Pixar simply can do no wrong, at least not yet. Even when one of their films is less than Academy Award material (Cars), it still ends up producing one of the best selling toy lines for Mattel.
Most animated movies don’t produce successful toy lines though, especially not action figures. For action figures to be truly fun, there needs to be confilct, and the type of conflict normally seen in animated movies is situational, less evil bad guy.
This can make it tough for adult fans of such movies who are looking for collectibles or 3 dimensional representations of their favorite characters. Gentle Giant is now working with Pixar to produce a series of maquettes based on their films, and the first to be released - Wall-E - has hit the porch. These maquettes are the usual poly-resin type material, and run around $100 - $125, depending on where you pick them up. The production run numbers are pretty small considering, and they only produced 1000 of Wall-E. As a companion piece, you can also pick up Eve, and they are producing both Remy and Linguini from Ratatouille. No word yet on others in the series.
If you have any questions or comments, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re looking for more reviews like this, check out my site at Michael’s Review of the Week - Captain Toy.
Wall-E Maquette by Gentle Giant
Gentle Giant has been hit or miss the last couple years, and they’ve never been able to capture the magic that their Star Wars series of mini-busts had. Even that line has lost almost all it’s lustre, and you can still pick up their concept McQuarrie Boba Fett bust, an exclusive to the San Diego Comic Con, at their web store. But so far, things are looking good for these Pixar maquettes, and it’s a license that could pay dividends for quite some time.
Packaging - ***
Wall-E comes in a box, without any window to allow you to see the actual maquette. A window wouldn’t do you much good anyway, since he comes in two pieces - his head and his body - which you attach. The head attaches to the body by way of a metal post.
There’s also the usual cool baseball card style Certificate of Authenticity, a collectible these days in it’s own right.
Sculpting - ***1/2
Although this is an animated character, he doesn’t have the usual level of simplistic detail. Pixar made Wall-E a very real looking robot, and that means this maquette needs plenty of small detail. GG has done a nice job reproducing the beloved ‘bot, right down to the rivets. With a combination of sculpted textures (sometimes smooth) and paint, they’ve captured the look of metal in resin.
He’s in a rough period here, with lots of dings, dents and scuffs, many of them sculpted into the basic square body. While we saw him in varioius stages of damaged to clean throughout the movie, I think this is the most iconic look for him. The proportions are good, and at about 6 1/2″ without the base, he looks pretty good with other sixth scale figures.
Paint - ***1/2
The paint work almost gained that extra half star, but for one issue.
I love the damage and dirt, which has been applied liberally and realistically. The paint work has also added quite a bit of realism to the metallic look, improving the sculpt as any great paint job should. There’s lots of detail work, and while the dirt tends to blend some of the color pallette, there’s enough variation here to remain interesting.
The issue? Ah, that’s easy - the stickers. Wall-E’s name on the front of his body is a sticker, as is the energy gauge on his chest. At this price point, I was expecting a high quality tampo sort of print job, not an obvious sticker.
Design - ***
As I mentioned earlier, it’s somewhat unique that the statue of Wall-E does not attach to the included base. Of course, with those wide treads, there’s no chance he’d ever topple over. Even so, it’s generally accepted that a statue should attach to the base, so it was a bit of a revelation. It’s also a nice feature, in case you’d rather display him without the white disc.
And white disc is really all the base is. That and a nameplate. The nameplate isn’t of the character but the movie, but since they are one in the same in this case, it’s a moot point. I’m very disappointed with their design choice with the base. It’s supposed to look like the inside of the ship of course, but I would have much prefered something from Earth. Considering all the cool potential with the vast junk yard Wall-E spent most of his life in, this plain white base is quite a let down. Had they gone with an Earth design, we could have also gotten the cricket hiding in there!
The design of Wall-E himself is much better. They’ve gone with his pensive appearance, with his hands clasped in front and a wide expectant look in his eyes. It reminds me of when he was hoping to hold Eve’s hand, or early on when he was watching My Fair Lady, as is surely GG’s intention. The pose fits the character, reminds me of perhaps the best part of the film, and is dynamic enough to give him some visual pop.
Value - **
At a retail of $125, you’re paying a pretty hefty price for a 6″ statue. Because Wall-E is about as wide as he is tall, he is bigger than the usual 6″ statue, but breaking that $100 mark is still quite a stretch. The production run is so low, however, that it’s going to be tough to impossible to find a real deal.
Things to Watch out For -
The metal post that holds the head in place can easily damage the resin body, so take care inserting it or removing it. It’s a tight fit too, so you might want to turn it slightly as you work it in or out. But be careful!
Overall - ***1/2
The price point is high at some places, but if you’d ordered back before he shipped, you could find stores selling him for $100. Unfortunately, demand was greater than supply this time around, and finding one now is going to take some patience and dedication. In fact, the Remy maquette from Ratatouille is selling out fast as well, while the Linguine and Eve seem easy enough to get. Gentle Giant could easily have a winner on their hands here, as collectors who love the Pixar movies have had very few high end choices. If they can produce a Sully, Mike, Buzz, and Woody this nicely, they’d all move extremely well.
Where to Buy -
Options are a bit limited already, as these are selling quite well:
- Urban Collector is sold out of Wall-E, but they still have Eve for $100.
- Things From Another World is also sold out of Wall-E, but likewise have Eve still available for $100.
- Entertainment Earth is also out of Wall-E (are you seeing a pattern here?) but have Eve for $113.
- The UK collectors can pick up Eve (no Wall-E) for 80 GBP at Forbidden Planet.
- and there’s always ebay.
Related Links -
Wall-E has actually had a fair share of product produced so far:
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