March 7, 2006
Pirates are definitely all the rage these days. That's not surprising, considering how damn cool they are. Pirates have always fascinated us, much like bikers and gunfighters - they walk outside the law, and yet we glamorize their life and their morality. Everyone loves a bad boy, and pirates are the perfect bad boy in tights.
The film Pirates of the Caribbean exploited our love of pirates, and our love of the Disney ride. Yet it didn't succeed because of the exploitation of either, but because it was a well made, well acted, fun and entertaining movie. So much fun, that two sequels were planned almost immediately, following more of the trials of Jack Sparrow.
NECA produces a series of action figures based on the first film, and has just recently expanded their offering in a second series. They will also be doing figures based on the second film (Curse of the Black Pearl), coming this summer.
This second series includes a new Jack Sparrow and Will Turner, along with the goofy pirates Pintel and Ragetti. I skipped the rehashed main characters, but couldn't pass up the more stooge-like henchmen. You can find these at some local stores like Hot Topic or Spencers, or try one of the online suggestions below.
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"Pirates of the Caribbean Pintel"
I picked up Pintel and Ragetti, but since things are a little dry on the toy front right now, I split them up into two reviews. One is this one, duh, and the other will be posted at my site later today.
Pintel was played by the diminutive actor Lee Arenberg. I best know him from Seinfield where he guest starred on a couple episodes. In one, "The Parking Space", he argued with George over a spot in front of Jerry's apartment, where he wanted to pull in head first, and George wanted to back in. In the other episode, "The Susie", he played a guy intimated by Jerry, particularly after Jerry seems to have broken his thumbs over a debt. He's been in dozens of television shows and films though, and is a well known character actor.
Every film needs a little comic relief, and Pintel (along with Ragetti) helps to provide that in the POTC films. Arenberg will be in the third film as well, so it looks like his character survives, in one form or another.
Packaging - ***
NECA uses the now industry standard clamshells, and they've gone with an attractive POTC themed insert. Clamshells are always sturdy, although you'll need a knife to get it open. They aren't breaking any ground here, but it does the basic jobs (product safety, theft reduction, peg awareness) well.
Sculpting - ***
At first glance, the sculpt is quite well done. There are paint issues that bother me - but that's not til the next category. Here we'll focus on just the sculpt itself, at least as much as we can.
There isn't a ton of articulation here, so there's not a lot of posing you can do. The basic pose is pretty much it, and the straight arms only look good in one or two ways. Fortunately the basic pose is pretty good, and has an air of danger and stupidity at the same time.
The work on the head is the best part, matching up very well with the character. You can see the actor in there too, but more importantly in a case like this, it matches his screen look. The sculpted hair restricts the neck joint, but flows well and loks better than usual.
The plastic used for the legs is softer than the rest of the body though, and I'm a little concerned that the legs will wilt over time. They did stiffen up a little after he'd been out of the package for awhile, but they are still softer and weaker than I'd like.
Speaking of soft plastic, the rubbery shoulder belt, which works as a scabbard for the sword, is a seperate piece from the body and can be easily adjusted. However, the belt on mine had started to melt and fuse with the harder plastic body, leaving marks on his back.
Scale seems a tad off with both of these series 2 figures. Arenberg is listed as 5'4" tall, but this figure clocks in at 6 3/4" tall in a 7" scale. Okay, that's 5' 9", but I can go with that. Hey, they're just toys, and it's close. But standing next to Ragetti, things definitely look off. However, Pintel should look good with the series 1 line, if you ignore his partner.
Paint - ***
While the sculpt is good, the paint doesn't do quite as much for me. It's not as bad as Ragetti, who lost another half star here, but the heavy wash takes something away from the excellent sculpt.
These characters are dirty, and hygiene was never high on the pirate code. But the wash is very overdone, particularly on the shirt and face. Some of the small detail work, like the eyes, scar and teeth, look great, but I really wish they'd backed off on some of the wash effect.
Articulation - **
Pintel doesn't have much in the way of articulation. He has a ball jointed neck, but the hair sculpt almost completely restricts it. He also has ball jointed shoulders - "NECA shoulders" as some call them - that have a reasonable range of movement, but which cause the inside of the biceps to be sculpted quite flat against the body.
He also has cut wrist joints, a cut waist, and cut joints at the top of his exposed calves. The few joints that are here allow for one or two basic poses, and that's about it.
Accessories - ***1/2
Pintel comes with a reasonable number of accessories, designed to improve the display quality.
He has his club, or shillelagh, that fits nicely in a loop in his belt. He also has a sword that fits in the sash/belt around his shoulder, and can be held in his hand as well. Oddly, the guard on the hilt that protects his hand is made from a VERY soft plastic. This rubbery material doesn't hold much of any shape well, and ends up looking weird when the sword is held in his hand.
He also comes with a flintlock pistol, that somehow managed to make it into the hands of Ragetti when I was shooting photos. Actually, they both come with one, so it's a bit of reuse, but it looks terrific, and considering what a critical weapon it is, it's forgivable. It also can fit inside Pintel's belt, in the same hole as the club. It's one or the other.
There is also part of a tea set - a large pitcher and two smaller pitchers. These are part of the treasure of course, and fit in with the theme that all of these figures are designed to go together to form a diorama from the first movie. Pintel has a base too, littered with gold and valuables. The sculpting on the base is great, although the paint wasn't as neat as I'd hoped. There's some slop, particularly with the gold painted items. Pintel fits on the foot peg well, and his base sits up snugly to other bases in the set, like Ragetti's. As I mentioned earlier, he doesn't need the base to stay standing, but it's a great look for him, and helps compesate for his size somewhat.
Fun Factor - ***
The combination of sculpt, style and accessories will make these fun toys for kids, although they'll want to be careful with the swords. If you know kids in that 8 - 10 range who still love pirate action figures and have seen the films (hey, they are a little young for them, but who am I to say...), then they'll enjoy these. Even if you're one of those cruel, mean parents that don't let your kids see PG-13 movies, they can still have fun with these. Who doesn't love ugly pirates?
Value - **1/2
At around $13 at stores, these are a pretty average value in the current market. You can do better than that online, but of course then you end up with that nasty shipping cost. Fortunately, the amount of accessories and solid sculpts help keep these from dipping any lower in this category.
Overall - ***
Pintel will make a very nice addition to the first series, and should fit in great on the shelf. He's a little tall, but that's being pretty picky, and hey, if Bruce Willis can have hair, Lee Arenberg can gain a few inches.
He doesn't look as good with Ragetti, but that's not as much his issue as Ragetti's. I'm looking forward to the third series, and I may just break down and pick up the second series Jack and Will just to complete the diorama.
Where to Buy -
I know that both Hot Topic and Spencers are carrying these, but prices are high and they aren't available at all locations. Online options include:
- Amazing Toyz has the singles for $12, and the full set for $44, but they are going quick at that price.
- CornerStoreComics has the individuals for $12, and the set for $44. They also have some of the earlier figures available, including the cool 18" Jack Sparrow!
- Killer Toys has the set for $50, or the singles for $14.
- Alter Ego Comics has them available by the case, if you and your friends are looking to go in together.
- Dark Shadow has some of series 1 still in stock, on sale for $7 each, if you missed out.
Related Links -
I've reviewed a number of the earlier POTC figures:
- sometime today, my review of his partner, Ragetti, will go up.
- NECA did a full first series, including Barbarossa, Turner, Sparrow and a dead Pirate.
- they also did a terrific 18" version of Sparrow.
- Disney just released some figures based on the actual park attraction, and not the film.
- Mezco recently released some very cool Pirate Mez-itz, not based on any license, but cool nonetheless.
- and if you like your pirates a little more 'real', there's always Blackbeard from Sideshow.
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