Pirates are everywhere. Now, that's not just pirates, it's Pirates. Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean. They're the ones responsible for the sudden resurgance in pirate-related swag - a rising tide lifts all ships, after all - so it's only fair that they're sailing away with the biggest pile of booty. NECA is making 7" figures, Zizzle is making 7" figures, 3" figures and playsets, and Mega Bloks even converted their "Pyrates" line to Pirates. But we're not done yet.
Ever since their
Incredibles toys stormed in and sank the bigger companies' efforts, the Disney Store has been a welcoming port for toy fans. They've got their own crew of PotC pirates, but are they as good as the mass-market stuff?
This here be Elizabeth Swann, daughter of the governor o' Port Royal. She's pitched her fancy, frilly dresses overboard in favor of a man's clothes: boots, breeches, a top coat, all the things ye'd expect to see on any of yer shipmates... but not on a lady o' fine upbringin' like her.
The sculpt looks quite decent, t'is no lie. The quality isn't quite as high
as NECA's figures, but neither is it as scurvy as Zizzle's large figures. It be a fair t'middlin' piece o' work, but that's really all a piece of this nature demands. Elizabeth ain't crawlin' with all sorts o' sea-doodads like the monsters in the film, so she doesn't need a ridiculously intricate sculpt. The cloth looks like cloth, the leather looks like leather and her hair looks like hair. Some low down bilge rats claim there's such a thing as too much articulation - they may be suffering from ocean madness, but there is such a thing as too much sculpt. Thankfully that is not a malady which plagues Miss Swann, here.
There were many female pirates on the high seas back in the day, but odds are none of them looked like Keira Knightley. Well, that's something they have in common with this figure, then: the figure looks nice enough, to be true, but the likeness really isn't a likeness. The Disney Store pirates are unreliable on this front - their Jack Sparrow looks nowhere near as good as NECA's, but their Will Turner blows NECA's out of the water. In that it actually looks like Orlando Bloom.
ARRRRrticulation is good. Very good, compared to the bilge we've seen before. Her head, shoulders and hips are balljoints, her elbows, knees and ankles are single hinges and her wrists and waist are peg-legs. Pegs. Sorry. It's just enough for all the pirating she'll be doing, as the only thing this beauty's missing is some sort of swivel for her boots. Disney's toys are smaller than NECA's, but they still looks good.
She's got three accessories: the swords she lifted from Pintel & Ragetti and a lit torch.
They're nice enough, if a bit oversized, but there's a wee problem: this bonny lass can't hold a single one of them. Oh, aye, you can wedge the swords into her hands, but they're not actually molded in a gripping pose. These things take design, not happenstance. How's a pirate supposed to loot and plunder when she can't even grasp her weapons tightly? Though she's got a separate sash floating above her torso, and it looks like it should hold a sword, it isn't actually sculpted to do so. That be unfair, says I! The torch would look a lot better were it cast from translucent plastic, for now it looks too solid to be real. Not that she can hold it anyway.
The Disney Store doesn't just dump its figures in a chest or barrel, but instead pays attention to the onboard accomodations. Yes, they use the thrice-accursed clamshells, but they actually put some design and imagination into it. The PotC figures arrive at port in packages that, at a glance, look to have a most queer shape - some sort of bulging bubble. But look closer, and even those of ye with an eyepatch will see the truth: that clamshell be a man-sized skull, complete with eye sockets, a nose hole and a missing tooth. Go ahead, put it on yer face, ye'll see. The card in the back is the same green and gold as the rest of the materials for this film, and ye can just make out the ghosted image of the kraken's mighty maw.
In all the ways that matter, Elizabeth Swann is very much like a ToyBiz figure: the size, the sculpt, the paint, the articulation... she'd be right chummy with yer Lord of the Rings figures. The problem, though, is the price. The pirates that sail from Disney's ports will cost ye more pieces of eight than they're worth, unless ye keep yer eyes open for a sail, er... a sale. Full price be too much, but even a slight discount can make these figures worth it.
Is there such a thing as "too much sculpt?" Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.