The first character people really noticed from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (well, after Davy Jones, of course) was Maccus. The promise of sea creature-themed villains really captured the imagination, and the film's designers delivered, even on the guys who weren't a single, identifiable creature.
One of the tamer designs was Davy Jones' personal guard, Palifico.
That's not to say that he looked particularly human, by any means: he just had a specific theme and stuck to it well. See, unlike Maccus, who had many disparate elements, Palifico has just one. To borrow the phrasing from old Marvel monster comics, Palifico is the coral reef that walks like a man.
Palifico has obviously been on the Flying Dutchman for quite some time. If Bootstrap Bill has been serving for about 10 years, and Wyvern (the guy who was literally fused with the ship) has been serving for 100, I'd say Palifico signed on three or four decades ago. He's wearing the tattered remains of the clothes he had on at the time he struck his bargain, but they're fading fast. By now, it looks like a blue dress with a huge red sash.
The sculpt is very good, but it's not 100% accurate to the movie.
Most of the characters went through redesigns between the time NECA started sculpting and the time they showed up on-screen, but Palifico's changes were minor, at best. They did a great job of capturing the rough, branching textures of coral, and the barnacles that cover his arms and legs. The coral that forms his head has a general clam shape, almost like that's what it formed over. His mouth is a collection of tentacles, and his eyes are tube worms. Eww, gross!
Palifico is 6¾" tall, and has some really nice paint apps. His body is mostly a browninsh gray, but the tips of the coral fade to pink beautifully.
The shells and barnacles are crisp, and the bits of seaweed that cling to him are a muted green. The bottom edge of his belt, which should be red, is still blue in the back - the base color. That's a minor thing, though - the good bits make up for it.
Though the coral grows out from Palifico's chest and up over his shoulders, the figure doesn't lose any articulation because of it. He has the same eight points as most NECA figures: neck, shoulders, wrists, waist and ankles. His neck is just a swivel, rather than a balljoint - that's kind of disappointing. And while the shoulders are balljointed, the coral growths keep them mostly limited.
The biggest flaw in this figure, though, is his stance. He's posed in this strange squat, which leaves him poorly balanced and even less poseable than usual. This is most likely a function of the original concept art, which showed Palifico descending a stair. However, since the figure is designed to stand on flat ground, he just looks wrong. His sash is long enough to reach the ground, though the way the soft rubber
was molded means it tends to stick out to the front.
Another holdover from the concept art are Palifico's swords. Artist Crash McCreery originally planned for Palifico's hands to be permanently fused with his swords, bonded together by a crust of barnacles formed over the ages. A very cool idea, to be sure, but rather unpractical in execution. Thus, in the film, Palifico retains the use of his hands. The idea lives on in the toy, however. So yes, like Clanker, his accessories are a permanent feature.
Palifico comes with a section of Flying Dutchman deck as his display base.
Quite a big section of it, in fact. Two pieces, each with a section of railing. As usual, the detailing is good, with a thin grain on the dark wooden planks and large, thick strands of seaweed spilling all about. There are a few shells and barnacles about, and the railing looks more organic than wooden. There is one footpeg to support Palifico, but its placement is exceedingly poor: it's on the second level, but right near the ledge; that, coupled with the shape of the base, means that Pally won't be facing "forward" if you use the peg. You can almost fake the concept art's staircase pose - "almost." The space management of this piece is really lacking, but it still looks good combined with all the others.
For the most part, the crew of Davy Jones' Flying Dutchman aren't so much "characters" as they are "designs." But honestly, that's okay. It makes the toys look cool. And Palifico certainly looks cool, even though the toys has some definite problems. The sculpt and paint are excellent, but the pose is weird and the base is useless. Is that reason enough not to get him? That's up to you.
Why did they change the sword hands? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.