UNEXPLORED NATE Summer Version by CC Toys review - Sat Jul 20, 2019 3:30 pm
I don't really play video games (did some computer games, and that was mostly in the fairly distant past), but that does not mean that I don't come across cool action figures based on video game characters. And I don't just mean the Battlefront versions of Star Wars Empire Strikes Back Snowtroopers. CC Toys has just released a product called Unexplored Nate Summer Version, obviously inspired by the Nathan Drake character from the popular Uncharted video game series (and, if I am correct, the character's look from Uncharted 4). Although I knew next to nothing of the character or the game, I liked the set, so I got it when I found it for a decent enough price. I did some research preparing for the review, but I'm sure there are plenty of things I may have overlooked.
Packaging: 4/4 stars
Although there is nothing particularly mind-blowing here, we get a sturdy and compact box with a fine color rendition of the product and all the necessary information. Inside is a single black foam trey with its black foam lid, providing safe accommodation for the figure and its accessories. Everything is completely safe and collector friendly. I particularly appreciate the combination between small size and sturdiness of the box and the use of a foam rather than plastic trey on the inside.
Sculpt: 3.5/4 stars
The character's head sculpt is very close or identical to what we see in the promotional images and the photograph on the box. The light and quality of my photography is not quite good enough to give it real justice. The sculpt is executed in minute detail, with tiny intentional imperfections and wrinkles and wounds/scars on the skin, fine (though not quite Hot Toys fine) hair and stubble. (The sculpting of the hair is actually finer than what you see in the photos, in which the camera has focused on the facial features instead.) The sculpting extends to the torso and arms, with veins, muscles, and hairs indicated here as well (the lower body -- judging by the lower legs -- does not have this kind of detailed treatment, but then again, it is not meant to be visible). The hand sculpts are made of plastic a little softer than what I have usually seen, but easy to manipulate and use with the accessories. The sculpted detail on the shoes is excellent, and the sculpted accessories (flashlight, gun, etc) also look very good. Nate stands about 11.75 inches (30 cm) tall and is well-proportioned except perhaps for a slight giraffe-neck effect (presumably intended to counter-balance the clothed upper body but still perceptible).
There is something a bit off from the face of the video game character (which actually changed a little between games) -- perhaps the proportions of the head and/or the size and shape of the jaw or the whole lower part of the face). The resulting face is good, but not an exact rendition of the character's; it should certainly be longer (especially the forehead and mouth/chin areas) -- see HERE. Perhaps one can think of it as a younger, more boyish version of the character from the game; or a cosplayer playing the character; or perhaps the animated rendition of the character was wrong all along. I mean, Tom Holland was supposed to play him in a movie... And it is not as if Sideshow did better (it went the other extreme). Am I too easy on this because it is based on an animated character, or because I am not particularly familiar with/attached to the source material?
Paint: 4/4 stars
While not appearing to be particularly complex or spectacular at first sight, the paint job on this figure and its accessories is actually very good. There is subtle weathering on things like the bodkin, flashlight, gun, and hook, and they have been painted in a manner that makes them look realistic and used. The eyes are glossy and beautifully done, although the pupils might be a tad too large. The hair may appear a bit flat when it comes to color, but then again so was that of the computer character. The eyebrows and stubble, however, are very impressively handled, and the wounds/scars (mostly on the right side -- camera left -- of the face) are done well -- not too much or too little color added. A sort of freckle effect is applied to the upper body and arms in a manner subtle enough to look pretty realistic. The shoes have been painted to look like used and scuffed leather, while the loopholes look metallic. The watch's face looks glossy and translucent. I don't think there is much more than we could have possibly expected in this category.
Articulation: 3/4 stars
The overall articulation of the figure is quite decent, but it leaves something to be desired. The head can pose well on top of the neck; the figure also articulates well at the shoulders, hips/thighs, (double-jointed) knees, and wrists and ankles. However, there is very little give at the lower neck, somewhat limited abdominal crunch, and single-jointed elbows that can only bend to 90 degrees. Additionally, the lower half of the body is a little bit on the floppy side, and the ankles in particular seem rather weak, although the figure can stand on its own. The lower body articulation is slightly restricted by the tight pants, which would prevent very wide stances.
Accessories: 3.5/4 stars
There are quite a few accessories included with the set. Apart from the action figure stand and the stand-alone name-sign "Nate," there are the hook (with articulated claws) with attached coiled rope, the bodkin, the flashlight, the watch, the waist pack, and the ring, which comes on the left relaxed hand, but is a separate little metal piece that you could theoretically put on another hand and finger. I overlooked (and therefore forgot to show) a little belt loop (or bracket) that closes with magnets and is intended to secure the coiled rope to the belt.
In terms of weapons, the set includes only a Beretta 92FS Brigarier Inox handgun, which has apparently appeared in all four games of the series. While I realize that providing the whole arsenal of weapons featured in the game would have been impractical or cost-prohibitive, it seems that one or two extra pieces would have been advisable, perhaps a rifle that the character is often shown slinging about on his back. Judging by Uncharted 4 alone, additional weapons could have included: Colt Rail Gun/M1911A1 hybrid, a flintlock pistol, a Mateba Model 6 Unica, a Sa. Vz. 61 Skorpion/IMI Micro Uzi hybrid, a Robinson Armament XCR-L CQB, an IMI Romat, a Ruger Mini-30 Tactical, a Ruger Mini-14, a Beretta ARX-160, a Remington ACR, an M14, a Winchester Model 1866, a Armscor/Rock Island Armory M30 M5 Matte Nickel, an RPG-7, and especially the SIG-Sauer SIG556 Classic rifle. And this doesn't take into account several oversized weapons. Apparently many of the weapons were misnamed and/or rendered somewhat incorrectly in the game (see HERE).
The nice paint and sculpting work done on the accessories has been mentioned above.
Outfit: 4/4 stars
The outfit is simple enough and reflects the character's look from Uncharted 4. It consisting of khaki-colored pants (chinos), a blue long-sleeved shirt (henley), and the harness/shoulder rig with a holster and ammo pouches. The pants are slightly distressed to make them look used. The blue shirt has some staining to make it look dusty and worn, and the long sleeves can be easily rolled up to achieve the iconic look from the game; it also features four silverish-colored buttons. The harness/shoulder rig is made of thin leather or leather-like material, complete with metal loops and caps. There is also some white padding over the lower torso/abdomen, secured with velcro behind the back; I removed it so that I could achieve the signature "half-tucked" effect. The outfit is completed with the brown walking shoes, which are finely sculpted and painted, as noted above.
Fun Factor: 3.5/4 stars
Despite the limited choice of weapons, the set comes with several accessories, and despite the less than perfect articulation, it poses very well. Because of this, it has plenty of fun potential. The only reason I'm giving this less than a perfect score is that the absence of any of the other protagonists (or antagonists) from the game means that one cannot easily pair the character with others from the same source -- at least not without some ambitious kitbashing.
Value: 3.5/4 stars
Retailing at about $160, this is not exactly cheap, but it is much more affordable than many other high-end action figures. Admittedly, you get a slightly inexact likeness and this is not a fully licensed collectible (hence the product name). But the product is very good overall, and unlike so many others these days (including some from very respected companies), comes with a nice array of accessories.
Things to watch out for
Giantoy, from which I purchased the figure, included a possibly generic note that it would not be responsible for broken wrist pegs. Whether this was in any way specific to this figure or a general disclaimer, be careful with the pegs (there are no spare ones included) and use a blow dryer or hot water to heat up the plastic when swapping hands. The tiny clip allowing the flashlight to attach to the belt can easily come off (though it was also easy to glue it back in place); and being black and tiny, it would be easy to lose -- so you would want to be careful with it. The little belt loop (bracket) intended to secure the coiled rope in place which I forgot to feature closes with magnets. This is generally great, but in this instance I noticed that the magnets were so strong, and the glue so weak, that one of the magnets became unglued from the (p?)leather strap. Easy to fix with some super glue, but another thing to keep in mind. Given the relative weakness of the ankles, the figure might topple relatively easily.
Overall: 3.6/4 stars
I am not disappointed with this product, but then again I did not have particularly high or set expectations. Yes, the likeness to the video game character could have been better, and we could have had slightly better articulation and a rifle, but all in all, Unexplored Nate is a pretty nice set.
Where to Buy
Apart from looking on eBay, I would suggest looking at these:
Cotswold Collectibles for $160 (preorder)
GianToy for $163
Monkey Depot for $160 (preorder)
Timewalker Toys for $160 (preorder)
I hope this review has been useful. What do you think?
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