Monty Python French Taunter

Remember my last Monty Python review?  It was only last month - I said that Sideshow had done an amazing thing?  I double that.  Not only is the Monty Python line doing well, they released the French Taunter this month, and already sold out.  With an edition size of 7500 pieces, that's pretty amazing!

Other than the original five knights, Sideshow has also produced the Dead Collector, Tim the Enchanter (both reviewed here), the Black Knight (reviewed here), and Patsy (reviewed here).  That's 14 figures so far!  Coming up is the Knight of Ni (a web exclusive of only 1000), the Bridgekeeper, the King of Swamp Castle, and Prince Herbert.

Packaging - ***1/2
Sideshow has once again done their usual excellent job with the packaging.  There's plenty of Monty Python style humor on the box, and its attractive and sturdy.  It's not collector friendly - you'll have to tear the interior insert if you want to use the stand - but otherwise excellent work.

Sculpting - ***
This sculpt of John Cleese is by Oluf Hartvigson, who has brought us so many terrific Sideshow sculpts.  He does a great job on the face once again, capturing the look of the French Taunter in an expressive moment.  It's tough to recognize as Cleese, but that's because of the facial expression, in combination with the large helmet.

The reason this sculpt score is lower than usual involves said helmet.  It is permanently attached to the head, and while I can understand their desire to do this, mine is attached crooked.  It detracts from the look of the figure, since it's tough to even see his left eye, and throws off the symmetry of the head sculpt.

The sculpted hands work fine, and hold his lance properly, but I can't help but think that perhaps they could have been given some form of taunting position.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint ops are quite good, although there aren't a lot.  The skin tone is consistent, and the lines around the facial hair are all neat and clean.

It does seem as though he's just eaten a cherry popsicle however, as his tongue is a very bright shade of red.  Overall though, the paint work looks terrific.

Outfit - ***
The oufit has several layers, including his vest, shirt, undershirt and leggings.  The quality of the material is ton notch, with terrific stitching and lots of variation in style and type of cloth.  So why the slightly lower than usual score?

Two reasons - first, I'm disappointed by the lack of boots.  Yep, that's probably true to the source material, since we never saw the French Taunter's feet, but no boots work against him both in looks and in stability.  He's much harder to get to stand on his own without them.

The second problem is simply one of character choice.  The outfit for the French Taunter just isn't that visually exciting.  Sideshow has done a nice job here with what they could, but he's not a figure that's going to take your breathe away.

Articulation - ***
There's plenty of articulation, with neck, ball jointed shoulders and hips, double jointed elbows and knees, wrists, cut biceps and thighs, ankles, chest and waist.  The wrist articulation is pretty limited due to the molded/sculpted glove hands.

Unfortunately, I had a tough time keeping him standing.  It was because of the lack of boots, and also because the floppy hip joint problem seems to have struck my particular figure.  Hopefully it's a fluke, and not a return to the general problems that Sideshow's body exhibited months ago.

Accessories - ***1/2
He has two major accessories, and a minor.  The minor is the standard display stand of course, which in this case I found more useful than usual.

The other two are his lance, and a chicken.  The lance comes in two pieces which fit together nicely, and look terrific.  It's a great sculpt, with equally nice paint ops.  It's also fairly sturdy, and he shouldn't suffer the dreaded droopy lance disorder over time.

One of the oddities of the French in the film was their hurling of farm animals at Arthur and company.  Clearly, this chicken is one of those animals, and it is sculpted in mid-toss, scrambling to survive.  Sure, they could have included a cow, but I suspect that might have been just a tad outside the price point.

Value - **1/2
I'm evaluating this at the Sideshow retail of $40.  That's simply too much for this figure, but that's where the effects of the market come in - you'll be able to find retailers carrying this for $30 or less on-line, and you can add a star if you can get it down around $25.

Overall - ***
If you've been collecting all the Monty Python Holy Grail figures, you'll want to pick this up.  If you have a particular affinity for rude Frenchman, you'll want to pick this up.  But if you're being picky about which ones you are picking up, this would be a good one to think twice about.

Where to Buy - 
Some specialty shops, and stores like Spencer's or Media Play, have carried the previous figures, usually for around $30 each. On-line I had some trouble finding these - both Sideshow and Entertainment Earth are all sold out.  Still, I found a few:

- Toyboxer  has a great price at $26 plus shipping.

- has a pretty good price at $27 plus shipping.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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