the creative choice of design, and it might be tough to match.

Now where is that corn starch...

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Accessories - ***
Light Up Feature - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Amazon has the case in stock for $95 with free shipping.

- or you can search ebay for a bargain.

Related Links -
Other Walking Dead reviews include the season 2 blu-ray case, the first mini-bust from Gentle Giant of Michonne, McFarlane figures from the TV series 3, the RV and Well Zombies, Shane and the Bicycle Girl, Walking Dead figures series 1, the two humans in series 2, as well as the first series of comic based figures. And don't forget that NECA is doing busts, one for the 'biter', and one for this 'walker'.

Discussion:
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Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys
Walking Dead Season 3 floating head blu-ray case by McFarlane Toys


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

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