Despite what the merchandising (and 12-year-old girls) might lead you to believe, there was more to the success of Pirates of the Caribbean than Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. More, even, than the gravity-defying properties of Keira Knightley's corset. There was an actual story, see, and a supporting cast full of interesting characters. Unheard of!
It's the crew of the Black Pearl that really stands out. The English sailors are all pretty much generic, after all. But the baddies had Captain Barbosa, that big black guy who looked like Seal and, of course, Pintel and Ragetti.
Even if you don't know their names, you know Pintel and Ragetti. The bald one and the one with the wooden eye? Yeah, that's them. They're the pair of luckless losers who get sent on every special mission, and you never see one without the other. Somebody's sent to break into the governor's mansion? Pintel and Ragetti. Someone has to dress up in ladies' clothing to create a distraction? Pintel and Ragetti. Someone needs to murder a shoe factory paymaster? Sacco and Vanzetti. Okay, so pirates can't do everything.
Like Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello or Keenan and Kel, this comedic pair is one-half tall and lanky, one-half short and stocky. Pintel is the former, and he's played in the films by Lee Arenberg, a character actor who's just on the verge of being "hey, it's that guy!" His slightly sinister aspect worked well for the dirty pirate, and it works well for this figure.
Pintel is 6 3/4" tall, and moves at the head, shoulders, wrists, waist and shins. The neck and shoulders are balljoints, but this guy needs elbows, badly. He's got peg joints where his legs poke out of his trousers, so you can turn them well enough to keep him standing.
The hands and legs are made from a softer plastic, which is both good and bad: it's good, because it allows youto get his accessories into hands by prying his fingers open, but it also means that his hands don't want to turn very easily and his legs are a bit spongy. The hands are already impeded a bit by his big sleeves, so between that and the soft materials, they may be staying wherever they are when you open him.
The sculpt is quite nice. The tattered and ill-fitting clothes are handled well enough, but it's things like the intricate detailing on the big buckles that really impresses. NECA is either hit-or-miss when it comes to likenesses, but this one is great. It's not that it looks 100% like Lee Arenberg, but it captures the look of Pintel wonderfully, and that can be much harder to manage.
Bad paint can ruin a good sculpt (see Art Asylum's Captain Picard, for instance), but that's certainly not an issue here. The colors are fairly bold, but they show signs of age; just as a pirate's clothes should. They'd be bleached by the sun, after all. The gold buckles on his shoes are crisp and clean, and his layered garb doesn't smudge. The only really harsh spot is where his stringy hair meets his bald head. It doesn't really fade or blend at all, just has a straight edge.
Pintel does get some nice accessories, giving you some playability. He's got a sword, a double-barrelled flintlock and a short club, all of which he can either hold or store on his person - the gun and the stick tuck into his belt, while the sword fits into the sash at his side. The gun's a bit tricky to get into place (don't want to break the hammers, after all), but it does fit.
Ragetti is the taller member of this duo, and the figure really plays this up. The figure is 7" tall, but he's all hunched over, so you get the feeling that if Ragetti stood up straight, he'd be about 8'12". He has a balljointed head and shoulders, plus peg joints at the forearms, wrists, waist and shins. The arm joints are particularly odd, since his wrists and the inexplicable joints at the cuffs of his sleeves both serve the same purpose. So we get a redundant pair of joints, but no elbows? Whoopee!
The likness on Ragetti is just as good as his partner's.
Mackenzie Crook is a distinctive looking guy - fans of the original BBC version of The Office will easily recognize him as Gareth (for those who've only seen the US version, that'd be the Dwight of the team) - so maybe it was easy to caricature him. They got his crooked little gin and his lop-sided eyes, and his stringy hair hangs much better than Pintel's. The only thing missing is a fork sticking out of his eye.
It's easy to say that Ragetti's
sculpt is better than Pintel's since he has more apparent detail - the laces on his shoes, the texture of his curduroy pants, the buttons (and button holes!) on his shirt and jacket, that sort of thing - but they're just different, and both are good. Raggy's paint apps, however, definitely have the advantage. Look at the colorful scarf that's tied to his left hip or the weathered, faded look to his jacket. His right eye is painted all in browns, since it's supposed to be wood, and his stubbly little beard looks superb. The insides of his ears are a mess, but I don't think that's intentional; they just seem sloppy.
Ragetti has a sword and a gun,
just like his partner, but he can't hold them as well. There's no spot to holster his sidearm, and while the sword does fit into the strap around his chest, the angle's all wrong - if you actually tried to hang a real sword lke that, it'd either fall on the ground or you'd be unable to draw it.
The pirates do have a few other accessories, but we'll get to those in a second. All the figures in Series 2 and 3 come with a display base that, when combined, will create a huge diorama of the treasure grotto from the first film. The bases don't actually plug together or anything, they're just shaped specifically to rest next to one another, kinda like NECA did with their earlier Kill Bill figures.
In any case, Pintell and Ragetti's bases are about 4" or 5" in diameter (adjusting, as necessary, for their irregular shapes). The detail is unbelievable. The stone is textured, layered and cracked, and there's booty everywhere: coins, candlesticks, crosses and cups... and every bit of it painted perfectly. Excellent, excellent work. All the ill-gotten gains strewn about the ground look like they could be separate pieces. And why, look, some of them are!
In addition to their weapons, Pintel and Ragetti have a few loose spoils of war: a large silver pitcher, a candelabra and a serving tray with two small pitchers. The detailing on these purloined items is quite good, despite the fact that they're cast from extra-soft rubber. The tray is etched, and the large picther is detailed with fruity reliefs. The candelabra is simple, but there's a nice little wash on the candles to keep them from being plain white.
Some of the Pirates of the Caribbean figures are quite unimpressive - NECA has yet to make an Orlando Bloom that looks like Orlando Bloom - but Pintel and Ragetti are among the best. Good likenesses, detailed sculpts, reliable paint apps and fun accessories? The only thing missing, really, is a little articulation. If these guys had elbows, they'd be Toy of the Year contenders. With Series 3 beginning to show up, now's the time to plunder a pair of pirates for yourself.
Who's your favorite fictional duo? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.