Indiana Jones: Jungle Cutter Vehicle by Hasbro

A recurring theme in the Indy movies has been to include some cool and unusual vehicle as the background to one of the set-piece action scenes. Raiders had the Flying Wing, Last Crusade had that awesome tank, and Crystal Skull had the Jungle Cutter. Can’t think of what you would consider Temple of Doom’s contribution, but there’s always one nagging exception to every rule. The Cutter was one of only three larger vehicles that Hasbro decided to reproduce for the 3 3/4″ line, and while I would have rather had one of those amphibious jeeps from Crystal Skull, the Jungle Cutter here is no slouch and definitely toy worthy.

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The vehicle comes boxed in a great looking package with the traditional Indiana Jones style deco and a great art rendering of this rather unique looking vehicle in action. The back panel shows off a photo of the toy itself and points out some of its features. As with all three of the vehicles in the line, the box is designed to convert into a diorama, along with a bonus fold up cargo crate, which is a great little bonus if you’re willing to mangle the box, which I am not, as the box is otherwise fairly collector friendly. The toy comes with the two blades detached and you can easily take them off again to fit it back into the box for storage.

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Basically, the Jungle Cutter is a military-style tracked vehicle with a plow and two monstrous circular saw blades on the front. The treads are molded and the vehicle rolls along on wheels that are concealed underneath. Rolling the vehicle along causes the front blades to spin, which is a pretty cool feature. The sculpting on this thing is really nicely done. There are a lot of panel lines and simulated hatches, including sculpted latters leading up to the control cabin. The front of the vehicle has two molded rollers with simulated grinding teeth to chop up whatever trees it sucks in and two chutes on the back to spit out the sawdust. All of the military markings and lettering are painted onto the toy and there are no stickers to be applied.

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The control cabin has a seat that will fit most of 3 3/4″ figures, a control panel with levers and one side has a flexible plastic tarp with a window, while the other side has a molded rolled up tarp to allow for easy access.

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The spinning blades are spattered with paint spray to simulate mud, as is the plow. The Jungle Cutter has one really weird action feature, where pressing one of the smokestacks will shoot the plow off like a missile. I’d like to think that this is some kind of misguided attempt to simulate the vehicle exploding, but more likely Hasbro intended it as some kind of goofy secret weapon. It’s all good, though. So long as you don’t hit the fire button by accident, you can pretend it doesn’t exist.

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The Jungle Cutter retailed between $20-25 originally, which is about what Hasbro was asking for their Star Wars ehicles in this same size class. It’s not bad, as this is a good sized toy. Nowadays you can still pick it up in that price range from online retailers, or if you hunt hard enough, a lot less. The sculpt is very well done and I really like the way the blades spin when you push it. It’s certainly a cool and unique vehicle and considering its scale, it offers up all sorts of possibilities for customization across other lines. I can easily see Cobra modifying one of these things for some evil scheme of deforestation.

[And that wraps up Indiana Jones week. Obviously, this has been only a small portion of the line and its toys. I will most certainly be revisiting it again in the future to look at some more, but I want to get a few odds and ends in over the weekend before the new week starts on Monday. -FF.]

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Indiana Jones: 3 3/4″ Colonel Dovchenko and Irina Spalko by Hasbro

Hasbro brought Indiana Jones back to the toy aisles with the aim of producing figures from all the Indy films. But let’s face it, love it or hate it, the release of Kindom of the Crystal Skull was the only reason any of these figures were produced at all. In recognition of that fact, I thought I’d devote at least one day to looking at some toys exclusively from that film: The Russians! There were three single carded Russians released in the line. We got Colonel Dovchenko; creepy psychic chick, Irina Spalko; And a standard Russian Solider. Unfortunately, I never once saw the Russian Soldier on the pegs, so we’re going to have to leave him out for now, but let’s check out the rest of the Russian forces. I don’t have any of these carded, but just go back and look at the carded Indy’s from a few days back and you’ll know what to expect.

rusks5“Russians… I hate these guys.” Oh, wait, that was the Nazis. It’s kind of hard to hate on the Russians. I’ve devoted a great deal of my academic studies specializing in US and Russian relations and studying Russian history in general, and it’s tough not to be sympathetic toward them as a people. Bottom line, they don’t make great evil demons like the Nazis do. Nonetheless, considering the context in whichKingdom of the Crystal Skull took place, I think the Russians were a natural choice for the new baddies of the film, even if they couldn’t possibly manage to fill the Nazi’s jackboots. But enough about that, let’s look at the figures…

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Ok, so Dovchenko wasn’t all that memorable a villain. He was certainly no Belloq and no Mola Ram. I guess he was at least on par with Vogel from Last Crusade, who was pretty forgettable himself. I’m guessing most people probably just came away remembering Dovchenko as the guy that got eaten alive by ants. Still, all in all I think Igor Jijikine (Russian character actor and sometimes video game voice contributor) did a fine job playing him. And honestly, I thought his “oh, for love of god, shut up!” line was probably the best in the movie. Although that might be saying more about the movie than the actual line.

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Like a number of the Indy figures, Dovchenko’s sculpt is excellent from the neck down, but has some issues with his head. The head itself is pretty well done, and a fairly good likeness, but his sculpted officer’s cap is just way too big. It looks like Jiffy Pop is about to burst up through his head. Ok, maybe it’s not that bad, and in fairness it only looks really bad when staring at it from directly in front. The uniform is nicely recreated here and overall, I’m pretty fond of this figure even with his big hat. I would note that the sculpting on the sleeves does unfortunately inhibit the elbow joints quite a bit. Dovchenko came with an automatic pistol and an AK-47 with a collapsed stock. The AK-47 is a particularly nice accessory, complete with a detailed sculpt and paint apps for the wood.

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Next up is Irina Spalko. I don’t really care for Cate Blanchett as an actress, and I really didn’t like this character in the film at all. Her Russian accent bothered me a lot more than Harrison Ford’s did in K-19, and that’s saying something considering all the flack poor Ford caught about that performance. Anyway, I couldn’t figure out whether Lucas and Spielberg were trying to make Spalko into some kind of sexy femme fatale, but with that bizarre Romulan haircut, I was having none of it.

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Nonetheless, Hasbro did a very good job bringing her to 3 3/4″ figure form. Considering Hasbro’s past issues with female head sculpts, Irina made out pretty good here. The likeness is passable and the paint apps are fairly neat. Her uniform is also really well done right down to the fine detail on her buttons and belt buckle. I really like the scabbard too, even if it doesn’t actually hold her rapier. Spalko comes with an automatic pistol and her rapier. The rapier is pretty close to the one that came with one of the Mutt Williams. Whatever I think of the character, I’ve got zero complaints about this figure.

I had originally planned on looking at the Jungle Cutter vehicle today as well, but I didn’t have time to photograph it, so there’s a good chance I’ll be doing that one tomorrow to end out Indy Week. There’s always a possibility I’ll get really motivated and even toss it in as an extra bonus feature, but to be fair, Friday I hit the corner pub pretty hard after work, so chances are I’m only going to get one more entry in before turning things over to the weekend.

Indiana Jones: Deluxe Indiana Jones with Horse and Indiana Jones with Ark by Hasbro

So, in addition to the scads of Indys (and Mutts) that were clogging up the pegs, Hasbro released Indy four more times by way of the Deluxe boxed sets. These sets featured a figure and a small playset or vehicle or some other such item. Two of these Deluxe Indy sets featured traps similar to the ones encountered in the Temple in the beginning of Raiders. I didn’t buy either of these on principal, because I didn’t want to get two more of the same Indy figure. I did go ahead and buy the other two sets, which we’re going to look at today, both of which are based off of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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My all time favorite scene in Raiders begins when Indy steals a horse and goes after the truck with the Ark on it. In fact, this is one of my favorite action sequences in any movie ever. As a result, there was no way I wasn’t going to pick up that horse, even if it meant getting an Indy figure I didn’t need. Although, in fairness, there are enough unique points on this figure to make him worth owning.

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Yep, once again, we see Indy in his iconic getup with leather jacket and fedora. The biggest differences on this version of Indy are his gloved hands, which are screen accurate, and the fact that his satchel isn’t molded to his chest so it can hang behind him as he rides the horse. Apart from that, there isn’t a lot of differences between this figure and the other versions of Raiders Indy. From the neck down this is a great sculpt and an awesome figure. From the neck up? Well, his fedora is still sculpted to his head and I’m not all that crazy about the paint apps on my figure’s face, as he looks rather wall-eyed. He comes with a coiled whip to hook onto his belt and a revolver. All in all, not bad.

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The horse is excellent, and gave me pause to consider the fact that in all my years of collecting figures in this scale, I never owned one with a horse, unless you count the one Kenner released in the original Raiders of the Lost Ark figure line way back when. Unlike the old Kenner version, this one forgoes the galloping gimmick in favor of just good articulation and great sculpting. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure the upper half of the horse’s back legs are on backwards, as it looks like the knees are on the back. The horse comes with a molded plastic blanket and saddle and all the trappings of his harness and reins. He’s basically white, although there are some paint apps for his feet, and what I assume are to be mud or sand on the lower portions of his legs. Pretty much any of the Indy figures can comfortably mount the horse.

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The other Deluxe set, Indiana Jones with The Ark, contains another one of those variant Indy’s. This time he’s dressed in an Arab disguise as he was when he went into The Well of Souls. Underneith it all, this is a reuse of one of the previously released Indy bodies, but the newly sculpted head and the softgoods robe really work well and make this a great looking figure. He comes with an uncoiled whip, a revolver and a satchel, which fits on over the robe.

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The Ark itself is a beautiful sculpt, nicely scaled and yes you can open it and fill it with sand or vengeful angels or whatever you want. The only thing that bums me out about this Ark is what it doesn’t come with, mainly the carry poles. The sculpt is missing the slots that were designed to fit the carry poles and the poles themselves aren’t present, which is a step backward from the old Kenner one. I would have at least settled for, a cardboard fold together crate to put it in? Ah well. It still makes for a great display piece.

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Both of these sets retailed for about ten bucks, when they were released, but later they readily available on clearance too. Either way, they’re definitely worth the price. The Indy together with the horse makes a great display piece, one that I tend to keep out somewhere even when most of my Indy collection are away in totes. And as I pointed out earlier, its the only 3 3/4″ scale horse in my whole collection. As for Indy with the Ark, the Disguised Indy isn’t what I would consider an essential figure, but he’s nice to have. And The Ark sure is a must-have for collectors of this line.

Indiana Jones: 3 3/4″ Indys by Hasbro

So what was the big issue with Hasbro’s Indiana Jones 3 3/4″ figure line? It was Indy himself and the fact that the case assortments were loaded down with different variations of the whipcracking hero. Ok, it wasn’t all Indy clogging the pegs. Mutt certainly didn’t help either, but either way by the time new waves of figures were coming in, the pegs were too clogged with Indys and Mutts to allow new figures any real estate. Nonetheless, today we’re going to take a look at four of the principal versions of Indy as featured from each of the four movies. We’ll save my favorite one of the bunch for last, as it will likely surprise you.

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The packaging for the Indy line is downright fantastic. The figures came on simple generic cards, but boy are they gorgeous. You got the iconic logo and Indy’s mug on every card with an illustrated whip snaking around the bubble. Each card uses a simple insert in the bubble to identify the figure and the film it’s based on. The bubbles are nice and big with room to show off the figure, often in a bit of an action pose, all the accessories, and the cardboard crate that included the “hidden artifact.” It’s unlike me to have a lot of carded figures from any line, but as it so happened it was cheaper to buy a whole case of figures to get the scarce Temple of Doom wave then it was to actually by those figures on Ebay, so I’ve got a number of these things kicking around.

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First up, let’s look at Indy from Raiders of the Lost Ark. He’s in the iconic outfit with a jacket that consists of a rubber vest with the arms sculpted to look like the jacket’s sleeves. It works pretty well and looks fine. The fedora is sculpted onto his head, which also looks fine, but unfortunately limits the display value. The head sculpt is ok, not great, but I guess it’s passable for a figure in the scale. The biggest issue I have with this figure (and I do mean BIGGEST) is the massive holster on his belt. It was a good try on Hasbro’s part to give us a working holster with a flap, but it just doesn’t work on a figure in this scale. It looks ridiculous and spoils the figure. The accessories include a revolver that fits in the massive holster, a coiled whip which can be hooked on his belt, an uncoiled whip, and the Fertility Idol. The uncoiled whip is a great reason to own this figure, as most of the other Indys only came with the coiled one. The Fertility Idol is no slouch either. But thanks to that damn holster, this is not the definitive Indy you want in your collection.

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Next, let’s jump ahead to Indy from The Last Crusade. He’s still in his iconic outfit with the same type of jacket sculpt and the fedora is still sculpted onto his head. The head sculpt on this one is marginally better and the paint on mine is pretty good, especially on the eyes. The big difference here is the chest sculpt, as he’s wearing a tie under the sculpted strap for his satchel. You’ll notice that the big holster issue has been fixed, and the figure looks a lot better for it. Besides, this figure doesn’t come with a revolver anyway. He does come with an MP-40 submachine gun and a coiled whip, which can be hooked onto his belt. I like this one much better than the Raiders Indy, it’s definitely a nice figure, but he’s lacking the basics in accessories and the tie is a little too scene specific to make him my go to Indy.

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Jumping back to The Temple of Doom, we get the first major variant Indy. He’s missing his jacket, his outfit is shredded and he’s all beat to hell. It’s certainly not an Indy figure for all occasions, but it sure fits the character’s appearance by the end of the second film. There’s some really nice sculpting on this guy, like the bandages on his hand, the Sankara Stones inside the satchel, and the shredded fabric of his shirt. Once again, the fedora is sculpted onto his head and the head sculpt is about on par with the Last Crusade Indy. Not bad, certainly passable. This time around, Indy comes with a coiled whip and his machete. The machete is pretty soft and prone to warping, but it straightens out pretty well.

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For figure number four, we appropriately come to the fourth film, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and another one of the major variants. It’s Indy without his jacket as seen during the jungle chase. For the first time, we’ve got an Indy without his fedora sculpted to his head. In fact, this figure doesn’t come with one at all. The sculpt is pretty nice, though, with a lot of good detail in his outfit and a pretty good head sculpt to boot, complete with peppered gray in his hair to show off that this is geriatric Indy. This version comes with a coiled whip to hook onto his belt and the Soviet-issue rocket launcher.

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And that brings us to my favorite 3 3/4″ Indy of the line, and yes he’s from The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull assortment. Now, I don’t have the same hate for the fourth film that a lot of people do, but it is at the bottom of my list. [It’s actually second to bottom on my list as it can boast being 100 percent Willie Scott free. -FF]  But the reason I like this figure so much is that it’s still the best generic and iconic Indy of the bunch. The sculpting on the jacket is easily my favorite of all the figures, and the huge revolver holster problem has been fixed. But best of all, the fedora is actually removable on this figure, which gives him a wide number of options for display. Yes, he’s got the older head sculpt with the grey hair, but then that could just be dust from all the tombs he’s crawling through. This version of Indy came with a coiled whip, a revolver, and a swappable left hand holding the Crystal Skull. The torch in the picture wasn’t included.

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That’s not to say that these are all the Indy figures that Hasbro’s 3 3/4″ line had to offer. Indy was also packaged several times over in the Deluxe Assortment. Two of these figures included the traditional version with a little playset featuring some sort of trap to navigate. The other two? Well, we’re going to check out those tomorrow.

Indiana Jones: Electronic Talking 1:6 Scale Indiana Jones by Hasbro

[If a theme week had a name it must be Indiana Jones!

Why? For no reason whatsoever, other than I don’t think I’ve ever featured Hasbro’s Indiana Jones line more than once or twice here on FigureFan and my recent acquisitions have been pretty slim these past couple of weeks. Indy is a line that had a rocky run, where early quality control issues coupled with terrible case assortments caused it to die earlier than most fans were expecting. And while many consider the line to be a failure, I’m not one of them. I got a bunch of great figures and toys out of this line, and overall I was more than happy with what we got.Most of what we’re looking at this week will be from the 3 3/4″ figures, but I thought I’d kick things off and get one of Hasbro’s 1:6 scale figures out of the way first. It’s worth noting that one of my most favorite toys of childhood was the Kenner 1:6 scale Indiana Jones figure that I got for Christmas one year. Obviously, it was back in the days before the Interweb, and I didn’t even know the thing existed until I unwrapped it. So picking up a new Indy figure in this scale was a real nostalgia trip for me, and that’s what a good deal of this blog is all about anyway. -FF]

Back when Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released, there followed a torrential flood of Indiana Jones merchandising. Hasbro had the license to produce the everyday toys for the toy aisles, but a whole number of higher end collectible companies also landed limited rights to produce figures of their own. If you were in the market for a 1:6 scale Indy figure, you certainly had no limit of options and a wide range of prices to choose from. All of these figures had their good points, and yet all of them also had at least one or two glaring problems that kept me from blowing a stack of cash on any one of them. In the end, I decided that if I was going to buy a 1:6 scale Indy that I wasn’t going to be completely satisfied with, I might as well take the low cheap road. So, let’s take a look at Hasbro’s attempt.

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The packaging is typical of what I expect from a mass market figure in this scale. You get a window box that is pretty collector friendly, although the accessories have to be removed from the back of the cardboard insert. Most of them are just twisty-tied on it, but the Fertility Idol is sealed in a bubble, so I opted to leave it there. I like the deco of the box, especially the illustrated map background on the insert tray. Although I could have done without the adverts for Hasbro’s National Geographic Win A Trip contest. It doesn’t play well years later. There’s a Try Me hole in the window so you can reach in and poke Indy’s chest to make him talk, which is great if you plan on keeping him MIB or just want to entertain yourself while you’re in the store waiting to check out. More on this gimmick later.

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Out of the box, I think this figure makes a pretty good first impression. He has a removable softgoods outfit and a plastic removable fedora. The body is pretty close in line with Hasbro’s mass market GI JOE bodies in this scale. That is to say the articulation is pretty good, but not up to snuff if you’re used to picking up a lot of figures in the $100+ scale or even the more affordable Triad Toys figures. I realize that articulation is king when it comes to 1:6 scale figures, and I do not collect a lot of figures in this scale, so I’m bound to be a lot more forgiving than the enthusiasts out there. The head sculpt is not bad, although it’s definitely been compromised a bit to include the moving mouth gimmick. It seems a little rounder in the face, and while it’s impressive the neck still has articulation with the gimmick, the neck seems a tad short. It’s not quite Harrison Ford, but maybe close enough to be his stunt double. Even still, I honestly think this sculpt is more acceptable than at least one or two of the higher end Indys I’ve considered. I definitely applaud Hasbro’s decision to not sculpt the hat onto the head. The paint is pretty good everywhere except on the eyes, which are rather sloppily done.

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While the sculpt might be hit-and-miss, Indy’s iconic outfit is a home run. The pants and shirt and boots are spot on and the leather jacket is really good, albeit a bit chunky in the arms. At first I was bummed that the hat was plastic and not felt like it was in the old Kenner figure, but then I caught some pictures of the old Kenner figure and without my nostalgia I realized it didn’t look so hot. In the end, I think going with plastic was the better idea. His belt includes a loop for his whip and a removable holster for his revolver. I do really wish the shirt closed a little higher up on his chest to conceal the speaker in his chest, but this can be easily fixed with some tape or a simple stitch.

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Indy comes with the basic accessories. You get a revolver, a coiled whip and an uncoiled whip, and the Fertility Idol. It’s not a huge number of accessories, but not bad. Besides, it’s plenty easy to find a 1:6 scale assortment of WWI or WWII era weapons on the cheap. The whips are made of rubbery plastic and are both really well done. The issue I have here isn’t with the accessories but with the figure’s hands, which are not designed to hold any of this stuff really well. Hasbro really should have gone with the hinged fingers they’ve done on this scale of GI JOE figures in the past. You can get him to hold the stuff, but not really well. This is undoubtedly where the multiple hands usually included with the higher end figures helps out.

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The electronic gimmick is pretty good, and doesn’t hurt the figure too much. The button is situated really low on his stomach, so activating it is like poking the Pillsbury Doughboy in the tummy. You can keep pressing the button to make Indy’s mouth move, but it’s kind of a creepy looking effect. The sound on the voice clips is nice and clear, and while the package proclaims this figure is from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the voice clips are sampled from all of the original three films. The quotes include:

  • My name is Indiana Jones
  • Snakes, Why’d it have to be snakes?
  • Oooooh, Rats!
  • I hate these guys
  • I think we got a big problem!
  • Archaeology is the search for facts.
  • Trust me
  • I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go
  • Fortune and glory kid, fortune and glory.
  • That’s why they call it the jungle, sweetheart.
  • No ticket!

Indy retailed at $29.99, which wasn’t bad. It was certainly the cheapest of the 1:6 scale Indy figures by a long shot. It’s not perfect, but for a mass market figure I think Hasbro did a pretty fine job. I definitely would have preferred less electronics in favor of better hands, but apart from that I don’t have a lot of complaints about this figure at all. The best thing about this figure is that he’s still easy to find online and can often be picked up for less than his original retail. If you don’t want to drop $100 or more on one of the “better” figures, this one is a decent compromise.

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Indiana Jones: German Troop Car by Hasbro

If clearance has a name, it must be Indiana Jones!

Its sad but true, there’s still fallout from Hasbro’s Indiana Jones toyline kicking around if you know where to look. I never saw one of these things at retail during the toyline’s lifespan, and then all of the sudden I stumble upon two of them at Ross’ toy graveyard for about seven bucks each. I was pretty excited to find it, because besides that elusive Vogel figure, this Troop Car was the last piece I needed to complete my collection. Couldn’t find it anywhere, now I have two. It never rains, but it pours.

The Troop Car is one of three larger vehicles released in the IJ toyline. The others included the German Cargo Truck from Raiders and the Soviet Jungle Cutter from Crystal Skull. The packaging is really sweet, and while they look like normal boxes, the inside trays actually convert to some cool little dioramas, provided you’re willing to trash the box to get it. The artwork on the boxes is somewhat reminiscent of the old Kenner line, only with a cool action packed illustration on the front and the toy images on the back, showing off the various features. In addition to the truck, you get three oil drums, a breakaway barricade, and a missile for the machine gun.

The toy itself is not as detailed as the Cargo Truck or the Jungle Cutter. Its a nice piece, but it just looks somewhat lacking. Some weathered paint apps or a sticker sheet would have gone a long way to helping it along, but then let’s remember that swastikas are a no-no. Still, what’s here gets the job done. There’s a spare tire mounted on the back, a decent looking grill and headlights on the front. The floor and runningboards are textured, there’s a clear windshield, steering wheel, and even a stick shift for the manual tranny.

The toy rolls really well and you can get it up to a good enough speed to really smash through the barricade and barrels. The machine gun on the back rotates and has a pegged platform to hold a figure. It also shoots a missile. Granted, that’s about all this thing does, but you can really load it up with figures. In addition to the gunner, there’s room for four figures on the seats and another four pegged on the runningboards. If you’re like me and acquired quite a few German soldiers from this line, you’ll have plenty of space for them on this ride.

My one big gripe with this toy is that the windshield and rollbar are made of soft rubbery plastic. I suppose its less likely to break, but if you store your car in the box, make sure its sitting upright or else you’ll get a little warpage like on mine. Thankfully it can be straightened out with a little patience and effort.

Overall, the Troop Car takes a backseat to the Cargo Truck as my favorite toy of the line, but then the Cargo Truck is work of art that’s hard to beat. This thing is not too shabby, though, and when you get past the fact that its a little bland, its actually a lot of fun. The bonus accessories are really cool and make great additions to display with the Cargo Truck and Motorcycle as well.