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Decimus Hrabban

Gothitropolis
by yo go re

The Four Horsemen pretty much invented the Kickstarter business model with their FANtastic Exclusive toys: present a cool idea, get people's feedback, if they like what you're doing, go ahead and make it. So it makes sense that when it came time to finally make the FanEx '09 winner, they turned to Kickstarter to make it happen.

Demons have been crossing over into our world for centuries, fighting an eternal battle over how to exist on our earthly plane. Brothers Decimus and Nonus Hrabban are known to have crossed over to our world at the same time as Scarabus, and are the first members of the Daemothyr family.

That's only part of the bio printed on the back of the card, by the way: for the whole thing, visit our blog. It really adds a lot to the ongoing Gothitropolis story, but at the same time manages to raise even more questions. Hopefully we won't have to wait another four years before the next installment.

FANtastic Exclusive 2009 didn't waste time with rounds of voting to decide which property we wanted toys from or any of that - the Horsemen just dropped 28 characters into a bracket and let us start voting for which one we wanted made into a toy. Considering the way The Seventh Kingdom ruled the first two years, it's absolutely no surprise that what we wanted was the anthropomorphic raven.

Despite technically being a Gothitropolis toy, Decimus would look right at home in the kingdom of Animynthus. Every inch of his exposed body - his arms, hands, head and thighs - is covered with tiny, detailed feathers. His lower legs are bare and scaly, as they should be, and he has smooth, sharp talons. You actually get your choice of three feet: the flat ones he's got on in the package, a "clawing" set for aerial fights, and a set that's closed enough to grip the included weapons.

The rest of his body is covered by armor, and it's incredibly ornate. The base color is a dark grey outlined with silver, and there are bronze accents. He wears a purple loincloth with a raised pattern on it that looks like a stylized bird skull. In truth (and fully unsurprisingly), there are avian influences all over the armor - a double-headed bird on the breastplate, wing shapes on the shoulders and knees, and a belt that has a bird skull buckle, two legs that dangle downward, and "wings" that wrap back around the waist. Fancy!

He also has two small wings on his back. They're not real wings, vestigial remnants of some lost ability to fly, they're just sculptural elements on his armor. A design. Hunks of metal welded to the armor that protects him. If you're not satisfied with that, the Horsemen also sell big, full-sized wings to go with the figure. If you remove the faux-wings from his back, it reveals sockets where the real ones can be plugged in (they're also the same size as Scarabus' weird pincer things, so you can swap those around if you feel like it - there's one Kickstarter item we'll be discussing later that will be perfect for that).

The coolest feature, though, has to be the armor over his stomach. There are four panels, arranged in a square - taken together, they form an unexpected quadriptych. The top two mainly feature the moon, while the bottom two have the spires of some city skyline - possibly Gothitropolis itself? Although why would he have armor depicting the thing he's trying to prevent? Maybe it's where he's originally from, or maybe it's the Order of Lunagoth citadel. Whatever, it's really cool. And has 11 birds flying around in the sky, which seems appropriate for this line.

Finally, he tops that all off with a simple brown belt, which has several items attached to it: a mysterious parcel tied with twine, a green... thing, a few tiny bones, a horn, and a small cylinder with an open hand on the top. That thing really looks familiar, but I can't place where/what it is.

When working for themselves instead of a big company, the Horsemen know how to make toys that are insanely detailed and also highly articulated. The birdy has swivel/hinge joints in all three sets of his feet (that's where they swap out), at the ankle, knee, hip, wrist and shoulder; swivels in the thigh, upper arm, waist and torso; double-hinged elbows; and a balljointed head. If you buy the add-on wings, they have swivel/hinge joints where they join the body, and a hinge in the middle, like all good action figure wings.

Decimus' weapon is the "enchanted scythe" mentioned in his bio, one assumes. It's actually two pieces: a sickle on a staff, measuring about 5¼" long, and a mace/​morningstar that's 4⅜". The two pieces can be joined into a single massive staff, and the head of the mace can be removed from its stick to swing around freely on its chain. There are a lot of options with this weapon! There's gold detailing on the side of the blade, and etched-in lettering. There's also a clearly recognizable X right near the shaft - very suitable, since the name "Decimus" means "tenth" in Latin.

If you want more weaponry, the Four Horsemen also created a "Battle Pack," which features an alternate raven head with an open beak, a war helmet that's styled to match the rest of his armor, and the Black Raven's Blood Saber, a rather nice sword. The helmet fits either head, and they're simple enough to swap, thanks to the giant balljoint the head is on. He doesn't have a scabbard or anything for the sword, but you won't care about that once it's in his hand. The Battle Pack adds 50% to the price of the figure, and it's not like these are super cheap to begin with.

Like they did with all the previous FANtastic Exclusives, the Four Horsemen created a whole slew of variants, to get more use out of the unique and surely expensive molds. They're all different characters, so we'll be looking at them separately. But the base figure, Decimus Hrabban, is every bit as good as we'd expect him to be. It's been a long path from FANtastic Exclusive in 2009 to Kickstarter reward in 2015, but the wait has been worth it and the final product is spectacular.

-- 01/14/15


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