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Pirates of the Caribbean
by yo go re

Unless you have some sort of inexplicable brain disease, you loved Disney's second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Dead Man's Chest. Take everything that was good about the original, turn it up a notch, and throw in some monsters that somehow manage to "out-cool" zombie pirates? That right there is a recipe for success.

Clanker While most of the crewmen of the Flying Dutchman seemed to be suffering from ROA, or Rapid Oceanic Anthropomorphology, one guy stood out as being fairly plain. Of course, when you're talking about a crew that includes a shark man and a guy with his head in a conch, "plain" is relative. The idea is that the longer someone serves on Davy Jones' crew, the less human they become; by that measure, Clanker has probably been onboard about twice as long as Bootstrap Bill - long enough to start mutating, but not long enough to become completely inhuman, either.

Clanker isn't the most popular crewmember. After all, he doesn't really look like anything. He's not a shark, he's not a crab, he's not coral... he's some kind of undersea potato man. And so he doesn't get the love. Which is a shame, because once you get him and start checking everything out, you'll find a really cool design.

At a glance, Clanker almost looks human. taking backne to a whole new level In fact, he sort of looks Spanish - his outfit is reminiscent of the ones worn by participants in the running of the bulls, what with the scarf and the sash. Of course, he's all in tones of brown and blue, rather than white and red. And when you get close, you'll see that those are barnacles, not some pattern of the cloth. That's an anemone, not a flower on his lapel. And that's not hair, it's seaweed.

The sculptural detailing on Clanker is great. His skin looks like sand, with buried seashells peeking out. where's the spittoon? His pants, shirt and chest are encrusted with barnacles, and there's a large patch of them over one eye. A colony of mussels is spreading across his shoulders, but a few of them have migrated to his waistline. He even has a little bit of coral coming out of his ribs. Very cool. There's one detail of the design that no sculpt would ever be able to adequately reproduce: the inside of Clanker's mouth is patterened after the kinds of diseases tobacco chewers get, and his tongue is made of oyster meat.

See, the thing you'll never realize there were clouds, toward which they were driving just by watching Dead Man's Chest is that all of the Dutchman's crewmen (except for Bill) were entirely digital creations. It's like Gollum in Lord of the Rings: the movements are based on the actors, but the computers created characters that prosthetics and make-up never could. So even if you'll never see it on the screen, the inside of Clanker's mouth is as integral a part of his design as the outside of his boots.

heavy, black and pendulous Clanker is about 7" tall, and articulated like your average NECA figure: swivels at the boot tops, waist and sleeves, balljointed shoulders and a balljointed head. The head has a particularly good range of motion, especially considering his long hair, but the left shoulder is really limited by the mussels growing on both sides of the joint. His scarf is a separate piece held in place by the head. The paint apps are good all around, making those tiny, tiny details look sharp.

While Clanker's hat is removable, his weapons aren't. decker He carries chain-shot cannonballs to swing around like maces, but they're permanently molded into his hands. The chains are real, so they swing nicely, but it would have been nice if he didn't have to have them all the time. Removeable hands, anyone? He also has a big display base that connects with the others to form the deck of the Flying Dutchman. There's a lot of seaweed and shells and a section of railing, and a footpeg that will keep Clanker upright - not that he needs it.

Don't overlook Clanker just because he's not an obvious sea creature. He's still got a wonderfully creepy design, and is a fairly prominent character. This figure would be better if he could let go of his balls once in a while, but he's still worthy of your collection.

What's more disgusting: slowly mutating into a barnacle covered half-man, half-animal hybrid, or chewing tobacco? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.


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