Updated: Dec 8, 2018
Review : Vaako The Chronicles of Riddick, SOTA Wave/Series : Series 1 (one series only) Released : 2004
Price : N/A
12 years ago Riddick, as played by Vin Diesel, got a follow up to his debut in Pitch Black. The Chronicles of Riddick picked up Riddick's story after his escape in Pitch Black. And like any good Action Movie, a range of figures were released to support the movie.
The figures were about 7 inch in scale, and released by SOTA (State of the Art) Toys. SOTA had been making figures for about 4 years at this point, and would go on to be most famous for their Street Fighter and other Capcom licences.
The Chronicles of Riddick figures were released as a single wave containing 5 figures. There was also a special exclusive release of Riddick in Necro armour with Hellhound.
It has obviously been 12 years since these figures hit shelves, so buying them now is secondary market only and the majority of these now fetch at least double the £20 you would pay for a 7" figure. There are cheaper loose options, which is the route I have gone down, but watch out for missing accessories and some other "issues" which I will discuss over this course of reviews.
So to kick us off in this retrospective series of reviews, we will take a look at the Vaako figure.
All the Riddick figures were presented on a plain trapezoid card back, with blister front containing the figure. The front of the card depicts a monolith of the Necromonger on an orange, fiery sky background. The SOTA Toys logo sits in the top left aside the peg cut out. The blister, also Trapezoid in shape, contains the figure - surrounded by the associated accessories. An insert is placed into the front of each blister containing a head shot of the character on top of the Chronicles of Riddick log. Under this is the character name.
Round the back, and all the card backs are identical. The card background continues the Necromonger theme on a fiery orange finish. The films logo sits on top, under which is the statement "Action Figures with 16+ Points of Articulation". Under this is a couple of paragraphs that sets up the plot of the film.
Arranged in a V shape under this are the five key figures, with Riddick himself on the point of the V. The special Hellhound set then sits to one side in the bottom right corner as you look.
Moving onto the figure now, and our Vaako was purchased as a loose figure. In the gallery therefore he is missing his helmet.
Siberius Vaako stands 7 inches high and like other figures of his era (Hellboy for example) he is pretty weighty vs more modern counterparts.
The sculpt is really good, with the head bearing a decent likeness for Karl Urban. The head does feel a bit too small though, particularly when he is lined up with other Riddick figures. The head does sport Vaako's very interesting hair cut, and even has flexible dreadlocks on the back. The head is painted quite flatly, with a single skin tone, although there is good detail in the eyes and mouth - and a fairly successful attempt to represent shaved hair to the sides. The hair has a bit more colour applied to bring out the texture.
The armour is really nicely sculpted, with plenty of ridged detail and intricate carving. The shoulder pads are particularly impressive, as are the bracers on the fore arms and the shins. Sadly there are issues. First and foremost is the issue of stickiness. Nearly all of the Riddick figures suffer from a sticky feel, caused by chemicals in the paint/plastic leeching out. In reality the impact of this sticky finish is the figure attracts dirt and dust like a vacuum cleaner. Any any loose figure you buy will be in a pretty nasty condition.
They can be improved by soaking them in a washing up liquid solution (absolutely at your own risk) for a good 12 hours, and then lightly scrubbed with a toothbrush. Once my figure was cleaned, the secondary issue presented itself. The armour is painted quite badly, with very odd patches of brown over a dark grey almost black base. The paint works in some areas, but in others it looks like big brown stains. The whole thing is also too light and too brown vs the look of Vaako in the film, and this is apparent if you stand him next to the Lord Marshall.
Moving onto articulation, and this starts at the head which uses a ball joint. This means the head can rotate fully and look up and down. Onto the arms, and the shoulder pads are articulated separate to the arms. The shoulder-pads are pinned front and back, so they will move up and down with the arm. The arm underneath is on a ball joint, and this will be able to achieve a full range of movement. unfortunately the shoulder pads, even with this joint, can't move far enough to let Vaako get his arms anywhere near being over his head, or in a weapon striking pose. The shoulder pads are also a distinct area of weakness with the pins prone to snapping and leaving your pad hanging loose.
Just under the shoulder joint is a swivel bicep, and this is needed as further down the arm the elbows are a single 90 degree joint with no swivel. Thankfully utilising this bicep movement means Vaako can get his weapon into two hands. The arms finish with a simple rotation on both wrists.
The waist on Vaako is jointed, so the whole torso can swivel round. The legs are then jointed at the hips with one of those T-shape joints that can swing the leg out front or to the side. The forward movement is blocked after a while by the skirt of the armour, so the legs will be held to wider action poses only - no kneeling. These hip joints are also really loose, and Vaako is really hard to stand up.
A split thigh swivel sits a few mm's under the hip, and although it works well enough it does throw off the lines of the armour when used. Under here is a single joint knee that moves to 90 degrees and no more. Then we end with a rocker ankle, and this like the hips is far too lose and won't hold the weight of the figure.
A complete Vaako will come with a Necromonger helmet, and this is made of a softer plastic material that does allow it to be fitted onto his head really well. Being tight though it will start to rub the paint after a while. Vaako also comes with his pretty impressive three bladed axe. This itself is 7 inches in length. It can be held in either hand, or with some adjustment in a two handed offensive pose. The axe is painted well enough and there is a lot of sculpted detail in the blades, perhaps more so and better defined than the armour - or at least better painted.
Sitting here and thinking about scoring a figure that was made some 12 years earlier is really difficult. Without a time machine, I am restricted to what is in my hand and other figures of the era like Mezco's Hellboy figures, or the early McFarlane Movie Masters. Vaako is a decent figure, but he does have flaws in the head size, the armour and his ability to stand. The sticky paint is also a really concern and will mess up any Riddick figures once they are out of the box. I am going to score Vaako a 2 out of 5.