Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Indy's other Toys

The other day, I posted a blog about Indy in action figure form and covered the main toylines from 1980 to the present day. But now, I think we should mention Indy in other formats other than just toys. Indy has been lucky enough in recent years to get life in multiple forms other than action figures, namely LEGO toys and even the more high end figures and statues from the likes of Sideshow and Hot Toys.

LEGO is one of those brands that's been highly popular with fans since it's introduction in the 1950s. In addition to it's basic sets, LEGO, has always brought out LEGO sets based around pop culture icons and movies. Indiana Jones was no exception. In 2008, LEGO unveiled it's first set of Indiana Jones toys to the world to coincide with the worldwide release of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In addition, LEGO also released a tie-in video game based around their sets.

Both the game and the sets were hugely successful with LEGO fans and toy collectors, as one would expect. Sets tend to vary in price, from £10 on the secondary market for the smaller sets, to £250 for the largest playset they made, the iconic Temple of Doom. They also made smaller keychain figures and magnet figures for collectors. 

In the realm of collectors figures, Medicom released their own 12" scale. It used their Real Action Heroes body. The sculpt is quite derided by fans and even ridiculed by many. Though despite this, the figure comes with a wealth of accessories including a Staff of Ra Headpiece, Nurhaci Urn, Cross of Coronado and Holy Grail

Facially, it barely resembles Harrison Ford and the hair doesn't look much like his either, but for a collectable 12" figure, it's not exactly the worst and it's quite cheap these days as on some sites, it fetches a little over $100. I think that the price tag and the wealth of accessories offset the bad sculpt. 

On the slightly cheaper side of the collectables market, is the Diamond Select Toys Ultimate Quarter Scale Indiana Jones figure. The figure is in the 18" scale and has a wealth of accessories. Sadly, the only artefact the UQS Indy comes with is the Fertility Idol that sits in Indy's open palm. The sculpt on the face is better than the Medicom, but not as good as the Sideshow sculpt. 

Additional accessories include a coiled whip to hang on the belt, a right closed fist. trigger left hand, open left hand with a whip in it and relaxed right palm where the idol sits. The UQS Indy is by far the cheapest, usually retailing for about $50 boxed. 

Now for the granddaddy of all reviews. The classic Sideshow Collectables Indiana Jones. Now this is the one everyone wants to own and put in their collection. It usually retails for about $150. It comes with two sets of hands, a set of gloved hands and bare hands. A whip that can be coiled and uncoiled. the M1917 revolver that can be loaded and unloaded, same for the Browning Hi-Power handgun. The picture above is of the exclusive edition that has a torch and dart, but is limited to about 1500 worldwide. 

If you thought that the sideshow figure was amazing and the grand daddy of them all, then the Hot Toys DX Indiana Jones figure. 

The Hot Toys Indy comes with 2 sets of hands, 2 guns, notebook, 2 seperate bases and the fertility idol. Also a set of Arab clothing. So it could be displayed any way you want on your shelf. Now this retails for about $250-300. But it was sculpted by the best Japanese sculptors in the business and with a wealth of detail and accessories, it's worth it. 

Just one final mention on a largely collectable one, but obscure in Toys McCoy Indy. It's considered to be one of the most sought after and highly collectable pieces that fans want to have in their collection. 

Some claim it's the first 1/6th scale figure made of Indiana Jones. It comes with a coiled bullwhip, plastic fedora, two sets of gun hands, fertility idol, revolver and sandbag. However, the pricetag is one that many fans can't afford, being as at the lowest, he fetches around $400 and can go to a staggering $1000. 

There we have it folks. Just a brief look at the other forms of Indy aside from action figures. Now I'll leave you. 

All versions 12" Indy that have ever been made. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Fedora

When it comes to Indiana Jones, there's nothing more iconic about the character than the Fedora. A classic hat that came into vogue in the 1930s and was fashionable right through into the 1950s, it was only fitting that Indy should wear one of the biggest fashionable items of the era.

The fedora for Raiders was made by Herbert Johnson. Herbert Johnson is a high end hat maker on the world famous Saville Row in London and is the official hat-maker for the Royal Family. Herbert Johnson is still making fedoras, as well as bowlers, hunting caps and military headgear to this day and has many famous and Royal Clientele.

As for the Raiders Fedora, it was made from Brazilian Rabbit felt and was made using the exact same methods as hat makers would have used in the 1930s to make fedoras, so it has the very light and floppy appearance that a genuine 30s fedora would. The hat was given the distinctive high crown and oddly sloping cut which gives the fedora such a unique appearance that was instantly recognisable, even in silhouette.

To get the battered and worn look that the fedora has in the movie, Harrison reportedly sat on it, stood on it and even jumped on it. Deborah Nadoolman, costume designer for Raiders is said to have screwed it up, thrown it in the dirt and dripped bleach onto it, to give it the distinctive well worn look to it. Though Ford himself added the trademark swoop to the brim that's become a trademark for all fedoras since.

Herbert Johnson has always stated that the colour used for the fedora was Sable and used the high, stove-pipe shaped crown and block, as well as the deep central bash which he claims is a very 1930s look for a fedora. 

Herbert Johnson returned again for Temple of Doom, though the hat is very different to the ones that were used in the filming of Raiders. Whereas they used a very light felt for the Raiders fedora, they used a slightly darker and heavier felt for the Temple Fedora. Whereas the Raiders fedora has a high and tight pinch, the Temple Fedora has a low one, giving it a very different look for the movie. 

The hat sits more relaxed on the head and isn't as turned as the Raiders. The ribbon sits lower back and more behind the ear as well.

Now, the Last Crusade hat is more reminiscent of the Raiders fedora, but using the heavier Temple felt. 

Ford once again added his trademark swoop to the brim of the hat. Herbert Johnson currently makes this hat under the name of "the poet" 

For anyone wishing to purchase "The Poet", they currently retail for £215.

Now, onto Crystal Skull. Herbert Johnson wasn't used for the movie, instead, they opted for a newer company called AdventureBilt. They made the hats for the movie and they used a very similar design to the Raiders fedora, as it is the most iconic of all hats. 

AdventureBilt still make the hats, though they are the most expensive on the market. The handmade AdventureBilt DX, which is from the movie is handmade with beaver felt and requires 6-8 weeks to make retails on their online store for $600. 

Gearheads all over the world love debating and discussing the hats. Many of them have their favourites, but thankfully, there are fedoras out there for all tastes. They range from the budget Dorfman Pacific hats, which start at $35 and go up to $150 depending on quality.  I have a wool felt Dorfman and I love it. Todd's Costumes online does their own line with a company called Coyles, which makes a budget hat in the Raiders style called the Downtowner. Penman Hats are more in the higher end hats, with them starting at $350.

The only thing I consider to be as iconic as the hat is the Jacket, but we'll get into that another time. 

Toys and more toys

When it comes to media, you can guarantee that soon after, there'll be a slew of toys and action figures. It happened in 1977 with the whole Star Wars craze. Indiana Jones is no exception. The first toyline hit store shelves in 1980 to coincide with the the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The "Adventures of Indiana Jones" toyline consisted of 9 action figures, 2 playsets and 2 vehicles. As well as a board game and a 12" doll of Indiana Jones. (which was Kenner's Han Solo doll in Indy clothing). The action figures were slightly more articulated than the Kenner Star Wars toys. They're considered pretty collectable by fans and toy collectors world wide. Sadly, the line never made it past it's 2 waves.

The second time Indiana Jones made it into toy form was LJN's Temple of Doom line in 1985. The line was intended to have 5 figures. However, Short Round and Willie never made it past prototype phase. 

These figures reasonably hard to find nowadays and can command quite a high price on the secondary market, if they are complete or carded. The figures had a battle-matic action feature which LJN would later use on their hugely successful Thundercats toyline. The only downside to the figures is that their sculpts don't resemble their actors at all. Infact, some fans claim that Willie looks more like Bette Midler than Kate Capshaw.

The 90s was sparse for Indy action figures. That was until the 2000s, when Disney parks brought out their own 4 inch scale Indy action figures.

Indiana Jones was back and available exclusively through Disney parks and online. Despite being ridiculed by fans for their lack of articulation, bad sculpts and exclusivity, there are fans out there, including myself that would love to bring these toys into our collections. The toys themselves actually feel like an early 90s attempt at making action figures. All 6 figures only have 5 articulation points. They swivel at the neck, shoulders and hips only. Now as for accessories, Jacket Indy has a revolver, sword, torch and whip. Shirted Indy comes with a removable shoulder bag, sword, idol and sandbag. Marion comes with a sword and frying pan. The Cairo Swordsman comes with two swords. The Mechanic comes with a barrel and a wrench. The German Soldier comes with a rifle and the Ark in a crate.

Now we get into the present day. In 2008, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hit theatres all over the world and to coincide with this, Hasbro released a brand new line of Indiana Jones action figures. Their first wave was a brand new collection of Raiders of the Lost Ark figures.

These figures were brought in line with modern articulated figures like Star Wars, GI Joe, Marvel and more, giving us ball jointed necks and more so we could pose our new Indiana Jones figures in any way we wanted and get some great action and fighting poses. The line continued with a huge amount of action figures, a playset and deluxe figures to bring even more to the table. However, when the Crystal Skull line hit, Hasbro made the mistake of putting out too many Mutt figures as thats what they thought kids would want and like to play with, so the shelves were full of them. The line slowly dwindled after the Last Crusade and Temple of Doom waves. In the end, the remaining figures that were due to hit by christmas of 2011 were released as part of a special 30th anniversary SDCC boxed set.

Indiana Jones has always been one of those cult and classic toylines. It's been around since 1980 and I'm sure there'll be many more iterations of Indy in toy form in years to come. Who knows? In another 20 years, when Indy hits his 50th anniversary, we might see another resurgance of the Indy franchise once again.

Into The Temple

After seeing loads of my friends do this. I've decided to jump in and do it myself. I'll be posting news, reviews, customs and even my thoughts on all things Indiana Jones, as well as other similar stuff. Maybe it's a review of a Game of Thrones episode with Julian Glover, or maybe I might decide to review the Goonies.

Rest assured, things will be exciting and fun here.