Avatar Jake Sully
Avatar is a movie directed by James Cameron that will open at theaters in December 2009, although toys inspired by it have been surfacing as early as October 2009.
Mattel released Avatar Jake Sully in 2009 as part of the initial wave of 1:18 scale (3.75 inch) figures. From what little I have seen of the movie trailers, it is a safe bet to assume he’s the main protagonist.
From what I get, out of the movie trailer, Jake’s conscience is transferred to a synthetic alien body so he can go and infiltrate the Na’vi society on a planet called Pandora. Well, so much for explanations, thing is, the easiest way to describe the Na’vi is as some type of blue skinned cat people, very tall and lean, at an apparently quite primitive stage of development.
Jake Sully’s Avatar is a male Na’vi dressing little more than a leather loincloth, a leather strap across his chest and a couple bracelets. The figure is well sculpted and has nicely detailed bits, like the hair texture and the leathery finish to the loincloth and tribal decorations.
The rest of the figure is sculpted rather smoothly, with just a hint of muscle definition at the torso. The head sculpt seems to have been finished before the CGI model for the movie had been finalized, so the likeness is slightly off, but the end product is still a reasonably close approximation, given the scale.
The overall body proportions seem to be correct and the outline is very stylized, even though these Na’vi aren’t as tall as they should be compared to the human sized figures in this same line.
For the most part articulation is well hidden and consists of:
• Ball jointed neck. It actually works as a simple swivel because the ball rests too deep inside the head, but it rotates freely.
• Peg & hinge shoulders. Excellent motion range.
• Peg & hinge elbows. Very good 90° bend and 180° sideways rotation.
• Swivel waist. Free 360° swivel.
• Double hinged hips. These are designed after the same type of joint Mattel uses for their DC Super Heroes line, and allow the legs to extend sideways as well as rotate back and forth.
• Peg & hinge knees. Very good bending range and sideways swiveling.
• Hinged ankles. Pretty good movement up and down but no lateral rotation whatsoever.
Wrist articulation was discarded on this figure, and at times it is sorely missed, but comparatively, the Avatar Jake Sully figure does hold it’s own against other similarly sized figures, quite well, even though the character design does get in the way at times like trying to achieve sitting poses, as the figure does have a long rubbery loincloth in addition to a tail.
The Avatar Jake Sully figure is molded entirely of light blue plastic, with tan/brown rubber used for the non-removable leather gear.
Additionally, Jake has a deeper blue, tiger-like markings painted on torso and limbs, but the pattern tends to blend in with the underlying blue plastic when seen at a distance. Jake’s hair is painted glossy black and the eyes sport a black and white paint job that on most samples I’ve seen looks clean and neat, complete with painted catch lights on the pupils.
Avatar Jake Sully comes equipped with a primitive spear and Mattel’s latest gimmick, an iTag base plate. The iTag plate for the Na’vi figures is molded out of translucent, amber-colored plastic and designed to resemble an ornate organic carving with a sticker on top depicting the character it belongs to. On the top end of the frame, the iTag plate has a single peg that allows it to be used as a rather cumbersome display base for the figure.
The way the iTag gimmick works, is that by entering the Mattel Avatar website and using a web cam, you get to activate a 3D CGI model that appears on-screen superimposed to the image of the plastic piece you hold in your hands. By turning and manipulating the plastic base, you can make the on-screen model to turn or perform a few preset animation cycles.
I admit that as far as gimmicks go, this one isn’t half bad, although the really cool models and animations are found in the larger toys and it’s novelty may wear thin after a while, especially if you stop to consider the amount of tweaking required to achieve an optimal web cam setup for it to work.
Each toy in the line has a different CGI model assigned, and for this figure the CGI model is some sort of futuristic-looking control station that cycles though three different tidbits of trivia pertaining the braid all Na’vi wear (which apparently is much more than just a hairstyle choice).
Overall, the Avatar Jake Sully figure comes off as not being quite as detailed as other figures in the same scale range, due to the very toy-like blue plastic it is made of and the rather simple paintjob, but there is also no denying that this is a well designed toy. I found absolutely no quality issues in my sample, and I must say that as far as movie figures go this year, Mattel has the upper hand, at least over fellow competitor Playmates Toys’ Terminator:Salvation and Star Trek offerings.
Errex Score: 80/100