Indie toys are usually obscure things which appeal to a small number, but are beloved by those who own them. Minotaur the Duck is one of these. The figure is a Kickstarter-exclusive for the Gothitropolis Ravens, meaning - in theory - you can only get it from having supported this line back in 2013 or by paying the current asking rate on eBay and you can't get it now. Shortly after they arrived last December, the figures were selling for about $150 on eBay - this is why you always pick the Kickstarter exclusive.
The Four Horsemen took a series of gags on the forums and turned them into a legit action figure worthy of your support. How could you not want to spend $33 on a goofy (but in-shape) duck figure in a battle helmet with a scar over an eye? It just makes good sense. The figure includes 4 sets of feet, one of which is appropriately webbed like a duck's and is also included with Flamingus in different colors. The sculpt is, of course, also the same. The spectacular thing about the ongoing "Fantastic Exclusive" toys is that they all share a body but through the magic of paint and new heads, you get a figure that's sufficiently different. And if you need new gear, you can steal from your extra Masters of the Universe weapon packs.
The 7-inch duck doesn't really need fancy gear, mostly because his weapon is in a unique black color. Most of the other figures are gold, so this one stands out a bit. As with the others, the spiked ball is molded to the pole while the pointed end is a removable piece. You've got options, and no matter which one you pick it looks pretty good. It doesn't feel unbreakable, but the quality is decent and it doesn't feel as brittle as some of the previous Horsemen exclusive figures' gear. As a complete unit, this figure feels pretty good - the only thing it's missing is one of the swell Four Horsemen stands which were sold separately. And, I should add, was totally worth it.
By now you know the drill - the body has about 25ish joints and the same wonderful bird body sculpt you've seen with that wonderful armor painted black and silver. Oddly, the armor itself doesn't quite sing as much as the other designs but that's OK because the head sculpt is all the more interesting. Most of the bird heads are fairly normal, realistic designs (except the Phoenix and Quetzalcoatl) but only Minotaur the Duck has a helmet and battle damage. The horned head is fantastic, with a tiny cow skull on top of his head which is most likely there as a nod to the Four Horsemen's long-serving logo. Iron feathers poke out the back, and there's a gash over the left eye in the helmet. It lines up perfectly with the red scar on his face, giving you a fairly surprisingly not-angry duck action figure. The feather sculpting is superb, as is the amazing detail on the armor. You can tell a lot of time went in to each piece of armor, each limb, and each foot but even more amazing is that the deco is just as good. There's simply nothing else like this, and if you consider what it costs versus similarly sized figures from other manufacturers, it's really, truly an amazing sight to behold.
Of course, there's always a price and in this case it's in quality control and patience. Kickstarter backers paid in full about 16 months prior to getting their figures, and prior to their arrival we were told that figures may have stuck joints that need special care and attention. (In short, the figure was assembled before the paint may have been fully dried and it basically fused a few joints shut. This can be fixed with the Boiling Water Trick or if you aren't scared about possibly melting things, a common hair dryer.) My sample had three problems needing fixing - the right shoulder peg wasn't in the socket and had to be re-set (boiling water was used) and each thigh swivel joint was fused stiff. I had to insert the legs in boiling water and actually separate the thick peg out of the joint in order to get them to move because nothing else seemed to work. I did have a few "I think this might break" moments but Minotaur came through with flying colors.
Also included are four sets of feet. The default claws are inserted in each ankle, but you can swap them out for duck feet, closed claws, or grasping claws. Why you'd want to use anything but the duck feet is beyond my understanding, but let it never be said that the Four Horsemen don't provide you with options.
Figures like these are sort of a blessing and a curse. They're wonderful, gorgeous pieces that will make you the envy of toy snobs. However, getting them is a stressful ordeal - the long waits, the fear of broken parts and pieces, and other drama really do take away from the overall enjoyment of the figure. If I buy a Hasbro figure, there's a really good chance it'll just work - obtaining it is the most stressful thing. With these figures there were numerous questions over ship times, breakage, and other expectations that begins to overshadow the fact that this may very well be one of the finest action figures developed for the American toy collector in 2014. I wasn't one of the people on the forums driving this figure home, but I like ducks and I like helmets. This is a keeper, if you can get one for a fair price you totally should.
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