I’m in trouble now. I know now getting into Hot Toys has lead me down the road of the 1/6th scale / 12 inch action figure. And I keep going down that rabbit hole. Hot Toys introduced me to the world of the 12 inch figure, but if you look closer, you will find there are more companies than Hot Toys.
One reason Hot Toys can get pricey is because they have to most times license the actor’s likeness. How to get away from that and still produce a decent figure? Be a Chinese company that doesn’t give a crap about licensing, and issue a close enough lookalike action figure to some properties that in most cases may never have a figure produced and then give it a really generic name. Case in point, we have here “The End Walker” from Magic Cube Toys. One look at the action figure and you know that it is modeled after Eli from the Denzel movie “The Book of Eli”. But of course they can’t say that because they don’t have the licensing to do so.
And I continue to go down the Rabbit Hole…in coming weeks, you’ll see action figure reviews of other notable characters and actors from similar Chinese companies that have been given a generic name including (in no particular order) Halle Berry, Will Smith, and Morgan Freeman.
The packaging almost gives away the generic feel of the brand, but it does so in a classy way. It’s almost like getting groceries from Aldi’s. You may get a product that satisfies you in packaging that is still pleasing to the eye, but the packaging will never be close to the Brand name stuff and the food inside will never have that premium taste of it as well, even more if is healthy food, since we all know most of the time have transparent package or healthy products like korean red ginseng supplements that are good for the body as well.
Here we get a cardboard box where it actually feels like a cardboard box instead of the pretty laminate features of a Hot Toy box. The pictures on the box are what makes it stand out. On it are pictures of promotional shots of the action figure in different poses…some with a post-apocalyptic background which again is a nod to “The Book of Eli”. What makes the pictures so great is the hazy look and feel to it. While that adds to the setting, it also makes the figure look almost real. The left and right sides also contain the figure in different poses.
On the back you get a breakdown of the figure in both English and what I believe to be Chinese (Mandarin). It shows almost every accessory and piece of clothing that you get with the figure.
Finally, after you remove the instruction sheet, you get to the foam insert which houses the actual figure itself. The weapons and accessories all have their own slots in the foam and the figures head is also covered in a protective plastic bag.
I feel that this figure was adequately packed. Not too much, not too little. You get what you get and at the price you get it at. It works and does it with a fashionable flair. I’ve seen more expensive figures done in a lot less than this.
Packaging Score: 8.75 out of 10
This may not be a Hot Toys action figure, but it damn well packs in the accessories like a Hot Toy. You not only get the removable clothes (coat, shirt, pants), you also get a scarf, sunglasses, beanie, machete with sheath, sawed-off shotgun (w/ pump action), semi-automatic handgun (with articulated hammer), an MP3 player, a pair of gloves, an extra neck, one extra right hand, two extra left hands and a working backpack that I used to store most of it (the neck, extra hands, etc.).
Now while it’s nice to receive so many accessories, it would be nicer if they were easier to put on. The sunglasses don’t quite look right on the figure’s head unless you put on the beanie. The beanie, which is made from some stretchable lycra material just barely fits on his head. And you have to make sure the beanie sits just right to cover the top of the ears and keep the sunglasses from falling off.
Then you have the gloves. I must have struggled to put the gloves on the figure for at least a half hour. You can potentially put the gloves on any set of the hands, but on the gun holding right hand I had to first separate the pinky and ring fingers that had a small webbing of plastic connecting the two. Once the gloves do get on, the figure looks legit…it was just the act of doing so that made it so annoying.
Both guns and the machete fit nicely into his hands. The backpack fits well too, but I had to tie the drawstrings together to keep the bag from sagging or falling off.
All in all, a very nice assemblage of accessories and I am not dissappointed.
Accessories Score: 9.25 out of 10
Here’s where Magic Cube Toys lost me. I know there are some very talented Chinese sculptors out there, but they kind of missed the mark with Denzel. A close up of the face doesn’t even slightly resemble Denzel Washington. It’s almost like the blind woman in Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” video had sculpted Denzel. The jaw line’s not the same, the head’s a little too fat. This is not Denzel.
BUT, if you do put the sunglasses and the beanie on the figure and look at it from the side, you can see where it does start to look like Denzel. Not enough to show off my Denzel figure to my friends in my collection, but enough where I can see where it was going. It’s almost like they made him look like what they thought he may have looked like without the glasses and the beanie and they ultimately just gave up on it looking like Denzel. The head itself feels a little cheaper than a Hot Toys figure. While it has nice detail, it doesn’t have the depth of what I’ve come to expect from Hot Toys.
Let’s balance that with the outfit and the accessories. Both are dead on likenesses to the weapons and accessories that Eli had in the film. The machete and sheath have a nice solid feel to them. The clothes look like what Eli wore in the movie. Even the backpack is accurate. No complaints there.
Sculpt/Likeness Score: 7 out of10
Articulation has always been awesome on my Hot Toys 12″ figures, so I would expect the same even from another company. Depending how you count them, this figure has about 30 or more points of articulation. It’s exactly what you want out of a 12 inch figure when you want to pose it the way you want. The clothes don’t seem to hamper much of the articulation which is nice. It does seem a little loose at times, but it did hold its poses.
Sculpt/Likeness Score: 8.5 out of10
I think many of us who get into the 1/6th scale market have depended too heavily on Hot Toys and to a lesser degree Sideshow Toys to deliver a quality 1/6th scale product and for the most part, they do. But there are many companies out there begging for your dollar and are willing to try to put out a quality product as well. Magic Cube Toys being one of these companies…they may not have the money to go out and obtain the licensing or put their figures in fancy, three-layer boxes, but what they have given us is a solid, quality action figure loosely based on an existing movie property. Who can’t love that type of enterprising?
Most of these figures can only be purchased overseas, so if you want these figures, get used to using eBay or try to find another specialty shop on the internet. Most Chinese retailers from eBay have been real good to ship figures well within 24 hours and it takes a good 10 US days normally to get here, but so far it has been well worth the wait.