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, including this one: ‘MURICA!
The Horsemen release their figures 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.
The SCREAMING EAGLE was one of the last figures revealed on the Kickstarter, and he’s proved to be pretty popular. Yes, yes, I know we’re all supposed to hate America, and I have a friend who sends me e-mails about how “America is the Great Beast of Revelation” (seriously), but look. I love the place. And clearly so do plenty of other people. So yes. American Eagle. Eaglus has the most creative name in the line… uh, actually, maybe they should have just kept him as the “Screaming Eagle.”
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 Eaglus’s face is the make-or-break unique part of the figure. And, as should be expected by now, his bird parts are fantastic. Even though bald eagles are protected, they are pretty rare, so surprisingly few Americans have seen one in person. But this guy looks just right – photorealistic, as should be expected in this line. His beak is open, befitting his title of Screaming Eagle.
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 (or maybe a hand grenade). If you want, you can remove the belt fairly easily by disconnecting him at the waist.
The remaining bird parts are also just as good, even if Eaglus 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, after all – demonstrating the Horsemen’s skill to any prospective clients. And man, they demonstrate pretty well.
Eaglus’s body is pretty standard – brown feathers with a wash, white for his head, and the appropriate shades of yellow for his beak and feet. It isn’t just servicable, the paint is pretty exacting – but lots of bald eagle memorabilia exists, and that isn’t why you’re buying this guy, is it?
ne. of course, it’s in shades of red, white, blue, silver, and gold. But it’s the composition of those colors that matters, and Eaglus’s paint job is complex, regal, and one of the best in the line. It’s unfortunate that he will probably spend most of his time hiding under a cape – in fact, even the little city on his torso armor is better-sculpted and painted on this figure than the others.
In fact, here’s a closer look at the cityscape. He comes apart easily enough (without breaking).
Eaglus has a ball-jointed head, ball-and-socket shoulders, ankles, wrists, shins, and hips, double-hinged elbows and knees, and swivel biceps, chest, wings, and waist. Iz-Ra Mirrus 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. Nothing 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.
Eaglus comes with a spear-mace combo, which appears to be the “default” weapon for the birds (except for Decimus). 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. It’s odd how the mace is not removable despite clearly being the same piece sas on Decimus’s weapon (which can be taken off). Funny thing, though. The gold/brass color of the weapon makes it look like a flagpole, and that does fit. No, if only he had a flag somewhere.
Eaglus also comes with something I’ve never really seen – spare feet! One pair of feet is set in a half-grasping open pose, as if he were flying or raking thrm 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. He’s also got 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 care that the Horsemen put into their toys.
And finally, Eaglus has a special little accessory – his cape! It isn’t exactly an Aerican flag (for legal purposes), as the starry field is shaped like an eagle’s head, but it works. The fabric is a little thick for this figure’s scale, and the cape comes off looking puffy, but if you pull it down in the back, it looks much better. It isn’t as good as in the prototype pictures, but for what it is, it’s allright. Eaglus can certainly take a few dramatic poses with it!
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 – My Eaglus 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 breakage 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.
AMERICA! Well, this is a July 4th figure if I ever saw one. Hie cape isn’t perfect, but otherwise he’s pretty much the best uber-patriotic medieval gothic bald eagle knight I have ever seen. And yes, that is a narrow category. But the Gothitropolis ravens are fantastic – someday I’ve gotta pick up the rest!