It was just last year that Four Horsemen launched a subline of its popular Mythic Legions brand of action figures called Figura Obscura. Practically speaking, there’s little difference between the two lines as Mythic Legions seeks to serve as a modular line of toys based on myth and legend and that doesn’t feature licensed characters. Figura Obscura uses the same tools and approach, it’s just the character selection will apparently trend towards popular characters of folklore that don’t necessarily conform to the Mythic Legions aesthetic. The first figure was Krampus, and I loved him. The second was the Headless Horseman, and while I didn’t purchase that one, I do admit it looked awfully cool and I was tempted by it. Now, we have the third figure in the line and for it we’ve gone back to Christmas as Four Horsemen have delivered a character to pair with Krampus in the form of Father Christmas.
Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas – whatever you want to call him, he’s certainly a known character. And he’s a character that has had some different looks and interpretations over the years and is a natural pick for such a line. And Four Horsemen delivered. The figure was announced and solicited basically within 24 hours as it was December 2nd when the figure was teased and it was made available on the Four Horsemen website the next day. I know of some who had more of a Mythic Legions mindset when the thought of a Santa was floated that included armor, battle axes, or maybe a look that resembled a wizard or something. After all, this being just the third figure in the line, expectations could be allowed to go a little wild. For me, I was just hoping for a classic, European, take on the character: robes, a satchel, a ring of holly as a crown. I’m happy to say that I basically got what I wanted. After placing an order that Saturday morning, I had to wait a mere six days to have the figure in-hand and, spoiler alert, he’s a great addition to my Christmas display.
Father Christmas comes in the same style of box as Krampus. It’s a window box, but it’s wrapped with a thick, magnetized, cover that covers three sides of the box. Once removed, it can be used as a backdrop or just put back on the box. It has some lovely illustrations on it with a depiction of the character on the front and a quiet, snow-covered, village on the reverse. The figure itself is presented well in the box, but he’s not long for it! Once removed, Santa stands right around the 6″ mark. He’s pretty much eye-to-eye with Krampus and looks resplendent in his red robes. The tailoring on the soft goods coat is impeccable. It fits the figure well and the trim-work on it looks as good as any garment one would buy. Underneath the robe is another purple robe which is secured via Velcro on the figure’s rear. It’s basically just a thin, filler, robe to help hide the ordinary Mythic Legions body underneath which is garbed in leather armor and devoid of paint. That’s fine since he’s meant to be displayed with the soft goods. The headsculpt looks terrific though and he has this massive beard that goes all the way to his belt. The paintwork on the head is well done and I like that 4H used a wash on the hair. And I swear the right eye is shinier than the left to give it a “twinkle” effect. The only other part of the actual figure visible are the hands and feet. The hands are brown while the feet are more of a grayish, gun-metal, color which extends to the greaves that aren’t visible. He has a belt that fastens around the waist rather tight and mine was unfastened in the box, but it goes together painlessly. It’s just prone to popping off when handling the figure which can get a little annoying, but it does fit the figure well.
Let’s bust out the articulation on this guy now since it’s going to be the biggest weakness. The head sits on just a big ball so the only movement you get is just the head sliding around on that ball. And since this guy has a massive beard, it means he can’t look down. Range to the side is minimal as well, and looking up is hindered by the soft goods. The shoulders are just ball-hinges and they’re ball-hinges, nothing special. The elbows are single-hinged and swivel while there’s also a gauntlet swivel and a wrist swivel with horizontal hinges. Santa just has two gripping hands and I do wish he had some vertical hinges instead. There is a diaphragm joint, but it’s going to be limited by the robes, but you get some twist there. The hip articulation is fine and Santa can basically do a split if the robes are moved out of the way. He kicks forward just fine, back a little, and has some thigh rotation. The knees are single-hinged and can hit a 90 degree bend and there is a swivel there as well, but the shape of the greaves limit how far they’ll twist. The ankles rotate, hinge up and down, and also have a nice rocker. Lastly, the robe is wired so you can play around with that to create a windswept look and such. This articulation is purely basic and the soft goods hinder most of it, which is fine and expected, as far as I’m concerned. I wish the head worked better, but short of hinging the beard or something I don’t know how it could have been done much better. A joint in the lower neck would have helped, and even though I typically don’t love it, a hinge there would let him look up better. Personally, I don’t think it’s a big deal. The only change I really would have preferred is to have vertical hinges on the gripping hands, but that’s it.
The articulation may not impress, but this guy is designed to “wow” with the soft goods and the stuff. And this guy has a lot of stuff. For starters, we have a separate soft goods hood that can hook under the chin. You pretty much have to pull the head off to get in there, but once in place it looks solid. As a hood, it can be tough to get it just right, but 4H included a wire in it so it can be laid down flat very easily and looks great. And if you prefer the hood down look, there’s a pair of holly crowns to put on the figure’s head. As far as I can tell, they’re identical to one another so one is basically just an extra, but it’s well-sculpted and well-painted. You also get a second head and this one has a shorter beard and a fuller face. I suppose this makes him look more like a modern Santa, but I do prefer the shorter beard look and will probably display this one. Mine does have a minor paint blemish near the right temple which is unfortunate, but not something that will be visible from the shelf. Father Christmas also needs a staff and he has this long, gnarly, one that looks like old oak. It ends with a hook and from that a lantern can dangle which also looks fantastic. It’s done with transparent plastic for the glass and paint job on the weathered, “metal,” portion is great. There’s a candle inside designed to look lit, and the only thing missing is an actual light source. There’s also a small evergreen tree that’s basically flocked, which makes it a tad messy to handle. It’s mostly made of green wire and slots into a piece of sculpted, plastic, wood which in turn pegs into a snowy base. It’s not terribly convincing as a small tree, it looks like something one might find with a model train display, but it’s nice for ambience.
What would Santa be without toys? Not much of a Santa! This guy has quite a few to deliver this year. For starters, there’s a doll that looks like an elf. The red coat has a deep pocket on each side and the elf fits rather nicely into one. For the other, we have a trumpet which looks lovely as well, or he could just hold it. There’s a satchel that can either be hung off a shoulder or over the neck. It’s full of stuff including a bear, nutcracker, book, candy cane, drumsticks, and more. And speaking of drumsticks, they pair nicely with the drum that Santa comes with. It has a chain affixed to it with a plastic hook on the end of it which clips right onto his belt. It’s so well done too that it looks like it should produce sound like an actual drum, but it’s all plastic. Lastly, we have a sack of goodies and some of them are meant to be a surprise so I won’t spoil them. Basically, you have two toys in there and two accessories. The accessories seem like they’re geared more towards the Mythic Legions enthusiast, but that’s all I’ll say on the matter. The sack itself is more soft goods with a rope around the top. The rope is held onto the sack via some brown thread which I like as it makes it easy to secure it. I wish NECA did something similar with the Santa figures I’ve purchased from them as manipulating the bags can be frustrating.
With the Figura Obscura Father Christmas, I do think we have ourselves a case of “What you see is what you get.” The soft goods means he’s not going to pose all that dynamically, so if you like how the figure looks in pictures here or on Four Horsemen’s website then chances are you’ll like the figure in person as well. And if you do like it, you’ll want to head over there to secure one. Last year’s Krampus did get a re-release in red which was sold elsewhere so it’s possible this figure will follow a similar path, possibly in a green robe. This version though will likely be a Store Horsemen exclusive and once it’s gone that could be it. It presently retails for $60 which is steep, but I think it’s worth it given the quality of the soft goods and the abundance of stuff in the box. I also really get excited for Christmas so your mileage may vary. Personally, I am thrilled to add this one to my collection and I’m already wondering what next year may bring.
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