Often times I buy a figure for, shallow as it may be, their looks. Other times perhaps I like the character and ignore some of the more obvious production or design faults. This item however falls into neither category. I have no feelings towards the Matrix Sentinel, it wasn’t a character I fell in love with nor is it particularly attractive, actually it’s probably the least attractive thing I own. I suppose at best it’s kind of badass but mostly it’s just squid-like. For the first time I bought an item solely on it’s poseability.
Having never purchased anything produced by Hot Toys before, I wasn’t sure what kind of quality to expect. I’d searched the Internet for information but was met with only two reviews, both of which lacked a certain quality in their pictures. That said, they were both rather informative as to what I should expect when the Sentinel arrived. They drew comparisons to the previously released McFarlane model and the obvious size differences, the general consensus seemed to be that this variant was over priced for it’s size but was more detailed and accurate than the McFarlane. Being that the McFarlane variant was too big for the plans I had in mind I was limited to only the Hot Toys version or an ultra cheap version by N2 Toys. Never one to cheap out when it comes to my hobbies I went with the more detailed and better produced Hot Toys Sentinel.
Unboxing the Sentinel was quite the chore in and of itself. I suppose I should praise the care Hot Toys took with wrapping up the robo-squid but it was perhaps the most tedious unboxing I’ve ever experienced. Everything was twist tied to the plastic packaging to hold it in place during transport, and while this was annoying it was understandable. The worst of it however was when you’d moved on to the claws at the end of each tentacle. Each and every single one of the fourteen claws had shrink wrapped plastic surrounding them. The kind that picks up static charge like a mofo and clings to you like your yandere girlfriend. Torturous. In all of this effort however there was a hint of familiarity, the smell PVC exudes, that assortment of chemicals that probably kill braincells by the thousands with each sniff.
Unfortunately my Sentinel arrived somewhat damaged. The box and packaging were perfect so it had to be a defect it shipped with or perhaps grew over time due to the plasticity of PVC. It’s bug-like legs seem squished on one side and do not bend outwards as they’re supposed to. Normally this would be a bigger issue, however I didn’t even really know these legs existed nor do I care about them as they do not apply to the ideas I had when purchasing. The base the Sentinel sits upon is adequate and due to the weight of the Sentinel the ball joint supporting it is incredibly stiff. So stiff in fact I worry about breaking the support arm when adjusting the angle of the Sentinel upon it. The biggest issue with the base however is it’s inability to balance the Sentinel when all the tentacles are pointed in one direction, it becomes rather unstable at best. I suppose this wasn’t the intended position of the tentacles anyway, but for certain poses it can cause some serious issues with stability.
The poseability of the Sentinel is quite amazing as is the strength of the tentacles themselves. I’d originally envisioned a fairly limp setup where they’d just barely hold themselves up and certain poses and placements impossible. Thankfully this was far from the case, the tentacles were actually very stiff and almost hard to pose at times but with patience any position could be had. Which as I came to grips with allowed my creativity to continually grow throughout the course of shooting for this set. However the difficulties experienced with placement made me reluctant to continually reposition them, which is probably unfortunate for the sets.