The only real gripes I had with Hot Toys over their Guardians of the Galaxy line (besides how long it took to get Drax) was the conspicuous absence of both Yondu and Nebula. I get it that Hot Toys has to be careful when banking on releasing second or third tier characters, but then this is also the company that released a Stormtrooper with a porcelain china pattern. Sure, it was just a repaint and not something where likenesses had to be licensed and sculpted, but my point is they’re willing to take risks. And when Guardians 2 hit and both Yondu and Nebula had even more screen time and much bigger roles, I was sure they’d finally get the Hot Toys treatment. Well, so far I was half right. Yondu arrives based on his appearance in the second film, and it’s a good thing too, because with the way things went in that flick, there wasn’t going to be any more opportunities. But let me get off that topic before I start tearing up.
Behold! The packaging! After some flimsy window boxes covered with even flimsier sleeves, it’s nice to see Hot Toys stepping it up on their packaging. Yondu comes in a shoebox style affair illustrated with the console of The Milano’s tape deck and with a profile shot of Yondu painted on the speaker. The tape door is a window showing Awesome Mix Tape, Vol 2, which is illustrated on the inside insert. It’s a great looking box that shows off a little more thought and craft in the presentation then I feel like we’ve been getting from Hot Toys lately. Under the lid and the illustrated insert Yondu comes on a plastic tray surrounded by his many accessories and extras. Apart from clipping off some protective plastic, he’s pretty much ready to go right out of the box, so let’s check him out…
Yondu comes wearing his patchwork Ravager outfit and boy this must have been like a playground for Hot Toys’ talented tailors and craftsmen. There’s so much personality in this wardrobe and I had a great time going over every little detail of it as soon as I got the figure out of the box. The sleeveless trenchcoat has a leather-like texture with various other materials patched in here and there. I particularly like the triangular scale pattern that makes up the back of the shoulders. There are brass eyelets, straps and hooks that hilariously seem to serve no purpose, and lots of little weathered effects, all of which show what a labor of love these figures are to the people who craft them. Thankfully, Yondu’s outfit hasn’t changed much since the first movie, which means this figure fits nicely in with my Hot Toys Guardians line up.
Some additional highlights include the darts lined up on the right shoulder strap, and the Ravager emblem that he wears on the left side of the jacket’s chest. Under the jacket, he has a long sleeved shirt with a fastening front flap that reminds me of some kind of 19th Century Gentlemen’s outfit straight out of The Old West. The garment has an interesting pattern of purple ovoid loops against a red backdrop, which displays some remarkable attention to detail and craftsmanship. The outfit is rounded out by a pair of red, purple, and brown trousers, high boots, and a scarf tied neatly around his neck.
Yondu has a wrist bracer on his right arm, which also houses a removable throwing knife. I don’t remember this even being featured in either of the films, but it’s damn cool that Hot Toys included it as an actual accessory. He also has a couple of left hands that can hold it quite well. Other hands include a couple of fists, relaxed hands, and a right hand intended for holding back the flap of his coat.
At this point, it should go without saying that Hot Toys’ likenesses are almost always on point, and that’s certainly the case here. Michael Rooker has been sculpted by a number of different toy companies over the years, but I’d say this is one of the best portraits I’ve seen. The shade of blue they used for the skin looks just right, and somehow they still manage to make the skin look realistic, despite being such an outlandish color. You get some veins running under the skin, as well as what I think is supposed to be scarring from his time spent as a Kree Battle Slave. Of course, the eyes feature that same eerily lifelike quality that it seems like only Hot Toys can do. I also really dig the realism of the whiskers on his chin, they just look fantastic. Hot Toys went for a fairly neutral expression, which was probably a smart move to allow for a versatility of display options, but this is one figure that I would have loved to see an extra portrait for, either whistling for his arrow or smiling and showing off his rather distinctive teeth! And as we’ll see in a bit, I would have easily traded the Deluxe accessories for an extra Yondu noggin.
And yes, he comes with his fin, which is easily swapped out as both pieces are magnetic and both of them have sculpted and painted circuitry on the inside where it connects to his head. The fin is pretty much the key item for changing Yondu from a first movie appearance to a Vol. 2 appearance. And while I really do love the way the fin looks, chances are I’m going to stick with the look from the first film as it just fits in better with the Guardians on my shelf. Moving on to accessories… well, Yondu may not have a talking car like Zardu Hasselfrau, but he does come with a flying arrow.
Yondu’s belt features a holster for his Yaka Arrow and he actually comes with two: One is just the plain arrow and the other is attached to an effect part, which tabs into two other effect parts to create it’s flying effect. The plastic trail is cast in fairly soft translucent pink plastic, which allows for a little bit of variety to the poses you can do, but it’s mainly intended to fly up from the holster, circle behind his head and pass over the left shoulder. I think the effect is well done, but I also think it would have been cool to get a couple more pieces of it to better mix up the display. Thankfully, Yondu does come with a pair of hands for holding the arrow and that helps support it when it’s hovering over his shoulder. So, what else is in the box?
How about an angry Attacking Baby Groot with stretching arm tendrils? This is a tiny static figure, but oh boy is it a fantastic little sculpt. The detail from the wood grain finish to Groot’s skin to the texturing on his little Ravager outfit. Even the paint apps on the zipper are so crisp and clear and the expression on his little face is perfect. I think it’s great that Hot Toys puts so much effort into such a little extra. The figure comes with a simple black disc stand with pegs for the feet, and it’s pretty essential because he will not stand on his own. And that’s it for the accessories included with the regular edition of the figure, which just leaves the extra goodies included with The Deluxe version. And DX Yondu does indeed come with some cool extras, but they’re all solid examples of what I would consider non-essentials, especially if you don’t own the Rocket figure from the second movie, because one (perhaps you could argue two) of these accessories are intended for him.
First off, we have the Groot cage. Yes, you can put the Baby Groot that came with Yondu in here, but because he’s attacking with his arms it looks a little odd. Clearly, this cage was intended for the Baby Groot that came with Rocket. Although that one is also wearing the Ravager outfit, which is a little out of context from the scene in the movie. Either way, it’s kind of a dick move to switch up the Baby Groots like that, since there has got to be other collectors out there like me who are happy sticking with their Rocket from the first movie. It feels like a strategy designed to make me want the other Rocket and indeed Sideshow even cross-sells Vol. 2 Rocket as a companion piece to Yondu on their website. Ah, but you won’t get me that easily, Hot Toys. I’ll just topple the cage on its side with an open door and have Baby Groot standing in front of it, like he’s just escaped and is out for blood! Of course there’s no beating around the bush with the next accessory… it’s straight up an accessory for Rocket.
It’s Rocket’s blaster and this one I really do have to call bullshit on because it has nothing to do with Yondu. Plus, with how small Rocket is, there’s no reason Hot Toys couldn’t have included this with Vol. 2 Rocket. I get that Yondu and Rocket were paired up for part of the movie, but including this piece with Yondu just feels wrong. That’s not to say I mind getting it, because it works just fine with my Rocket from the first movie. It’s a beautiful little weapon too, but I prefer the far more distinctive design of his rifle from the first flick. So, two DX accessories both designed to go with Rocket. Are any of the DX extras designed for Yondu? Yep, I saved the best for last…
The Aero Rig! This chest harness is made up of front and back pieces, which attach around the figure. The detail and paintwork on this rig are both exceptional, with a nice metallic silver finish and satin black and copper touches. The jet tubes feature sculpted vents and a little weathering where the flame shoots out. It’s worth noting, however, that the rig is made of extremely fragile plastic. Just getting it apart to put it on the figure was a little scary and getting it apart again to take off was even more so, because you can’t get at the fragile clips on the interior of the shoulder straps. I’d also advise against displaying the figure with it for extended periods because it will probably put some troublesome wrinkles in the jacket. Another cool bonus is it looks like it should have no problem fitting Star-Lord. It might fit Drax too, but I don’t want to mess with his sensitive nipples. It’s not something I’m going to use a lot, but I do like having the option, and Hot Toys put a lot of great work into it.
With Yondu I feel a sense of closure on this journey that started back in 2015 with Star-Lord. I suppose there’s always a chance we might still get a Mantis and Nebula release from Infinity War, and I’d jump on either of those releases, but I still feel content with the lineup I have now. Although part of me is still considering the Rocket and Teen Groot two-pack. Anyway, I jumped on Yondu at Sideshow the moment he went up for pre-order and I’m glad I did, because he went to Wait List pretty quickly and sold out at a lot of other retailers just as fast. Right now he seems to be pushing $300+ on Ebay. But was the extra thirty or so dollars for the Deluxe worth it? Eh. I’m almost always willing to pop the extra money for the Deluxe version, but here’s an example where I would not have minded sticking with the regular release if I had to. Either way, I’m just glad to have the figure because it turned out amazing and it’s every bit as fine a tribute to the character as a full-blown Ravager Funeral.