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Sir Robin

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
by yo go re

If there's one thing that geeks can agree upon, it's Monty Python. The shows, records, books and films have proved to be hilarious to generations of nerds, dweebs and melvins. The Pythons' influence has reached everywhere, even into your own inbox - or did you think there was some other reason that spam is spam?

Ahh!  What was that? There have been scant few Monty Python figures until very recently, but even those were big 12"ers - not exactly perfect for the economically minded. Now, thanks to Diamond Select Toys, we finally get our first Pythons in a real scale. From Monty Python and the Holy Grail come King Arthur, Sir Bedevere and Sir Robin. Yes, Sir Robin, who had nearly fought the Dragon of Agnor, who had nearly stood up to the vicious Chicken of Bristol and who had personally wet himself at the Battle of Badon Hill. That Sir Robin.

Bravely bold Sir Robin rode forth from Camelot. He was not afraid to die, O brave Sir Robin! He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways. Brave, brave, brave Sir Robin. He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp. Or to have his eyes gouged out, and his elbows broken! To have his kneecaps split, and his body burned away and his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir Robin. His head smashed in and his heart cut out, and his liver removed and his bowls unplugged, and his nostrils raped and his bottom burnt off, and his peni--

Well, you get the idea. Sir Robin is seen here as he rode north, through the dark forest of Ewing, and came upon the dreaded Three Headed Knight, the fiercest creature for yards around. He's wearing the green and white checked tunic from the film, adorned accurately with the majestic pullet crest on his right side. The sculpting detail on the figure, from the links in his chainmail to the dings in his armor, is handled very well by Gabriel Marquez. ToyBiz has been doing intricate armor for three years now - and getting better with every series - but Sir Robin stands with the best of it.

To make the tunic look more realistic than the usual "sculpted on the top, separate on the bottom" style of dress, Robin's tunic is one molded piece of pvc that fits down over the figure. The wrinkles and belts are all sculpted into the piece, and the figure moves beneath it. The tunic is not removable, but that's no terrible loss.

Useless piece of crap Robin comes with the same accessories as all three figures in this line: a sword and sheath (the hilt pulls out so you can get the sword in his hand), a shield (Robin's is, of course, decorated with his familiar crest) and a small blue and yellow display stand. Press the Grail and hear three phrases from the film:

  • W-well actually, I, I am a Knight of the Round Table.
  • Sir Robin of Camelot.

The voice chip in the stand is both tinny and too loud. Perhaps better quality (or more lines) could have been managed if the volume were brought under control?

It's like looking in a mirror! Even the likeness is great: Eric Idle played Sir Robin, and the figure shares his wide-eyed look of terror. The figure's hair is a separate piece of soft rubber, which makes it feel slightly more natural than hard ABS plastic would. Actually, Robin's moustache makes him look quite a bit like Derek Smalls, oddly enough. Still, there's no question about who this is, which (as even McToys has been proving recently) is not an easy thing to do.

Sir Robin is looking up slightly, which is how we know this is when he faced the extremely tall Three Headed Knight. For second after second, Robin held his own, but the onslaught proved too much for the brave knight. Scarcely was his armor damp when Robin suddenly, dramatically changed his tactics!

Brave Sir Robin ran away. Bravely ran away, away... when danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled. Yes brave Sir Robin turned about, and gallantly he chickened out. Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat. Bravely bravely bravely bravely bravely bravely bravely bravely bravely bravest of the brave, Sir Robin!

DST seems to have been the one to chicken out when it came time for articulation. The figure moves at the neck, shoulders, waist, hips and knees. Five years ago, that would have been a fine amount, but today it just feels sparse, especially considering the style of the joints: the head is on a standard peg joint, while a ball would have allowed him to face ground-level opponents as well; despite the gauntlets he wears, Robin has no wrist articulation, which means that he can only hold his sword and shield in one pose; the shoulders are the strangest of all, wedding peg-joints to lateral pull-out joints that are starting to show up on the Marvel Legends. It's a lot of weird choices that don't actually provide a lot of poseability.

So the Holy Grail figures are rather disappointing, all told. I'd love to see the line continue, but I'd also love to see the quality improve. A lot. And while I'm sure I'll get every Monty Python figure I can, it'll have to be on clearance: these aren't $13 figures.

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