Franklin D. Roosevelt

Drastic Plastic has long been involved in the manufacture of action figures.  They always operated behind the scenes, working between companies and the actual plants in Asia.  However, this last year they decided to begin their own line of figures.

The first series is the Leaders of World War II, and they got folks a tad worked up over the first figure in the series - Adolf Hitler.  I think that due to his controversial nature, the fact that Drastic used excellent materials and extreme attention to detail was lost.

Hopefully that won't happen with the second figure, Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The first series will finish up with Stalin, and a second series with Hirohito, Churchill and Mussolini is planned.

The preorder price for FDR was only $50, but now that he's out they;'ve had to raise the price to $70.  This is due to some of the accessories, which I'll talk about in the sections below.  This figure was also produced with the help of the Roosevelt Presidential Library.  They're help with the research proved invaluable in producing the most accurate figure possible.

Packaging - ****
This is excellent packaging, and shows what you can do when you really spend the time.  It's collector friendly, and you can remove all the pieces, put them back, and do no damage.

The text is also very detailed, both on the back and on the fifth panel inside.  There's an excellent brief history of FDR, although it's repeated in both places.  The only real issue is the basic black of the front, which is a carryover from the Hitler figure.  Due to his controversial nature, I think they went with the plain box front, and now have to carry that along for consistency.  Additional photos of FDR himself would have added to the look of the packaging.

Another thing I wanted to point out on this packaging (and I've even included an extra picture) is the terrific presentation of the figure inside the box.  The positioning of the figure and accessories is excellent for the MIBers.

Sculpting - ****
The sculpt is quite nice, capturing a look that reminds me of FDR in his 50's.  He isn't quite as heavy set in his face as he would eventually become, but this is the look most people remember.

The head is also nice and solid, and there's no softness to the final sculpt.  The sculpting on all the accessories is also top notch.  The head is also properly scaled, with no big head or pin head problems.

The hands are a little soft looking, but that's because these are the bendy hands that DP is having pretty good luck with.  They are particularly useful with this figure, and I was able to get him to hold the pen and cigarette in different poses with no trouble.

Paint - ***1/2
One area that DP can work on is the face paint for their figures.  I noticed on both this figure and Custer (who I'll be reviewing soon as well) that there were some minor issues on the heads with the paint ops.

On FDR, they've used a wash to bring out the details in the face, and make him appear his age.  While it works in most spots, it's tough to get even and clean, and some of the just ended up looking like dirt on his face.

All the other paint ops are excellent however, and there's certainly no issues with the hair line, details of the eyes and eyebrows, or colors.

Articulation - ****
I'm assuming DP is continuing to use the same body as Hitler, although I didn't completely undress him to confirm.  The box claims 33 points of articulation.

The only negative I had then was a somewhat brittle feel to the body, and without stripping him completely down I can't be sure if that's still an issue or not.  However, there's certainly no issues with articulation, as he has a cut joint neck (the heads can be popped on or off the bodies pretty easily, and there's a neck post underneath), iball jointed shoulders, cut joints on the biceps, ankles and thighs, double jointed knees and elbows, ball jointed waist and chest, wrist joints, and even a jointed foot.

Along with all that there are the bendy fingers I mentioned earlier, and these work much better than you'd expect, particularly with a figure like this that needs to hold small items.

Accessories - ****
This is one of those categories where DP really shines.  They outfit their figures extremely well with historically accurate goodies.

FDR has his wheelchair, a major item in itself.  The wood grain of the back, the rubber tires, and the real metal spokes on the tires show just how far they are willing to go.  The metal spokes drove the cost up though, as each chair took four hours to complete.

The scale on the chair is extremely good as well, and FDR sits on the little pillow (another accessory) without any problems.  The axles on the chair seem a little loose on mine, but I'm hoping that won't be an issue over time.

The chair also has a large ring attached on the right side.  At first I popped the metal leg braces in there, and shot the photos.  But as I played around with him some more, it became pretty apparent that the ring is really there to hold his tortoise shell ashtray.

Speaking of the leg braces, these are as intricate as the chair.  They are made of metal, with straps for the waist, thigh and knee.  The leg braces look terrific, but they would work a little better if there was an improved buckle for each of the straps.  It's tough to keep them tight with the very basic straps.

There is also a matching set of tortoise shell pen, cigarette holder and ashtray.  The cigarette you see in the holder is actually removable as well.

The ring you see on his left hand is also removable, and a very nice additional touch.  The final accessory are his glasses, which is the only item in the entire set I had any issue with.  They fit well on his face, but seem about 50% too large.  It may have been cost prohibitive or there may have been manufacturing issues around getting them smaller, but they do look out of place on his face.

The final accessory is a copy of the three declarations of war - one against Japan, Germany and Italy.  These are not sixth scale, but actual copies of the originals on 8.5 x 11" paper.

Outfit - ****
Here's another category where FDR really shines.  His complete outfit includes his hat, shoes, three piece double breasted suit, shirt, tie, shorts and socks.  Yes, FDR wears boxers, proving that he and Adolf had one thing in common.

The quality of this suit is really amazing.  The material is extremely soft, not rough and thick as is the usual 12" scale suit.  The tailoring is excellent, and there are real pockets in the front of the pants. 

The sculpting on the hat and shoes is very good, and the hat fits on his head perfectly.  It also looks good on him, not oversized or out of scale.

It might seem after all that glowing talk about the accessories that I'm shorting the outfit a bit, but trust me when I say it's exceptional. 

Value - **1/2
Ah, but real beauty doesn't come cheap.  Those who pre-ordered this figure at $50 got an excellent value, as this rivals anything by bbi or Dragon, and even surpasses some of the more expensive Toys McCoy style figures.

But if you didn't pre-order, you're going to get hit with a hefty charge at $70.  That's the price I'm scoring this at, and although it's not a terrible value - all this great work costs money - it's not an exceptional value either.

I did find a site still taking pre-orders below fifty bucks, and if you do some searching around you might still get lucky.

Overall - ****
Is FDR perfect?  Heavens no, and I don't think I've ever seen a PERFECT figure yet.  But Drastic Plastic really is putting the pressure on with a figure like this.  They have plans to expand into the military market, with the first release a World War II Marine Combat Shotgunner from the Pacific conflict.  You might want to consider pre-ordering him if you believe he's one you'll want to avoid any price hikes after he hits.  Pre-orders also get free shipping, so it's a much better deal.

Of course, with my fascination with westerns, I'm much more of a fan of the Custer, Crazy Horse and Buffalo Bill figures.  But even I am impressed with the extreme attention to detail and exceptionally high quality of the Leaders of WW II line.  I'll be reviewing Custer sometime over the next week or so as well, and while he has his minor flaws, you won't be surprised to see the same level of detail.

Where to Buy - 
I don't know of any bricks and mortar stores that will have these, but you can purchase them on-line:

- direct from Drastic Plastic, you can pick up FDR for $70 plus shipping.

- has him listed for only $48 right now, still as a preorder.  You might want to double check on that price, as it's a great deal if you can get it.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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