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The Princess Bride
The Dread Pirate Roberts

Princess Bride Dread Pirate Roberts action figure by NECA

Growing up as a kid, I loved Zorro. Tyrone Power was the best, but Guy Williams wasn't bad either. A Robin Hood with a sword, a man who fought for right from behind a mask, this was one bitchin' dude.

That theme was something I saw and enjoyed in many other works of entertainment, including Batman of course. So it's probably no surprise that I love the 1987 film Princess Bride, directed by Rob Reiner, and adapted by William Goldman from his own book.

The story is simple enough: Young Westley loves the beautiful Buttercup, but she is well above him in status. He is but a mere hired hand, but he sets off to sea to earn his fortune, only to die at the hands of the Dread Pirate Roberts. Years later, Buttercup is kidnapped to be married against her will to the evil Prince Humperdink, but Westley isn't quite as dead as had been reported. He battles a great swordsman, a hulking giant, and even a genius (who, like most genius', is not nearly as smart as he believes) to rescue his Buttercup from the evil prince. It's a love story, and adventure story, and a pretty damn funny comedy as well.

I'd love to get a sixth scale version of Roberts, Montoya, Fezzik, and even Vizzini, but that's not likely to happen in this lifetime.  But NECA has at least given us a 7" scale version of the pirate, as part of their Cult Classics line.

This figure just started shipping, and I found it at my local comic shop for $17. I have some other suggestions at the end of the review for online retailers where it's closer to $15.
Princess Bride Dread Pirate Roberts action figure by NECA

Princess Bride Dread Pirate Roberts action figure by NECA
Princess Bride Dread Pirate Roberts action figure by NECA
Princess Bride Dread Pirate Roberts action figure by NECA
Princess Bride Dread Pirate Roberts action figure by NECA
Princess Bride Dread Pirate Roberts action figure by NECA
Princess Bride Dread Pirate Roberts action figure by NECA

Packaging - ***
NECA is sticking with the clamshells, which have the advantage of great shelf life, and the ability to show off the figure well. You'll need the usual hacksaw to get in, and once you do, there's still more twisties than you'll like, but the insert card uses movie graphics to its advantage, and I love the old paper look for the front label.

Sculpting - **1/2
It's important to remember that these are close up shots of a 7" scale figure. That means some of the issues are far less noticeable in person.

However, there's still some here that would jump out at Stevie Wonder. He IS very recognizable as Carey Elwes as Roberts. Anyone that's seen the movie will know who it is, and not think it's just some random dude dressing up like Zorro.

But the big fans will notice the Jay Leno chin, the overdone cheek bones, and (at least on mine) the slight deformation to the face and head, probably caused in the manufacturing process.

Now, I'm not saying that Elwes doesn't have a big chin, but this one is just a bit too inhumanly large. I think they were trying to over do the cheek bones to make them more apparent in this smaller scale, but even in person they are much to obvious and oddly cut.

They did go for a tough expression here, the trademark smirk that Elwes put to such good use in the film. That actually goes a long way to helping the recognizability.

The body sculpt is nicely detailed, and there are even two thin rubbery ends to the string across his shirt. The boot sculpt is great, and the overall scale and proportions are good.  He stands at about 6 3/4" in the bent knee pose, making him fit in nicely with 7" scale figures.

Paint - ***
I went through several of these at my local comic shop looking for the best paint, so I got one that's reasonably good.

There's still a few spots on his face, and the mustache and lips are weak. The skin color on the face is slightly different than the skin tone on the neck and chest as well.

But they also added some nice touches in this area, doing some movie specific things. They got the difference in finish correct on his mask and do rag. In the film, the mask that covered his eyes had a glossier, hard finish, while the rag was...well, a rag. They've captured that look well here with the different finishes on the paint itself.

They've also added muddy boots, a nice addition as well. They didn't go overboard with the mud, but gave it a very realistic appearance.

Articulation - **1/2
This figure isn't intended to be a super poseable action figure, but it does have a couple key joints that give you more posing potential than you might expect.

First, there's the ball jointed neck. It works extremely well, with a great range of movement, and adds a lot of personality to any pose.

Then there's the ball jointed right shoulder. This allows the arm to turn, as well as pose holding the sword at a variety of heights.

The left arm has a cut bicep, limiting the movement there. Both wrists are cut joints (at the top of the gloves), as are the boot tops and the waist.

While he's designed for one major pose - his fencing stance - the joints do give you the ability to add a little personalization to that basic look.

Accessories - **
Unfortunately, there are only two and one is pretty much worthless.

Roberts comes with his sword and a scabbard. The sword is made from a fairly hard plastic, so it won't wilt easily over time, but that also means it's more brittle. Be particularly careful when inserting it into the right hand, as the small ball does NOT come off the back.

The sword fits nicely in the scabbard, but there's no place for the scabbard on his body. He also can't hold it in his left hand, making it pretty much useless in any display.

Now, I don't remember the swords from the film (Roberts used more than one), and I didn't rewatch the film to try to see if this one is screen accurate.  I'm going to give NECA the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Fun Factor - ***
While the articulation is somewhat limited, the arm movement and the ability for the figure to stand on his own pretty easily make for a toy that kids can use in battle. Kids who enjoy the movie might like to have a Roberts battling shoulder to shoulder with Batman.

Value - **
This guy is likely to cost you $15, with a SRP of more like $17.  While that's not uncommon these days, many companies are trying to offset the higher prices with more or better accessories, something that's sorely missing here. Give me a ROUS in the package and I'd happily pay twenty for the pair.

Things To Watch Out For
The paint, definitely.  NECA (and just about every other company right now) has been having issues with the consistency of paint quality, and you could get an awful figure as easily as a well painted one. Take your time picking yours out if you can.

Also, take care inserting the sword in his right hand. The plastic is very easy to break, and getting it in there can take a little effort.

Overall - **1/2
I feel like a grinch this week, with my third low score in a row. Perhaps I'm just getting cranky in my old age.

The figure does have some highlights, and it will be recognizable on the shelf. But at this price point, NECA needs to get control over the manufacturing process.

The biggest disappointment is that we probably won't get any of the other figures from the film, making this one awfully lonely on the shelf. However, you can probably come up with a cat toy that can stand in for a ROUS, and in this fighting pose, it would look great squaring off against Roberts.

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

Where to Buy -
Options for picking him up include:

- Things From Another Planet have him listed at just $12.

- CornerStoreComics has him listed at $13.

- Urban Collector has him at $15.

- Entertainment Earth has him at $17.

- if you're in the UK, Forbidden Planet has him at 10 GBP.

.  Your other choice is to search ebay, and you can do that using the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.

Related Links -
It's probably no surprise that I don't have any other reviews of Princess Bride collectibles.

Discussion:
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Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 3.13

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Princess Bride Dread Pirate Roberts action figure by NECA



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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