Ben Kingsley finally makes action figure debut

'Gandhi' Oscar winner gets 12-inch figure treatment as Mandarin

An esteemed, Academy Award-winning actor finally has an action figure of himself that he can place on his mantle that sizes up to his statuette named "Oscar."

California-based company Sideshow Collectibles is distributing stateside for Japan-based figure-makers Hot Toys a new 12-inch action figure of Kingsley as his character, the Mandarin, from "Iron Man 3."

In a May interview for the film, the "Gandhi" Oscar winner told me he was thrilled that he was finally going to become immortalized in plastic.

"I now know what Christmas presents to get for everybody," Kingsley told me with a laugh. "It's amazing. It's a peak for me. It's a career high."

At that time, though, it was only Hasbro who revealed plans that it was going to produce a 6-inch action figure in his likeness (plans have been since scrapped). But Hot Toys, which has produced high-end movie figures in the likenesses of Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr., Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and several others, also had something in the works on the infamous character -- which also includes extra sets of hands (with lots of rings) and a highly-detailed chair the mini Mandarin can mull his thoughts on.

The timing of the release of Kingsley's Mandarin couldn't be any more perfect, since he appears again on a "Marvel One-Shot" mini-movie that's included on the new DVD and Blu-ray release of the Marvel superhero smash "Thor: The Dark World."

In the 14-minute movie short, titled "All Hail the King," we find the Mandarin (a.k.a. Trevor Slattery) imprisoned and admired by most of the inmates for the dirty deeds committed (or thought to be committed) in "Iron Man 3."

The interesting thing fans will come to discover, however, is that Trevor -- while still a bumbling fool -- becomes a major part of what could be crucial plot development in a future Marvel movie. It's a clever way of keeping Kingsley involved in the Marvel movie universe -- it's just when, where and how he'll return is yet to be seen.

Hot Toys, meanwhile, is continuing to produce high-end superhero action figures in 12-inch form. Other recent releases include Oscar-winner Russell Crowe as Jor-El and Henry Cavill as Superman in "Man of Steel." Future releases even include Sir Michael Caine as Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth from Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy.

Tim Lammers is a nationally syndicated movie journalist and the author of the new ebook Direct Conversations: The Animated Films of Tim Burton (Foreword by Tim Burton).