Resident Evil 4
Chainsaw Garado and Verdugo


Ridureyu steps in with a great guest review tonight of some of the Resident Evil figures just released - take it away!

It's been a while, but I'M BACK! (The 15-book class is OVER)

Even though it came out in January, Resident Evil 4 is one of those games that's on most people's "Best of 2005" list. While the series had settled into a familiar gameplay niche, the developers decided to mix things up - RE4 contains a new plot, no zombies (sort of - we'll get to that in a moment), and a completely new play style that's similar enough to the old games to be familiar but different enough to be fresh - and, most importantly, the challenge does NOT come from awkward play control anymore! It also included good voice acting - a brand new phenomenon in the history of Resident Evil.
Resident Evil 4 finds Leon S. Kennedy, one of the survivors from RE2, stranded in a remote Spanish village on a mission to save the President's daughter. Of course, as it turns out, the villagers are possessed by some kind of prehistoric parasite, and Leon's investigation later uncovers a plot to spread the infection to the US and beyond - and just what is Umbrella's interest in this, anyway?
Series 1 of the toyline includes Leon, Ada Wong (Yeah, she's back - did that spoil anything?), and these two beasties. Since I have slightly limited shelf space, I decided to go for the figures in the line that interested me most - namely, the bad guys.


The "Chainsaw Ganado" actually has a name in the game - Dr. Salvadore. I'll be referring to him by that name as well as the figure's name during the review, since it's what I've called him for about 11 months. (Note: A "Ganado" is an infected villager). Although this guy isn't a boss, he's very memorable - partly because it can sometimes take more than ten shotgun blasts to the head to finish him, partly because if he hits you once you die, and partly because he's JUST THAT ZANY. I'm glad they included the guy in this toyline - I'd just love to see the Bella Sisters (Chainsaw ladies) and maybe Super Dr. Salvadore (A gigantic version in one of the bonus games. Wields a double-bladed saw). Now, my shelves aren't exactly stalked wiht Movie Maniacs, Devil's Rejects, or Tortured Souls - Leatherface-type maniacs usually aren't my cup of tea. This fellow, hwoever, gave me enough headaches in the game that I just had to pick one up.

Verdugo is also never actually called by name in the game - he's simply referred to as the "Right Hand" in one very funny sequence (Villain: "So I see you've survived, Mr. Kennedy. I shall send my right hand to destroy you!" Leon: "your hand comes off?" Villain: "Shut up!"). Of course, about five minutes after that conversation you learn just WHY the "Right Hand" has the reputation it does. Verdugo (that really is its name) looks like the obscene child of an Alien and a Predator, and spends most of the "fight" punching through the ceiling at you, crawling out of view before pouncing, tripping you with its tail, or just mauling you on a whim. It's almost completely invincible, too - you cannot hurt Verdugo unless you freeze it with liquid nitrogen, and even then you're more likely to run out of ammo or nitrogen than kill it. I personally bought a rocket launcher, but even with one of those it has to be a dead-center hit to finish the thing off. Man, I hate fighting this thing.

Packaging - **1/2
The packaging for this line is a clamshell - and a really simple clamshell at that. It's narrow, which is nice for storage purposes, but the insert includes VERY little information on what you're actually buying. You get one stylized photograph, and mug shots of the other toys in the line - nothing about how Mr. Chainsaw can take a shotgun blast to the face, or how Verdugo is Salazar's "Right Hand." This is a little annoying, since I'd like to know more about these characters - like just what kind of mutation turned one of those parasites into Verdugo, for example. In fact, I forgot to take pictures of the figures in their packaging - if you're really curious, just google it.

Sculpting - Chainsaw: ***1/2 Verdugo: ****
Both of these figures are McFarlane Quality - in fact, I'm fairly certain that NECA hired some of Todd's sculptors for the toyline, since they really, REALLY have that McFarlane Toys "Look." Our Chainsaw-wielding buddy is very well-sculpted - aside from the burlap sack on his head and the big weapon, he could be just a normal Spanish/Mexican guy in suspenders. His shirt is mildly wrinkled where he's moving, and it actually looks realistic - not like the stylized wrinkles you see with most toys. Salvadore's collar is also open, revealing a little bit of sculpted chest hair (it's not painted, so you have to look really closely to see it). His pants also look great, and the suspenders are sculpted from softer rubber rather than hard plastic. I definitely like the way that they sculpted his shoes - they look like real, normal loafers. Of course, the focus of this is Salvadore's burlap sack - and it looks like a burlap sack! They shaped it well-enough that it looks like it's being worn by a real human, although the fringe at the bottom seems kind of odd - it's flared a bit for the neck articulation, and it's not a gigantic problem. The eyes are also well-done, although that's more for the paint category than sculpt. The arms are good, but their sculpt seems somewhat lacking in comparison to the rest of the figure.

Verdugo definitely resembles H. R. Giger's aliens in a more than superficial manner. It's also got mandibles around its mouth, reminding everybody of the Predator movies. Hmmm, I wonder... Coincidence or Conspiracy? Regardless, the sculpt is excellent, with all of the little wrinkles, ridges, scrapes, cracks, tendons, bumps, and spines that the creature has. It's kind of hard to get a good look at Verdugo in the game, but you do get one good panning shot, and this figure looks exactly like he does in-game. The face is particularly striking - very skull-like, with a set of mandibles that would fit on an insect. Verdugo's tail resembles an Alien's tail, except that it's thicker and the barb at the end looks more like a harpoon than a normal tail spike. Verdugo's hands are interesting - one of them is sculpted in a sort of "neutral" clenching pose, while in the other one his double-jointed thumb is curling all the way around the hand. I was also glad to see that they remembered Verdugo's "hips forward" stance, which is something that you notice in that one panning shot I mentioned. Overall, there is nothing negative that I can say about this figure's sculpt.

Paint - Chainsaw: ***1/2 Verdugo****
I checked, and these figures have pretty consistent paint jobs across the board - none of the Verdugos or Salvadores that I looked at seemed any better or worse-painted than their buddies. With that said, I would like to say that the paint on these figures is nothing short of excellent. The Chainsaw Ganado is very well-painted - besides the basic colors for his skin and clothing, some extra details were added to make it look like he's spent the day hard at work tramping through the mud and looking for American government agents to carve up. Mud is splattered all over his shoes and the cuffs of his pants, and there are even some faint dust stains on his shirt. The burlap sack doesn't look as ratty as I expected, but it's good - although, for some odd reason, his eyes are painted blue. I remember the heavily-infected villagers as all having red eyes, so Salvadore's baby blues made me blink a little. He has hair painted on his forearms, but it doesn't look quite convincing enough. There are also painted blue veins on his arms, but there's an excuse for that - he looks infected, that's all. The paint job on this figure is really good, but those small flaws detract from it slightly.

Verdugo's paint job surprised me a little. You never really see the creature in good "outdoors lighting" in the game - you're in a sewe shen you fight it. Thus, I was surprised at the contrast between its white skull and black armor, as well as the little bits of red muscle showing between some of its plating. NECA has done a really good job of making a mostly-uniform color scheme look heavily detailed, with I don't know how many different layers of black and brown covering the creature and helping to highlight some details. There are also other tiny highlights - small streaks of tan on the arms, a tiny stripe of white on the chest - that are really nice touches. Verdugo's face is well-painted, although I would have liked to see a brighter red for its eyes - the things eyes glow, for goodness' sake! Still, I really can't fault them for an excellent paint job.

Articulation - Chainsaw: ** Verdugo: ***
Remember when I said that these figures reminded me a little of McFarlane's Toys? Well, when it comes to articulation they REALLY do. Salvadore has eight points of articulation, most of which are useless - his ankles can move, but not by much (although it's nice if he has balance issues), he's barely articulated at the waist (it seems pointless), his shoulders and elbows can't move much if you want him to hold his chainsaw, and his head is ball jointed (the one good joint on this figure - the head really has a wide range of movement). It's somewhat disappointing, although in the end I guess it's all right - Dr. Salvadore is just going to see a lot of time standing on a shelf, with any displays designed to accommodate his chainsaw-swinging pose.

Verdugo, on the other hand, is much-better articulated - and rather reminiscent of a McFarlane alien, in fact. It has 18 points of articulation - ball-jointed shoulders and thumbs (true ball-joints, too), swivel movement at the forearms, wrists, hips, waist, and ankles, hinge knees and elbows, and a bendable tail. Did you notice what's missing? If you said neck articulation, you're right! Granted, Verdugo's neck is covered in bulky armor plating, but I can see how they could have included some well-disguised articulation. The bendy tail also seems rather stiff - at least it's sturdy and can help hold the figure up if necessary. What really surprised me were the ball-jointed thumbs. His left hand can open and close and grab things without a problem, although his right hand's curled thumb makes too much movement difficult for that hand. The articulation is really good, but nowhere near Marvel Legends - of course, this means that there are fewer joints to grow loose over time. He won't tip over because of hinge ankles, for example. Despite the (annoying) lack of neck articulation, Verdugo can still be posed pretty well, and I like how well-articulated his arms are.

Accessories - Chainsaw: **1/2 Verdugo: Bupkiss!
I'm sure that the heroes have tons of guns. Villains, however, have always gotten the shaft in toylines. Look at SIgma 6 - Snake-Eyes gets fifteen swords, Duke gets more guns than the US army actually owns, and Cobra Commander gets... a staff and shield. Likewise, NECA really went for the bare minimum for either of these figures. Salvadore has his chainsaw - if he didn't, there would be lawsuits. The saw looks VERY good - it's well-sculpted and painted, and even has some lettering on the side of the blade. It looks moderately rusty and grimey, but isn't super-exaggerated or blood-spattered or any of those odd things that often show up on these toys. I think the good doctor cleans his instruments between operations. What's odd is that it's a bear to fit in his hands, and I'll be darned if I'm going to move it around much. 

Verdugo, unfortunately, comes with absolutely nothing. While it's true that he never used weapons in the games, how about one of those nitrogen tanks that turn the fight in your favor? Or what about that crown jewel treasure that he inexplicably drops when killed? Or what about a parasite I'd LOVE a toy parasite! Really, it's kind of sad that they cheaped out like this - the figures don't even come with stands!

Fun factor - Chainsaw, ** Verdugo **1/2
Resident Evil 4 is not for little kids. Likewise, these figures weren't designed with young'uns in mind. Dr. Salvadore is basically a statue, and while Verdugo is a real toy, kids might want to watch that his thumbs don't break. Both figures seem capable of balancing nicely, although I wonder if Verdugo will start to flop like a McFarlane Alien over time.

Value - ***
For a 7" scale figure to cost $12 or less is a good thing. I've heard that these are supposed to be $15 toys, but I've seen a lot on e-bay go for $9, and I bought mine locally for $12 each. This is cheaper than the Halo figures, and on-par with McFarlane's usual work.

Things to watch out for!
Don't handle this guy with grubby hands, he is seriously white and shiny, so if you want to keep him that way scrub up first. But of course ignore me if you want to give him that weathered look. But as Medicom are revisiting Vader with an Ep 3 version I wouldn't be at all surprised if we don't see a weathered Sandtrooper in the not too distant. 

Overall - ***
When you buy Resident Evil 4 toys, you aren't buying Palisades' earlier RE1-3 figures - they have MUCH less articulation and practically nil for accessories. However, they are excellently sculpted and painted, and look awesome on any shelf. Verdugo is especially striking, and Salvadore can hang out with your other psychotic mass-murderers.

Scoring Recap
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - Chainsaw: ***1/2 Verdugo: ****
Paint - Chainsaw: ***1/2 Verdugo****
Articulation - Chainsaw: ** Verdugo: ***
Accessories - Chainsaw: **1/2 Verdugo: Bupkiss!
Value - ***
Fun Factor - Chainsaw, ** Verdugo **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to buy
Online options include:

- OMGToys has the individuals for $11 each.

- CornerStoreComics has the set of four either with or without the jacket on Leon, for $44.

- Amazing Toyz has the set of four for $45, or the individuals for around $12 each.

- YouBuyNow has Verdugo in for $13.

- Alter Ego Comics has the full set of four figures for $51.

- Yikes Comics has them for $15 each.

Figure from the collection of Ridureyu.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour