The doll came better packed that I have ever seen. The huge box itself was covered in a Styrofoam box and then wrapped with cardboard. Not sure was this the seller´s or factory´s packing, since this is my first Hot Toys figure.
As I opened the box I was mainly horrified. First of all the skin of my Japanese dream boy was ugly, dark olive with a distinct grey hue. He looked like a dead and decaying arab! The paint job on his face did nothing to remind me of Takeshi Kaneshiro or the prototype. I studied his face carefully - I´m usually good at seeing the potential behind a doll sculpt, but could not find him there. For a moment I though of not deboxing him at all and trying to recover parts of the money I paid in ebay.
However, the huge photo in the box reminded me that somebody had painted this very same blob of rubber to look exactly like Takeshi, and I wasn´t ready to accept I couldn´t. If it could be done, I´d do it no matter how many times I´d had to try. I took a deep breath and deboxed him.
As I peeled of the intricate clothes layer by layer I began to appreciate my purchase more. The clothes were true to the movie and the historical period and had no short cuts for dressing them. The top layer of his clothing including a fur lined hat, jacket and trousers were padded for cold weather. Still they kept their ability to move and fold and I love the way the fabric is worn around the edges and smudged with dust in parts. Under the jacked I discovered 3 more layers of clothing. First, a grey cotton high collar jacket with the same perfect tiny chinese buttons that the padded jacket had, a collarless light grey cotton shirt with more buttons and finally and typical sleeveless diagonally wrapped tank top with high collars. The clothes of the top layer were lined, the wrest were not.
The accessories I pretty much discarded without a second glance since they are all made of rubber, but they too were very true to the original movie costume. The huge sword seems rather crappy and doesn´t even go all the way into its hilt. Don´t know if I should sell these to some action figure enthusiast or keep them for a rainy day. I suppose I could repaint the sword and the scabbard and carve the scabbard a bit to make it fit. Sounds bothersome, though. Its not like my Takeshi is getting into sword fights hanging out with my FRs. Oh, almost forgot, I didn´t know Hot Toys guys don´t have feet, but have shoes instead. Well, this guy came with ancient military armoured boots that will not look good with a pin stripe suit he´ll be wearing so I popped those off and plan to build the body new feet with epoxy putty so he can wear proper shoes.
I had seen the Hot Toys body nude before I ordered and had a FR Homme replacement body waiting, but alas the skin tone was completely wrong. I had to decapitate a Francisco to find a closer colour match. What surprised me in a positive way was that the size difference between FR and Hot Toys is almost non existent. The 12" scale is always so untrustworthy - my friend bought a Jack Sparrow 12" figure only to find out it was around 11" instead and useless around the gargantuan FR girls. I´m happy to inform everyone that Hot Toys scale really is perfect! HT guys might have a tad shorter legs, but the clothes are totally interchangeable! Also, the body does look good with its clothes on and I don´t need to see my Francisco naked anyway - Takeshi I do!
The head came of with a simple pop without any use of hot water or anything. In order to put the HT head into Homme body you need to cut the Homme neck joint into a small ball similar to the HT´s neck joint. If you heat a Homme head in hot water it will pop into place on HT neck joint without any modifications. It seems a bit loose though but I do appreciate the articulation. You can also help the FR Homme neck stiffness issue by carving the round hole in their neck joint into a fish eye shape. The extra nudge will grant you that mobility you need for them to be able to look their girls in the eye.
I´ve seen some HT severed head sold in ebay that still have their necks attached, does anyone know if the head is sculpted together with the neck or do they consist of two parts? If the neck is together with the head it might required some serious surgery to do a body swap...
This part is still a bit under construction. I´ve made three failed attempt to recreate the prototype now. Well, not exactly the prototype since I modified the head sculpt quite a bit more. The of the hair and beard. This rubber is very nice and easy to sculpt with a surgical knife and responds well to sanding. It doesn´t melt from acetone either, so you can use that for removing make up and smoothing the skin after sanding. My main issue with the repainting is that no matter what I do this bloke ends up looking like Heath Ledger. I wouldn´t mind having him in my collection, but I want Takeshi Kaneshiro and I want him bad. Hopefully today, I´ll finally succeed.
+ great sculptor
- useless painter
+ finely detailed clothes
+ accessories are true to original
- accessories are poorly painted
+ body has great articulation
- body looks hideous naked
- no feet!!!
A Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece figure costs around 150usd (plus shipping and taxes). Was it worth the money? Can´t say. I think I´ll just buy separate heads in the future - although I have already pre-ordered the Godfather. I hope he´s face up is better... In short, this must be the most expensive repaint project of my life.
The final phase:
Thanks to a goody bag my friend Mutsuo send me I had an extra black wig lying around. He was cute with cropped hair too but somehow it just didn´t feel right - its not that often you see Takeshi Kaneshiro without his signature mullet! I never though I´d be giving a mullet to a any doll of mine but here I was glueing on a wig, cutting it to layers and styling it to not-so-sweet 80´s. Oh dear oh dear! :D It did make the likeness more pronounced so I suppose its fine no matter how retro it is... So here he finally is wigged and all.