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The Gauntlet of Vaskkh

Seventh Kingdom
by Monkey Boy

When the Four Horsemen announced that the variants for their Ramathorr elephant swordsman figure would represent different jungle-y animals, I knew I had to have them... and when Action Figure Xpress's rhino guardian (named the Gauntlettttt of Vaskskkskskskhjh or something) showed up on my doorstep, I was happy. Silly me.

See, only a few figures managed to get out, you know, when they were supposed to. And it turns out, those figures suck. Thus began the whole debacle you've undoubtedly heard about by now, what with the factory sucking and the constant delays and the struggle to reclaim the molds and yadda yadda. Anyway most of these guys came out a year late. Not my rhino, though. He's a first-run suckatron.

Charging into battle against all who oppose the realm of Animynthus comes The Gauntlet of Vaskkh!

It's not that his sculpt is bad. He shares his body with Ramathorr, or more specifically, Rammy's lesser elephant brethren, since he lacks Ramathorr's ornate... loincloth... codpiece... thing? Anyway, the ol' Gauntlet also gets different, smaller shoulder pads than his elephant buddies, which he shares with Warty O'Hog and Hippo McMouthopen (come on, those names aren't any stupider than the actual ones the 4H came up with). What all of this means is that his sculpt is very good, although most of that's been covered in the previous elephant reviews. The wrinkly skin works just as well for a rhino as it does for a pachyderm, and the three-toed feet make sense as well (unlike the warthog variant, which should have cloven hooves). The new head is very nicely done, accurately representing a White (or Square-lipped) Rhino very well.

The paint is also pretty good. The armor is painted up good, with no slop to speak of, and lots of subtle color variations and applications. The skin is not quite as great though. There do appear to be a few different tones used, but they're very similar to one another, and really don't bring out the sculpt as they should. From even a short distance away this guy just looks uniformly dark gray... a little too dark gray, actually. The thing isn't called a White Rhino for nothin', after all. Of course it shouldn't literally be white, but these guys are usually a much lighter shade of gray. I suppose the 4H might have been trying to distinguish this guy from Ramathorr, but still... all the detail really gets lost in that dark paint.

The articulation is where this guy falls apart - in some cases, literally. The first production run of these guys was very poorly put together, and ol' Gaunty is basically a ragdoll. He's articulated in the same places as all the other Ramathorr variants (except for the trunk of course, which he lacks), but imagine just about every one of those joints being ultra-loose. Standing him up without leaning him on something is a pipe dream, and even with a wall to lean him on, good luck. His knees bend on their own, his ankles buckle, his hips splay. His upper body doesn't fair much better, and it really is a pain to get this guy into any pose other than what his loose joints decide to fall into - and my problems are seemingly on the lighter end of things. Apparently it was not uncommon to get figures with huge gaps, or joints broken off right in the package. Hooray!

For accessories, Rhinoface gets two short, funky battleaxes. The axe was one of the choices for Ramathorr's extra weapon, but it lost no bone accents out to the Buster Sword... which is kinda good for Ramathorr, because the axes are sort of puny. The Gauntlet of Vaskkh can hold them in his hands, or store them in the clips on his back, although since he has no other accessories to speak of, that leaves him holding nothing. They're also sort of flimsy and easily breakable, since the axe head is a separate piece meant to be re-used (see Warty O'Hog). The peg connecting the head to the hilt is already showing some serious damage on one axe, though this issue may be unique to the first, crappy run of these guys.

All in all, this guy is a huge crippling disappointment. I don't know if I had any recourse in getting a replacement Gauntlet, since I never heard anything from AFX or 4H regarding replacing individual figures. Plus, he's not exactly broken per se, he's just a loosey goosey. I felt bad asking about a refund when other people apparently had much more serious problems. Once my newer, better Seventh Kingdom figures began arriving, however, I realized just how much this guy suffers. If you managed to get him as part of the "Antetherean Nine" deal through the 4H directly, you'll probably like this figure a lot more. The sculpt is great, and the paint is decent... it just really sucks to have a figure with near-Marvel Legends articulation where every one of the joints is loose.

-- 06/08/08

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