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Terminator 2 Sarah Connor and T-1000 as Sarah Connor
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."

Jeff is checking out some of the latest Terminator goodies from Hot Toys - take it away, Jeff!

This is a 2 for the price of 1 review, as Michael has already focussed on the standard Sarah Connor (SC) figure HERE I figured I would just touch on her, whilst making a comparative observations between the two sets.

The T1000 in SC disguise was originally to be a convention only release available at this years SDCC, but due to demand (I think that extra T1000 doughnut head was the thing that made her irresistible to many) she ended up on general sale through the Sideshow site and in fact only sold out recently. The Regular version is still available through them and both had an asking price of $149.99. As you will see by reading Michael’s review you got pretty much all you needed in that set for ‘most’ of the iconic looks that SC sported in T2, but a few key ingredients were missing. And so it gave HT a chance to release a second version. Based on the scenes at the end of the movie when SC is pretty beat up and the T1000 is steered to the edge of the molten metal in the industrial foundry.

In an attempt to lure the young John Connor out of hiding he disguises himself as John’s mother and beckons him out, but when John is confronted by two versions of his mother he knows something isn’t quite right!

Most fans of the movie or indeed general geeks will be aware that the scenes featuring two Sarah Connors didn’t use any blue screen work to place her in two places at once.

How?

Well, Linda Hamilton has an identical twin sister Leslie, and she was used as a double for many scenes, including this one. However, as we all know, even when twins are identical there are a few points that usually differ (to people who know them anyway). And it has been spotted by some eagle-eyed fans that because of Linda’s punishing fitness regime when filming T2 she was leaner in the face and her upper arms had more definition. The reason for Hamilton’s physical transformation was to show how Sarah had been forced to adapt to her surroundings and prepare for the future, a future she wants to prevent from ever happening, if that is even possible.

The character of Sarah Connor is truly put through the mill over the span of the first two movies. We see her progression from naive young women without a care in the world, through to the near psychotic creature that her destiny forces her to become. Driven to edge of sanity by a world that simply can’t believe in a scenario she knows to be true. But at what point does the human mind give up, succumb to the medication and therapy and just accept what it’s being told?

When does the brain accept that something it remembers from its past might not have ever actually happened, accept the possibility that those memories might be the product of a psychotic episode?
Well, luckily in the case of Sarah Connor, never!
She keeps the faith, and when preparation meets opportunity (luck doesn’t come into it) she is ready to act, and with the help of a modified Cyberdyne Systems Model 101, the very machine that devastated her life in the first place, she gets a chance to even the score… and she is not found lacking!

But back to the figures, it goes without saying that your T2 display would look a little lacking without at least one representation of Sarah, lets face it, she’s the mother of the resistance, so the question is, which will it be?


















Packaging - ***
The T2 line of packaging continues to leave me just a little cold. There’s nothing actually wrong with these boxes, I just find them a little uninspiring. I have no doubt that Hot Toys decided that using photographic stills from the movie was going to prove far too costly, but I still find the monochrome packaging a bit flat and lifeless. And although the metallic silver stock that the boxes are made from is attractive, it does mean that the definition of the black and white images printed onto it loses much of its contrast.
Just like with the T800 we get a slip over sleeve but with a closed top, inside this is a second box with a large window on the front showing the figure alongside the accessories. Open this inner box and you will find the figures are held by the usual vac-formed tray. Sadly my T1000/SC had quite a ding to one corner of the box when in transit, but the contents were all absolutely unharmed, so whatever one thinks of the graphic design, the physical construction does its job well.

Sculpting - Regular ***1/4, T1000 ***1/2
Linda Hamilton… and indeed Leslie Hamilton have quite striking faces, not what one would call ‘classically’ beautiful but still very attractive. The regular head has a more stoic; determined expression while the T1000 version is slightly more relaxed, perhaps even quizzical. As far as sculpting goes then the regular face was my favourite of the two when fresh from the box, but having lived with them the T1000 has taken the lead. Both of these are the work of Yuli, a young lady that continues her incredible track record with Hot Toys, and even though these aren’t my absolute favourite sculpts from her, they are still wonderful work, and the strong portraiture is unmistakably a Hamilton twin from any angle!

Where as the regular sculpt pretty much only fits angry determined Sarah (OK, I know she spent 87.6% of the movie angry and determined, so that’s no real bad thing), but the T1000 version fits a lot more poses and seems to manage to encompass a broader range of emotions, I also find that the rooted hair helps to soften the shape of the face slightly, it can even be tied back to approximate the look when wearing the hat, which incidentally fits this head better than the one it was intended for. I am also very impressed by the level of detail achieved on the partially open mouth, the teeth are visible through the gap but the observations not only in sculpting them with a slight overbite, but also in the painting which is so perfectly executed it had me puzzled as to how they had done it so very well. But after close, and I mean very close inspection I realised the teeth had been inserted inside the head, giving the detailing much more clarity and greater depth. Only a small detail, but when viewed up close it is bloody impressive!

And on the regular head, although I was more impressed by the rooted hair over the sculpted on this occasion, I was still pleased to see a small bit of articulation where the ponytail joins the head. It can be tilted slightly from side to side, and as there is some great articulation in the neck, it means that when tilting the head to one side you can gently move the hair to mimic gravity making it fall in the right direction, a small detail, but a nice one.

Both also come with a selection of hands in various positions to interact with the accessories. I will go over the T1000 head in more depth in the accessories section.

Paint - Regular ***1/4, T1000 ***3/4
For the last few Hot Toys figures I have reviewed I kind of got used to just giving pretty much all of them a full score for paint, and deservedly so. But no full score here… why?
Well there is nothing at all really wrong, I just feel that having seen such a strong run of impressive figures, then these didn’t give me that WOW factor I usually get. I hope I’m not getting too hard on this category because it really is close to perfection. The eyes have that usual JC Hong glint in them; the eyebrows are gently feathered, even remembering the slight scar/gap in the left one.

The only thing separating them is that the T1000 has slightly more subtle and detailed job. The eyebrows are softer; the eyes are slightly lighter in the iris area while the pupils are slightly less dilated. The lips have a slightly richer tone, but again the edges have a more subtle edge. And of course there are the visible teeth. Although I liked the overall job done on the Comedian figure, looking back the teeth might have been even better if they had been handled more like Sarah’s here, as the effect is very convincing.

Lastly she also has the scratches applied to the face, That’s pretty much it as far as the paint job goes, both are impressive, but the T1000 wins by a slightly better painted nose!

I shall also cover the doughnut head T1000 paint apps in the accessories section.

Articulation - ***
The Hot Toys female base figures look good and the articulation is on the whole impressive, but sadly those rubber coated arms utilised here, end up making her difficult to pose convincingly with either the rifle or shotguns. So for me its going to be a cigarette holding pose with the assault rifle nonchalantly hung at her side for the regular version, fully kitted-up in shades and hat. While the T1000 version will be on the morphed flooring base, with the bullet wounds, unarmed.

I’m still rather tempted to go for Sarah as she appeared in this end scene with the shotgun (sans shells on top of course) but I feel I really need to use that cool base!
There’s a good low-down of the classic female TT body HERE, but be aware that that review from Brandon covers the standard female TT, Sarah here has the rubber coated arms, so the articulation is hampered somewhat. It is however worthy of note that Yulli sculpted these particular arms to suit the character specifically, even including the scar at the top of the left arm… every cloud has a silver lining!

Outfit - ***3/4
These two figures have exactly the same outfit apart from the hat that comes with the regular version, consisting of combat boots, BDU cargo pants, a webbing belt, skin tight singlet and a multi pocketed tactical vest.

The boots are sculpted and are a nice enough job but being sculpted of rigid material we lose virtually all ankle articulation. The pants, like every other part of her ensemble are black, with working pockets throughout (I did find both the left side, rear pockets had raised flaps on mine, not sure if that is intentional or a bizarre coincidence!). The wide webbing belt fits through the belt loops, but beware as you will have to slide one side out to fit the knife sheath, always a fiddly job, and I have to admit it’s a job I would have liked to have seen done at the factory. It’s all doable of course… but can get a little frustrating at times. The singlet is ultra skin-tight, it leaves the arms and neck area bare, exposing a rather elegant clavicle and the tell tale scar on her upper left arm. Over this she is fitted with the tactical vest, this has some great details and is fabricated beautifully. It fastens up the front with plastic buckles, while the shoulder panels are on adjustable sliding straps and the back has laced up areas at either side. All four of the side-mounted pouches can open for storage and have Velcro tabs. It’s easily the most impressive part of the outfit, but to be fair as an approximation of what was seen on screen then all the contingent parts work well, and for me I fail to see how at this present time anyone could improve on it. It would have been cool to get a hat with the T1000 version, but I guess each release needs at least a few unique items to keep them more desirable.

The funny thing is that the hat is a better fit on the T1000 version, but doesn’t look 100% convincing on either of them. I have to take slight issue with Mike’s verdict here as I still maintain the Aldo Raine hat looked pretty good when futzed, as does this one, but I found this one took a whole lot more futzing and it was tricky getting the peak to look right, especially when worn on the regular version which is a very tight fit.

So for me this outfit was almost as good as it gets. Sure I’ve seen more complex outfits from Hot Toys, but this is a solid representation of what we saw SC wear in the movie. And had the hat been a slightly better fit and construction, and had the boots had a little more flexibility then she’d have got a full score.

Accessories - ****
These two figures share a good number of the same accessories, but differ on some key elements, so in a nutshell we get-
Regular SC-

- Sunglasses (these are only 1/6th Matsuda’s… Yeah baby!)
- Extra hair fringe for cap (yes fringe… a bang is a loud noise!!!)
- Peaked cap (cloth construction)
- Cigarette
- Assault rifle with silencer
- Shotgun with folding stock (shells separate)
- Pistol
- Combat knife with leather sheath
- 4 extra hands
- Spare wrist pegs
- Classic figure stand

T1000 SC-

- Cigarette
- An additional T-1000 bullet damaged doughnut head
- Environment base (mimicking industrial flooring that the T1000 morphs to)
- Shotgun with folding stock (shells already attached)
- Pistol
- Combat knife with leather sheath
- Liquid metal bullet holes with attachable magnets
- Four extra hands
- Spare wrist pegs

I have to admit the regular figure has many of the key items that would make me come down on her side if only having one of them was the issue.

One of my favourite accessories are the tiny Matsuda 2809 sunglasses, I have to admit to being something of a fashion victim back in the 80’s, and  I often coveted many pairs of Matsuda specs, but like many others I made do with Ray Bans.

If you could even find a pair of 2809’s for under $800 today you would consider yourself lucky (though you could easily spend over $1500 for a mint pair with the case). So even if the only option now is to own a 1/6th pair, it still gives me a slight kick! And it certainly helps that they fit the figures so well and look so well scaled. Of course she also gets the peaked cap, but even with it’s issues it is still an essential part of the whole look for when she goes off on her own to take out Miles Dyson. Another essential part of her kit for those key scenes is the assault riffle, and as we have come to expect this is a beautifully put together gun. The CAR-15 (with collapsible stock) is of course something of a modern classic and all the details here are well observed, we get an adjustable scope, a removable magazine, an adjustable carry strap plus a swappable flare suppressor and silencer.

Oh, and of course we get the classic black figure stand, complete with movie logo and character name, but once again mine didn’t even make it out of the box.

As far as the ‘exclusive items’ for the regular version goes, that’s it, now we are onto the shared elements.

We get the hands, four of them in a selection of poses with two spare wrist pegs (mine swapped over fine though). Then we get the knife and scabbard, you need to undo the belt buckle and un-slot the webbing belt to fit the scabbard. It’s an easy enough job and only took me about 5 minutes per figure, but that’s a full 10 minutes I would have rather were carried out in the Hot Toys factory, rather than by my sausage fingered hands.

Next up is the rather cute cigarette… I say cute because in these increasingly fascistic times it’s rather nice to see the fact that cigarettes ever actually existed acknowledged quite frankly. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should all spark up and take a deep satisfying drag (I am a non-smoker), but denial of the past in any form is a baby step to fascism. So here we have a small but all important detail of the character well represented. These ladies also share the automatic pistol. It has a removable magazine, a sliding cocking mechanism and also a cockable hammer.

Next up is the pump action shotgun. I’m glad to report the pump action does actually have a pump action, and not only that it has a fold out stock and removable shells from the slide–in cartridge holder on top of the stock.

Now we have the exclusive items for the T1000 version, and they are sweet! The standout item, and the one that initially had people snapping this figure up is the extra T1000 doughnut head. It’s another cracking sculpt of Robert Patrick to add to the two cool portraits we got with the regular T1000 figure. Again, like the two in the regular release the portrait is by Jeon Young Tae, quite where Hot Toys keeps finding all this amazing talent is a constant source of wonder to me, but find it they do. So here we have the classic doughnut headed version, it’s been done by everyone from McFarlane and Minimates through to Sideshow at 1/2 scale, but once again, even at the diminutive 1/6th scale, the new Hot Toys version takes the lead in terms of accuracy of sculpt (and indeed paint apps). This a great accessory, that ironically has no ‘useable’ impact if you were to only own this figure, it is fully intended to be used with the T1000 figure, the neck post on the fem base body doesn’t even fit this head. The portrait is just beautifully rendered and the paint compliments this fantastically. The ‘bullet wound’ passes straight through the head but the evenness of the mercury like surface is smooth and even throughout, showing the ripples that occur as it starts to repair itself. And the paint app where the transition between flesh and metal occurs is deftly handled as always. I actually prefer this head to the ‘split’ version we get with the regular T1000 by quite a big degree.

She also comes with 2 ‘liquid metal’ bullet holes that magnetically attach to the body at various points on the chest and abdomen, these work well in approximating the look of the shiny wounds as seen in the movie, with their rippled radiating surface. Her last exclusive accessory is a section of industrial flooring that the T1000 (while disguised as Sarah) starts to morph into. It would seem in the movie that constantly getting shot, frozen solid and blown apart does eventually take its toll on the ability to shape shift on this particular Cyberdyne model. And of course this slip up helps the young John realise which is which between his mother and the impostor.

This is a pretty cool item and the sculpting of the flooring graduating up the boot is handled very well, we also get 4 triangular sections that clip around the edges, making an even larger floor section to give even better stability when displayed, especially in ‘bullet time’ poses where you mimic him/her leaning back being shot.

So that’s it, both have a great array of goodies, but to get the ultimate SC you do kind of need both… and to get the ultimate T1000 you need her as well. However there are still plenty of bits being parted out on eBay, but that T1000 head is already going for anything north of $100 on its own!

Value - Regular ***3/4, T1000 ver ***1/2
Of course if basing the score on the prices in the aftermarket, one would have to say the T1000 version was a bargain for $150, but I’m not, I’m looking at it based on the contents of the box. As such you shouldn’t have too much of a problem picking up the regular version for between $130 to 150, but the T1000 version is now mostly upwards of $170 (but if you act fast and use the link below to the Fan Boy collectibles site you may score one for the RRP).

Both have a good selection of accessories, with the regular having the slightly more iconic pieces, but the T1000 doughnut head accessory supplied with the exclusive is such a nice sculpt it will end up swaying a lot of people, and seeing the extortionate price it demands on its own as a parted out item, then it makes a lot of sense to just get the full set while you can.

Fun Factor - Regular ***, T1000 ***1/2
As a stand alone figure Sarah might look just a little lonesome on the shelf, but when she’s backed up with the T800 she comes into her own.

As far as actual fun goes, then as I said above you’ll find yourself having to tease some of the best poses out of her by working with the limitations of her articulation. But if you persevere you’ll find there are plenty in there waiting to be discovered.

I have to admit I did have a little more fun playing with the T1000 version. The hair can be arranged into anything from ‘office temp’ to ‘crazy mad demon woman’ and the inclusion of the environment base meant I had ball doing some crazy ‘limbo’ poses.

It is also worth mentioning, that even if your daddy is a Greek shipping magnet, and you think nothing of splashing $100+ on an action figure, THIS IS NOT A TOY, well, not a kids toy anyway.

If you want something for the sandbox go and buy Barbie, dress her in some BDU’s and give her an assault rifle… I bet Ken will look at her in a whole new light.

Overall- ***3/4
For me the SC head sculpt with rooted hair we get with the T1000 version is just a little nicer, my wife however disagrees with me, proving this might be a tough call for many people to decide on a favourite. I also find that no photos I’ve seen to date do either of these sculpts total justice, as in hand, turned this way and that in differing light conditions  they both come alive in ways that still photos just can’t convey.

However on this occasion Yulli hasn’t 100% captured the perfect likeness of Linda Hamilton in either of them. They are still however fantastic portraits and are unmistakably her (or her sister), and the work carried out is to my eye the best representation we have had of the character to date. It does make me realise that we really really need a figure of her son John to complete the line up as soon as possible, without him there is something very much lacking in the series!

So, to choose a favourite, the problem is that I love the shades, rifle and hat that come with the regular version, but I prefer the exclusive Sarah head sculpt and the T1000 accessory head sculpt is an awesome piece of work, no two ways about it. 

So they end up level pegging in my books, and it would be a tough Sophie’s choice to decide on which one to keep if I could have only one. However, I guess if push came to shove then I’d go for the exclusive T1000 version (but I’d have to pick up the hat and Matsuda's from eBay to make her feel complete).

Where to buy
Both were availale from Sideshow for the RRP of $149.99, but now they only have the regular left in stock.

Urban Collector has the regular for $134.99. And Fan Boy Collectibles has the regular for $134.99  and … wait for it, wait for it… the exclusive T1000 version ‘in stock’ for $149.99 (go, go, go, go). And Ozzie goods has the regular version for $210 (Aus) or you can prowl eBay where prices are quite frankly all over the place!






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

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