It's been over 40 years since "Raiders of the Lost Ark" introduced audiences to Indiana Jones. The archaeology professor who spends his spare time tracking down priceless artifacts and keeping them out of the hands of Nazis and other tyrants is one of cinema's most iconic heroes. That makes him an ideal target for squeezing out as much merchandise as possible. However, with the character's most recent theatrical adventure arriving 15 years ago, it's been awhile since the man with the hat got a proper assembly of collectibles. Thankfully, the arrival of "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" this summer has made the franchise ripe for merchandising mining again, and that means Hasbro can finally give Indiana Jones the detailed action figures fans have wanted for decades.
Hasbro has officially released the Indiana Jones Adventure Series of action figures. This line of 6-inch collectible figures falls in line with the likes of the Star Wars Black Series and Marvel Legends collections, providing detailed versions of characters, complete with impressive face sculpts, especially when it comes to recreating the likeness of actors playing characters from the big screen. The first wave of Indiana Jones Adventure Series figures comes straight from "Raiders of the Lost Ark," and rather than giving each figure a piece of a Build-a-Figure, like the Marvel Legends line, collecting an entire wave allows fans to build one of the famous artifacts from the film. And you can probably guess which one you get to build with this first assembly of characters.
We were fortunate enough to be sent the entire first wave of Indiana Jones Adventure Series action figures from Hasbro, and we've taken a closer look at this spectacular set of collectibles below.
'Oh, My Friends! I'm So Pleased You're Not Dead!'
Let's start with Indiana Jones' trusted companion Sallah, played in the films by John Rhys-Davies. Though Sallah is a beloved character from the franchise, he doesn't exactly require an action figure. However, there is one key reason that Sallah was probably included, and it all comes down to the Ark of the Covenant. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The Sallah action figure depicts the character in the tunic and turban outfit he wears when assisting Indy in his search for the Ark. That means his posing options are rather limited. In fact, even trying to pose him as depicted on the front of the box proved to be rather challenging. The arm cannot be positioned in such a way to allow the shovel accessory to easily rest on Sallah's shoulder. The image above took several attempts, and in the end, it required an assist from the rubber cloth piece hanging from his turban in order to keep the shovel in place without bending the handle in a noticeable way. As for the rope accessory, it works for the specific posing pictured on the packaging, but otherwise, there's not much to Sallah, and even the likeness leaves a little something to be desired.
However, what makes Sallah necessary for completists is the Build-An-Artifact aspect of the Adventure Series. Once you have all the pieces to assemble the Ark, you can have Indy and Sallah carry it together, just as they do in the movie (more on that below). Otherwise, the Sallah figure appears to be here for hardcore fans who want more than Indiana Jones in their collection.
'You Chose The Wrong Friends. This Time It Will Cost You'
What would our hero be without a villain? That's where Dr. René Belloq (Paul Freeman) comes into play. Though Belloq is an archaeologist just like Indiana Jones, he's an opportunistic Frenchman who's ultimately in it for money and power, so he can be added to the history books. That's why he's working with the Nazis to track down the Ark of the Covenant for Adolf Hitler.
However, the version of Belloq we're getting is the one that works best with the Build-An-Artifact. Belloq eventually gets the Ark of the Covenant, and he attempts to unleash its power, which will ultimately be his undoing. The Belloq action figure puts him in the ceremonial garb he wears when opening the Ark, complete with a goat-head staff.
Not unlike Sallah, this is a figure that's really only meant to be posed a certain way. The rubber clothing makes it difficult to pose in any other fashion, but if you're planning on displaying him with the Ark of the Covenant, you don't need a lot of variety. However, I will say it's a missed opportunity to not include a second sculpted faced with Belloq screaming before his head explodes. Now that would make for an incredible action figure display.
'Well, Jones, At Least You Haven't Forgotten How To Show A Lady A Good Time'
The award for the most fun accessories in the first wave of Adventure Series action figures goes to Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), dressed in her Cairo marketplace outfit. Honestly, this felt like a surprising choice for a Marion Ravenwood action figure, but the ability to give Marion a frying pan and a little monkey was probably too good to pass up. At the same time, giving Marion the frying pan when there's no henchman figure for her to square off against is a little disappointing. Frankly, I think it would have been better to put Marion in the dress that Belloq gives her, especially since she's wearing it in the temple where she and Indy end up trapped together. Even a version of Marion from her drinking contest scene would have been nice. But I digress.
Marion's pants can make a variety of poses a little awkward, even if the figure is articulated rather well. Plus, situating the monkey on her shoulder can be difficult. But you can't deny that Karen Allen's likeness has been captured rather well. However, her hair does offer some challenges when trying to pose Marion's head naturally. She basically needs to be facing forward without making her hair look awkward. But again, I'm still hoping for a different version of Marion sometime in the future. It doesn't look like she'll be in the next round of figures, but we'll keep our fingers crossed for another appearance in future waves.
'Good Evening, Fraulein'
Now we're getting to the best parts of the first Adventure Series wave. Though Major Arnold Toht is not the primary villain in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," he's certainly more memorable than Belloq. Undeniably creepy, Toht is the kind of guy who makes everyone uneasy as soon as he enters the room, and this figure has almost everything you'd want in action figure form.
Toht comes in his signature black suit, complete with gloved hands and a removable hat. Of course, he comes with his overcoat as well. Unfortunately, that overcoat is molded rubber rather than cloth, which can make posing a tad awkward if you want to keep it on. He also comes with a pistol he can use to threaten our heroes. However, his best accessories take cues from an unfortunate injury and gnarly death.
There is a swappable hand, and that hand features the burn that Toht sustains when he tries to retrieve the headpiece of the Staff of Ra from the fire burning in Marion's bar. Yes, you can pose Toht with that revealing wave that shows the burnt hand. But the best accessory is the alternate head sculpt with Toht's head melting once the Ark of the Covenant is opened. It's the best accessory in this entire line of action figures, and it makes Toht the second best action figure. Of course, that brings us to the best part of this line-up, the one everyone will want.
'It's Not The Years, Honey, It's The Mileage'
We know a lot of people just want an Indiana Jones figure, even if it means that they won't get the Ark of the Covenant by getting the entire first wave of Adventure Series figures. Thankfully, this Indiana Jones figure is pretty satisfying on his own.
Indy comes with two different whips, one that you can unfurl for action stances, and another that's curled up and ready to hang off Indy's belt. There's also a little pistol, as well as a holster that it fits in (though closing the holster with the gun inside can be a little tricky). There's also a removable satchel, which actually comes already equipped on the figure inside the packaging. And finally, Indy has the Chachapoyan Fertility Idol. However, if you want to recreate the scene where he steals it, you'll have to wait for the next wave of figures.
There are also two sets of swappable hands. Some of them are better for holding the whip, pistol, and idol, but two of them are made specifically for fisticuffs, as you can see above. So Indiana Jones is ready for a fight. Sadly, as of now, there's no figure of the buff, shirtless Nazi mechanic that Indiana Jones gets into a fistfight with next to the Flying Wing. In fact, there's nobody for Indy to fight, because Belloq and Toht never get into hand-to-hand combat with him. So that's kind of a bummer. But honestly, fans will probably want to pose him in a myriad of other ways rather than getting in a fight, so it's not that big of a deal.
Perhaps the only other downside is that Indy's hat isn't removable. Granted, you probably don't want to have to worry about the hat falling off, and he's pretty much always wearing the hat when he's in this outfit. But it would have been nice to have an alternate head sculpt with a removable hat, if only to pose Indy retrieving his trademark wardrobe piece.
A Solid Collection
All-in-all, even with the shortcomings of some of these figures, the Adventure Series is exactly the kind of collectible toys that fans have wanted for years. Though I wish the assembly of figures required to build the Ark of the Covenant had character variations that allowed for more dynamic display opportunities, this is still a cool collection, especially when you consider this is the first time we've gotten Indy figures on this scale.
However, it should be noted that the face sculpts aren't quite as good as they are for many Marvel or "Star Wars" figures, but that's most likely due to the lack of 3D scans of the actors portraying them, which has resulted in far more impressive results in those other lines. It's probably why the best face sculpt is Harrison Ford. After all, they had to digitally de-age him for "Dial of Destiny," so getting the right materials to create an accurate, younger sculpt of Indy was probably much easier, especially when there are also plenty of Hasbro Han Solo figures out there with Ford's younger face.
These figures are probably more appealing to adult collectors, but if you've got kids who are getting into Indiana Jones due to your impeccable cinematic guidance, these would be cool additions to their toy box. Of course, there are also more kid-friendly Indiana Jones toys, if you don't want to hit your wallet quite so hard. After all, a $24.99 price tag for each 6-inch figure is a little salty, especially when these kind of figures used to cost $19.99 each before the pandemic resulted in inflated prices. But maybe you can wait until some of them go on sale. Surely a couple of these figures aren't going to be very big sellers, so they're bound to go down in price eventually.
But for now, you can order all of the Indiana Jones Adventure Series figures for $24.99 each at Hasbro Pulse or Amazon. More waves for "Temple of Doom" and "The Last Crusade" will be coming later this year, so stay tuned!
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