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REVIEW: Bird Head Skeleton “Black Gold”

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Background

Before there was Jack Sparrow and the trio of films, Pirates of the Caribbean was the dark and musty ride at the Disney Theme Parks.  Loaded with animatronic pirates, the ride was one of the last that Walt Disney personally worked on.

With all of the Pirates of Caribbean film-related collectibles hitting the market, Span of Sunset and Disney released one of the first high end collectibles based on the ride – Bird Head Skeleton “Black Gold”.  The skeleton with the seagull roosted in its hat is the last thing you see before the first plunge of the ride.

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Packaging

The figure is packaged in a box that is similar (in color) to the figure inside.  It’s a completely black rectangular box with a removable front lid.  One the front is a skull and crossbones, map and Pirates of the Caribbean logo.  All of these are done in a glossy black, so it’s more noticeable when looking at it from an angle.

Inside, the vinyl piece is packaged in a single plastic tray.  The swords are wrapped in plastic so they don’t rub against the vinyl.


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The Figure

The Bird Head Skeleton “Black Gold” vinyl stands approximately 16” in height and has 2 points of articulation.  The figure includes a pair of swords (they feel like they are die-cast).  The skeleton is holding one of the swords, while the other – removable – sword can be inserted into a slot in its ribs.

The figure is attached to a base/background that is also made of rotocast vinyl.  On the rear of the figure is a quote straight from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  It’s what the skeleton says right before the first plunge at the Disneyland ride.  The piece has been sculpted similar to that character from the Disney theme park ride.

This figure is limited to a run of 250 pieces.  And each one includes a limited edition postcard sized print.

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Our Opinion

I’m from the generation, where if you say the phrase “Pirates of the Caribbean”, I first think of the Disney ride.  It’s not that the movies weren’t good (I actually enjoyed them).  It’s that whenever I went to The Magic Kingdom, the first ride I’d want to go on was Pirates of the Caribbean.

It’s sort of sad to hear that they’ve had to change some of the animatronics and soundtracks due to “political correctness”.  And I can see why, but don’t think I like that they’ve added some of the characters from the film to the ride.

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While it’s difficult to tell from photographs, the figure is sculpted rather well with a lot of texture.  The fact that it’s entirely black makes that difficult to tell.  I’d expect to see a painted version in future, which should make it easier to pick up some of the sculpting nuances.

The one area where there could be an issue is the way the piece stands.  I could see the rotocast vinyl back eventually softening a little and possibly causing some problems with balance.  But there are no issues to report as of now. 

One thing that would have been cool is if this piece was actually a wall hanging.  You could probably drill a hole in the back, but who would want to mess up the saying that’s printed back there?

Overall, Span of Sunset and Disney have given nostalgic fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride a well produced and much needed item from one of the most popular theme park attractions.

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You can pick one up at the following:

Span of Sunset: $70.00

Cardboard Spaceship: $69.99

Bird Head Skeleton “Black Gold” Grades:

Quality: 9/10
Paint: 7/10
Packaging: 9/10
Durability: 8/10
Hype: 8/10
Fun Factor: 7/10
Value: 7/10

Overall: 8.7/10

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Have this figure?  What do you rate it?

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