Indiana Jones
Sideshow Premium Format

Indiana Jones premium format statue from Sideshow Collectibles

Now here's something awfully unique - not only am I reviewing two Indiana Jones items in a row, but they are both quarter scale! I never expected to be able to do that in my lifetime.

Sideshow's Premium Format Indiana Jones hit my door step this week, as I was in their second wave of shipments. While I was anticipating their 12" figure, I've been salivating for this one. Collectors have been looking for the Holy Grail of Indy collectibles for years, and this Premium Format mixed media statue had the best potential to take that spot.

Sideshow produced two versions of course, a regular (which I'm reviewing here, and which had an edition size of 3000) and an exclusive version (with an edition size of 1000) that comes with a second hatless portrait. Sideshow has been long sold out of these, but I do have some recommendations on where to buy the regular version at the end of the review.

Enough chit chat - let's get to the good stuff.

Packaging - ***
As you'd expect with a Premium Format statue (particularly if you've picked one up before), he comes in a box. The interior Styrofoam case works great at keeping him safe as a babe in his mother's arms, but there's no way to see the actual product. The exterior photos do the job they should though - showing the figure off well without faking it - and there's even some background text on the back. Not that anyone needs a whole lot of background text when it comes to Indy!
Indiana Jones premium format statue from Sideshow Collectibles

Indiana Jones premium format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
Indiana Jones premium format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
Indiana Jones premium format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
Indiana Jones premium format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
Indiana Jones premium format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
Indiana Jones premium format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
Indiana Jones premium format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
Indiana Jones premium format statue from Sideshow Collectibles
Indiana Jones premium format statue from Sideshow Collectibles

Sculpting - ****
How many times have I discussed how difficult it is to capture Harrison Ford as any character, let alone Indiana Jones? Too many times to count. I'm going to tell you right here, right now, that this is the BEST version we've ever gotten, at any price point.

Does that mean it's so perfect that nothing could be done to improve on it? Nope. There's always something you could nit pick about, but the nits are all very, very tiny this time around.

For me, the one most noticeable is the soft hair sculpt.  It's not as defined or sharply textured as you might expect at this scale.  Of course, 90% of it is non-existent because of the hat, and what hair is here is well hidden by the brim, hence it has little effect on the overall appearance.

My other comment would be on the nose. It looks a *smidge* thin and narrow to me. However, if a sculptor brought this sculpt to me and said "should I mess with the nose to make it better?", I'd tell them no. It's not far off enough to take the risk of making it worse, and this sculpt is too nice overall to except that risk.

One of the nice features of a statue over an action figure is the lack of a joint at the neck. That means the neck and jawline should be much more realistic. Unfortunately, that's not always true. But here, the well defined neck, with properly sculpted tendons and esophagus, really adds to the subtle realism of the overall head sculpt.

One of the issues many PF's have had is oversized, alien hands.  Again, they managed to avoid that here. The hands are reasonably well scaled, and look extremely good in their sculpted pose.

While the exclusive includes this same head sculpt hatless, I think it's the hat wearing version that is the critical look. And they managed to get the hat as close to perfect as I've seen. The production version seems a little taller on his head than the prototype, but I can live, since the texturing and weathering give it a very realistic look.

Indy stands about 19" tall on his own, or about 22 1/2" tall with the base.

Paint - ***1/2
If there's one area that could be improved slightly in general, it's the paint. Now, it's not terrible - Hell, it's not even merely good. It's a great job, but there are a couple issues that I'd love to see tackled by one of the many paint experts out there.

The work itself is very clean, with no quality issues whatsoever. Cut lines are perfect, areas like the eye brows and eyes line up properly and evenly, and they've given the eyes themselves the right amount of gloss to get that life-like appearance.

The skin tone is even as well, but it is slightly dark. Yea, he's going to be tan, but this is getting a little beyond that.

But the one area that could really use a little help is the stubble. Like the much cheaper DST version, they sculpted the stubble as a texture, and added paint. I like that approach (as opposed to trying to just do it with paint), but I think that in the hands of a highly skilled paint, this thing could be redone to look spooky real.

Another key aspect of this great paint job is the weathering effects on the hat and shoes. I've already mentioned it on the hat, but they manage to give a nicely worn look to his boots as well.

Articulation - Bupkis
Regular buyers of modern PF's from Sideshow shouldn't be surprised, but this is a solid statue, without any articulation. This fact won't hurt his Overall score any, but I mention it because in the early days, they did have some articulation, and there is also the Ultimate Quarter Scale Indy that's an actual action figure that could cause some confusion.

Accessories - ****
Normally, 'statues' don't have accessories, but Indy has several.

Although he can't really stand without the base (the square steel post that attaches him to the base is sticking out of his foot, making it impossible for him to stand on his own), I'm counting that as one of his Accessories. As I mentioned in the Sculpt and Paint sections, the base is outstanding, and easily my favorite of any Sideshow PF. Thank God it lacks any plaque declaring his name, and the sculpted ruins, complete with vines, look fantastic.

I'm also counting his bag as an accessory, although I wouldn't recommend trying to remove it.  You can adjust it though, since the buckle is adjustable and you can easily slide the strap up or down, lengthening it or shortening it. The flap does not have a closure, but the bag hangs great on his shoulders.

The most obvious accessories are his gun, Fertility Idol, and coiled whip. The gun is an excellent sculpt, properly scaled, although there's no way for him to hold it. That means it will be gong into his holster and staying there, but it's nice to know at this price point that you still got an excellent version. And yes, the chamber spins, although it's empty. I would have liked some sculpted bullets in there, but that's one of those very minor nits.

The Fertility Idol is also very well done, and lacks any sort of mold line that would make it look fake or manufactured. Instead it looks like the hand carved artifact that it should be. It is held in his right hand with a strong magnet, so that you can move the figure carefully and it won't fall out. Don't go turning him upside down with it in his hand, but minor adjustments won't knock it free.

Finally, there's the coiled whip.  This one has a very sharp, strong sculpt, and looks quite realistic for resin.  It's a little tricky to get in his right hand, but the trick is to hold it perpendicular to his body and bring it up between his hand and hip, and then turn it into place. It also only fits one way - the handle has to be at the back, not the front of his body.

The whip does not go on the belt, however. There is one of the loops, or 'keepers' on his belt, but it's NOT designed to open or hold the whip.

If you managed to snag the exclusive, you got an extra head at no extra price. That's always a good deal, but in this case, it's not a particularly necessary extra accessory. I would never display him without the hat, since the capped look is so much more iconic, and they pulled it off so well.

Outfit - ****
Premium Format figures are 'mixed media' statues. That means you get cloth, resin, metal, plastic and other materials all used to create the final effect.

We've already talked about the hat, so let's jump down and start at his feet.  The boots are sculpted, and have that weathered paint job I mentioned earlier. The feet are a little small scale wise when compared to the rest of his body, but it's not enough of a difference that most folks would notice.

His pants are well tailored, and are made from a soft material that is going to hand and drape better the longer you have him out of the box.  The box induced wrinkles will soften on their own over time, but you can always speed that process up with a little steam.

He has his traditional belt, and you can adjust the buckle as you need to. Out of the box, his pants are way too low on his body, unless you're going for an 'urban Indy' look.

The holster belt is also adjustable, and the holster and loop for the whip are made from the same leather material.  These are much higher quality than what we saw with the 12" figure, complete with stitching on the holster. Oddly enough, there is not a magnetic closure for the holster though, and you'll have to use the old 'hole/post' style closure to put the gun in it's proper place. The gun fits well though, and the entire arrangement looks good on his hips.

The shirt is...well, the shirt.  This is one area that most versions seem to get pretty close, and this one looks terrific. They went with small hidden snaps to hold it closed in front, with properly scaled buttons on the outside.

Most of the conversation around this figure is going to center on the jacket. It's the one area where there is actually a major, obvious issue, and for some folks, that error will be all they can see.

What's that error? The jacket is too short. Now, you can adjust for it and improve the situation. You really, really don't want to display him as he comes out of the box. You need to adjust the jacket forward on his shoulders, and that will bring the front edge of the jacket down. You also need to hike up those baggy pants and tighten the belt, as I mentioned above. Don't bring them up too far, or he'll like like he did in KOTCS, and nobody wants that. But get the pants at a good height, and get the jacket forward on the shoulders, and you can reduce the obviousness of the short coat.

Reduce yes, eliminate no. The coat is still about a 1/4" too short, and when you see the length of the arm next to the length of the jacket, it becomes clear.

That's too bad, because that is the ONLY issue this jacket has.  Is is a perfect Raiders version?  I think we've already discussed why George seems to want to make the jackets more a compiled version of all three original movies, so I'm not surprised that's the case here. But this jacket isn't fake leather - it's the real deal, done in scale. It's a nice, soft leather too, that hangs very naturally and looks terrific.  They've already weathered it perfectly, and only the die hard fans will find minor issues with the design.

BTW, the jacket isn't green.  It's very brown, although in some bright lighting or direct lighting, it can look a bit green. But that's just the lighting - in hand, it's very clearly brown.

Value - ***
This is not a cheap item at $280. But this is a pretty common cost for statues in this scale, and in fact, there's simply no comparison between the quality of this PF at $280, and the quality of the much lesser Bruce Lee PF at $250. In fact, this PF is better than some at the $300 - $325 mark, and just might be the nicest overall PF Sideshow has ever produced.  The only other similar collectible is the Cinemaquette version, and that runs $2000 - and has areas where this PF is superior. So yea, even at $280, it's a decent value. Since retailers are selling it closer to $260 - $270, it gets even better.

Things To Watch Out For
When you're handling Indy, remember that the Idol can fall out of his hand if you get to crazy.  Also, to get the whip in his hand, pay attention to my instructions above in the Accessories section.

Overall - ****
Fans of Indiana Jones have waited a long time for collectibles to be abundant. Hell, existent. This year they've been hit with a whirlwind of product, some good, some bad, a small amount terrific. But if you can only have ONE Indiana Jones collectible in your possession, it should be this PF. It's one of Sideshow's best, perhaps THE best they've done, and it's going to take a lot of effort to top it. There are minor issues of course, there always are - but this overall PF will be a standout in any collection.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Value - ***
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
Options include these terrific sponsors:

- Dark Shadow Collectibles has him on back order at $252.

- Alter Ego Comics has him for $266.

- or you can search ebay using the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.

Related Links -
Oh, there's PLENTY of Indy stuff I've reviewed:

- the most recent was the Ultimate Quarter Scale from DST and the 12" Indy from Sideshow. 

- there was the recent Medicom Professor Jones Sr.

- one of my favorite new Indy collectibles is the Mighty Muggs from Hasbro, and I've reviewed waves 1, and 2. Of course, they've already been canceled.

- for the sixth scale collectors, I recently checked out the Hasbro mail away Ark.

- on the cute side, check out the Adventure Heroes.

- then there's the Kotobukiya Indy and Professor Jones Sr, the Blockbuster exclusive DVD case, the 12" German and Cairo Swordsman, as well as both 12" Hasbro Indy's.

- in the smaller scale, I looked at some of the deluxe two packs and several of the single pack figures, with a few more over at QSE.

- There's a number of cool Lego sets, including this one.

- Gentle Giant did a 7" version for the Disney parks.

- Disney has done a few other Indy figures, including this wave of small ones.

- and if you're looking for something a bit bigger, check out the very cool sixth scale Grail diary, or this sixth scale figure.

Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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: 5.0

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Indiana Jones premium format statue from Sideshow Collectibles

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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