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Death Eaters

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
by yo go re

Being evil isn't enough. There's always some goody-goody with moral qualms about the way you want to acquire power. If he'd just sit down, shut up and get out of the way, everything would be fine, but no, he's gotta be a stick in the mud. That's why you need followers. Helpers. Acolytes to stand between you and the self-appointed "heroes." Darth Vader had Stormtroopers, Sauron had orcs, and Voldemort has Death Eaters.

Death Eater 1 Supporters of the evil Lord Voldemort, Death Eaters are Dark wizards who will seemingly stop at nothing to do the Dark Lord's bidding - including the use of unforgivable curses on Harry and his friends.

We briefly saw some Death Eaters in Goblet of Fire, but while they were dressed like Klansmen, they weren't really all that evil. Unpleasant, racist, self-interested, callow... they were like the Republicans of the wizarding world. Harmful, but only mildly so. Think of them as the Death Eaters board of directors. In Order of the Phoenix we meet the shock troops, the truly crazy and dangerous emeffers who spent time at Azkaban Prison before returning to Voldemort's service. Those are not the guys you want to mess with. And when the whole gang gets back together to face off Hogwarts students with only half their numbers? That spells trouble.

Death Eater 2 NECA released a pair of "Klanny" Death Eaters in their first Harry Potter assortment, and now we've gotten a second pair in OotP Series 2. Like NECA's earlier Crazy 88 figures, the Death Eaters create variety by careful application of minor changes. The legs, heads, coats and chests (sort of) are all the same, with each version getting a unique mask and arms. And also a chest. It's complicated.

See, both Death Eates share the same chest sculpt, but not the same chest mold. How's that work? The underlying shirt is the same on both (look at the placement of the wrinkles), but the details are different. The curlicues on the upper chest are entirely different, as are the sculpted stripes around the stomach. Obviously both torsos began with the same "blank," then had the specifics carved in and piled on. That's nice work.

don't leave your helmet out in the rain Death Eater 1 is wearing a dark mask with green highlights - it almost looks like oxidized copper. His shirt has lots of detail at the neck, but little around his midsection. The sleeves are tucked into elbow-length fingerless gloves. He's clutching his wand in his left hand, and has that arm crooked back, like he's going to shank someone. His right arm is out in front of him, with the fingers splayed.

he spends a fortune on silver polish Death Eater 2 is wears a silver mask, which is etched with much more detail. His sleeves hang free, and therefore provide a nice opportunity for some dynamic work in the sculpt. The shirt seems to fold over itself as a closure, and the sculpted lines on the stomach are matched by more lines on the upper arms. He's a righty, judging by the way he holds his wand, and he's gesturing with his clawed left hand.

sling These differences might not sound like much, but they really make the two figures look unique. The shared parts are nice, too: the boots are wrapped up in woven strips of cloth, the pants lace up the sides (oooh, sex-ay!) and the jacket hangs nicely over the head and shoulders. One unexpected detail? There's a sling on belt that serves as kind of a wand-holster. Damn, that's clever!

If you look at the Death Eaters' masks, it almost looks like there's a face behind there. How'd they manage that? By actually sculpting a face behind the mask. That's right, no little sculpting tricks here. You want to give the illusion of a mask covering someone's face? Sculpt a face, then cover it with a mask. Done!

The masks aren't meant to be removed, but you can do it with some work - and underneath, you'll find that both figures share the same head. The face that has no nose, but instead a gaping hole where the mask plugs in place; they look like the twin sons of Tycho Brahe. There's hair sculpted on the back of the head, but under the mask the head is suddenly bald. Big kudos to NECA for giving the hidden faces full paint apps - any other company would have just left them pink.

nose hole There aren't any twins among the Death Eaters, so how do we explain these two having the same face? Well, the simplest answer is, of course, "no one's supposed to see what's behind the masks, so there's no point in making them different," but that's boring. Let's get creative! Go to the book, and you'll find that two of the attackers were Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange - Bellatrix's husband and brother-in-law, respectively. They might not be twins, but they are brothers, and maybe their dad had some strong genes.

Death Eater 1 and Death Eater 2 stand 7" tall, and move at the boots, waist, balljointed shoulders and balljointed neck. DE2 also moves at the wrists. They include plain black disc bases, and their wands sit comfortably in the holsters. The paint on the details of their shirts really doesn't line up perfectly, but it's not enough of a problem to worry about searching for pristine examples. Just consider it evidence of their unbalanced mental state. Though the figures look like they're clad mostly in black, it's actually a lot more brown, just handled in such a way that it looks darker.

The Death Eaters are evenly packed in the Order of the Phoenix Series 2 cases - one of each version. They're both worth getting, thanks to a lot of small changes that add up to a decent set of differences. If you can only get one... well, get whichever you like better. Neither has an advantage over the other. They just make a good pair of baddies for all your heroes to face off against.


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