Thrift Store Finds: Col. Miles Quaritch from Mattel’s Avatar

(Thrift Store Finds is a mostly-weekly “column” of sorts where I discuss some of the cool books I’ve happened upon in my neighborhood St. Vincent DePaul store. Please don’t mistake me for an expert on any of the books I am writing about… I’m just a fan of a bargain.)

Action figures are a rare find at our thrift store. Considering how many of them are out there in the world, that always seems strange to me. I know I owned a metric ton of plastic soldiers, turtles, star warriors, monsters and the like before I outgrew playing with them. I always assumed most of those ended up at a thrift store somewhere. When our St Vincent DePaul occasionally gets action figures, they shrink wrap them all together in gigantic bags with a $20 dollar price tag.

I’m still interested in action figures, but not at that price or random means of collection. Every once and awhile, someone will donate a toy still in the package and that’s where we are with this week’s Thrift Store Find. I will admit, I don’t normally review action figures. I enjoy reading action figure reviews so I’m going to try my hand at it… but I do not think it likely I will be very good at it. For good action figure reviews, let me direct you to Captain Toy, Michael Crawford’s Review of the Week. The guy actually does THREE reviews a week and they’re always spot-on. I’ll also direct you to Poe Ghostal’s Points of Articulation, which is often a mix of toy review and commentary, but one of my favorite toy related websites.

I suppose that’s my long way around saying that instead of reviewing a book, today’s Thrift Store Find is Col. Miles Quaritch from Mattel’s line of Avatar action figures.

Avatar, directed by James Cameron, has become one of the most successful movies ever made… at least financially. Redefining the way movie audiences think about 3-D films, Avatar has become the highest grossing film of all time and broken all sorts of box office records. A sci-fi epic featuring all sorts of alien locales and far-out battles, there was a plethora of Avatar merchandise for fans to pick and choose. If I had to bet, I would imagine most discerning young boys chose those alien toys over normal looking soldiers like Col. Quaritch here. He’s clearly been marked down a ridiculous amount of times, to the point where I got him for $1.25.

PACKAGING: The packaging is not your standard “flat piece of cardboard and plastic blister.” Instead we have a quite creative reproduction of the Avatar pods that many of the characters in the movie used to go from human to their alien Na’Vi avatars (Full disclosure: I have seen the movie and although I thought it was hugely derivative of far better source materials, by and large I enjoyed it). The packaging was sturdy and aesthetically pleasing. Looking at the toy, I thought “Wow, I can’t believe I found this in a thrift store!”

SCULPTING: Cracking him open, all I could think was “Oh I get it. Anybody who would spend $8 bucks on this figure was a total idiot.”

That’s not to say it’s a bad toy! Col. Quaritch stands at about 3 3/4 inches… your standard G.I. Joe: Real American Hero size. The sculpting on the toy is rather nice. Based on actor Stephen Lang, whoever made this figure clearly had lots of reference toward getting Lang’s facial expressions right. He’s sort of your standard “army man” below the neck but everything else on Quaritch is done quite well. I have a couple of problems with his hands that I’ll get to in a moment, but besides that, it’s a nice sculpt.

PAINT: The paint applications on Quaritch are just OK. His blue and green camo pants are quite well done, but his tank top is sloppy and there’s quite a bit of blue paint slopped onto his neck, underneath his chin. This isn’t anything that would bother me as a kid (and was sort of impossible for me to get a picture of) but since I’m doing a professional-like review of the toy, I must mention it.

ARTICULATION: Articulation on this toy should, by all accounts, be top shelf. Quaritch has twenty-two points of articulation, from his ball-jointed neck on down throughout his body. The toy has a range of action which freaks me out a little bit, especially when I think about the Star Wars toys I played with when I was a kid, which had a whopping FIVE points of articulation (Head, two shoulders, two hips). All the joints are very tight and I had no trouble getting him to stand on his own… or to do ballet.

I did have some issues with the articulation though. One major problem is the toy’s waist. Quaritch can turn his left… but he can’t turn it right for some reason. I don’t know if this was just an issue with my toy or a line-wide problem. The toys arms are also a bit restricted in their poseability.

ACCESSORIES: By now you’re probably saying “By and large, you seem to like the toy, so what’s the problem?” ACCESSORIES! Quaritch comes two two measly accessories and they both stink.

He comes with a small handgun that won’t even fit in his hand. I chalk this up to a sculpting issue- the handgun would fit so much better if someone had sculpted the hands to conform to the gun. Also, I wasn’t sure whether to mention this when I talked about sculpting or not, but Quaritch comes with a sculpted belt that could have EASILY been rejiggered to act as a holster for his useless gun. Unfortunately, it’s a solid piece of plastic. I am positive that without some sticky tack, I’d lose this handgun in two seconds.

Quaritch also comes with a gigantic stand that’s sculpted to look like a dog tag. I should mention that it’s possible the accessory budget was eaten up by this base, as it’s one part of an online play component. According to the directions that came with the toy, one can go to a special website Mattel set up, have your computer’s webcam scan the dogtag, and create a 3-D image of your action figure on your computer that you could then control in some sort of internet environment… sort of an avatar for your Avatar, I guess.

I didn’t take the time to try the website out, but it’s there if you’re interested. If you’re not interested, you’re left with a tiny handgun and an oversized dogtag as accessories.

OVERALL: Lack of cool accessories aside, I have to say that Col. Quaritch is a pretty good figure. He’d fit right in with a kid’s G.I. Joes, and his abundant articulation more than makes up for some of his flaws.

One Response to “Thrift Store Finds: Col. Miles Quaritch from Mattel’s Avatar”

  1. […] If this one is to be used to judge the rest of the line, the Marvel Universe figures would fit in great with Hasbro’s other big action figure line, GI Joe. Here you can see a comparison using a figure from the GI Joe line I similarly found on deep discount at the same grocery store almost three years ago. You can also see the Avatar guy I reviewed for TSF a few years back. […]

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