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First Look – Gothitropolis Scarabus Part I

The end has come. Forget all that you have been told of the forthcoming apocalypse, salvation or immortality. Ancient tomes, no matter how well-meaning, were not conceived with foresight of what has truly come as our end; if they had, we all would have lived life with despair and false hope allowing fear to take us with knowledge that there could certainly be a fate worse than death. That fate has arrived in dreadfully imposing plastic by the skilled hands of the bringers of the Toypacalypse, The Four Horsemen. I suppose we all knew deep down that the end of the world would stream forth from New Jersey, but as scary as it is, it is also a thing of amazing beauty. Do you feel this is all hyperbole? If you do, part from your ignorance as you must now learn that Scarabus, Lord of the Resurrected has come and he has brought all of his frightfully scary friends with him. Thanks to our friends, the aforementioned Four Horsemen, we have an opportunity to take you in-depth to the depths of darkness with a multi-part First Look at the just-now-shipping Scarabus 10-pack available from the cleverly-named Store Horsemen stable. Hold on to your condemned asses because if the horror of Scarabus doesn’t get you, his beauty most definitely will.


Let’s face it, in today’s extremely competitive action figure market (both basic and collector) the proprietary or original concept line is quickly going the way of the dodo. To me, that is very, very sad. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my DC, Marvel, Muppets, Ghostbusters, Ninja Turtles, etc, etc but let’s not forget that some of the greatest toy lines ever (and still out there) like Masters of the Universe started as a toy concept, not taking on other media until after the plastic. There just isn’t a whole lot of room for toys that don’t have some type of big media attached to them (see: movie or cartoon), and be it lack of originality, conservative marketing or both I think this is ultimately a detriment to the overall action figure world. Which is why I get very excited when an original concept is seen to fruition and when it takes the community it serves, it makes it all the more appealing. If you have not been living under a giant plastic rock for the past several years, you know that the Four Horsemen are keeping the O.C. (as in original concept, not the California county) flame burning brightly with their Fantastic Exclusive lines. While the 7th Kingdom has been going for a few years now with community-exclusive cows, elephants [link], hippos, rhinos and dangerously beautiful ladies (like our very own Kromius), the new world of Gothitropolis has been unleashed on us for the first time this year. Taking some time for development, these are insanely complex figures and if you might know that the Horsemen are kinda busy crafting the entire DC and MOTU universes, I cannot begin to explain to you how worth the wait has been. To the early adopters of the 10 pack: you are about to be the envy of the action figure community.

The purple flame of the Dormant Form

I have a ton of ground to cover in this series so while I could continue to go on and on and on all day about the Horsemen, their commitment to action figures and their concept developments, I have to get right into the toys here or this is going to get to be about a 100 pages long. Here are the basic whats and whys of the line, along with some general information about the set as a whole, followed by a look at each specific figure. Remember, this is a multi-part effort and we are kicking it off with the three incarnations of Scarabus himself.

Bar-B-Que Kitty coming right up!

Since the ultimate determination of what action figure and concept gets produced by the Horsemen is made by the fans (via the FanEx vote), I can see I am not alone in having a love for anthropomorphic warriors and scary evil end-bringers. While the 7th Kingdom has kept me satiated for the former, I have to admit that I have been waiting with baited breath for the latter. While a lot of the story and details of Gothitropolis have yet to be revealed, I am all about it. In fact, I am so all about having an army of ultimate badasses to take over all my lines from Masters to Ghostbusters I have been pretty tortured by the wait. The thing is though, it has been totally worth it, and not just for the figures themselves but for all of the things that were perfected to make them what they are. If you spend about two seconds looking at these babies you will know that they are not your average action figures. The sculpt, articulation and paint (good Grodd, the paint) are so far through the roof I am not sure how anything else this year is going to top Scarabus and his Guardsmen. Did I mention the accessory/extra piece count? Yeesh. If all of the pictures on this page still have not completely loaded, you will see why.

Scarabus: Lord of the Resurrected

The main man (no, not THAT Main Man, the Horsemen made him a long time ago) of Gothitropolis is leading his legion of Guardsmen to bring destruction and utter despair. Let’s face it, when you are going to do all that, you are going to need at least two outfit changes, how else will you get picked to host the Oscars in post-apocalyptic times. So, while you will get the standard version of Scarabus in the 10-pack, you also get him in his Demon Fire and Dormant modes. While he does barrow from Egyptian modes in his design and motif, he has already become instantly recognizable amongst the collector community. Since the Gothitropolis story and Guardsmen are centered upon and built from Scarabus, I will go over a lot of the details that pertain to the entire line-up, reserving the specifics for each individual section.

Lord of the Resurrected

The hardest part of this is where to begin. There is so much going on with all of these figures that it can be almost intimidating when parsing through what to discuss and when. I suppose I will just go with my gut here and start with what caught my attention first: the paint applications. Simply put, Scarabus is a figurative palette of color that speaks to his very nature. As Lord of the Resurrected, he is golden and godlike with a harsh theme of red to help illustrate his power. But also present are blues and greens and blacks and bronzes that add layers of dimension to character and appearance. In hands not as cunning as the 4H, the complex color scheme could run away to a wreck of smattered color for color’s sake that ultimately bewilders the eye, but here it is amazing how the different tones are subtly used to define layers within the figure but also set him apart from his very diverse Guard. Nothing was overlooked and paint definition was provided to every armor plate, cloth fold and epaulette. Even on a figure that impresses with each turn there are a few spots in particular where the paint stands out (and really this is the standard for all of the Guardsmen, not just their leader) – the face, the shoulder armor and gauntlets.

Stabbin' Scarabus

Honestly, I count no fewer than ten separate paint applications on the face alone. Seriously. While the head sculpt is very detailed and complex, it is the paint that brings all the life to it. When I see the Scarabus head unpainted, I see a very elaborate sarcophagus mask from ancient Egypt. Very cool to be sure, but with the color choices (like the green eyes) you get the feeling that Scarabus is something completely otherworldly beneath a shell that really intimidating. I don’t know what is really since his lower legs and hooves are the only parts of the figure that give him a truly organic feel, looking at him dead-on in the face you can see that he is truly transcendent, much to our doom.

"Standard" Face
"Scary" Face
"Dead" Face

The gauntlets and shoulder armor also hold a lot of paint detail and while paint on the face breathes life, the detailing in these two armor pieces breathe strength and stateliness. By virtue of the grotesque nature of the character and his power, even if it is for evil, he wears it well. To me he stands apart from the rest of the pack just due to his coloring. He is more elaborate in scheme, but the paint applications are also so well done that he feels like a much more high-end piece than a lot of the stuff I am used to collecting.

Flame Hand!

After the paint, the second quality that struck me was the strength of sculpt, and since we are dealing with the Four Horsemen here, that should come as no surprise. If there is an action figure design team that has been more prolific and high-profile over the past several years, I cannot identify it. I am hard-pressed to fathom how Eric, Jim, Chris and CB even have time to breath with all of their work commitments so it goes without saying that it is a wonder how they can still have time to pursue their own projects such as Gothitropolis. But even with all of the technical and, ahem, logistical pains in the ass that come with manufacturing an action figure, you really get the sense that the pursuit of this line has to be strangely cathartic for the Jersey Boys. I mean let’s face it, this is the Four Horsemen in their element. Take a monstrous character design, tempered with a bit of nature and ratchet it up with tons of armor detailing and you have them doing what they do best. Spread that out over ten different figures (seven of which are unique characters) and you will probably suffer some action figure overload. Which makes it hard to put coherent thoughts together for a lengthy review, but the good news is – you are not going to be disappointed.

Scarab Staff

Pictures speak so much louder than words but, needless to say, no stone was left unturned in the sculpt department. From head horns to hooves ever single line, texture and detail has been made with sculpt, not just implied with paint. If there is a ridge line in the armor, it is sculpted; all of the braiding in the “beard” is sculpted; the namesake scarabs on the armor are all sculpted; every place that there is a color change from one level of his adornment to another, it is sculpted. It is funny that there are so many toys out there today that have me conditioned to think that paint lines are usually enough, Scarabus has brought me back to a better reality with how things SHOULD be. I know I said that the paint was the first thing that impacted me, but each piece plays its part and I do believe that one part should be reliant on the other to do its job – paint is paint and sculpt is sculpt is sculpt and while the former hit me first, the latter will continue to stick with me. The cape/shoulder piece is very nicely done, it plugs in securely, is made of a flexible plastic and the motif is super cool. I particularly love the colored orbs on the shoulders that match the staff. I really don’t know what else to say about the sculpt without retreading what you can hopefully see in the pictures, but all of the stops were pulled out and even though the aesthetics of the sculpts cannot be displaced for anything, there is also a TON of function beyond the form that leads to the next part…


… the articulation. There is a lot of it, and for a figure that has so many layers, the articulation scheme actually allows for a lot of movement. That is the beauty of it, even though Scarabus can move around a lot, most of his joints are so subtle, you don’t even really notice them until you start to pose him. He does have a very “Horsemen” articulation scheme that falls into many lines that the design. There is really nothing that allows for movement that sacrifices the look of the figure, but due to his elaborate detail a lot of his joints are hidden. It is a rare balance when sculpt and articulation actually work in tandem to better one and other (usually they cannibalize each other) but we have that here. Cloth folds and armor plates hid several of the more obvious joints and the plastic used for things like the “skirt” are made soft enough that they do very little to hinder movement. Speaking of the skirt, since it covers the hips I was expecting Scarabus to have ball-jointed hips, but he actually has the standard hinge that is characteristic of the DCUC line. Depending on how you count points of articulation, I am seeing anywhere between about 22 and 30 points and are as follows:

  • Ball-joint head
  • Ball shoulders
  • Biceps swivel
  • Hinge elbows
  • Partial ball wrists
  • Ball back pincer thingee
  • Waist swivel (that does have some front to back and side to side movement)
  • Hinge hips
  • Thigh cut
  • Partial ball ankles
  • Swivel knees
  • Cut tail

I think that is everything but I could have missed a couple of points here and there. The fact remains though, you can get Scarabus into a ton of intimidating, battle ready, fighting and plain stately poses, but also show is less formal side and have him do the splits or lounge casually. He can position his weapon convincingly and choke the life out of just about any other figure you might have on your shelf. Basically, any realistic pose you can think of can probably be achieved with his articulation scheme and, as I said, so much of it is just hidden in the sculpt that you don’t even notice it.


The final area I want to hit is the accessories, and as you probably know by this point, he has so many that the blister tray can barely accommodate them. And an apology up front – my two Time Keepers, that have been so lonely for so long have been sitting on my desk at work, and wouldn’t you know it? I forgot them this weekend. So, even through ALL of the 10-pack figures include two pieces of armor and a spear point (all in different colors) I will have to take pictures of the outfitted Time Keepers later this week. Sorry. Oh, and I am going to need about 8 more time keepers now…


Each figure also comes with at least one changeable face. Standard Scarabus has three faces total, the “regular”, the “dead” and the “pissed”. I think each version wears each face the best (Demon Fire does include the dead face and Dormant does not include the pissed face) and Standard Scarabus goes best with the standard face to make a default Scarabus. I think I like the pissed version the best with the little horns, but I will display Demon Fire with that. Of course, when we get to the variants, the whole game goes into over drive.

Each figure also includes three sets of interchangeable hands: action claw, grip and fist. The swap out easily and the claw hand accommodates the hand fire (all in different translucent colors) perfectly. The grip hand holds the staff firmly, but it is not hard to get him to hold it.

He also comes with his staff that has a crystal ball at the top (again, all have different colors) with the elaborate scarab motif on the top. The head of the staff can be removed to insert the spear head if you choose and playing around with all of the different variations, each of them feel better suited to one or the other so you will want to swap out and make you choices.

The Forms of Scarabus

Finally, each figure has his own pair of ball-jointed pincers that you can plug into the back. They have a great range of movement and stay in firmly. I personally thing the Demon Fire version looks best with the pincers extended, standard with them down and Dormant without them at  all. The beauty is that it is completely up to you about how you want to display them.

All of the accessories are made of solid plastic with no limp or brittleness to them. I don’t see a lot of breakage happening here.

Demon Fire Scarabus

Um, he looks a little angry...

So these next two sections are going to be rather brief as all but the paint scheme for the other two versions of Scarabus have been covered above. The set does include the Demon Fire and Dormant forms of the main man, and while they are mainly paint variants, they really can stand on their own. First up is the Demon Fire (or as I now call it, the “F#&”!%* Pissed”) version. Essentially, (to me) this is when Scarabus really goes on a rampage and you better believe we are done for. He is much more aggressively-colored in this incarnation with his body in red and his armor/outfit in gold and black and he has a bit of a “Lord of the Rings Balrog” feel to him. His accessories also carry a different scheme and his “hand flames” have changed from green to yellow (turning up the heat, perhaps?). If you are an action poser on the shelf this is probably the best version to be mid-fight or applying severe neck burn to one of your 7th Kingdom girls so he is very dynamic in that regard. I like this version as a compliment to the standard Scarabus but I am glad it is not the default or only version of the character. I don’t feel as though the colors highlight the sculpt as well as the regular, but that is just a matter of opinion and it is REALLY nice that the Four Horsemen have given us some options.

The Firery Spear of Scarabus

Poor Elemental

Dormant Form Scarabus

Dormant in the Dark

Accessories are the same for all three figures, just in different decos

Well, I have saved what I consider to be the best for last. Yep, this is by far my favorite version of Scarabus that is included in the 10-pack and he takes everything that makes the other two version great and goes the extra mile. Really, this color scheme just appeals to my action figure sensibilities. I am naturally more drawn to silver than gold and I think the “coldness” brings a lot to the figure. The black, gray and purple complete the scheme and he feels more regal to me. From a design aesthetic standpoint, I think this version is the strongest as everything feels like it is working together to make him stand out. It is also unique to the set, there are a few of the guys that have shared at least a partial palette with the other two Scarabi(?) but the Dormant form stands alone. Seems appropriate that I would pick the lazy and/or sleepy version to like the best but if these are the PJs of the Lord of the Resurrected, he sleeps in style. I rarely go for variants of a figure over a standard version (see: DCUC, MOTUC, ML, GB, et al) but if I was only getting one version of Scarabus this would be it and he will be the most prominently displayed version on my shelf.

Dormant Spear
Dormant Back and Pincers

Are you still with me? This has been a lot and we are only three down in an assortment of ten. That obviously means we have much more to bring you (mostly in pictures) but the future installments will build off of this one since there are many shared attributes. We just kind of laid the foundation here. I cannot tell you how pleased I am with the end result of this labor of love and while I did not think I would be able to admit it, I think Scarabus takes the crown as the best of the Horsemen original concept figures and I absolutely adore the 7th Kingdom line. These figures are no joke and it is absolutely wonderful to see a [relatively] small operation blow the doors off of most of what is being offered in the market today. I really hope this is a very successful endeavor for the 4H because these are the goods. I know a 10-pack is a serious commitment, but if you are thinking about dipping a toe in the pool, you can order any of these guys as a single from the Store Horsemen (linked below). If you want a figure of Scarabus himself, I would suggest the Dormant form as it is my favorite, but you can’t lose with any of them. Stay tuned, as we have only just begun. I know there are some things you probably want to see in picture form, but we couldn’t spill everything in the first installment!

"Dead" Eyes

*I want to thank CB, Chris, Jim and Eric for making this First Look possible, you guys just keep upping your game.

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