BibleQuest Moses

I'm moseying through my local Meijers this week, and what do I stumble on but a huge display of figures and games under the banner of 'BibleQuest'.  The tagline seemed a bit at odds with religion and faith: "Unlock Your World with Questions" (and the bold is theirs, not mine), but the figures looked worth checking out.

There's a number of boxed sets, including Jesus, Mary and Joseph with a donkey and a basic stable (in other words, a Nativity scene), the Three Wise Men complete with camels, and some smaller sets with things like a shepard and an angel.  There's also a number of single pack figures like Esther (yes, she got her own figure!.  Now if NECA would just do a Xerxes...), David, Goliath, Noah, and the one I grabbed, Moses.  The back of the cards says there's only 4 figures to collect, but in reality it's closer to 16 with all the different sets.

The singles like Moses are priced $10 each, and while I almost grabbed one of the others because of the cool animals they come with, I settled on him because one of his accessories could be very interesting to more than just the Moses fans.  Read on for more details...especially if you're an Indiana Jones fan.


Packaging - ***
While the two packs and sets all came in boxes, the singles come in clamshells with rounded fronts.  The graphics are decent, and the text has a Da Vinci code feel to it, but more info on the rest of the line on the back would be good.

There's a little personalization to the insert, but they've also included a kind of holy baseball card with a photo (okay, 'artwork', but it should be no surprise that he looks EXACTLY like the figure) of Moses on the front and a bio on the back.  It sort of reminds me of the collector cards in Harry Potter, but unfortunately Moses doesn't actually move on the front.

Sculpting - **1/2
Since there really isn't any true 'source material' to get an exact likeness, they just tried to go for an old guy with a very big white beard that looks wise and stern, and tried to avoid creepy and weird.  What that means is if you plop a red hat on this guy, your kids will think Santa came early.

But that does fit the general description we have of Moses, or at least of the traditional Ten Commandments version.  He even has a little bit of a Charleton Heston thing going on.

The detail work on the hair and beard is surprisingly good, although the shape and size of the beard, particularly around the sides of the jaw, ended up making it look fake.

The hands are sculpted to hold the accessories, and appropriate sandal footwear is sculpted on to his feet.  The hand sculpts are pretty soft though, and much more dollar store toy-like than the head sculpt.  

He stands great on his own, at about 5" tall.  That means he can hang with your movie Spider-man, Batman and Superman.  Or not, since every time one of the three superheroes started telling a story of their exploits, Moses would ruin it by saying "Yea, but I know God personally."

Paint - **1/2
The paint is pretty much standard mass market work.  It's not terrible, and as is often the case with mass market work, the lines are quite clean.  But there's not much here outside of the hair, eyes and sandals.  The skin tone is the cast color of the plastic, which is no big surprise.

And for those of you wondering - and I know you sick little monkeys are out there - he's wearing white underwear.  I hope you realize I risked going to Hell just to check that out for you.

Articulation - ***
I was pretty surprised by the articulation, since it's impossible to tell from outside the package how much and what type there might be.

The neck and shoulders are just cut joints, but they work pretty well.  There are also cut joints at the waist and wrists, and the inclusion of the wrist joints was one of the surprises.  I would have expected them to skip that with this type of figure in this scale, but that really helps him pose with the various accessories.

The elbows are single pin, but also have the post that runs up into the upper arm from the forearm.  I always refer to these in that creative way as "pin and post" joints.  These means that the arm can turn at the elbow, as well as move forward and back.

The ankles are also pin and post, but the knees are just single pin.  The hips have pin joints that allow the legs to move outward from the body, but not forward and back.

But that's all quite a bit more articulation than I was expecting.  I wouldn't have been surprised with just a five points - a cut neck, shoulders and hips - so the additional joints were quite welcome, and useful.

Accessories - ***1/2
The real selling point to this whole line - particularly if the basic religious theme doesn't do much for you - is the accessories.  All of them packed in quite a few, many of them animals.  And the animals were generally very well scaled and sculpted for use with other 5" lines, including the larger animals like the camels and lions.

But I bought Moses here because of one very specific accessory.  Wondering what it is?  Hey, I'll get to it, don't rush me!

He comes with the Burning Bush (which has the potential for all kinds of jokes, but I'm already going to get enough hate mail for this review), one of the stone tablets that bears the Ten Commandments, and both versions of his 'rod' - wood and asp.  Okay, so clearly the wood one is supposed to be his regular staff that he did so much with, but I'm assuming he comes with a snake because of the story about God turning the rod into a snake and back again.  Then again, it seems to me that might have been Aaron, and not Moses...but Moses did use the 'bronze snake' to heal snake bites.  Whatever - he comes with a snake.

I mentioned earlier that he also has this sort of holy baseball card, with a bio on the back and a scene on the front.  I can't confirm it, but I suspect that Moses has more than one card to collect about him, as do some of the other figures.

In any event, the best of his many accessories is....let the tension build...the Ark of the Covenant!  When you see him on the peg you might not notice it, because it's hidden behind the label with his name on it, but it's there.

It's not bad either, although it has no bottom and is hollow.  I was hoping for something that would open up, but the sculpt detail on this one isn't bad considering it's a mass market toy.  If you have a current Indiana Jones set up in the 4" - 5" scale (this Ark is actually a little small for the 5" scale, better suited to the smaller Indy figures from the old Hasbro line and hopefully the new ones coming out next year), you might want to check it out.  I mean, surely Hasbro will give us an Ark next year with their Indy line...surely they wouldn't skip it for fear of upsetting religious folks...okay, so maybe they would.  It's nice to know that if they do, you have a potential backup here.

Outfit - ***
This figure sports some soft goods, as did the majority of the line.  He is wearing his inner white robe with belt, along with the outer purple and black robe.

All the edges on the thin material are hemmed, and the fit on both robes is excellent considering the scale.  Oh, the outer robe is still a smidge baggy, but compare this outfit to some of the awful ones we've seen in the 5" and 6" superhero lines, and you'll see they did quite a bit better job.  The outer robe still bunches up a bit at the shoulders, and you're never going to be able to produce truly realistic clothes at this scale.  But it's better than I expected  Even the belt is a much better scale than usual, cut as a single piece from a good quality material.

If you're looking to do some customizing, the outfit is removable.  But if you darken up this guys beard and hair, give him a turban and call him Bin Laden, don't come crying to me about the fate of your eternal soul.

Fun Factor - ***
I don't know that I see many kids actually 'playing' with these, but they're sturdy enough.  These certainly aren't delicate and fragile Nerd Hummels, but the license and lack of articulation kills a bit of the Fun Factor.

Value -*1/2
Unless somebody is paying license fees to God, these aren't ten dollar figures.  I'm glad to see that the quality (at least for Moses) is a bit above the usual dollar store style crap we get with religious themes, but at a 5" scale with a handful of accessories, these are $6 - $7 figures at best.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much.  If you're hoping that having your kid play with these instead of Spider-man or Star Wars is more likely to set him on the road to righteousness, I think you're likely to be disappointed a few years down the road.  Likewise, if someone slips Moses into your kid's toy box, I wouldn't worry that they'll suddenly start speaking in tongues.

Overall - **1/2
I was all set to buy one of these figures and really tear it up.  Finding fault with religious action figures has been as easy as killing turtles in a box.

There's no doubt this guy is over priced, and that drove him down another half star.  But the accessories really saved Moses from the pits of a two star score, and I noticed that was true with a number of the other figures, like Noah, Daniel or the Three Wise Men who all come with very good animals as accessories.  Had I not wanted to make a special point of picking out the figure with the nifty Ark of the Covenant, and instead gone for one of the worst figures to make a different point, I would have picked David or perhaps the Shepard and Angel, and the overall score would have been an easy half star or more lower.

In other words, this line has some decent figures like Moses, and some pretty crappy ones like David.  If you're looking for some Old Testament icons for your kids to play with, you could certainly do worse in terms of general quality.  But the price is going to be a factor for anyone, since mass market licensed figures in a similar scale are still a couple bucks cheaper.

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

Where to Buy -
I stumbled across these at Meijers, but I would bet the farm that Wal-marts will carry them as well.

A helpful reader (Thanks Chuck!) with a site that carries the whole line, including a Roman Gladiator two pack that I'm going to keep an eye out for.  They're more expensive than what Meijers was charging, but they have the full variety.

- Related Links -
I haven't reviewed any other religious based figures before, but I have looked at Jesus from South Park, and both God and the Pope from Family Guy. And don't forget that BibleQuest has their own website as well.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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