Hot Toys have been hitting us with some very cool boxes of late, and
these certainly look good as well. The aged finish and colour scheme
actually mimic something you might have found on a shelf in Ape City
All three manage to look like hand tinted B/W photographs, with the two
figures from the movies being more sepia in tone while the exclusive
‘Gorilla Captain’ from the TV show has more of a blue hue. There are
photos of the figures covering the boxes with a few choice pics from
the film scattered about as well. The outer sleeve is a matt finish
with embossed lettering while the inside box is a silk finished 5-panel
box. The inside flap has a very brief bio with the window opposite
showing the fully constructed figure held in place by twisties in the
usual vac formed black tray. So, three very attractive boxes that
embody the spirit of the movies pretty well.
I’m hoping the background shots of Cornelius and Zira featured on the
boxes might hint that we’ll get them further down the line as well…
because as much as I love my old Sideshow ones… and I do love them
dearly, I’d love to see them done with this new ‘real hair’ technique
that HT have developed for the Gorillas!
Sculpting - ****
One of the most enduring images from POTA for me was in the opening
titles from the TV show, it was the Gorilla on horseback holding his
rifle aloft against a setting
sun, and those Gorillas were actually pretty intimidating! So
although my favourite characters were always Cornelius and Zira, it was
Ursus/Urko and the Gorillas that were the stuff of nightmares!
The 2 sculpts used here really
manage to capture something of the characters they embodied on screen.
Ursus was basically a very malevolent, human hating nasty piece of
work, he was the one that whipped the Gorillas (who mostly come across
as dumb brutes) into organising themselves for the hunting down and
complete genocide of humans.
So, to get this across Ursus has
a half sneer and heavy browed determined frown, whereas the soldiers
(who share the same sculpt as each other) have a more angry but
quizzical look, bearing a slightly goofy under bite. If you peruse the
links to this site you’ll find some good ref of the actual hero
masks and secondary background
masks that show just how well observed these sculpts are. To
be fair, to the untrained eye both the soldier and Ursus sculpts are
quite similar, however on close inspection, apart from the more obvious
mouth positions, Ursus has deeper sculpted lines around the eyes and
nose. The cheeks and lower mouth also look slightly leaner making him
look more mature, and certainly more authorative. The faces are
surrounded by real hair which buts up around the face really well. To
your more hardcore POTA fans this hair may seem a little long,
especially around the chin and shoulders, calling for a little
tonsorial attention and trimming, but for me it looks just fine as it
The hair sweeps back well and
with some gentle futzing they look very convincing, certainly more
convincing than on the Sideshow ones. You can see some good comp shots
(thanks Jessica) at the bottom of this
link over on SSF. It shows that they had a good general
composition for the faces, but they lacked the deeper detailing,
especially between the face proper and the hair, where the transition
was just too soft.
They also come with a selection of hands, not hugely numerous but
certainly pertinent for these figures.
Now, Ape weapons (which I’ll
cover more in accessories) mostly follow a pretty ergonomic design,
carved and worked from timber with the working metal parts mostly
hidden by these wooden casings. It means the distance between grips and
triggers are pretty unique to fit the apes’ physiology, so the figures
needed hands to fit these unusual qualities. Ursus has a different
glove design with a raised square pattern on the reverse, he has two
relaxed hands and two gun grips, one is specific for his ape machine
gun while the other is more for the ape rifle (which he doesn’t come
with) the machine-gun hand will hold his pistol, but sadly only
loosely, a small spot of Blue-Tac soon rectifies the situation, but as
he comes with two gun grip hands it’s a shame one couldn’t have been
more specific for the pistol.
The soldiers both come with the
same selection, two relaxed, a right hand rifle grip, a right hand
machine-gun grip and a left hand man-catcher/club/key/flag grip. As
with Ursus the limited edition captain has a pistol, it’s a different
design, but is still too small to fit the hands. However to be fair
both the soldiers look better when holding the bigger weapons and I
have my captain holding the man-catcher anyway. The problem is more
evident with Ursus as his pistol is such a cool and unique design I’m
tempted to display him holding it, so I might have to give one of his
hands a heat treatment and re-form it to hold the pistol a little
tighter, although I did notice the relaxed hand holds it reasonably
So, to sum up, some hands fit some items better than others and with a
bit of futzing everything can be held reasonably convincingly!
Paint - ****
The paint apps are pretty minimal, but all the faces have some subtle
washes to bring the sculpted lines out with more definition, the
interior of the nostrils is darker, the teeth are expertly picked out
and the eyes are all painted beautifully without exception, lovely
crisp division lines and nice and glossy. Apart from that all the other
paint apps are on the accessories and outfits. All the wooden guns and
the club have some nice delicate work to bring out the grain and the
captain’s leather tunic has the silver M painted on the front. Ursus
armour has all the small metal ingots picked out in a steel colour and
his helmet has the edging and the graphic glyph on the front picked out
in a dark gun-metal colour. So, all in all I can’t find anything at all
to fault here, minimal but perfect!
Articulation - Ursus
*** Soldiers ***1/2
Not much to say here other than it’s on the True Type body
and as they are all wearing mostly fabric outfits, so the articulation
is good. The boots are rigid so the ankles don’t move much movement,
and Ursus armour is solid so he has minimal articulation in his torso.
His helmet is also made of a stiff material; it has some movement in
it, but still hampers some of the head and neck poseability.
Apart from that they all pose and stand well, even when in that ape
like half stoop. I found it a lot easier to inject more character when
posing the soldiers, but that’s mostly down to the ability to pose
their necks, which really do have an excellent range.
Outfit - Soldiers **** Ursus
These are some great looking outfits, with many unique items but also
sharing many common ones. The things they share are the base parts of
the uniforms like boots, which have the ‘simian’ split toe design and
buckles up the side, next are the base trousers and shirt, these are
made of a plum coloured cotton fabric and are mostly covered by the
tunics. The two soldiers wear identical pleather tunics
with plain backs, but the fronts have raised horizontal seams and a
Velcro fastening. The captain has the M
motif painted on the front; his outfit also differs by having
a traditional waist belt that has two pouches with small opening purses
and a pleather holster for his pistol. The regular soldier, which I
have to say is my favourite of the band, has a bandoleer baring ape
glyphs and also has two opening purse-pouches attached; the end of this
has a clip to attach his club and key. Both soldiers also have ribbed
pleather gauntlets that but up to the wrists of their gloves.
Ursus has a much more rigid
armour as his is all sculpted and cast in vinyl, he comes with
gauntlets, a tabard with a holster attached and shoulder protectors
laced to the sides with elastic and lastly a separate yoke that fits
over the top.
I found a fantastic site that
shows all the Ape guns and how the gorilla costumes were modified for
General Urko’s police force in the TV
show here, so by doing a little trawling you’ll find
lots of great reference shots.
- Ursus *** Gorillas ****
Ursus isn’t quite as well equipped as his underlings; he comes with his
helmet, machine-gun, pistol, two extra hands and figure stand. The two
Gorillas have differing kits, the regular has a classic ape rifle, a
key, a club, a man-catcher, three extra hands, a back-pack and a stand
whilst the captain has a pistol, a machine-gun, a man-catcher, a
banner/flag, three extra hands, a back-pack and a figure stand.
So that’s the actual round-up of
items, but what’s the quality like? Well all the weapons are
supremely well observed, all the magazines can be removed, they have
cocking mechanisms and even the hammers on the pistols can be drawn
back. Both the man-catchers have working snare loops; the backpacks can
be opened by means of a concealed press-stud (it’s stuffed with a block
of foam but could be filled with whatever goodies you wish). The
captains flag/banner can be unfurled and is crisply printed onto a
cotton background, the only thing missing is a large net and a horse to
throw it from.
So, to borrow a quote from The
musical (well, Michael did!) they have the accessories
covered from Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z (no, you’ll never make a monkey out
of me!)… I thank you!
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Like with any given figure, the fun derived from it depends totally on
how much you are into the subject matter! These actually managed to
re-awaken my inner ape, so I’ve just watched POTA and Beneath the POTA
back to back to remind me just how ‘excellent’ the original is and how
‘OK’ the sequel was… I then watched Escape from the POTA… what can I
say, it has it’s moments, and is a fair movie, but I decided to stop
there for now so my memories wouldn’t be too sullied (however I do now
have a hankering to get the TV series on DVD).
So, great display figures and I think any ape-fan will be delighted
with the way they turned out.
Value - ****
- Ursus ***1/2, Gorilla soldiers ****
For some reason these came in a lot cheaper than most HT figures of
late, it’s certainly not reflected in the quality of work here as
everything is up to their usual lofty standards. I’m thinking it must
have been a lower licence fee to pay, and as I can’t see the Sideshow
logo anywhere on the box, even though they are carrying these, I guess
it must be an independent production.
The lower price managed to attract plenty of collectors, as all three
have long sold out on the SS website with an asking price of $124.99
each, and basing my score on this price, how could it be anything other
than a full score, and if you check out some of Michael’s
sponsors (be sure to link from the home page) you’ll find
them significantly cheaper!
At this price-point I can
find hardly anything to fault the soldiers with at all, and the only
thing keeping Ursus back is his slightly limited articulation because
of his outfit, which to be fair isn’t actually that bad. However having
seen the boots with Silken Floss and Goemon Ishikawa, it would have
been nice to get more ankle articulation all round.
Ultimately these are all about nostalgia, so if you are of an age where
they bring back memories of a halcyon childhood, or even an
average/slightly melancholic childhood spent in front of a flickering
TV screen then they will scream ‘buy me’!
However to a younger audience, particularly one that isn’t that well
versed in the classics, how can they compete with merchandise from
Michael Bays noisy, tedious two and a half hour advertisement for robot
cars… well they can compete by being a darn site better, which they are.
So if you fancy an iconic figure for your shelf from the days when
Sci-Fi was thought provoking and smart, as well as exciting… look no
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - Ursus *** Soldiers ***1/2
Accessories - Ursus *** Gorillas ****
Outfit - Soldiers **** Ursus ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ****
Overall - Ursus ***1/2, Gorilla soldiers ****
to Buy -
As I said above Sideshow have sold out at $124.99, but the waitlist can
often come through for people so it’s worth a try. However some of
Michael's sponsors below have them even cheaper as well, go get ‘em
Alter Ego Comics All three- $112.49 pre-order
Or you might even find a bargain on eBay.