When I heard they were making this figure, I had to have it. Not because I’m an Assassin’s Creed fan (I’ve never played the games) but because it has the distinction of being the very first action figure based on the eerie look of the historical figures known as Plague Doctors.
This figure’s based on a multiplayer character in the game Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The Doctor’s true name is Malfatto, and he uses his poison syringe to carry out his executions. Although he has very little personality, his game bio leaves no question that he is a true sadist and has killed more people than he has ever treated.
But the reason I’m interested in him is not for who he is, but what he looks like. Plague doctors are one of those interesting footnotes in history we don’t normally hear about. They were special physicians under contract with cities to treat only those suffering from plague. This way the doctor and his patients could remain in a quarantine, hopefully minimizing the spread of the disease. This profession dates as far back as the mid 500s in Constantinople. But it wasn’t until the seventeenth century that the now familiar bird-masked costumes were developed and commonly used.
The costumes themselves usually consisted of a long robe-like garment that was made from leather and then coated in wax. Their leather gloves were similarly coated in wax, while their wide brimmed hood not only protected their head but also indicated their profession. Their mask had glass lenses to protect the eyes and contained aromatic herbs and flowers in the beak, which acted as a crude gas mask. These doctors also would carry long wooden sticks which they used to examine patients or move clothing without having to touch the patients.
I’ve always found their ominous bird-like appearance a suitably creepy match for their occupation, and I’m thrilled to finally be getting a toy of one.
This figure was made by Unimax Toys. I’m not really familiar with them but I have to say they did an excellent job with the sculpt on this figure. Aside from the folds and wrinkles on his overcoat, you can also see the more subtle quilted patterns on his arms and his gloves have these tiny serrated seams. Then there are the objects on his belt which have been sculpted/molded separately and glued on. Even his syringe has a nice amount of detail for something so small. Continue to page 2…