Cinemaquette Indiana Jones Review (by Stephen)




PART I of II (October 14, 2008)

The “Man in the hat” is finally here…

“Professor of Archaeology; expert on the occult… and how does one say it?
Obtainer of rare antiquities.”

Welcome to part one of my review of the Indiana Jones Cinemaquette; Volume VII in Toynami’s highly acclaimed series of 1:3 scale movie statues. base4plate.jpg Writing this review is a gargantuan task, so for now at least, part two will follow tomorrow night! A big personal thanks to Lars, for letting me loose on his killer-chocolate website. Hopefully I haven’t knackered it beyond repair. And Lars – this is appearing on the main front page for now. Move it if you want as I can’t figure out how!

The character of Indiana Jones is one of the most iconic out there. The jacket; the Fedora; the Whip – Spielberg and Ford’s finest hour (forget it E.T. I never once saw you running away from a stone boulder) And on top of that, Harrison Ford is one of the most instantly recognisable movie stars on Earth. Releasing a reproduction of Indiana Jones was no easy task, and Cinemaquette needed to come up with an absolutely stunning product to do justice to the subject.

This review is broken up in to several sections. Tonight in part one there is the standard stuff – the edition size, materials used, release date – all that’s in part one. Next is a discussion of the portrait. Next comes the clothing. Then I will talk about the pose because I feel that is pretty important. Part two will see me discuss the the base; then the accessories; and finally the packaging. Whilst I am going to avoid being concerned with proving this piece is ” 100% screen accurate” (that is not what this review is about), I have to say from the outset that Cinemaquette have done a remarkable job with the authenticity and the level of detail is incredible. As such, I will use pictures of the piece I own and compare it with the grabs from the movie to illustrate the lengths Cinemaquette have gone to. I have learnt a huge amount in researching and writing this review, and I hope you, dear readers, do to.

” Indiana Jones, I always knew someday you’d come walking back through my door…”

Before I get in to the detail, I want to say a couple of things about why I have written this review. Firstly, Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my favourite films. Secondly, I have been collecting Cinemaquettes since just before this piece was first revealed, and when I learnt that Cinemaquette had an Indy piece in the works I knew I had to get on the waiting list. I really like what Cinemaquette do, and feel in today’s crowded collecting environment, they are doing something really innovative and fun.

One of the earliest television memories I have is watching “King of the Rocket Men”, the Republic serial from 1949. As a young boy I would sit glued to each weekly episode. there I would find Jeff King and his experimental rocket pack fighting dark and sinister forces. Every episode ended on a perilous cliff-hanger. This meant that watching the next episode to find out if Rocket Man survived being in the car which plummeted over the edge of the cliff, became an absolute must. But “King of the Rocket Men” wasn’t enough, to satisfy my insatiable appetite for peril and danger, I would happily sit and watch Larry “Buster” Crabbe in Flash Gordon, and lap up every moment of Tom Baker as Doctor Who, and Avon in Blake’s Seven. These were my heroes, every week, escaping from the seemingly inescapable. And none of them could be beaten… until Indiana Jones came along.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is a film that just sucked me in the first time I saw it, and every subsequent time since then. I can’t remember exactly when I first saw it. But I do remember when I was about eight asking a friend to hit me in the jaw sas squarely as possible so I could fall to the floor in the same way Indy does when he gets hit by Pat Roach under the plane. It hurt.

As an adult, I realise that not a single beat is missed in that film, and not once does the pace sag. The story of the Ark captured my imagination – it was all just so plausible. The action sequences – pure escapism, especially the opening temple escape, the gun fight in Nepal, the fight under the plane, and the sequence with the truck chase just keep ramping up the peril and the danger with each passing moment. The actors give perfect performances, and the film is perfectly cast. I find the conclusion, where the Ark is opened, very satisfying. In addition, the music, especially the theme from the Ark of the Covenant and the Raiders March, are as much a part of the mythology as Indy’s Jacket and whip and the Ark itself. Oh, and did I mention that the film has some of the finest practical effects work and some truly nasty little moments? As a child I wanted to be Indiana Jones. As a 33 year old, I still want to be Indiana Jones.

Six years ago I attended a cinematic screening of the original films back-to-back at a memorabilia convention in the UK. Each film was introduced by one of the stars from the original Trilogy. Paul Freeman (Belloq) introduced Raiders of the Lost Ark; John Rhys Davies (Sallah) introduced Temple of Doom (even though he wasn’t in it) and Julian Glover (Donovan) introduced The Last Crusade. This was an amazing event for me, as I had never seen any of the films on the big screen. Seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark like that was a dream come true – even if it was a scratchy old print from 1981 that needed serious restoration work! I even got to ask John Rhys Davies how many takes it took for him to catch the poisoned date Indy throws in the air (“Bad dates”). His answer? “one”.

I have seen the films countless times over the years, and personally re-viewed the film twice before writing this piece. I have also seen elements from the original screen used costumes and props at the London Film and Comic Con in July 2008, and a couple of snaps from there find there way in to this review. In short, I have done some good research for this review. So without me yapping on any more, let’s get down to business.

“No one knows its secrets…”

The Indiana Jones Cinemaquette prototype was first unveiled at the San Diego Comic Con in July 2006. The portrait was sculpted by Jeff Yagher. An interview with the man himself can be found on youtube here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=5rxgjmTmbTw It’s a neat interview to watch as he talks about his 20 year sculpting career. Also, Jeff’s entry on the imdb can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0944891/

The piece has undergone several revisions since first shown. The facial hair went from quite ‘fine’ in 2006, to almost a full beard at the following Comic Con in 2007. By the time the piece was shown again at the NY Toyfair in 2008 the stubble was back to ‘fine’ again. The leather satchel belt was originally somewhat thinner than the final piece. In addition the leather belts looked brand new on the prototype pieces, but were aged somewhat for the final production pieces. The only other significant change was that the signature nameplate for the front of the base was changed from silver to gold. I am not going to re-publish a load of old photos from the Comic Cons here, as chances are you have already seen them in some form or another. But if you are interested, the original 2006 ones can be found at: http://photos.actionfigs.com/showgallery.php?cat=1591

The piece is 1:3 scale, and is slightly shorter than the other Cinemaquettes in the line. This is due to the pose, with the knees slightly bent. However, with the whip hand in place, the actual height is on a par with that of Volume II – the T850. So if you are planning to display this in an acrylic case, you will need a height of at least 70cm and a width and depth of at least 50cm for the piece to look comfortable. I have mine in a custom made acrylic case, which I got made here: http://www.acrylicdisplaycases.co.uk/

The Indiana Jones Cinemaquette is constructed from Polyurethane composite, silicone for the skin, and real punched hair. The materials are all proper fabric and leather (see later section on clothing). It is limited to 1,000 pieces.

In April 2008 www.throwmetheidol.com revealed that Cinemaquette had secured approval from Harrison Ford for the product, and as such his signature would appear as endorsement on the Certificate’s of Authenticity which accompany every piece. As far as I am aware, this is the first piece Harrison Ford has endorsed since the Master Replica’s Falcon Limited signed edition. You can find out more about the COA in the packaging section.

I received mine (number 67) from Forbidden Planet International on the 3rd of October 2008, having originally reserved it on the 14th of August 2006. Big thanks to Anne-Marie at FPI for answering about one hundred nagging emails asking after it’s whereabouts, and constantly chasing it up for me!

” The headpiece…”

This is the portrait of number 67. portraitflash1medium.jpg The first thing you will notice is that this piece is not photographed with the Fedora in place. Whilst I will get on to my thoughts on the Fedora in the “clothing” section, I should point out that the Fedora shipped with mine was damaged and is being replaced.

A quick point of note I should mention here as well whilst I remember. My Indy came with some flecks of hair trimmings on the face which I initially thought were paint spots. These bits of hair can be easily brushed away with a gentle brushing motion from a small (clean!) paint brush.

Cinemaquettes are notoriously hard to photograph and get right. Too much flash, or too much bad lighting can really spoil the likeness. I’ve tried to take the portrait from a few angles, and in different lighting conditions. The one above is to the right and slightly below eye line. The one below is an extreme close up at just under eye level. This gives you an idea of the level of time invested in the stubble and the subtle colouring of the eyes. The eye colour in particular is of note. Most Harrison Ford FAQs will tell you that his eyes are kind of hazel that changes colour according to what colour clothing he is wearing. So they can appear to be blue, green, or brown. For the Cinemaquette the eyes have been painted an outer blue with a greeny brown around the iris, which is probably more authentic than just going for hazel. portraitflash2near.jpg
Here you can make out the folds in the skin at the side of the nose, and the ‘lines’ on his forehead. The nose and bottom lip in particular are all accurate to the real face of Harrison Ford. Under the bottom lip you can see the trademark scar. The final pic of number 67 is a full shot of the face pulled away from a distance.
portraitflash3far.jpg Here you get a better sense of how the stubble works around the face and on the chin. Wonderful to behold in person, and I really have no idea how Cinemaquette managed to pull such detail work off. It surpasses their achievements with facial hair which were started with Volume V – Aragorn, and then refined with Volume VI – Jack Sparrow. Here, Cinemaquette have taken the stubble to new levels. Judging by the second pic of the portrait it seems that Cinemaquette have applied some sort of wash to the facial hair area to darken it slightly, then punched in two different colours of stubble hair to complete the effect.

The hairline again is individually punched with real hair. The hair on mine came incredibly well styled, and I have to say I don’t want to display it with the Fedora for fear of spoiling the hair and covering up such incredible work.

But how does the portrait hold up against the real thing? Below are some fuzzy screen grabs from the actual movie, which show the hairline, and the face of the actor. Obviously it is practically impossible to grab a still from the movie which perfectly matches the same expression and angle of the Cinemaquette. But, I have tried my best! Keep in mind that Indy is wearing the Fedora below.

indy-face.jpg hair.jpg

Personally, I feel Cinemaquette did a fantastic job with the likeness. If you compare the screen grab above with the second portrait shot from number 67 you can tell that the nose is there, the eyes, the brow, the forehead, the chin, the angle of the face, the ears. And in particular the scar and the mouth (especially the slightly fatter and more prominant bottom lip), it’s all there. The hairline is also right on the money.
However, it is true to say that the expression does not work for some people. hand.jpg Cinemaquette typically go for very serious expressions on their pieces, when there are often more ‘obvious’ choices. One example would be the upcoming Sideshow Indiana Jones Premium Format figure, which has been lauded as having a superior likeness. I for one am not fond of the smirk that Sideshow saw fit to bestow upon their replica, and I think in time it will wear thin. A smirk or a grin, whilst being perhaps ‘classic’ Ford, would not have worked on this Cinemaquette, simply because of the action pose. Cinemaquette should be applauded for producing such a dynamic statue, and getting an expression sculpted that matches it so well.
The paint application is great throughout, it is accurate, and there are no stray marks to speak of. The last photo for this section is a close up of the hand, and the paint applications ot the non-facial bits.

“What are you supposed to be… some kind of lion-tamer?”

Cinemaquette chose to move away from a ‘museum’ style pose with this piece. The character deserved something dynamic and kinetic. Indiana Jones is about action and adventure, and having him just standing there, would have been for me a bit of a let down. Although it suits the T850 and Jack Sparrow really well (and Aragorn less so), I feel Cinemaquette wanted to show the man in action. As such they decided to go with the pose that invokes memories of the cover of the DVD box set, and I am happy to say that it translates very well. As mentioned above, the piece comes in slightly shorter than the other pieces in the line due to the bend in the legs at the knees. Indy is seen cracking the whip, slightly off balance and transferring his weight to his left foot, bringing his right foot up as the whip cracks forward from around his back. It feels really nice, and with the jacket flaying open, feels like Cinemaquette, as they did with the Alien, have really managed to freeze a moment in film. The piece actually feels alive.

Here is the pose in all its glory:

whole2far.jpg




PART II of II (October 14, 2008)

Well here we go for the second and final part of my Cinemaquette Indiana Jones review.

“Mr. Jones! I’ve heard a lot about you, sir. Your appearance is exactly the way I imagined…”

Ok so, the clothing. Well lets firstly take a look at the shoes and the trousers. Here they are as they appear in the movie:

indytempleshoe.jpg

And here is the Cinemaquette:

footleft.jpg

The first thing to mention is that yes, those shoes really are properly laced! Cinemaquette did a great job matching the colour of the shoes up, as well as getting the stiching bang on. The shoes really are one of my favourite things about this piece. The trousers seem to be a shade lighter than those seen in the film. The film versions seem somewhat duller and more grey than the Cinemaquette counterparts. In addition, the trousers also seem slightly tighter on the Cinemaquette at the bottom of the leg, though there is plenty of slack all the way down. I have heard that the trousers can be stretched somewhat, but that won’t be something I’ll pursue.

Next, on to the jacket and the shirt. The next photo was taken under Halogen spotlights, so the jacket appears warmer than it is in reallife. It is real leather and has been aged a little. As such, the colour matches perfectly to the screen version. Indiana Jones’ ‘aviator’ type shirt is also as it appears in the movie as far as I can tell. Cinemaquette have done their usual thing of over-sizing the buttons and zips. This has never bothered me in the slightest. Especially on the earlier T850. But I do recognise that it bugs some people. All I can say to that is there is no way the zips would have been functional if they were perfectly scaled, so there is a trade off between looks and functionality. The jacket has two wires inside the bottom of the jacket, so you can have it open or closed as much as you like. Personally, as the pose is very dynamic and full of energy I have mine with the jacket coming right open – but that is down to personal choice.
shirt.jpg

The belts are an interesting one. Cinemaquette have reproduced the two original belts as seen in the film. Again the buckles are slightly over-sized. belts.jpg It is very difficult to find a moment in the film when both belts are on display. Indiana Jones tends to wear the gun belt directly over the main trouser belt for most of the film. But there is one scene, shortly after Marion dies, just before he sits down with Belloq, where both belts are visible. You can see from this grab that the colour, weave and buckle of the trouser belt was reproduced faithfully, as is the holster belt. I know this is quite tough to make out as the scene is dimly lit. But if you look closely you can see both belts, as well as the buckles and the fabric of the top belt.
Here is a view of the back detail of the jacket:

jacket1back.jpg
Finally for this section I want to talk a little about the Fedora. Personally I feel it is the weak part of the whole piece. Cinemaquette opted for a molded Fedora for some reason. It feels heavy, and a little cheap considring the effort with the rest of the piece. I can only imagine that Cinemaquette could not get a fabric hat to work, or retain its shape at this scale, so were forced to come up with another solution. As I said, my hat arrived with some problems, so I am waiting on a new one. But at the moment I am leaning towards keeping the hat off.

“Indy… why does the floor ‘move’?”

Firstly let’s get our bearings so we know what we are talking about here. The Indiana Jones Cinemaquette base follows in the tradition of the pieces before it. Simple, effective designs; themed to, and complimenting the character. The bases have an elegant nameplate depicting the character and the film the character comes from. A couple of things to note. Firstly, the nameplate, is gold, and thus follows the trend set by the Jack Sparrow Cinemaquette. I am not sure if Cinemaquette have been experimenting with different colours, or just feel that gold works better with some pieces. The upcoming Predator has a silver plate, whilst the Godfather is silver and Bruce Lee is gold. One thing’s for sure – the gold on Indiana Jones works nicely as it makes me think of the Golden Idol. The base is bigger than the ‘normal’ Cinemaquette base as found on every release apart from Volume IV – the Alien. The base measures around 40cm square, and is about halfway between the regular base size, and that of the Alien. The reason for the bigger base is to support the wider stance caused by the dynamic pose. Another thing to point out is that the nameplate on Indiana Jones bucks the trend of character name at the top followed by film underneath. For the first time the film appears at the top, with the character name below. There may be some significance to this, or it may just be a deliverate design choice.

Ok, the base is themed on the temple floor from the start of the movie. The screen grab shows you what to expect.

templefloor.jpg

And here we have the base from the Cinemaquette.

base1near.jpg

I really don’t feel like I have to say much about this. The picture sums up the level of detail Cinemaquette went to in creating a base straight out of the film. I like the bases on these pieces for their simplicity, however, I don’t think a base on a piece has worked quite so well since the skulls on Volume III – the T800. There are a number of choices that Cinemaquette could have chosen for this piece, and I am glad they avoided anything to do with floors covered in snakes. The bases should never detract from the piece (something I am not completely sure Cinemaquette have observed with the upcoming Predator), and lots of little snakes could have turned out really bad. As it happens, the detailing and the paint job on the base is exquisite. From the tiny leaves, to the bits of moss, and the dirt effect of the booby trapped stones – it feels like Indy is standing there, right in that temple. The underside carries the normal numbering and edition size information.

idol.jpg One very nice detail is the corners of the base. I only spotted this when I was watching the film the other night preparing this review. Lets take a look. base3corner.jpg Each corner is an exact copy of the pillar the Golden Idol sits on. You can see the comparison pic below. Neat huh?

In short this base is really an ideal statement. It feels nice and chunky, and really compliments the statue well.

“Throw me the whip!”

Right, the accessories. In this section I’ll discuss the whip, the holster, the satchel, the journal and the pen knife.

Ok, the whip. The whip is a lot of fun. whipend.jpg It comes detached from the main statue at the wrist, and is coiled up for transit. The wrist inserts in to the socket on the raised arm. The whip has some form of wire running through it, so it is bendable in to any position you see fit. It is worth investing some time to get the whip in to the right position for you. I took care to try and get all the ‘angles’ out of the whip, so it looked as natural as possible. image19.jpg I have seen some of these whips bent at quite unnatural angles, it is supposed to ‘flow’ like a real whip would, and not stick out at straight lines. Here is a close up shot of the whip end.
Here again you can see Cinemaquette’s crazy attention to detail with the way the whip terminates, first in an untangled section of whip, then finally the small black bit of whip on the end. Compare this with the real thing – the actual screen used whip from Last Crusade, and you get a good idea for the level of accuracy invested in the whip. The whip feels about the right length as well, and gets thick and thin in all the ‘right’ places.

Next up is the satchel. indybackbag.jpg The colour of the satchel is well matched to the screen used one. I particularly like the piece of string that can be found tying up the front of the satchel, just as it does in the film. The back of the satchel also has this strange green disc, which you can see in the screen grab coming up in a minute. I have no idea what that is actually for.
The belt on the satchel is a little over-sized, and has been ‘aged’. One photo I forgot to get uploaded was a shot of the satchel on the Cinemaquette, but I’ll get that fixed up over the next few days.

The holster is perfectly scaled and holds the equally perfectly scaled .445 Smith and Wesson Revolver Indiana Jones uses throughtout the film. swgun.jpg At first glance the holster looks quite ‘new’, but this is consitent with the film, where the holster often looks quite shiny and new. The holster has two fastening pins and one clasp. Once the pistol is inserted one piece of leather fastens across the side of the holster to hold the gun in place. Then the ‘lid’ of the holster closes down and is fastened in place. All very satisfying and realistic. Also worth pointing out is the whip holder on the gun belt. You won’t see it on any of the pictures in this review, because I didn’t realise it was there until after the pictures were uploaded! But the small leather loop that holds the whip on to the belt is all present and correct.

journal.jpg Also included with this piece is a replica journal (identical – even down to the colour scheme) to the one Indiana Jones is seen holding in the “Map Room” scene of the film. A perfectly scaled pen knife is also included. Both of these items can be placed in the satchel. I don’t have pictures of these bits rght now, but I’ll again update the review with some as soon as the pictures are uploaded.

“It’s being loaded on to a truck…”

And so we come to the final part of this review. The packaging is once again a stand out. Following the typical Cinemaquette template, the piece comes boxed in it’s own unique presentation case, with three internal layers of packaging. The top layer houses the COA. It is worth noting that the signature on the COA is a copy, taken from the master version signed by Harrison Ford. The second layer has the “Care & Assembly” booklet, the base, and the normal powder to treat the silicone (if excessively handled). It also holds the whip hand. The final layer has the statue, the fedora, the journal and the pen knife. All meticulously wrapped. The outer box features a motif based on the temple floor, with the Raiders of the Lost Ark logo across the middle. This is packed in a plastic bag, then boxed in to an outer carboard box, which itself is then housed in a more sturdy thick cardboard box. My Cinemaquette arrived free from damage, and in excellent shape. Unboxing a Cinemaquette is always a pleasure, and this one is no exception.

In conclusion. This Cinemaquette is awesome. A really fantastic entry in the line, and without doubt my favourite piece so far. The likeness needs to be appreciated in person, as no pictures I have seen really do it justice. Seeing these pieces in person – looking at them for what they are, is the way to truely love them. If you are interested in the most realistic looking Indiana Jones, this statue is peerless. All I can say is buy it. You won’t regret it.

The Indiana Jones Cinemaquette is available from Forbidden Planet International and is priced at £1099.

http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=33542