The Four Horsemen (three now) are some of the best toy sculptors in the industry. Every few years, they produce a small miniline of their own as a showcase of their ability. They’ve done minotaurs, elephants, women, demons… and now birds! That sounds odd. But look, it works. This year, it’s the Ravens – or rather, two ravens and an assortment of other avian creatures. It ran from a Kickstarter line in 2013, and I picked up four. Three of mine have had a little it of post office trouble, so my intention of starting with the main guy (a black raven named Decimus Hrabban) got waylaid. Instead, let’s look at his rooster brother, Cockitrus!
The Horsemen release their figure in a bunch of mini toylines. Gothitropolis, home of the Ravens, was previously used for Lord Scarabus, the evilest evil guy ever, who even gets some focus in the (massive) bio text on the packaging! The battle birds are meant to be his enemies, you see. Unfortunately, only the white and black ravens get specific text on the box, though you can guess that they are all part of the same squad.
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK OF ATELLUS CHAPTER 13:
Vampires, zombies and werewolves do not exist – at least not in the ways that we have been told. There are indeed very dark things that lurk in the shadows, though, just out of our line of sight.
After a bold entrance into our world in ancient days, Scarabus and his kind have quietly lived in the dark corners of our world for ages. It is only now in the year 2332 that Scarabus has lead [sic] his people into the open to build a great city that can harness his blasphemous power. Many are dedicated to hunting and eradicating Scarabus, but only the Daemothyr family and the Order of Lunogoth possess the true tools to stop him. If he is not stopped soon we must all fear for what will happen. If his evil plan comes to fruition we must all pray that he never brings to life his abysmal city – his Gothitropolis!
DECIMUS HRABBAN: RELIC MASTER AND PROTECTOR
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. As founding members of the Order of Lunagoth, Decimus and Nonus are sworn protectors of the Daemothyr children and their family’s ancient relic weapons. The brothers’ sacrifice has been great, with Nonus losing his life defending the Order’s citadel from Scarabus and his minions. Today Decimus relies on his aerial fighting prowess and enchanted scythe to ward off Scarabus and his growing army of evil followers, while still protecting the Daemothyrs and their collection of powerful relics and weapons. Nonus can also be found alongside the Daemothyrs, often taking the form of a ghostly white bird atop Atheria Daemothyr’s shoulder.
Cockitrus isn’t Decimus or Nonus… but hey, he’s a rooster! And now that we’ve got one of the birds, let’s take a look at him!
The Ravens come in a special, collector-friendly blister pack – the cardboard slides in and out with no worries, and the tray keeps the figure secure without twisty-ties. It also has that fantastic amount of text on the back!
The ravens are all essentially headswaps of one another, which means that Cockitrus’s face is the make-or-break unique part of the figure. And one thing that has been evident since the prototypes is how photorealistic his head sculpt is. This guy is a rooster. He isn’t a cartoon chicken, or an “extreme” exaggerated creature he really is a jungle fowl turned anthropomorphic. From his comb to his wattle, he looks like the kind of animal you’d find in the barnyard… from the neck up, that is.
The raven armor is insanely good. It’s ornate and busy in the way that modern fantasy designs are these days, though thankfully it lacks random spikes and baubles that would make it confusing. Every square inch of his armor is covered in crests, insignia, talons, feathers, and even a cityscape over his stomach (Seriously. A whole cityscape). He’s got a tiny pair of decorative wings on his back, which can be swapped out for the bonus wings you can buy for a little more money. The bird also comes with a special belt, containing a horn, bone picks, a hand relic (Hand of Glory?), a pouch, and a green roll of rope or string. If you want, you can remove the belt fairly easily by disconnecting him at the waist, but why would you want to do that?
The remaining bird parts are also just as good, even if this guy has a hilarious case of Feather Fingers. His taloned feet look like actual bird feet – and trust me, that’s not as easy to get right as it seems. Each individual feather has the kind of attention to detail that you would expect from a Horsemen project, which helps serve these figures. They are supposed to be a showcase of skill, after all.
Cockitrus’s paint is not as good as the original paint master shown in the Kickstarter previews. This really should not surprise anybody, as no production figure has ever looked like its paint master. You can really only see the differences on his comb – bigger spots and less shading. The thing is, the paint is still utterly fantastic. His head looks like an absolutely realistic (and complexly-painted) rooster. And hisarmor is a beautiful combination of red and gold, with so much piping and embossed detail that it’s hard to believe this is a mass-produced figure. It’s honestly so good that complaining about the head feels hollow. Even his feet have the correct shades of yellow and orange.
Unfortunately, the paint isn’t completely without issues – each figure is cast in white plastic and painted over, so when it scuffs, it shows really badly. My Cockitrus has a couple of tiny chips inside one arm and on one foot, and they are visible if you look for them. It probably cut costs to cast everything in the same color plastic, though it means that you will need to be careful with your ravens.
Cockitrus has a ball-jointed head, ball-and-socket shoulders, ankles, wrists, shins, and hips, double-hinged elbows and knees, and swivel biceps, chest, and waist. Cockitrus has an insane range of motion that’s actually a little better than it looks. The Horsemen have demonstrated more than just their sculpting ability with this figure, and have even included a few bonuses – for example, it comes apart very easily at the waist, thus making it a simple matter to swap out the belt if you so desire.
Well… the figures shipped with a warning from the Horsemen not to force any joints, and to be careful in case the figures break. That said, my roster is perfectly fine. Nothign was stuck, and nothing broke. I’ve heard reports of a few stuck joints, but they generally loosen up without too much trouble. To be honest, the QC issues don’t sound any worse than, say, a NECA figure.
Cockitrus comes with a spear-mace combo, which appears to be the “default” weapon for the birds (except for the black raven, who gets something more ornate). It’s a long, golden pole with a (removable) spear head on one end and a mace on the other. The weapon looks far better in person than in pictures, and its length is impressive… but it is kind of plain. These birds needed swords, though you can get one with the optional battle pack add-on.
Cockitrus also comes with something I’ve never really seen – spare feet! One pair of feet is set in a half-grasp, open pose, as if he were flying or raking them at an enemy. Those feet are really good, even including the tiny little bulge of flesh by the bird’s thumb (so sue me, I forgot what it’s called). Of course, you’d need a proper flight stand for this, as well as wings – extra wing packs are also available.
Finally, Cockitrus comes with a pair of gripping feet. You can’t quite use them to let him perch on his weapon, as the pole is too narrow, but he can grip it in an amusing fight pose, or potentially cling to a thicker pole. The prehensile feet are a great little detail, and demonstrate more of the immense detail and care that the Horsemen put into their toys.
This figure will cost you about $30 if you can get it straight from the source. It was a little less on Kickstarter, but that was in 2013. But for the price, you’re getting something that looks and feels pretty high-end.
THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Some of the figures got cast in brittle plastic. Not all, but some – Cockitrus isn’t bad, as his PVC is a little flexible, but I have heard of some shattering. Likewise, watch the joints, and if they feel stuck, be careful. Despite the hype that potential brekaage had, though, it seems that the actual figures are generally pretty sturdy.
WHERE TO BUY:
Oh, man. I don’t know if or when the Horsemen are going to put more of these guys up for sale, but they’re your best bet. Eventually, some will trickle into the secondary market, though.
I really need my other three birds. But in the meantime, Cockitrus is an excellent introduction to the Ravens line. This six inch figure is one of the best-sculpted and painted figures in my collection, and I have some surprisingly pricey stuff. He’s gotten attention from non-collectors in my circle of friends, and with good reason! I’d love to see more from Gothitropolis, and the fact that the Horsemen have hinted at making more birds is really exciting news now that I’ve gotten to actually see one in the flesh. So, here’s hoping that the Black Raven, Screaming Eagle, and Quetzalcoatl make their way to my doorstep soon!