Toy Review: Fresh Monkey Fiction Naughty or Nice Wave 1: Pirate Santa

Unlike the other figures I've reviewed in this wave, I didn't preorder Pirate Santa. But after receiving the other three, I was impressed enough with the overall quality and look of the figures, I wanted to see if there were any extras in stock. Turns out I was in luck.

This one's actually a minor mark of pride for me, albeit for a pretty silly reason. When the Naughty or Nice line was initially announced, there was a period where preorder goals resulted in new figures being announced and made available. I predicted they'd have a Pirate Santa waiting in the wings because elements of existing figures implied they were drawing inspiration from EC Comics and I knew the company released a story featuring a similar character from reading this article a few years back (third paragraph down, but the whole thing's a great read if you have the time). So 10 nerd points for me, I guess.

I should note this looks nothing like Captain Bigg from the comics, though it does bear a vague similarity to the art you'd expect to find in EC Comics. Same goes for other figures in the line: none of these are really meant to be specific versions of the character, but you can see where they're drawing inspiration from.

I really like the extended coat. The company's reusing this for their upcoming Father Frost figure from Wave 2. If they ever do a "normal" Santa with that coat, I'll buy it in a heartbeat. The head looks really good, though there's a minor one paint error on mine - a missing spot on the mouth. This is an extremely picky complaint: you basically have to be a few inches away to notice it. Otherwise, it looks great. 

Despite being one of the deluxe releases, this review is going to be a little shorter for a couple reasons. First, I don't want to repeat all the same observations about articulation and appearance from the other variants. Second, there's a bit of an issue. Or, more accurately, there might be an issue, and I don't want to break a $50 action figure confirming that. I saw at least one person complain on the company's Facebook page that the peg holding in Pirate Santa's cane hook broke when they tried to remove it, so I examined mine carefully. It does feel weak to me, so - rather than risk it snapping and leaving a piece of plastic wedged in - I decided to leave it as is. This isn't a huge issue for me, since I really like the hook. But it does mean I'm not going to have pictures showcasing the wide variety of accessories he can hold in his various hands. Speaking of that variety of accessories....

Let's go through these, starting with the hands. He comes with seven hands in addition to the ones he starts with. They included a number of different gestures and grips. One set of these are gloved, which was actually a selling point for me. The Classic Santa didn't come with gloved hands, and I wanted a pair for him.

The same was true of the red sack. This was available a couple ways, including as part of an accessory pack I skipped. This was a good way of getting the extra from that set I most wanted, which made the higher price tag easier to swallow.

The primary accessory has to be the cutlass. It's a good 12th scale comic-style sword and extremely appropriate to the figure. I'm pleased to see it here.

You also get a handful of reused accessories that have been altered to fit this figure. There's a stocking and gift, both painted with a skull-and-crossbones motif, the "list" from Classic Santa has been replaced with a treasure map, and you get three pieces of "gold" (reused molds from the coal).

The stocking and gift are ridiculous, but I love the commitment to the bit. Also, the designs come through - the skull and crossbones are crisp and clear.

The gold nuggets work better than the coal, honestly. The coal that came with some of the other toys was fine, but I never really felt like it read out of context. You can definitely tell this is supposed to be gold.

I like the map in theory, though I wish the ink had either been a bit darker or the white had been given a yellow wash. It's still nice, but it feels like a step was skipped between design and production. 

It's debatable whether the hat even counts as an accessory, but either way it looks great. It doesn't stay put quite as well as the other Santa hats, but I think it'll remain in place on the shelf.

The next two accessories are fun but feel a bit superfluous: the bell and the pipe. The bell is well executed, though I'm struggling to identify the reference. The pipe is fine, but the fact the figure can't reach his mouth limits its usefulness. That said, it can be balanced somewhat precariously at the side of his mouth. It looks pretty good, though I wouldn't trust it to stay in place indefinitely (I might try, though).

Lastly, there's the base, which is identical to the others in the line. This time, you actually might want to use it. Because Pirate Santa has a peg leg, he isn't quite as well balanced as the others. You can still get him to stand upright in several poses, but his balance is closer to average for the scale, while the others are exceptionally good. I appreciate that the figure has peg holes in both his boot and peg leg, making the base more versatile.

Overall, it's a nice assortment, particularly in terms of quantity. I do think some substitutions would have been warranted, however. The omission of a pistol feels like an oversight (I'd have preferred one over the bell, for example). I also feel like an alternate head and maybe even a swappable leg to make the peg leg optional would have added a great deal of value. I'd also have loved a treasure chest, but I'll be the first to admit I'm getting greedy now.

The only real issue with the figure is that peg holding in the hook, and - to be fair - I'm not even 100% certain there's an actual problem there. I'm being very cautious due to seeing a picture of one breaking and because it feels weak to me. It's entirely possible if I tried it, it would pop out without issue: I just don't want to chance it. Besides, as I said earlier, I'm pretty happy with the hook as is.

Was this worth the money it cost? Eh... to me, it kind of was. This line is a bit too pricey for me to go completist, but I really want a selection of these to display. Pirate Santa here is going to look great on the shelf. The massive array of accessories goes a long way towards forgiving the price hike, as well. And while a bunch of these are somewhat extraneous, the gloved hands and red sack make Classic Santa even better. I'm happy with this purchase, though I imagine different folks will react differently. The deluxe figures are significantly more pricey than the regular releases, so this is the kind of calculus that varies from collector to collector.