Inglorious Basterds - Hans Landa
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's time for Aldo Raine to get some company - tell us all about it, Jeff!

Once upon a time in Nazi occupied France…I guess that opening salvo let the audience know we were firmly in the arena of fantasy, and as the movie progressed that became more and more apparent.

I liked this movie, in a many ways it would be hard not to, but I still think it’s far from Tarantino’s best work. However, as always he delivers the entertainment in a style that not only sets him apart as a modern auter, but he makes it all seem so effortles. 

In the past Hot Toys have done plenty of movies where only one character ends up getting represented. This can be for any number of reasons, but the factors that tend to come into play are –

1. How popular the movie is (obvious really).
2. How popular the character is (ditto).
3. How popular the actor portraying the character is (it ain’t rocket science).
4. How visually iconic/interesting the supporting characters are.
5. How well received the first figural release is, and what the feedback from the fans /collectors is like.

Prince of Persia = 1 figure
Clash of the Titans = 1 figure
Wolverine = 1 figure
Edward Scissorhands = 1 figure
The Spirit = 3 figures… oh, hang on… OK, it doesn’t always work!

But what I’m trying to say is that there was a time when it seemed we would only ever get the figure of Aldo Raine (which I reviewed here) from Inglorious Basterds, and on this occasion it would have been a crying shame if that had been the case.


Well because although Brad Pitt was the star, with his name writ large atop the movie poster, there’s no denying he hammed the role of Raine up to the max, gurning for his life. Luckily Brad managed to walk the tightrope of extreme character and extreme caricature very well, so although it was an over the top portrayal, it still managed to work. However he was totally acted off the screen by his on screen nemesis Colonel Hans Landa, played by the talented actor, writer and director Christoph Waltz.

Waltz’s name was not writ large on the poster; in fact he was virtually unknown in Hollywood as his back catalogue, although impressive was almost exclusively made up of work on German television, apart from the odd guest appearance here and there in Australian of European dramas.

But he still managed to totally steal the show, almost making the movie his alone, and in a large ensemble cast movie like this, that’s quite a task.

And his performance was rewarded by many prestigious motion picture award panels, including the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences  as they awarded him the best supporting actor role for his portrayal of ‘the Jew hunter’.

So ultimately what we have here is great representation of the character, but the character happens to be Nazi, and lets face it all sane people, and I quote Dr Jones here- ‘really hate those guys’.

So could this figure be the one that makes it acceptable to have a Nazi officer on your shelf… well I’d go so far as to say that if you already have the Aldo Raine figure, he’s almost an essential purchase, but obviously it’s up to the individual, and figures of this type will always be controversial. I shall however be reviewing him strictly by the criteria of how well it represents the character as seen in the movie, and I’m not giving too much away by saying it’s pretty damn spot on!

Packaging - ****
I liked the box for Aldo, and I like this as well, which isn’t surprising as it follows the exact same layout and design principles. It has a lift off lid that once again has a spot varnished, broad vertical red blood stripe with a monochrome photo of the character out of it. Inside we have a die cut card overlay through which we see the fully constructed and dressed figure. This whole tray lifts out to expose a second tray that houses his accessories.
So, this is another cool bit of packaging that sits very well next to the Aldo Raine box, nothing to complain about at all!

Sculpting - ***3/4
The work that KoJun did on the Aldo Raine figure was truly outstanding, so if we were going to get a shelf partner for him he was gonna have to be pretty outstanding. This time around KoJun was the artistic director, but the actual portrait was carried out by Jeon Young Tae and he has done a fabulous job. The expression is stern and stoic, and not dissimilar to this or even this which works well for a broad range of poses, but it has to be said a smiling expression, or even a smirking extra head would have been a really cool addition. That’s not to say this isn’t an amazing portrait because it truly is.

When we first got a sneak peek of the figure at the various conventions this year (and indeed the first proto pics) the early criticisms were that he looked too old, and the lines and wrinkles on his face were too extreme, and since then the face appears to have been revised and much improved, however it still doesn’t reach the lofty heights of a full score. I personally think the face needs to be ever so slightly leaner and maybe longer as Waltz has a thin face and his mouth even has a slight asymmetry. However the observations on the dimpled chin and the shape of the nose are fantastic. The line of the jaw is also well executed as are the eyes, but I do feel the eyes may have needed to be ever so slightly further apart.

My only other slight gripe is the hair. The detailing is crisp and beautifully carried out, especially around the greying sideburns, but in most pics you’ll see of Landa his forelock stands slightly higher and prouder of his brow which isn’t represented here.

So to sum up this is great portrait, not a perfect one, but still a bloody good one. It’s also definitely Christoph Waltz, but it’s stronger from some angles than others!

Paint - ****
The only area that is extensively painted here is the head sculpt, and it is as we would expect near perfection. The flesh tones are natural and expertly applied, the eyes have that JC Hong trademark glint and as always manage to look wet and bring the figure very much to life.

The hair is expertly applied and manages to achieve the illusion of having some slightly lighter streaking and greying temples and sideburns.

Once again this is a master class in how 1/6th paint should be applied and is nothing short of awesome.

Articulation - ****
The outfit doesn’t impact too much on the posing of this guy, admittedly when he has the leather coat on over the dress jacket and shirt then he does lose a little mobility, but if you’ve ever worn a leather coat over a jacket and shirt you’ll know that it does make you feel a little over swaddled, so there is no surprise that the figure also displays this. I was however hugely impressed that like the DX01 Joker figure, even with all these layers on he still looks very natural and stands and poses well, but this is down to the expert tailoring and fabric sourcing carried out. The base body seems to be a narrow shouldered TT as I went over in my low-down here and here. Anyone who collects 1/6th knows these bodies are still amongst the strongest on the market, if not THE strongest. And once again it serves us well here making for a hugely poseable figure.

Outfit - ***3/4
I like this outfit a lot, but there is one element holding it back from perfection, and that is the hat… and even that isn’t terrible, it just isn’t perfect, where as just about every other element is! It’s like the curse of Jill Valentine and Sarah Connor all over again, a virtually faultless outfit, but let down by the hat… but more on that later!

He comes wearing a fantastic pair of pleather boots, meaning that virtually all the ankle articulation is still there. They have a solid base, which is moulded to mimic a hob-nailed sole with toe and heel tacs; this is then welted to a fabricated pleather upper. These are just about the nicest boots I have seen delivered this year… and it’s been a good year for boots (just look at Aldo Raine as well). Next up are his trousers, these are tailored in the traditional riding britches style that tuck into the boots and have a wide thigh area, they also have working pockets throughout, two flapped pockets at the rear, two cut pockets at the hips and a small watch/key pocket to the right of the velcro fly.

He also has a collarless white cotton shirt that fits well and manages not to add too much bulk, even when the jacket is worn over the top. This officer’s jacket has four working patch pockets on its front along with a dark green velvet collar and various ribbons, medals and insignia. In fact, if you look REALY closely you’ll see that the badge on the left pocket (based on this design) doesn’t actually have a swastika on it, but rather a tiny 96. A cool move for those that if offends and also from a marketing angle as it can still be sold in Germany.

Next up is the extremely cool double breasted leather great coat, based on the classic design as seen here. It has two working pockets, a tethered back belt, silver braided shoulder epaulets and is fully lined, and it even has a wire running through the bottom hem to aid in getting it to hang right and for posing. The thing that really makes this stand out though is the great tailoring and fantastic material sourcing; it manages to look like it’s virtually in perfect scale. Take a close look at the seams, buttons and fine detailing on the doubled over epaulets and you’ll see what I mean!

Well that’s the perfect bit over… now the hat!
It’s based on the cap that Landa wears at the beginning of the film and is a soft collapsible design meaning the badges are soft ‘implied’ embroidered rather than solid/metal. The construction is on the whole well carried out with the white piping accurately circumnavigating the brim and the edges of the black velvet. However the underside of the pleather brim has a white stitched webbing backing, from most angles this is virtually invisible, but from the few that it isn’t it can be a little jarring. And the other problem is it is just a little too big, it fits the head well but the scaling is a tad off (as fabric 1/6th hats often are). So, as I said it’s not a bad hat by a long stretch, but it just doesn’t manage to accurately convey the one we see on screen. Perhaps if you are a braver man than me you might try a water treatment and scrunching it up a little, if you do please let me know, I’d love to see how it looks, but for now my Landa will be posed holding his cap rather than wearing it.

Accessories - ***3/4
Landa comes with a cool and pertinent selection, we get-

- Walther P38 automatic pistol
- Holster for pistol (stitched pleather)
- Grey gloves (1 pair, stitched fabric)
- Pipe (smoking tobacco)
- Briefcase (pleather finish with working clasps)
- Black leather coat
- Peaked hat with badges
- Figure stand with nameplate

His pistol and holster are identical to the ones we got with Aldo, the holster is made of stitched pleather rather than just moulded plastic, but I did find on this occasion the gun was a tighter fit to get inside, so I figured rather than force it I’d just store it separately, as when the holster is fastened shut with the strap you can’t see the gun anyway. It can be jammed right in, but as I say, this time I decided not to push it. The gun itself has a removable magazine, a working hammer and when you slide the case back to cock it you can see the round in the chamber. The Bavarian smoking pipe is a nice touch, it’s well observed and fits both the gripping hands well, but there’s not much more to say about it than that… it’s a pipe!

The briefcase is also made of stitched pleather and has a tiny metal swing latch and working metal claps that slot through holes in the flap and then just fold over on themselves. There is a sheet of padding inside to add a little bulk, but I’m guessing a few purists out there might make a few scale documents to put inside. He also comes with some grey fabric gloves, with patience I would imagine these can be put onto the open hands, but in all honesty they look better just held as an accessory, but kudos is due for actually making them working gloves anyway.

Next up is the coat, I consider it an accessory as it comes packed separately, but I went over it in detail above… and likewise the hat.

Lastly we also get the classic figure stand, but guess what… mines still in the box.

So, a good selection, but not quite Aldo Raine good!

Value - ***3/4
Hans is still available to pre-order at sideshow for the full RRP of $149.99 a whole $10 cheaper than Aldo Raine (who at the time of writing this was still available as a ‘last chance’ offer) but if you use one of Mikes sponsors linked to on the front page and below you can get him for over $15 less which in my crazy 1/6th addled mind makes this a sweet deal. Even though Hans comes with that very cool coat and few other nice extras he just can’t compete with the little arsenal that Aldo Raine came equipped with, even if he was ‘officially’ $10 more expensive. My score here is based on the more reasonable $135 price that he can still be found for… at the moment anyway!

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Call me old fashioned, but I know when I was a kid the battles my Action Man figures had were about 90% Tommy’s vs Gerry’s. So I had Allied forces and Nazi outfits to put them in. My two favourites were the ‘Escape from Colditz’ outfit for the good guy and the classic German storm-trooper as seen here but I also had a soft spot for the French resistance operative as seen here. So these two figures from Inglorious Basterds bring those old nostalgic memories flooding back. Of course it’s still questionable as to whether an adult let alone a child should be able to buy Nazi dolls, but as I said in another review recently, denial of the past is as much a fascist step as enforced censorship, as long as these things aren’t  glorified or celebrated, then I personally have no problem with them. If you do, I apologise.

Overall- ***3/4
OK, checklist. The outfit is outstanding, the hat is the only weak point but even that ain’t too bad, the body is a classic narrow TT so nothing to complain about there, the paint is as close to manufactured perfection as is available on the market at this present time and the sculpt is very, very strong… not perfect, but from some angles it’s damn close.

So the hat and sculpt are the only things holding this back from a perfect mark. I’m being pretty strict here because as Hot Toys improve with virtually every release I think I need to at least try and hold back on those perfect marks for the figures that fire like a V8 on all cylinders.

But this is still a damn fine looking figure, and he does look pretty awesome standing alongside Aldo Raine, shweet.

Where to buy
As I said above under value he is still available at Sideshow for pre-order at the full RRP of $149.99, but there are some bargains to be had below from Mike’s sponsors.

Urban collector - pre-order $133.99
Alter Ego - pre-order $134.99
Fan Boy - pre-order $134.99
BBTS - pre-order $139.99
Achtung baby!

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

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