Thank you to Mattel for sending along these new Avatar
figures from the upcoming movie. Below is a review of two 4 inch scale Na'vi figures.
Avatar Jake Sully
Embodying his blue, nine-foot tall avatar body, Jake is able to walk for the first time in years. During sorties from Hellís Gate to the Pandoran rainforest and Hometree, he gains respect for the Naívi and discovers the beauty and danger of an alien world.
Along with his wife, Moíat, Eytukan is responsible for the safety and well-being of the Omaticaya clan. He oversees the training of all warriors and hunters and is a key figure in many Naívi ceremonies and rituals. He is the father of Neytiri.
The packaging has a nice tubular design suggestive of the avatar tanks shown in the movie trailers. The figures are clearly visible while still being able to make out clearly the background pictures. If you plan on displaying these figures in package though, the bottom of the packages have ridges that make them hard to stand upright. If you plan on displaying any of these in package, be prepared to have to prop them up.
The Naívi figures share a similar sculpt, but most of the pieces between Eytukan and Jake Sully are different. Eytukan had the most customization. The cloth on his torso and tail are sculpted on, as is the wrap around his right arm. The shoulder piece and loin cloth are additional pieces that could be taken off with some effort. Jake also has his arm and leg bands sculpted on. Looking closely at the pieces they could share, you can see even pieces like the upper legs are different between the two figures even though no extra sculpting was needed. This was a good effort by Mattel to not make these figures seem like generic aliens when displayed together. While the eyes may not catch the sculpt differences easily, the subtle differences in body shape make for an interesting display.
The proportions are good everywhere and donít suffer from any problems like the human figures. The shoulder transition is the most noticeable joint, but is fairly smooth because the shoulder has less of a ball shape than the human figures. Overall the body sculpts are very fluid looking, an effect used to make the Naívi seem more powerful in the movie. The most detail on these figures is found on the clothing, including some intricate designs on Eytukan. The blue stripe patterns are also different from figure to figure. The overall feeling of these figures depends on how much clothing they have. Eytukan has more clothing and a lot more visible details, bringing more focus to the color contrasts and clothing details. Jake has a lot of large blue areas, focusing attention on the lean body shape and relying on the stripes for texture differences.
On the shelf these figures should display as well as any other figure this scale. Stylistically they contrast well with the human Avatar figures. The difference in size, color, and texture help them display well next to the human or other military style figures. Unlike the human figures, these figures can display well with or without vehicles. The Naívi should be able to mark out their own spot in a 4 inch collection.
The Naívi figures have the same articulation. The shoulders and elbows are ball joints. The head is a pin that only moves side to side. The hip joints are the same design as DC Universe classics figures, able to move out and forward. Thereís a cut at the waist for twisting. The knees and ankles are ball joint. In total there are 14 points of articulation. Overall itís an eclectic blend of articulation styles. The elbows and knees bend about ninety degrees. Other joints get the full range of motion they were designed for. Overall these Avatar figures should be able to get about the same range of motion and movement as other figures at this scale. The DCUC style hips may make them able to do a little bit more.
The combination of a swivel head and no torso articulation hurts these figures the most. They have good balance but donít pose as well as the human figures with their weapons. Eytukan in particular looks awkward with his bow and arrow. The DCUC style leg articulation lets them do running poses, but they wonít be able to kneel. Their height and color helps them look great fighting human figures in the same scale. These figures will display ok with Gi Joe or Indiana Jones style figures, but go best with vehicles and other figures from the movie. With the articulation available, it should be fairly easy to set up a good display pose for your figures.
Each of these figures comes with a tag. By going to www.avataritag.com you can download some software that will create a computer model of the character. This model is projected onto the tag using a webcam plugged into your computer. Itís a cool feature, but I couldnít get it to work. At the loading screen, it found my webcam and turned it on, but never showed any picture, i-tag or not. Iím hoping there are still some bugs to work out; Iíll post an update if I get this feature to work later.
Final Judgment: 27/30
As stand alone figures these Naívi figures are unique enough to earn a spot in a 4 inch collection. What really is going to make these figures worth getting are the vehicles to display them with. These figures are solidly built with enough detail to warrant display next to lines like Gi Joe, but itís the vehicles that will really help them stand out. For someone used to collecting GI Joes or Star Wars, the technology and races of Avatar should provide a nice blend of modern military and Star Wars level tech.