Item Notes are a good way ofkeeping the history of your action figure collectible items alive. Text on item packaging, manufacturing notes, designer history, item history, etc... are all excellent items to track in these notes.
This figure originally hit store shelves years ago, but I spotted him at my Toys R Us not long ago and looked upon the chance as a long-missed opportunity. I tossed Altair into my buggy without hesitation, and now I just have to decide whether it was a snap decision that's killing me to this day.
Though this sculpt isn't exactly new in the world of toys, it still got things exactly right. Altair is perfectly proportioned, a great rendition of the video game character, and loaded down with tons of details everywhere you look. Cloth wrinkles look deep and realistic, and he's also layered with multiple pieces of equipment attached to his body instead of just sculpted in, giving him real depth and three-dimensionality that's rare in toys. His weapons look fantastic and fit in his hands (even the tiny daggers fit in his alternate hand) or their sheaths nicely. His head sculpt isn't anything amazing, but it too gets the job done, nestled beautifully inside his cowl. Sometimes it's hard to tell underneath all the paint, but this is a very well designed and executed sculpt.
As good as the sculpt is, much of it is ruined by the paint. For instance, his face is a gloppy, dirty mess and it's hard to appreciate him because of it. Similarly, the wash added to his arms just looks too messy. Frankly the whole figure looks kind of grimy, and whether or not you're willing to claim it's because of the environment the character hails from in the world of video games, it may or may not be a big problem for you. I don't mind the dirty look as many as most, so I'm not going to go on and on about it, but I too think he could have been a little less "smudgy". Details are handled pretty well, with some intricate colors and fine lines being delivered. On the other hand, there are some stray globs of paint in numerous locations, and that's a problem.
Given the number of joints on this figure, I originally thought he'd score a bit higher than this. I think that's because despite all the joints, he just doesn't feel flexible. His arms are really the only joints you're going to be able to manipulate, and even those have some pretty limited ranges (i.e., his elbows don't bend very far at all). The legs are awkwardly constructed at the hip, meaning he's more-or-less restricted to upright positions (you can spread his legs a little), and his torso joint works just well enough to say it's there. The only points that are all that impressive are his neck and wrists. The neck works despite the cowl it's in, and his wrists are true ball joints that allow for some great angles when posing his swords. Overall, he's just articulated enough to bring to life on your shelf, just not exactly a lot of fun to play with or fight with.
Although Altair's articulation isn't a lot of fun, that doesn't mean the figure as a whole isn't rather entertaining. You see, he comes with a load of blades, and as you know, swords are always fun. Not only does he get four awesome daggers, a cool short sword, and a deadly looking longsword, but he's also got a retractable blade built into his left forearm, which really ups the assassin ante. And the only thing better than lots of swords are lots of swords which can all be stored on his body simultaneously. He has sheaths on his back, waist, and hips. That coupled with his already nifty medieval design make him a lot of fun when making tiny pose adjustments or switching out which weapon he's going to use. If only his articulation were a little better, enabling you to match his action in the video game world, this would be a wonderfully entertaining toy.
Altair costs roughly $14-$15 if you find him new at retail, which is a rather comparable price to other figures about his size. He's not exceedingly large or well articulated, but he is completely unique and comes with a ton of accessories, making him a stronger value than most. He's also really well constructed and just a neat toy to look at. If you're a fan of the game or video game figures in general, I think you'll find Altair worth the investment.
Value Score: 8 / 10
With better paint or articulation, Altair would be an amazing action figure. As he stands right now, he's still a very good one, and if you're even the slightest bit interested, you probably won't regret this one. Ultimately this figure feels a bit like Assassin's Creed the game felt to me: A little unpolished and rough around the edges, but with loads of potential and still a unique experience that was worth the cost.