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Elephant Soldiers

Seventh Kingdom
by yo go re

Part of the fun of the Four Horsemen's 2006 FANtastic Exclusive was the eventual inclusion of a series of limited variants known as the Mynothecean Six. They used the same basic body
as the main figure, Xetheus, but had some new sculptural elements and completely new paint apps. So when it came time for FANtastic Exclusive 2007, fans wanted to know: would we be playing the variant game yet again? Oh yeah, you bet we would!

This year's standard figure was Ramathorr, a big mighty elephant. At the same time they revealed his name, the Horsemen also began introducing us to the variants, which again had sculpt and paint differences and were again available at various online retailers. The elephant warriors were on the move!

The majority of the Elephant Soldiers' sculpt is shared with Ramathorr, so it still looks great. The hairless skin is thick and cracked, but he's still heavily muscled. The head is a little bit smaller than Rammy's - it still looks good, these elephants just seem younger than their leader. Part of that may be that their ears and tusks are much smaller. The trunk is the same, but since it hangs so low, I feel confident in saying that everything below the neck on these figures is reused from Ramathorr.

The Soldiers' armor is mostly the same as Ramathorr's, just with a few less pieces. The square loincloth is gone, and so is the armor panel that rests over his kidneys. His belt buckle is different, featuring a rosette that matches the ones on the shin and shoulder armor (which is shared with the big guy). The removal of the extra pieces allows the detail on the skirts to be seen better, even if it does leave a hole in the back of the waist. You even get a better glimpse of the cute little tail.

The elephants are an even 9" tall, since they don't have Rammy's big ornate ears - or even the spiked headdress. The herd has all the same articulation as their leader, with rocker ankles, hinged knees, thigh swivels, balljointed hips, tail swivel, swivel waist, balljointed torso, balljointed wrists, hinged elbows, bicep swivels, balljointed shoulders, swiveling trunk and a balljointed neck. The torso joint may be too tough to free up, leaving you with just a second swivel there, but technically it's designed as a balljoint - one of my elephants fell apart at the waist, but having that chest joint meant I felt fine gluing the waist together permanently, because the range of motion was maintained. Some of the figures knee joints are a bit looser than you'd want on such a big, heavy figure, but nothing as bad as the initial run of figures; find a good pose and they'll hold it securely.

Having a smaller, smoother head means that the Elephant Soldiers get something Ramathorr doesn't: a hat. Each soldier has a removable helmet, with the same style of designs as you'll find on the rest of the armor - a flower, compass rose and riveted straps inside a frame. There's a single spike over the bridge of the nose. Their eyes look out beneath scooped edges, and though they don't get an extra point of articulation like the cows did, they're still awesome.

So, enough generalities! You want to know about the elephants and where you can find them, right? Well, who knows how long they'll be in-stock, but here's where each was initially:

The Hammer of Gholl - Diamond Previews (500 pieces)
One of Ramathorr's most trusted enforcers, this is the plainest elephant of the bunch. His skin is light gray and his eyes are red. His armor is mostly red, with silver edges and just a few hints of blue highlights. The cloth bits of his skirt are brick red, and the hair on his tail is grey.
The Mace of Broggah - October Toys/Toy Break (300 pieces)
Ramathorr's dark disciplinarian is sporting black and grey armor over his orange skin - an appropriately Halloweeny scheme. There are a few green spots in the armor, and a bit of purple, as well - which goes along with his plum cloth. His eyes are black, and so is his hair. The rivets on his armor are golden.
The Club of Thraugnn - Fwoosh (300 pieces)
He is the crimson combatant sworn to do Ramathorr's bidding, and he looks like he's blushing - it's that dark red skin. His armor is black and gold, with touches of purple. His eyes and hair are black, and he's wrapped himself in navy blue cloth. His toenails and tusks are the same color as all the other elephants.

All three Elephant Soldiers have the same accessories, though they're color-​coordinated with their owners. There's the helmet, of course, but they also each have a cudgel. Or maybe they're actually a hammer, a mace and a club. Whatever you want to call them, they're the same thing that came with the cows last year. The remaining accessory is a "long-handled battle blade," which marries the blade of Ramathorr's sword to the flagstaff that came with the 2006 variants. It actually makes for a nice weapon, and it's even sized to fit in the weapon rack on each elephant's back.

As if four elephants (plus a hippo, a warthog, a rhino and two mutants) weren't enough, the Horsemen gave us another elephant: the Chalice of Guudenuph. He was available through Store Horsemen, but like his fellows, he sold fast. He's a pink elephant, the kind seen by cartoon drunks everywhere. His eyes are black, but his nails are all light pink. Still has yellow tusks, though. His armor is similar to the Mace's, a black center with a grey frame and golden rivets. The highlights are metallic blue and green. His cloth is brick red, but it looks brown next to his vibrant flesh - which is actually a dark, thick magenta, not the pale pink a lot of photos make him out to be. It's a really nice-looking paint scheme - and as of this writing he isn't sold out, so get over to Store Horsemen fast!

For those of us who didn't want to deal with separate shipping charges for all those different exclusives, the Four Horsemen worked out a deal with the sites: they asked on their board for people willing to commit to buying a set of all nine variants (Ramathorr, the elephants and a few surprises); they then set aside a small number of these "Anitherian Nine" sets to be sold directly through Store Horsemen with just one shipping charge. It was the same plan that they'd used the year before for the Mynothcean Six, but this year they went above and beyond: when more people requested sets than they'd expected, the Horsemen went to their partner sites (those guys linked above), got a few more complete sets and made sure everyone went home happy. How cool is that? It really shows how much the Horsemen value their fans.

In 2006, the Minotaur Soldiers were each limited to 250 pieces, but for FANtastic Exclusive 2, the partner sites got to choose their own numbers (and their own prices, which is why they tend to vary). Still, the variants are quite limited, and the figures sold briskly - even with the big problems those early ones faced. Yes, the elephants are expensive, and are basically glorified repaints, but they're still awesome. Whether you just want one or you want the whole herd, they're worth it.

-- 05/25/08

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