Indiana Jones Collectors Review:  Indiana Jones with Temple Idol (Raiders of the Lost Ark)

 Review and Photography by Jeffrey A. Gouse (SithLord0498) 

Review Date: May 8th 2008

 

FIGURE SPECIFICATIONS 

  • 14 Points of ArticulationBall jointed: head, shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles;  Swivel jointed: wrists, waist, legs

  • Accessories:  Bullwhip, coiled bullwhip, revolver, Golden Fertility Idol

  • “Hidden Relic”:  Chachapoyan Temple Carving (Army Intel #9903674)

This will be a banner year for Lucasfilm. 

In addition to the theatrical and television debuts of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the massive multimedia event Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, this Memorial Day will see the long-awaited return of cinema’s most iconic adventurer.  Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull brings Junior into the Cold War years, older but still as daring as ever.  Of course, as with any fantasy summer blockbuster, the merchandising machine always thunders full speed ahead in the weeks leading up to the film’s release, setting the stage for record-breaking profits. 

For Indiana Jones, the largest and most anticipated element of the Lucasfilm marketing goliath is the premiere of Hasbro’s saga-encompassing toy line.  Already dominating the Star Wars toy universe, the natural expectation is that Hasbro will harness that experience and bring all of their strengths (and few of their weaknesses) to this new realm.  The question is, though, can they do it? 

Preview Night aside, this review will be the first of many to analyze Hasbro’s offerings.  Like our hero, we will embark on our own quest to discover the answer to that question. 

 

PORTRAIT:  Average (Bordering on Below Average)

One must always be concerned when a product looks sub-par at an event such as Toy Fair.  These are trade shows designed to give companies a chance to showcase and solicit their products to various retailers.  The Indiana Jones figures at Hasbro’s booth this year were shockingly bad in terms of the portraits—especially in their paint applications. 

Sadly, the final mass-production pieces failed to remedy this grievous issue.  It is particularly disappointing considering the outstanding work Hasbro has done lately in the Star Wars arena. 

For this version of Indy, the sculpting produces a rather generic face that barely resembles Harrison Ford.  The only places where a small glimmer of Ford seeps through are in some angled views.  Likeness issues aside, the sculpting still suffers.  The creases in the brow and positioning of the mouth do emulate a hardened, determined expression, but unfortunately the creases are too deep and squared.  It makes the figure look almost Neanderthal-ish. 

As for the paint applications, Hasbro did a sloppy, haphazard job on the eyes.  The right eye is acceptable, but the left eye has white paint that bleeds too far outside the sculpted eyeball.  It also suffers from lazy eye syndrome.  Additionally, one eyebrow is shorter than the other.  On a positive note, though, the hairline is devoid of bleeding, and the subtle five o’clock shadow has been executed well. 

The unfortunate part is that out of a half dozen samples, this one had the best paint.  The others looked more like The Dark Knight’s Joker in terms of sloppiness.

 

COSTUME (Sculpting):  Excellent 

Hasbro hit several grand slams in this area, crafting a superb 3.75 scale representation of Indiana Jones’ trademark attire.  Every element looks as if it had been painstakingly recreated from direct observation of the screen costume.  With any luck, Hasbro had such access. 

The leather jacket is actually made of two different components.  The first component is that the arms have been sculpted as the jacket’s sleeves.  The rest of it is a separate piece placed over the figure’s torso.  Hasbro has done this before with certain Jedi figures, and I have never been a fan of it because the arms don’t match the chest when the separate piece is removed.  However, this approach works brilliantly on Indy because this figure, unlike the often uncloaked Jedi, never has a reason to be displayed without the jacket.  Hasbro has made a version without it.  As a result, the jacket is extremely three-dimensional, and it does not hinder the ball-hinged shoulder articulation at all.  Further adding to the phenomenal sculpting is the very naturalistic creasing and flow of the plastic.  It bunches up and drapes over Indy’s gun holster and whip hook in a realistic manner, and the smaller details such as the pockets and collar have been carefully sculpted as well. 

Staying on the upper body for a few moments longer, Indiana’s shirt shares the same realistic sculpting as the jacket.  Here, the sculpted folds and creases not only look as though they are following a real human physique but it also gives the uncanny appearance of being as thin as a real shirt.  Indiana’s battledress trousers also successfully emulate real cloth through the way it has been sculpted to gather near the figure’s ankles and drape just over the joint on the boots. 

The three major remaining elements of the costume are the fedora, holster belt, and satchel.  Of the three, only the fedora is sculpted directly onto the figure.  The belt and satchel are both separate pieces placed onto the figure, which obviously adds to the three-dimensionality and realism of the figure.  There is little to say about the fedora except that it is faithful to the screen prop and looks like a miniaturized version.  The satchel’s greatest sculpting strength is in the gentle contour of the bag, which emulates the canvas material quite well.  As for the holster belt, kudos to Hasbro for creating a separate piece that hangs off the figure’s waist.  While it looks to be extremely difficult to remove (and why would you anyway?), it hangs loose enough to show a sculpted belt beneath that runs around Indy’s waistline, a feature that is entirely screen accurate. 

After the major faux pas of the portrait, seeing this kind of quality is absolutely mind-blowing.

 

COSTUME (Paint Application):  Excellent 

Whereas the portrait suffered greatly from its sloppy painting, the costume is enhanced significantly from its paint application.  Nowhere is this exemplified more than in the tan paint wash applied to Indy’s leather jacket.  While the detailed sculpting added dimension and definition to the jacket, the paint wash adds life to it by simulating worn leather and the dirt of a hundred adventures.  The various buckles and buttons have minimal bleeding, and the same is true for the shoes and straps.  In fact, the only area with a notable amount of bleeding is the top of the fedora’s band.  However, cursory glances miss it because the shades are so close together. 

In the end, the paint applications on Indy’s costume can be considered a benchmark for other figures to either meet or exceed.  Hasbro did a top-rate job with this one.

 

ARTICULATION:  Excellent 

One area in which the Indiana Jones line is very successful is in the articulation.  Whereas the Star Wars lines have had a mish-mash of inconsistent articulation, these figures sport super-articulation by using ball-hinged joints throughout the majority of the figure.  The joints which prove to be particularly useful are those found in the elbows and ankles, allowing for great flexibility in posing Indy.  One more benefit of this figure’s joints is that they are very tight.  While difficult to move initially, they loosen up after several flexes but still remain sturdy.  That is a tremendous boost for the figure’s stability.

 

ACCESSORIES:  Excellent 

Hasbro may short change their Clonetroopers on their weaponry, but they certainly didn’t leave our favorite archaeologist ill-equipped or lacking a prize.  The accessories included with this figure are comprehensive, well-made, and appropriate to the scene. 

One of the best accessories of the lot is the coiled bullwhip, which hangs exceptionally well on Indy’s belt given the scale and medium used.  It also features terrific texture and layering, lending significantly to its realism.  Furthermore, the fact that Hasbro has included an “at-rest” version of the whip means the display options increase significantly.

 

The other standout accessory is the golden Chachapoyan Fertility Idol.  What is especially impressive about this piece is the high level of detail Hasbro managed to include despite its small size.  Coming from a collector who has reviewed dozens of Star Wars figures, the Idol is among the best 3.75 scale accessories out there.  The only deficiency is that Indy’s hands aren’t really able to hold it.  However, that is an issue Hasbro has already addressed in their Indy figure which features the Crystal Skull.  That figure features an alternate interchangeable hand that has the Skull molded onto it.

 

The extended bullwhip looks good in terms of its sculpted motion path.  It is also made of a progressively thinner amount of plastic to simulate the tapering of the screen prop.  However, the whip doesn’t stay securely in the figure’s hand, but this is more a problem with the hands’ grips being too wide.  The final accessory is Indy’s trusted revolver, and Hasbro fashioned an accessory that is as identical as possible to the screen prop considering the scale. 

 

"HIDDEN RELICS” CONCEPT:  Excellent 

As this is a feature included in all the basic figures, it will neither be factored into the figure’s overall rating nor specific to the Chachapoyan Temple Carving included with this figure.  Instead, it will merely be a discussion of the concept on its own.  The reason for its inclusion is simply because this is the first of the basic figure reviews. 

With that disclaimer aside, the “Hidden Relic” feature is the equivalent to the collector’s coin feature of the 30th Anniversary Collection in the Star Wars line.  Unlike the cookie cutter approach used there, these relics are genuinely a worthwhile bonus.  Each one is different, and a great deal of care has been taken in their creation, which includes sculpting, painting, and materials quality.  Each is packaged in a nifty little cardboard crate modeled after those found in the Army warehouse seen in Raiders and featured more prominently in Crystal Skull.  In a sense, they are blind boxed because the relic’s name is not mentioned anywhere.  However, each figure has a specific relic assigned to it.  They are not randomized.  Also, each has a unique “Army Intel” identification number, a quirky touch but ultimately inconsequential. 

The only negative aspect is that the pairing of figures and relics does not always make sense.  For instance, the Fertility Idol is not included with this figure even though it is the “Temple Idol” version of Indy.  Instead, it is included with “Ark Ceremony” Belloq.  Yes, he did factor into the Idol’s screen time, but it was not the ceremonial incarnation of the character.  The most logical reason for the odd pairing is that Hasbro may feel that most consumers aren’t too interested in Belloq, so they paired him with a relic that would be of interest to people.  It’s a sneaky and clever idea, but it doesn’t do much good because the relic’s only identifying mark is the meaningless crate number. 

Whatever the reason for the pairings, the “Hidden Relic” concept is one of Hasbro’s best pack-ins, and it helps soften the blow of an MSRP that averages over $7.00.

 

OVERALL RATING:  Above Average 

This was a difficult rating to determine.  Hasbro did a phenomenal job for the most part.  The costume is beautifully sculpted and painted.  The articulation is more than sufficient for this type of product, and the accessories are both comprehensive and detailed.  It’s a real shame that Hasbro botched the portrait—although it does hold up somewhat at a distance. 

The question then really comes down to individual preferences.  How important is the likeness?  For me, it is very important, but everything else has been done so well that it more than balances out the shoddy painting on Indy’s face.  If Hasbro can get this element under control, then this line has a very bright future.  Time will tell the tale though when Wave 3 and beyond hit store shelves. 

The last area of concern is the price.  These figures average around $7.50 with Toys R Us charging $6.99 and K-Mart charging $7.99.  With prices such as these, consumers need to consider whether or not they are worth the money.  Sadly, escalating prices are a trend that will undoubtedly continue. 

In the end, this is a good figure and worth of purchasing if you can find one with a decent paint application on the portrait.

 

 

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