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One of the biggest (and arguably best) animated feature films of 2009 was Disney/Pixar's UP. Following the adventures of Russell (the Junior Wilderness Explorer) and Carl (the elderly man he needs to assist), the movie has already been nominated for a number of awards. Hot Toys acquired the license to produce figures based on the main characters, so we'll be looking at the vinyl collectible versions of Russell and Carl.

Russell is the most-prepared 8-year-old Junior Wilderness Explorer in Explorer history. Problem is, he’s never been anywhere except the Camping Museum downtown.

Carl Fredricksen doesn’t mean to be grouchy. But you’d be grouchy too if people just wouldn’t leave you alone.

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The Facts

UP - Russell and Carl
Series: Vinyl Collectible Figures
Manufacturer: Hot Toys
Material: Rotocast vinyl
Dimensions: Russell – 5.25”; Carl – 6.5”
Points of Articulation: Russell – 3 (arms and neck); Carl – 3 (arm, wrist and neck)
Accessories: Russell – two sticker sheets; Carl – quad cane

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Russell and Carl and packaged in similar UP themed packaging. The front of the box (and one side) features a plastic windowpane. The character’s name is located on a tag on the front, and there is a pretty extensive bio on the rear panel (along with a picture from the film).

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Inside the box, the figure is packaged in between dual, interlocking plastic trays. Each UP figure includes a colored background that features a scenic view from the film and a cutout floating house.

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 Our Opinion

I’m often turned off by the CGI look of Disney Pixar’s film offerings. Call me a purist, but it often creeps me out. Still, I really wanted to see UP. I eventually bought the Blu-Ray and was fairly impressed with the story and illustration work. Although, I’m still not sure that just because it’s animated - that it’s for kids. The movie seemed directed more towards adults.

With that being said, I was glad to see that Hot Toys was releasing a pair of rotocast vinyl figures based on UP. The first time I saw the figures – Russell and Carl – up close was at Sideshow’s 2009 SDCC booth. And to say that they impressed might be understating it.

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Russell – We’ll first take a look at young (8 year old) Russell. The little guy includes an enormous backpack strapped to his back. Attached to the backpack, you have a bugle, flag, net, flashlight, toothpaste, mug, knife, rope, bedroll, and some pans. Because the backpack has so much sculpting work, it needs a stand to help support the figure. Russell is sculpted in a saluting pose, and while the arms move…it’s extremely limited.

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What’s very cool is that Russell includes two sheets of stickers. There are instructions that show what stickers go where. But you, basically, can place his little merit badges on his sash, and place the various Wilderness Explorer stickers around his shirt, hat and backpack. The drawback is that many of these stickers are supposed to go on curved areas. So you’ll find yourself smoothing over these stickers every couple of days.

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Carl Fredricksen – Next up is the crotchety 78-year old Carl. This figure includes a removable quad cane walker (with those lovely tennis balls). The articulation with Carl is a little better than Russell, however, the elbow joint seems slightly loose.

Some things to look for on Carl include his wedding ring, Grape Soda cap button, hearing aid and eyeglasses. They pulled off the glasses pretty well. (Eyeglasses are often the downfall of toys/action figures)

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While I’ve seen Hot Toys’ 1:6 scale and Cosbaby lines, these were the first rotocast vinyl figures that I’ve reviewed from the company. I was very impressed by the sculpting work on both Russell and Carl. There are some spots (Carl’s hands and Russell’s backpack) where you can see small lines, presumably from the mold.

They’ve done some interesting work with the paint applications. While there are some places where the paintwork isn’t tight (especially the backpack), they’ve done some very cool washes (Carl’s hair, Russell’s hat). Hot Toys has also done some very cool pink shading on each figure’s face.

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I – for one – am looking forward to seeing Hot Toys produce most vinyl collectible figures based on their various film licenses.

You can pick one up at the following:

Sideshow: $64.99 ea. Wait List

UP Grades

Figure Quality: 9/10
    Sculpt: 9/10
    Paint: 8/10
Accessories/Outfit: 8/10
Packaging: 9/10
Durability: 8/10
Fun Factor: 9/10
Value: 8/10

Russell: 9.0/10
Carl: 9.4/10

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