The Phantom Servant from Dragon

I like to try to point out the unusual, especially when it's on sale.  This is the Phantom Servant figure from Dragon Models, based on the comic book "Oriental Hero", which I believe was turned into a film called "A Man Called Hero".  This source material is Chinese, so don't be too surprised if you haven't heard of them.  This character, along with the "Man Called Hero" figure, is on sale at for $17.49 right now.

Accessories - Bupkis
Zippo.  I suppose there's only so much you can do with a character that has no arms in terms of accessories, but still, at full price I would have wanted something more.

Uniform - ***
Nice detail, and excellent quality.  In particular, the solid plastic face mask is excellent, although I suspect the thin, elastic string holding it in place won't last through too much use.  The shoes are particularly cool!

As best I can tell, this is the servant of the Oriental Hero, sort of a Kato knock off.  I found him fascinating, and quirky, and when I saw that he had "hideously deformed face", I knew I had to check it out.

Packaging - ***1/2
Terrific packaging, like you've come to expect from Dragon.  The package can be opened up, and the figure removed, with absolutely no damage whatsoever.  Then, if you decide you'd like to put him back sometime, he slips right back in, none the worse for wear.  I'd like a little more text on the packaging - there are a couple lines on the back (in Chinese) but that's it.

Sculpting - ***
The hideously deformed face isn't bad, if a little unimaginative.  I'm assuming he's a burn victim, and their sculpting from the source material, so they were limited.  But still, this is a little too Night of the Living Dead.  The pony tail is part of the sculpt, rather than rooted, and is flexible so it can be posed in any position.

Articulation - ***1/2
It's a Dragon figure!  Terrific poseability, particularly due to the unique double joints at the knees.  He'd have them at the elbows (and would have gotten ****) if he had lower arms.  Another limitation of the source material, but since most people won't be familiar with the character, the lack of arms will hurt his popularity.

A scene from the failed T.V. pilot "Hogans Ninjas"

Overall - **1/2
So why the average score?  If this was a standard Dragon figure, it would have gotten a much higher score.  But it is VERY specific, and I can only recommend it if a) you are a fan of the source material, b) you have a quirky thing for martial arts figures c) you have a quirky thing for the unusual.  Since this is a secondary character from relatively unknown (in the U.S.) source material, the body is pretty much useless for any other custom, and their are no accessories and little in the way of costume, this figure will only appeal to a very select group of folks.  But if you're one of those folks, now is the time to buy on sale!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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