Perseus - Clash of the Titans
Hot Toys

   "The 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 guest author."

It looks like Perseus went on holiday and took Jeff Parker along with him - what's the scoop, Jeff?

A big thank you to Michael for keeping this near mythical sight going, the legend lives on, he has proven himself to be a worthy ‘Geek God’!

Now, unless you are 100% confident that you have something new to bring to the table, there are some things that should just be left alone. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t look at the original 1981 Ray Harryhausen Clash of the Titans through rose tinted spectacles, and it is far from one of my favourite movies, but I can still see it for the slightly camp classic that it is (even with the hugely annoying Bubo!

And please bear in mind my big confession, I still haven’t even seen the new version yet… and therein lays the problem. I should have, I should have wanted to, nay NEEDED to see it, but instead I saw the trailer, read the reviews, talked to the friends who had seen it and decided it wasn’t worth a cinema trip. Which is a shame, as if a geek guy like me can’t be bothered to see a Greek myth like this, who else will?

Obviously you’ll have your fans of the original, curious to see what they’ve done with it. And there will always be droves of eight year old boys willing to drag their families along to any movie with giant scorpions, but that just ain’t enough these days, and even quickly deciding to make it 3D spectacular couldn’t save its sorry ass on this occasion.

I also have to admit that when I read Louis Leterier was appointed directing duty, my soul died a little, the man who gave us the immature Transporter movies and disappointing Incredible Hulk reboot was not someone I trusted to turn in anything particularly memorable.
So, if the movie failed to thrill, just why would anyone want a figure from the movie. Well, I guess that’s because Hot Toys decided to give him their undivided attention. And while this isn’t my favourite figure from them right now, it still stands up well in the ever rampaging tsunami of bad ass figures that Hot Toys are deluging us with at the moment!

So here we have Perseus, the mortal son of Zeus, charged with saving the Earth (well, Greece specifically, but we all benefited) from the evil Forces of Hades, he’s played by Sam Worthington (fan boy favourite actor ‘du jour’) who might well achieve the status of being the first actor to have three separate characters he has played made into Hot Toys figures. Well, unless Arnie manages to beat him, but at the moment I still think it more likely we will get Jake Sully before we get Conan (or heaven forbid Mr Freeze).

I know Christian Bale is a rank outsider, but I don’t see a fig of John Preston, Quinn Abercrombie or Patrick Bateman on the horizon either!

Packaging - ***1/2
I like this box a lot, it’s not quite 4 stars good, but it ain’t too far off. It has a matte finished outer sleeve baring the movie logo large on the front against a back-drop made to look like cracked stone. It has die-cut holes to mimic open cracks in the stone and through which you can see the inner box.

The inner packaging is made to look weathered and distressed; the front has a large window through which you can see the fully assembled figure, and the back has various pics of Worthington in character under which are the full production details. The main central pic here is also visible through the cut holes in the outer sleeve.
Inside the figure is held in the usual vac formed tray alongside his accessories without the need for any twisties.

So, as I said, not my favourite box, but still another solid bit of design that takes cues from the movies promotional material and has its own distinct look.

Sculpting - Perseus ***1/2, Medusa head ****
This is another KoJun sculpt, and whilst it’s a very strong job, it isn’t quite as strong as his recent work on Tony Stark, Aldo Raine, or Whiplash. We’ve already had the Marcus Wright figure sculpted by GOX and I still like the work on that figure a lot. However KoJuns observations are always worthy of note and Worthington looks leaner in this movie than he did in Terminator: Salvation. The trademark work on the hair is as sublime as always. It’s worn in a close French crop, but rather than using a mechanical means to ‘suggest’ at the texture by dabbing with a textured material, he has (as he has always done) observed the fine detailing and sculpted the angles at which the hair radiates away from the crown, simply outstanding. As always!

The portrait is 97.8% there, but there is some subtle nuance just keeping it from perfection. I find it hard to pinpoint what is bugging me, but some small detail just doesn’t sit right, keeping it from the full score. It is still however a beautiful bit of work.

The face is in a determine stare, the eyebrows are frowning and arched, and as I said the earlier the face is leaner, giving us better defined cheekbones and a sharper chin than on the earlier ‘Marcus’ sculpt. The expression is just enough the ‘angry’ side of indifferent to inject a little personality and it also means that the face works well with any number of action poses.

He also comes with four hands, 2 in tight grip positions for the accessories and 2 in a general relaxed position.
But as impressive as the Worthington sculpt is there is another head sculpt here as well!

No, not another Perseus head, I know people wanted an extra angry ‘shouting’ head as an extra, but what we get is the severed head of Medusa the Gorgon. This was created by Joseph Tsang, the guy famous for the majority of ‘alien’ and creature sculpts that Hot Toys have created of late, and he has shown his incredible eye for detail time and time again. Here he has sculpted all of the 34 individual snakes on her head (yes, I counted them) as separate pieces that are seamlessly glued onto the scalp of the screaming Gorgon. I have read that the slain Medusa’s head should be more neutral and passive (but not having seen the movie I still can’t comment). However this is one of the rare occasions I will throw caution to the wind and just go with it.

Why? Well, I just don’t care enough about the property to be angry! Plus, a screaming, vicious, vengeful Medusa head is so much more visually exciting and rewarding than a passive one! The details are as you would expect beautiful, the expression is full of feral anger, mouth wide open with fangs and gullet in full view. The brow is furrowed and the nose wrinkled in a snarl, but the fine work on the scaly textures and skin that graduates into the snake bodies is deftly handled. He’s even given us a rather impressive (all be it rather unsavoury) sinewy and textured bloody stump, where the neck has been cleaved from the body.

So, to sum up, Perseus is a very cool sculpt, but lacking that ‘je ne sais pas’ that is needed for a full score, while the Medusa head is just fantastic. Making me even angrier that the movie wasn’t good enough to merit a full figure of the dreaded Medusa… ho hum!

Paint - ****
Regardless of what you think of the movie or the actor Sam Worthington, there is no denying that JC Hong has given us another perfect paint app on the Perseus head, and Joseph Tsang has turned in a great job on Medusa as well.

Because ol’ Percy has so much flesh on show (those Greeks certainly weren’t shy), it means a lot more paint was called for. And so another sterling job has been done on a full body paint app covering the arms and legs giving him some earthy flesh tones complete with mottling and freckles. It continues up the chest and neck (which even has a slight cut on the left side) and on to the head. Here the face is painted to look like he’s spent a few days in the field, meaning it looks slightly grimy and dirty, but all the subtle graduations, freckles and stubble still show up and look simply fantastic. The eyes are super crisp, accurate and glossy, and the hair is applied perfectly using slight graduations in tone to help enhance the masterful work on the sculpt.

So, it has to be said, Tang’s work on Medusa had a lot to measure up to, but he’s managed to pull a doozy out of the bag… which is ironic as the set comes with a bag/sack for the head.

He’s started with a base dark olive green, over which he has washed an even darker green to flood the low lying areas of the tooling on the scaly skin. The eyes are then picked out in a glossy black, while all the individual snakes’ mouths and indeed Medusa’s mouth as well are picked out in salmony, fleshy, bloody tones. The stump is also given a coat of blood red to finish the job off.
So, both heads, be they human or Gorgon, once again show the competition just how it should be done!

Outfit - ***1/4
Once again we are in the realm of swords and sandals; I guess gladiator wear wouldn’t be too short of the mark. So it’s acres of flesh on show with a little light armour thrown in for dignity. But even though the design is more than a little ‘contemporary’, at least he is wearing upper body armour, something the Spartans would also have worn, but people seem more forgiving of this historical inaccuracy (especially the ladies for some reason). Traditional Greek armour would have looked more akin to this being more naturalistic and mimicking the human form, in fact Mike covered a traditional Greek Hoplite figure a good few years back. However they weren’t averse to the occasional decorative flourish, but never quite the geometric Batman/Transformers look we have here.
However, as we are in the realm of fantasy, I guess it’s time to just let go and enjoy the ride and as such it’s certainly a heroic look. It consists of sandaled feet which are sculpted to the foot, then shin guards that are laced up the back. These are sculpted and moulded in plastic, but it makes for a good snug fit and the details on the straps and rivets is all top class, in fact the loops that the laces are treaded through are all metal making for a good sturdy finish. Next up he wears a mock suede garment with short sleeves and a mid thigh ‘skirt,’ this has a leather studded metal belt attached around the waist from which hang vertically a number of leather straps that act as protective armour. Over this is worn the rigid protective chest and back plate, these also have leather straps hanging down, which adds to the layered effect of the final outfit. Hidden behind the straps on the left hand side of the figure you’ll find an oblong loop that acts as a carrier for his sword. I have to admit I found it odd that the character wasn’t equipped with a traditional sheath for his blades, but at least this gives you a place to put one of the weapons when displaying him holding the Gorgons head aloft (as I shall).

The front section of the armour mimics human muscle form but in a very geometric way and is sculpted well to show the pitted nature of the metal it is representing, it is also covered in scratches, gouges and dings to let you know ol’ Percy has seen plenty of action while wearing it. The back is much plainer, but you can see the holes through which the laces are again threaded to hold the sections together. Over the shoulders are large armoured epaulets that are laced to the armour. These look more Roman to me in their appearance, though to be fair a large amount of Greco-Roman aesthetics do seem to cross over. These are again sculpted to look like they are made from areas of worked saddle leather intersected with metal; they are of a fish scaled design crossed by riveted bars and decorative badges. The forearms have armour similar in design to the shins that are also laced using metal loops and thread.

Essentially that is it as far as his outfit is concerned, and as I said, if I was judging in terms of historical accuracy then this wouldn’t fare too well, so I’m glad to report I’m not.

No, what I’m doing is judging it as a representation of what was seen in the movie (OK, I admit, a movie I haven’t personally seen), and also from images I have seen in the trailer and stills I’ve seen online, and judging it in that light I can find little to fault, but I can find a few details!

To me it looks like the chest armour is just a little too squared off at the edges, as when you compare to images like this, this or this you can see that the edges are a lot softer. That last image also shows that the epaulets should have golden/bronze detailing on the scaled areas and knee guards should be of a similar finish like this.

So, as always I’m impressed by what Hot Toys have turned in, but on this occasion it’s a little short of perfection. I’m guessing the general lack of interest in this licence may have lead to reduced numbers being pre-ordered so perhaps the details weren’t quite as closely observed. But as I said earlier, it still makes for a very cool ‘gladiatorial’ display figure.

Accessories - ***1/2
Again I’m at a slight disadvantage, not having seen the movie, but to me this seems like a fair selection. What you get in the box is-

Sword 1 (mortal sword)
Sword 2 (given by the gods)
Shield (turtle shell design)
Medusa the Gorgons severed head
Leather sack (for transportation of said head)
Display stand

Both the swords are well sculpted showing some beautiful tight detailing, but for added value a metal construction (like on the recent Goemon and Kamui Gaiden figures) would have made them even sweeter, however, to be fair it doesn’t effect how they look, and they do look very good.

Next up is the shield, formed to look like an armoured turtles shell, this is famously used in the classic myth to destroy the attacking Medusa, as by viewing her reflection in it’s polished underside Perseus escapes being petrified into a living statue and manages to decapitate the Gorgon, before placing her head into the sack (which is also provided). To be fair it would have been cool for the inside of the shield to have been more shiny and reflective, but at least they made it ‘silver’ coloured, which I guess hints at its mirror like finish.

The ‘leatherette’ sack also bears the triple headed serpent motif used on the sword; it has a draw string at the top and plenty of room to stash the dreaded Medusa’s head inside. The severed head is by far my favourite of the accessories and as I said in the sculpting and paint categories is an expertly carried out piece of work.

Lastly there is the obligatory classic black figure stand, but Percy stands just fine without it!

Articulation - ***
Perseus uses almost the same design of upper body as found on Wolverine and The Comedian meaning we get a good aesthetic and some pretty good articulation as well, however the neck and upper chest are constructed of ABS plastic rather than silicone so the neck doesn’t tilt or nod. But from the waist down he is all new, utilising the same design ethos as used on his top half, so giving us fully sculpted and painted legs. Of course this means some movement is lost; most notably at the knee where the double hinge design is replaced by a single 90 degree bend one. The ankles are also rather limited as the sculpted sandal/foot design acts rather more like a boot than a shoe. However I still managed a good range of poses, so all is far from lost!

Value - ***
The RRP on this guy is a hefty $164.99 which is not to be sniffed at. I already said I liked the Medusa’s head accessory a lot, but he still feels a little light on the accessories side. Had the swords been metal I might have awarded another star, but as it stands this feels like a solid three star figure to me in terms of value when paying the full RRP. So you certainly won’t feel too short changed, but you may just wish the overall package could ‘wow’ you a little more!

However, if you use the links on Michael’s front page (listed below) you could save over $15, and for under $150 I’d be tempted to give ol’ Percy that extra a star.

Fun Factor - ***
Sadly this figure will be plagued by what the ancient Romans called ‘underperformus badmovieitus’, sadly my ancient Greek is ‘limited’ to say the least, so Zeus knows what they would have called it.

But seriously, if you fancy a good, solid gladiator ‘type’ of figure, then you can’t go wrong. But sadly I can’t imagine there are too many ‘feverish’ Clash of the Titans’ fans out there, who were so blown away by the movie that they simply MUST own this figure at any cost, which is a shame!

But when it comes to general build quality, sculpting, paint and posing then this is as much fun as just about every other cool HT figure that we have ever got. But being influenced by a movie I haven’t felt the need to see yet, then I feel compelled to knock a whole star off, sorry Percy, it ain’t your fault!

Overall - ***1/4
As I just said, quality wise there is virtually nothing that you can find fault with here, but sadly the source material didn’t quite live up to expectations. However, underwhelming movies aside, this is still a very impressive piece on many levels. It marks yet another new stage in the development of Hot Toys base bodies and has sculpting and paint apps that are up there with the best.
But when you take the price into consideration and the fact the movie was a bit of a turkey, then I won’t be surprised to see this one hanging about for a little while.

Where to Buy -
Sideshow still have him up for pre-order at the RRP of $164.99.

Or you can try some of Michael’s sponsors where you stand to save over $15 on the full market price.

Alter Ego have him up for $148.99

Big Bad toy store $159.99

Ozie Goods $250 (Aus dollars)

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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