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Headless Horseman

World of Warcraft
by yo go re

DC Direct's World of Warcraft line seems to have come to an end. It will be missed, probably, by someone. Most of us are largely indifferent to its passing. The early figures were pretty bad, but there was a huge improvement by the end. Not many toylines can claim such a drastic growth arc.

The Headless Horseman, once a knight of the Silver Hand and a hero among his fellow paladins, is cursed. Driven insane within the Scarlet Monastery, he believes that he is alive and we are dead. Now, his fervor no longer serves the Light. With the coming of Hallow's End, he spreads gloom and fire across the villages of Azeroth.

If you've never played WoW, you're not alone. It may seem like it, but we promise you you're not. Anyway, the Headless Horseman is a seasonal boss, which means he can only be summoned during the Hallows End event. And he's one of those bosses who can be taken down to one hit point, then regenerates and you have to fight him all over again. Dick. You actually have to beat him at least three times in order to truly win, which is really weird, because artificial padding is usually the last thing MMOs are all about.

The Headless Horseman is in Series 4 of the Deluxe figures, along with a Moonkin, which is the dumbest creature you've ever seen. Anyway, being a Deluxe release means a big box, and a lot of room for a giant figure. But the Horseman isn't a giant figure - he's just a human-sized being, which (between the WoW figures' larger scale and his wide-legged stance) means he's about 6½" tall - 7¾" tall when you count the arm he has raised above his shoulders. As is usual for the WoW toys, he has just the one pose. Yes, there are swivel joints in the gloves, thighs and shins, but that's not enough to change the way he looks.

The armor he's wearing is ornate without becoming needlessly baroque. It's designed like a series of nested pieces with high, harsh points in the front, and the entire thing has a texture that looks like hammered steel. There are cracks and chips in the surface, showing evidence of countless years of battle, and you can even see the rivets that hold all the pieces together. His upper arms and the back of his thighs are the only spots that are unarmored, so that's where you can see the cloth undersuit he's wearing beneath all the plate. Plus, straps and buckles, to hold it on! He has spurs on his heels, and a giant, tattered cape that billows out to the side.

Despite the fact that this is the Headless Horseman, he has a head. How's that work? Well, when you knock him down to 1 HP, he throws his head at someone and that becomes the active target while his body heals. To simulate that, the head is a separate piece, merely resting in the neck thanks to some cleverly designed trans green flames. Even then, it's not a "head" so much as it is the helmet that went with his armor. In the game there's a pointed ridge running over the top, but the toy trades that for more flames, so he end up looking like a mask rather than a helmet.

You can count the head as an accessory or weapon if you want, but that's not the only one he comes with. He also has his sword, a flaming yellow blade with a bat-shaped crossguard and a removable pommel so you can fit it in his hand. The sword appears to be red in the game, but the yellow stands out from the lining of his cape better.

The third time HH regenerates, he starts throwing pumpkin bombs. Yes, kind of like the Green Goblin does, but larger and more mystical. If the players don't destroy these gourds in 15 seconds, they sprout into Pumpkin Fiends, ambulatory jack o'lanterns which act as minions for the big guy. The set includes a 2¼" tall Pumpkin Fiend, which has no articulation but still looks awesome. His head is dark orange with a yellow interior, and though the leaves and stalk that act as his body are both brown, they're different shades of brown, to keep him looking interesting.

Finally, a Headless Horseman can't be a Headless Horseman without a horse (unless we're talking about Team Fortress 2's Horseless Headless Horsemann), and this one does not disappoint. Now, Deluxe figures may be larger than average, but an entire horse is still too much to ask for. So this set gets clever, giving us a large display base tht shows the haunted horse apparently forcing its way up from beneath the ground. We've got stones and roots and lots of churned earth, and then a full, in-scale horse head and a single hoof.

The horse is brown, but its eyes, nose and mouth are an eldritch green. The hoof is a translucent version of the same color, so this is unmistakably a mystical creature, not a real horse that someone has buried neck-deep in the ground. The bridle trails back from the mouth, and there's weathered armor on the head and, if you look down under the clumps of dirt, more armor running down the front of the neck. It's a dynamic piece, and nearly overshadows the figure it comes with.

The set includes two clear plastic rods of differing lengths, and they give you different options for display. First is a very short peg, which is used to attach the Horseman's right foot to the base. He stands fine without it though, so you probably won't be paying much attention to the small peg.

The longer rod is used to allow the head to float 5" off the ground. There's an unobtrusive hole under the "chin," and a larger hole on the base between the head and hoof.

You don't have to play World of Warcraft to like this figure. Yes, he's specifically from the game, but the design is iconic enough to just be a generic Headless Horseman, and who doesn't like that? So, cool figure, neat pumpkin sidekick, and an awesome base that tells a story by itself... this is a winner!

-- 10/24/12

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