Review : Aguilar
Assassins Creed (2017 Movie)
Wave/Series : McFarlane Color Top, Blue #12
Released : December 2016
Price : £16.99 - £19.99
One of my earliest collections was of McFarlane 7" scale horror figures. Before NECA had really got going, and while Hasbro were still doing 3.75" as a staple, the McFarlane figures were for me about the most detailed and realistic out on the market. Since those days McFarlane drifted considerably from the 7" scale and were replaced by NECA in the market, while McFarlane moved on to Sports figures and recently smaller scale 5" figures for lines like The Walking Dead.
Last year it was announced that McFarlane were making a return to the 7" figure scale with a collectors range called Color Tops. Rather than one licence, the Color Tops range would span numerous brands from TV, Movies, Anime and Video Games. This is our first review of a McFarlane Color Top figure. With our focus being mainly on Movie figures we have picked the newly released Aguilar from the Assassins Creed movie as our test bed figure.
As is the case with most collectors line of the last few years, the Color Tops are presented in a window box. The design starts on the front with the Color Top logo itself in the top left corner, and in Aguilar's case the background of this box is Blue representing the Blue wave. To the right of this the box goes to a black background and here the logo is placed for the Assassins Creed movie. The window itself is offset to the right of the box and wraps round the right spine. The left side is a further panel of black on to which is placed the age rating of +12 and the Ubisoft logo. Under this is a shadow image of Aguilar with his hood cutting and being shaped into the window. This panel opens up to cover the full base of the box front and it is here we find the character name of Aguilar.
The left spine is, as we mentioned above, part window allowing a view of the side of the figure. The color tops and blue background is repeated at the top of the spine, with the name at the bottom. In between we have another Assassins Creed logo, this time the background starting to carry a graphite type design. The right spine duplicates a number of elements from the left with the Color Top top banner and the Assassins Creed logo. The biggest difference is the bottom section which holds the first reference to the numbering system of the Color Tops, labeling this figure as #12 on a blue background.
The back of the box has a swept blue top banner which does fade to a darker color to blend in with an inset of the Assassins Creed logo. The bulk of the back is made up of a large full size image of the figure shown from the front and the back and over this a close up of the head and shoulders. The name is repeated to the side of this portrait and the number is repeated, this time in yellow text in a blue circle. In the bottom third is the words "9 new figures at" and the website McFarlane.com, with the "9 figures" piece repeated in French and Spanish. There is a final flurry of blue, the McFarlane logo and then the usual "made in" text and company address.
For me the box feels a bit mixed up, with different design elements all over the place and no real consistency. Even though I am not a MIB collector, I wouldn't see a display of these figures boxed having as much visual appeal as say the Star Wars Black Series or the NECA boxed figures.
Aguilar slides out from either the top or bottom flap of the box and is held in the standard plastic insert which is itself sat into a blue cardboard backdrop. Thankfully McFarlane have not gone down the twisty tie overload route, with just a simple clear band holding the figure at the waist. Positioned around the figure are the accessories and sat to the left of the figure, but behind the plastic insert, is a display base.
Out of the pack and the first thing you will discover is that Aguilar is virtually impossible to stand without the use of his base. To position him upright the peg holes need lining up from his left foot (there isn't a hole on the right) to the peg in the stand.
Sculpturally, and I would expect nothing less from McFarlane, the figure is a stunner. We start with a sculpted hood with folds and creases of cloth, as well as an embossed emblem on the front. Under this is a really good looking likeness of Michael Fassbender completed with beard, but also with some intricate tattoo's under his right eye. Facial painting is on par with most NECA human figures, with neat eyes, eyebrows and lips.
The costume is extremely detailed and exquisitely decorated and is also weathered to look old and worn. The robes themselves are made up of at least four different shades of brown/gold with individual stitching and textures. The waist sash looks like cloth and is painted to look aged, not just a flat color. From the belt hangs pouches and strings and then from the sash belt the rest of the cloak flows down into a skirt section. Under here you can see the shin high boots, complete on the left boot with a leg iron and real chain that hangs loose from the figure and goes up the leg under the cloak and connects a bit further up.
There are three throwing knives built into the sculpt sat up on the left shoulder. There is also a knife heath on the left of the belt and then a couple of holes on the bracers into which fit the two hidden wrist blades which are packed separately. These two blades are handed, so make sure you get the longer one on the left hand so that it sticks through his open hand. These two additions aren't the best fit and are a bit fiddly to install. Not being engineered to move or slide once on the figure you think they probably should have been on the figure from the factory and are simply presented separately to boost the accessories the figure is perceived to come with.
The second accessory is a short knife which is really nicely decorated with black handle and gold ornate pummel. This fits into either hand, or can be stored in the sheath on the belt.
There is then a sword, which is of a similar design to the knife with ornately sculpted curved hilt. If you look at the box the figure is shown with this sword in his right hand. Sadly on our figure the sword will simply not go into the hand on the right which is cast as a half grip with the fingers interlocking with the other side rather than having an open grip and softer plastic we are perhaps used to. This renders the right hand useless therefore, and the only place the sword can then go is awkwardly into the larger left hand where it flops about a bit too much and also clashes with the wrist blade we installed.
Articulation was never a strong suit of the last lot of 7" McFarlane figures, and collectors did hope that when McFarlane brought these figures back they would also improve the articulation - after all, NECA are producing similar cost figures and packing in anything up to 30 points of articulation.
Sadly, this is not the case and these Color Top figures can be described as partially articulated figurines at best. On Aguilar there are 10 movable joints, with perhaps a couple more that have been added but then locked in by the sculpt. The head feels like one of these, but is completely stuck in place by the hood.
The first movement you will get is the shoulders which are ball jointed and both arms can be moved out to the side and then rotated to a point before the shoulders are blocked by the top of the cloak. There is then a 90 degree elbow joint, which also rotates, and a wrist swivel. These two allow you for some posing to display the arms with the weapons on show or hidden.
You have to skip all the way to the feet for the next bit with a simple swivel at the top of the boots which can swing the legs round, but not out from their quite tight together stance. There is a further swivel on the ankles. Neither of these aid the figure in standing or anything else, and could have been fixed for all the good they do.
The stand is more of a necessity to help the figure to be displayed. But it is a nice enough design with a textured top, then fluted section and a logo front and centre which is representative of the figure. This will allow a museum type quality to displays, naming each figure accordingly. But in the modern era of collecting this is a bit stale when some fans want to build up diorama's and larger displays without the need for stands.
So the Color Tops Aguilar can't be faulted on sculpt or painting, but let itself down with poorly engineered accessories and only a couple of useful articulated joints. That being said we do have to reflect on these figures retailing around £16-£20 depending on retailer, so a good 25% less than NECA or indeed Hasbro.
We have to take this pricing into account with our scoring in terms of value for money vs all the other aspects of the figure. While the McFarlane can go toe to toe with NECA on sculpt, the articulation and lack of posing is the big issue and even a lower starting price doesn't offset this issue completely. To that end, and to set a benchmark for these Color Top figures, I score Aguilar a 3 out of 5.