Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Figure Review: Indiana Jones and the Shia LaBeouf with Whack Off Action

In a change of pace, I decided to pick up a Shia LaBeouf/Mutt Williams doll for maniacal purposes. Why? To test a hypothesis I have regarding its potential usefulness. Since no sane person would buy this for their permanent collection if they're not 4 years old (yes, it says "Ages 4+"), let alone review it, I'll spare you the pain of owning one of these and tell you what it's like.

First off, I'd like to say that I don't like the film, and I bought this with malicious intent of doing grievous harm to it as I modded it for my next victim, the Scout from Team Fortress 2. Why buy such a random waste of $19.95 at Wal-Mart, you say? It has two benefits to the design: thinner arms for the scout; and a gimmicky push button sword swing action. Anyways, now that we have procured our target, let's free Shia/Mutt from the box and start doing harm.

Since the doll has a modified body to give it a swinging action, there's a couple issues to be aware of. There is no shoulder articulation aside from the rack and pinion action mechanism that rotates his arm to do sword chops. It's actually more like a flail than an arm, since the entire arm behaves like a cheap $1 toy snake. The wrist and elbow are extremely loose, like it's trying to demonstrate ragdoll physics. Great for the "knife throwing action", bad for posing. You can't swing the right arm out to the side for posing, and I learned that the hard way by snapping off one of the support pins holding his shoulder in place. Awesome, since I was going to enjoy popping bits off this bugger anyways. Nothing like a change of pace from decapitation to shoulder dislocation!

As you can see here, I've removed the right swinging action arm. Note the two holes in the shoulder socket assembly. There are two rubbery pins there that hold it in place. If you wish to mod your Shia LaBeouf figure (which leads to the question, why did you buy one and why do you want to do what I'm about to do anyways?) to have full range of arm motion, you'll need to use an X-acto knife (or if you wish, an UBERSAW!) to cut through the pins, if you don't like snapping off his shoulder while giggling with sadistic pleasure. Got to say, they gave him a really ripped body to go with his skinny arms.

Next, you'll have to probably glue back those pin chunks that may have fallen out into the shoulder assembly (the part with the two holes from the previous image). Why? Additional structural support for the bolt, silly! Unless you want Lethal Weapon shoulder dislocation action for your figure, but I don't think Shia LaBeouf is that badass to have that type of action. I'm using a 1/8" diameter bolt, with a length of about 10 mm. Anything up to 14mm is fine. You'll now need to drill a 1/8" dia hole through the center of the shoulder assembly. The shoulder ball diameter is roughly 17mm, so use that as a guide in determining your hole placement. If you're into unnecessary labor and lots of frustration, you can do this with a Gamer's Workshop hand drill and a cylindrical file. I suggest using a drill or a Dremel. Since I'm cheap and bootleg, I chose the former.

If you made the hole tighter than what it should be, great! You can simply feed the bolt though and the threads will eat the plastic and hold it in place. If not, you'll need to drill out a recess for a nut/washer and epoxy that into place. With that done, there's one more thing I did to stiffen the elbow. Using the staple resource of Magic: the Gathering cards, I laminated three cards' worth of thickness together and stuffed that into the gap in between the elbow joint. Regular Elmer's glue secured that into place. It's just as stiff as his left arm now.

Now, onto the figure itself. With a stiffer arm, he's better capable of swinging weapons down without the silly floppy arm motion. He came with boots, which were rather nice, but he's going to be using some Soldiers of the World gym shoes. His pants are nicely done, but there's the glaring problem of the obtrusive rectangular button coming out of his back. His shirt comes with a rectangular hole in the back for the button, and I'll be doing some modification to make that less annoying in the future. As for his accessories, the sword is nice, but the child proof dagger is really childish. I'm actually surprised that the sword isn't blunt like the dagger, since it's a hazard for 4 year olds. Then again, they'd probably swallow the dagger anyways.

Overall, the figure is a great alternative to Ultimate Soldiers for modding purposes, being cheaper and not overtly muscular. Highly recommend you probably buy something else though. Not worth the $20 as a permanent unmodified figure for your collection.

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