Sunday, 1 June 2014

Indy Reviews - Disney Exclusive Action figures

Way back in 2003, Disney came up with the idea to sell a premium style Indiana Jones figure at Disney Parks. They launched their Indiana Jones Action Figure. The figure was sculpted by Gentle Giant, the same company that has made some Indy props as office items

The figure stands around seven inches tall. He comes with a display base, removable hat, whip, revolver, sword, Grail Diary, poison antidote vial and Fertility idol. As for articulation, he has ball jointed head, ball jointed shoulders, swivel biceps, swivel wrists, swivel waist, swivel knees and swivel ankles.

Paint apps are about standard for Disney. Pretty spot on. The five o'clock shadow is a little rough, the reddish wash on the jacket looks amazing, giving it a worn look. Though there is a whitish-tan wash on the trousers which seems a little off, can't really put my finger on it. Though Ford's likeness is a little off. It seems that Ford's likeness is one of those difficult faces to properly capture in plastic.

The theme is supposed to be Raiders of the Lost Ark, but with the display base with bamboo poles, the random assortment of accessories, some of which Indy never used, it gives off a more generic movie Indy vibe, not really one film or the other.

Now, onto the next 7 inch figure in the line. In 2014, Gentle Giant and Disney released their second figure. Temple of Doom Indy.

Right off the bat, it's obvious that aside from new arms, it's a complete repackage and repaint of the previous figure. The base is identical, now repainted a lighter tan and the grass painted. It's the same head, hat, torso, waist and leg pieces, just repainted. He has a new set of arms, to give him the sleeveless look from the end of the movie.

His primary accessories are a machete and a whip. He now comes with a repainted Poison Antidote vial, a voodoo idol, a Sankara stone, the Grail Diary, a revolver and the same sword as the previous figure. The trousers are now a more accurate paint job as well.

Sadly, the original figure has since been retired from Disney Parks and can only be found now on the secondary markets. The Temple of Doom figure can be found in Disney Parks, stores and some resorts for about $15.

Now, final thoughts. These figures are sort of Marmite to collectors. Some love them, some hate them. I like them. They're not as well detailed or painted as say NECA or McFarlane or Marvel Legends or DCU, but they're an exclusive collectors piece. Collectors should give them a chance, cause there are a lot worse Indy figures out there.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Indy Interviews - Jon Anthony/Minnesota Anthony

There will be two posts a week on Indy's Temple and I've started a new feature where I will be interviewing various fans, cosplayers and such in the Indy fandom. You can message me here or at if you want to be a part of this blog.

Now, without further ado, I am pleased to present the first of many interviews at the Temple, Minnesota Anthony.

Hello Jonathan. Welcome to Indy's Temple and thank you for joining us for an interview

Jonathan Anthony: I'm thrilled to be here, Aaron.

Aaron Wood: for those readers that have been following my blog, I've posted some work by Jonathon on her before. The Treasure Trade piece that he co-wrote with Samuel Inglis

Jonathan Anthony: Oh, I forgot about that thing....I hope everyone enjoyed it.

Aaron Wood: it was one of the popular pieces around the holiday period. So, lets start there. So, give us a little on how you came up with Gulliver Crow and his exploits

Jonathan Anthony: It really was born out of my passion for Indiana Jones. I've always wanted to make my own adventure hero in that vein, and I'd come up with a concept for a character that I then shared on a whim with a close friend of mine, Mr. Inglis. He proceeded to, purely for fun, tell me his suggestions, and at the time I was so impressed by them that I requested we collaborate to write stories with Crow as the hero. So that's how it began.

Aaron Wood: will we be seeing Crow anytime again soon?

Jonathan Anthony: At this time...I really can't make promises. I'd love for him to appear in some form or another someday, but since that initial time, me and Samuel did write a couple short stories as well as a rough draft of a novel starring Gulliver. However, we both began to be occupied by our own personal lives and obligations, and so the partnership dissolved, and with it, the Gulliver Crow series has more-or-less been abandoned. But if I can find a good excuse to revive the guy in a future story, in a different context...I would totally do it.

Aaron Wood: sure sure. We have fans out there that want the triumphant return of Gulliver Crow. Now, speaking of Indiana Jones, you have a fairly successful youtube series called Minnesota Anthony

Jonathan Anthony: Yup. There's a decent following.

Aaron Wood: so, give us some background on the idea and character of Minnesota Anthony

 Jonathan Anthony: Now, that was also rooted in love for Indy. You're gonna hear that a lot in this interview... I basically had wanted to join the online video blog scene, but had difficulty really coming up with something unique enough to justify the effort. And then I realized: nobody's giving the adventure movie genre its due. As far as I knew, there were no YouTube critics who focused on that. So, I decided to break some ground.

Now, as for the character, I originally wanted Minny to be the sole star, and pretty much base my reviews off the template of The Nostalgia Critic. But as I wrote the first episode, which was a review of Raiders of the Lost Ark, I found it hard to properly make him interesting enough without devolving to the generic 'yelling, over-the-top critic' template. So I wanted someone for him to interact with, to butt heads with. So I invented a 'twin brother' named Donny, who accompanies the reviews soley to provide a differing viewpoint, cynicism to counteract Minny's optimism about the film the video discusses. And that chemistry I think is what gives the reviews some energy and life and a sense of humor that it couldn't have otherwise.

Aaron Wood: a lot of people will want to know. What's your Indy gear?

Jonathan Anthony: Its sadly just a mish-mash of what I can scavenge. I've never had the money to buy a truly high-quality costume, so my current Indy gear consists of: a brown leather jacket, which you can get anywhere, a cream-colored long-sleeve button shirt, dark brown pants (I prefer this as its the color Indy had in Raiders), whatever brown boots I can find, a large, brown woman's purse which is the closest thing to a satchel I can use, and I do actually have a pretty good replica Indy fedora, bought from a Western clothes store during the time of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull's release. Otherwise...I lack a pistol and holster to complete the ensemble, and even if I did, I wouldn't include that bit much anyway. Just would be too cumbersome at a con or some such.
[5/30/2014 8:14:12 PM] Aaron Wood: and I assume they wouldn't really be seen on camera during your reviews, right?
[5/30/2014 8:16:19 PM] Jonathan Anthony: The reviews usually featured me and Donny, who did have his own special look to differentiate us, seen only from the head down to the mid-torso, as 'we' would be sitting in front of the camera. I would sometimes have bits where you'd see Minny up and walking around, but not too often, and usually just to help with a visual gag, like when I re-created an infamous moment from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull for that review...

 Aaron Wood: I'll include a link to the show in the notes. Now, you said you've worn it for conventions. What has been the reaction from people regarding the costume both at conventions and online?

Jonathan Anthony: Thanks to the costume not being exactly a high-quality replica, I've never gotten a tremendously impressed reaction, especially if showing it to fellow Indy fans. But I did recently attend a convention here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I was one of very few people dressed as Indy, and I did get some excited folks asking for pictures and complimenting me, which was very nice.

Aaron Wood: it's a great thing as an Indy fan when you get complimented and asked for photos. Now, this next part is a chance for you to show yourself to the fans. so, how did you get into the fandom and aside from Indy, what else are you interested in?

Jonathan Anthony: The memory is a little hazy, but I think the first Indiana Jones movie I saw was The Last Crusade. And I was perhaps around nine or ten years old. It was on television, and my father was flipping through the channels, and I spotted what I thought was Han Solo wearing a hat. I asked him to stop, and we thankfully were not too far into the movie. So I watched it, and had a great time. From that point, I saw all the other movies in reverse order of release, and all on TV too, going from Temple of Doom to Raiders. But with Crystal Skull, that was of course when I was old enough to see it in theaters, and saw it, I think, five times. It was really around KOTCS' release that I fully embraced a passion for the movies, and at that point really dived into the fandom. So that's that.

As for what else I like, I of course love action and adventure stories, not just in movies. The Dirk Pitt novels and work of James Rollins have always been enjoyable. I also adore science fiction, and fantasy is sort of a case has to be damn good, otherwise, I have trouble connecting to it. But yeah, lots of speculative fiction, and general love for art and entertainment. Oh, and writing my own stories, of course.

Aaron Wood: speaking of adventurers, is there any love for a certain Mr. Drake?

 Jonathan Anthony: Oh, of course. I've never completed Uncharted 1 and 2, thanks to various crappy excuses, but I did play Drake's Deception the whole way through, and that truly is a masterpiece. As a game, its a great time, but as just an adventure story in its own of the absolute highest works in the genre, seriously. What a damn great story and characters.

Aaron Wood: i do agree with some that Deception did seem a bit Last Crusade inspired.

Jonathan Anthony: I got that too. The whole sequence of Kid Nate was very reminiscent of Last Crusade's opening with River Phoenix as Young Indy. That, and the game's story is very much an exploration of Nate's relationship with Sully, who for all intents and purposes is his father now.

 Aaron Wood: now, before we wrap this interview up. Is there any spoilers or teasers you can give on what we can expect from Minnestoa Anthony in the near future?

Jonathan Anthony: There's definitely plans swirling in my head. Most of them are dependent on factors such as money, resources, and if there's sufficient demand for Minny to justify the effort. I can make no concrete promises, but I'll at the least say: if Minny does come back, I plan to shake things up a little. The best shows need some rejiggering to stay fresh, after all. So keep an eye out, folks!

 Aaron Wood: I'm sure we'll wait the return of Gulliver Crow and Minnesota Anthony with baited breath.

 Jonathan Anthony: The pressure is on...

 Aaron Wood: so, which has been your favourite review to do so far?

Jonathan Anthony: All of them have had fun things about them, but perhaps my favorite one so far was for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. That review utilized a gimmick that took a lot of hard work to pull off, and I think resulted in a really fun, outrageous and clever video with some of my most imaginative editing and acting of all the reviews. Definitely a memorable shoot, that one.

Aaron Wood: sounds like that's definitely one for the to watch list. So, anything you're looking forward to reviewing?

Jonathan Anthony: I hope to finish reviewing the Jurassic Park films (I do consider them adventure movies by technicality), and I'm also hoping to get to the point where I tackle Pirates of the Caribbean, Tomb Raider, Stargate, National Treasure and Spielberg's Tintin.

Aaron Wood: we're looking forward to seeing those sometime soon.

Jonathan Anthony: Thank you, they should be fun!

Aaron Wood: I'd like to thank you for joining us here in the Temple. It's been fun and a pleasure to talk Indy and Minnesota Anthony with you

Jonathan Anthony: And vice versa. I had a great time Aaron.

And as promised, here's a link to Minnesota Anthony's youtube channel:

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Indy Reviews - Disney exclusive Collectable Figure Collection

Disney and Indiana Jones has been going hand in hand since he was first introduced to the parks in the 90s. Disney have started a recent trend of releasing boxed sets of 5 figures based on various franchises as well as their own characters. There have been figures of well known Disney characters, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars and in 2010, Indiana Jones

The set has a selection of five figures from Raiders, being the German Mechanic, The Cairo Swordsman, Indy himself, Marion and Sallah. Aside from the Mechanic, each figure has his own accessory, though, the Swordsman;s sword is stuck permanently in his hand., same with Marion's frying pan. However, there is a golden Fertility idol, the Ark,a torch and a revolver. 

Each figure stands approximately 4 inches in height, about the same as a Star Wars, Indy or similar scaled action figure. Each one has two points of articulation, the arms move and that's it. They're made from a soft PVC and as such, certain things in the set are likely to be bent, though it shouldn't take much to bend them back into shape.  Paint apps are about what you'd expect for a Disney made exclusive. Not exactly the best, but far from being absolutely horrible. Though looking through several sets, I think they're all hand painted, so again, your mileage may vary. 

The set has been found in various places, such as parks, resorts and Disney stores. It generally retails for $17.99. It can also be found on various secondary markets as well like eBay. Another use for them, if anyone was interested, they'd make fantastic cake toppers or similar

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Indy Reviews - Indiana Jones Vinylmations

Ever since they were first released back in November of 2008, Vinylmations have been a smash hit around the world. Similar to their Pins, Disney hit upon the idea to sell blind packaged 3 inch figures in their parks and stores across the globe. After 24 hit series based around the Parks, Attractions, Franchises, Events and so much more, that in January 2014, Indy fans across the globe were treated to Indiana Jones in Vinylmation form.

The line has seven regular figures in Indiana Jones, Marion, Belloq, Salla, Pat Roach Mechanic, Swordsman and Toht. Each figure is about 3 inches tall. Only the Swordsman comes with an accessory, his sword. The others don't come with anything. I do think there's a missed opportunity here for some accessories to be put with the figures. Like a whip for Indy, a frying pan for Marion, a Ram's head staff for Belloq, a shovel or torch for Sallah, a wrench for the Mechanic and maybe a poker for Toht.

The Chachapoyan Fertility Idol is the chaser figure of the collection. It's rare and may take a lot of boxes to finally get. The Indy in Disguise figure is a topper figure. It comes on top of a blind box, making it the ONLY figure you know you're getting. He comes with a Staff with the Headpiece attached. The detail on the figure is amazing. There's carvings on both sides of the headpiece, despite the small size, as well as sweat on the figure's forehead.

There is a rare variant of the Indiana Jones figure, a jacketless Indy figure.

Prices can vary on the secondary market. The standard figures can cost around $10 or so on eBay. The Idol is about $50 and the Jacketless Indy goes for around $100-150. I was in Orlando on vacation for Star Wars Weekends and I was able to score pretty much the entire collection. I highly recommend these to anyone who is an interested in exclusive merchandise and anything Disney.

Boxes are on sale from the Disney Parks store and in the Parks themselves, as well as certain resorts and brick and mortar stores. They're priced $12.95 per box. The Indy in Disguise pack is $24.95 and you can get from the exact same places.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Indy Reviews - FIGMA Indiana Jones

Way back into last year, Japanese toy company Max Factory announced a 6 inch Indiana Jones figure under it's FIGMA range. It was due for release in March of 2014. The news of FIGMA Indy had come not long after the release of Hot Toys Indiana Jones.

With the spate of figures getting the six inch treatment, from NECA's movie lines, to Mattel's Ghostbusters and recently Hasbro's Star Wars Black series, Indy's been a bit neglected in this scale, other than the Disney figures, which I'll be covering soon. Is this the Indy that we all need to own or avoid? read on.....

For those that might not be aware or know of Max Factory and FIGMA, they specialise in making 6 inch figures of movie and anime characters and they're similar to Ban Dai's S H Figuarts series of figures. I've got my figure from HLJ and now, to take a look at the figure itself.

In the package is the figure itself, a Webley revolver, a set of eyes, a coiled whip, an extended whip, Grail, Sankara Stone and Fertility, as well as a set of hands that are swappable. There's also a figure stand in there as well. The sculpt is supposed to represent Indy circa Last Crusade, given the accessories and weapons.

Articulation is very similar to Black Series figures. there's articulation in the head, shoulder, biceps, wrists, torso swivel, waist, hips, knees, ankle and toes. The swappable hands can be changed to show a variety of poses and looks, ranging from balled fists, holding the gun or the whip and even having the accessories in his hands.

The paint apps are all done by hand, so your mileage may vary.

Though a side note: as it's a six inch figure, it's designed as a collector's display piece and not a toy. As such, care should be taken on the wrist pegs and whip. Take care not to break them.

I really like this figure. Some people have claimed that they don't like his sculpt because it looks very anime-esque. Personally, it doesn't matter to me as it's designed by Japanese sculpters and a toy company. Other than the sculpting issues and the paint and the flimsy stuff, I'd say that it's a figure worth owning. I paid £35 for mine from HobbyLinkJapan and that was with shipping. If you can find it cheap somewhere, I'd say get it.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Indiana Jones and Big Bang Theory

We all know that Indiana Jones is such a huge icon in the realm of pop culture, then it was no doubt that Indiana Jones would end up in the world of Big Bang Theory.

The first reference to Indiana Jones was in the season 3 episode The Precious Fragmentation, where Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and Howard follow a guy "who looks like Adam West" to a garage sale, where they buy a box of stuff for $60. When they look through the box, Leonard pulls out an original Temple of Doom connect-the-dots book

It wouldn't be the last time that Indiana Jones would have been mentioned, in fact, the first episode dedication to Indy was in season 4. In an episode called "The 21-second Excitation", in which Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and Howard have finished watching Raiders and they find out that their local theatre is playing a special edition of Raiders, with an extra 21 seconds of footage, explaining how Indy stowed away onboard the U-Boat. The guys spend hours and hours waiting in line to go see the movie, but however, Wil Wheaton, Sheldon's arch nemesis,  beats him into the theatre, Sheldon hatches an ingenious plan to break into the unattended projectionists booth and then steal the film reel. As he's running off with the reels under his arms, the final scene echoes Raiders in that Sheldon screams "why is there never a plane when you need one?" referring to Indy's escape from the Chachapoyan Warriors to Jock's plane.

The most recent episode of Big Bang Theory to feature Indiana Jones was the season 7 episode "The Raiders Minimization", in which Sheldon shows Amy Raiders for the very first time. She upsets Sheldon by stating that Indy wasn't needed in Raiders and therefore, if he wasn't in the movie, things would have panned out the exact same way. This disheartens Sheldon, as it's one of his favourite movies and he claims to have seen it over 35 times, except the parts with the snakes and melting faces, which he refuses to see after dark.

During the course of the episode, Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and Howard keep trying to find ways of proving Amy wrong about Indy being extraneous to the plot, but they keep finding out that she is right. Even Howard, who points out that if Indy wasn't there, the Ark wouldn't have ended up in the warehouse, Leonard points out that Indy was supposed to take it to the Museum, but he failed in that.

However, Indy was actually needed in one point, which Amy missed. The Nazis needed Indy to pinpoint the location of the headpiece, which they didn't know until they followed Indy to Nepal and with Abner dead and his journal in Indy's hands, the Nazis had no way of knowing where the headpiece was.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Indy Reviews - Titanium Series Vogel's Tank

I know it's been a while since I posted in this blog, but aside from real life issues, we're back to normal service. To kick things off, we're gonna take a look at the Indiana Jones Titanium Series. They were normally 15mm scale die cast models featuring vehicles from the franchise.

Believe it or not, they're actually modern day Micro Machines, since Hasbro now owns Galoob.

Now for today's review, we're going to be taking a look at one of the more iconic vehicles from the Indy franchise: Vogel's Tank from Last Crusade. It was released in 2008 like all the other toys in the Indy line to coincide with the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

The tank measures roughly 15mm long from the tip of the treads to the rear. The main turret can rotate 360 degrees and the side 6pdr guns can move side to side. All of the Titanium series vehicles come with their own little display base to put them on and all feature the INDIANA JONES logo. Aside from the turret and the side guns, it's all completely die cast metal, something which is missing from today's toys. On the secondary market, they haven't lost much of their secondary value. Depending on where you go for the tank, it doesn't really go for much more than $10.

I really do like the Titanium Series. They're nice little collectables that you can either keep carded or take them out and put them on display somewhere. They fit quite neatly on any shelf, either on their own or on their display stand. For the more creative amongst the fandom, you could even create some 15mm scale dioramas and put them in there.

As a fun little side note for all the vehicles, the back of the card features a little fact sheet about said vehicle and a little blurb describing it's moment in the movie. Here's Vogel's tank:

In conclusion: It seems a very cliche thing to say about the Titaniums, but I love them and I think that every Indyfan should have them in their collection. Like I said previously about the Adventure Heroes figures, they're small and don't take up much room. They look great on any shelf and even desks. If anyone at there plays Flames of War or even Axis and Allies Miniatures, Vogel's Tank, the Flying Wing, the Cargo Truck and even the Biplane would look great as part of any army.