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Sideshow Collectibles: Dr Zaius

 

The Review

Head Sculpt

The head sculpt that Mat Falls presents does Zaius / Evans wonders by reproducing the mask exactly as it was in the movie. The facial features are highly detailed including thought lines, wrinkles, mouth, nostrils, and bags and crows feet under and around the eyes. The hair is molded but is natural looking and well done. I'm glad they didn't try to weave hair on these figures, as it would not look pretty.

Clothing

The standard clothing for Zaius and his orangutan collegues was a tan cloth and leather suit. It is nicely articulated on this figure. Watching the various Ape movies the style changes in each movie but not that much. Not to baggy and not to tight and the construction is very well done. It can be used for other kit bashes as well. Sideshow has gathered its 12" clothing line legs it would gather as their uniforms and civilian clothing styles are very nicely executed.

Scrolls

Though not really working scrolls, you get four of the Lawgiver scrolls with your Zaius. These scrolls are shown in the movie during the Taylor trial scene. Each judge advocate had one and examined it during the trial.

Articulation

Articulation is 30 points, which means that it can do just about anything the normal figures can do. Head and neck are loose but not floppy and can hold poses and positions. Hands grip and hold while the feet hold the figure up with the help of the longer boots. This means that the figure will stand-alone.

Conclusion

I have always been a POTA fan. From the very first movie to the short-lived TV series, I liked the content of the series and the movies. There was always action and never a dull moment. Many character actors either started here or enhanced their careers acting in these movies and shows. With that, if you have the boxed DVD sets but are trying to decide whether or not these figures are for you let me settle your mental debate now... BUY HIM! Buy Zira and Cornelius also and use them as bookends for your box set! Even if you were not a POTA fan this would make a great addition to your movie monster collection.

Sideshow Collectibles:The 1st Virginia Cavalry

I think the American Civil War Figures that Sideshow produces are nice historical pieces and not many companies have delved into this realm of ACW figure manufacturing. I have said in the past that the ACW is not my forte, and I have to do a little more digging for the historical references but I enjoy it. I learn a little more about the period each time I review one of these figures.

The 1st Virginia Cavalry Trooper I am reviewing, the Sideshow Exclusive, is properly attired in his home-sewn clothing of plain gray wool, black trim, and Hussar's Bars sewn onto the front of his jacket. The brass type buttons, sleeve and collar trim, and epaulets are on the money. This trooper also comes with the broad-brimmed, black-plumed hat made famous by this unit as well as a kepi. Both pieces of headgear are nicely done and could be used for other projects. The boots included in the set are nicely done and go well with the uniform. You also get a hand set with gauntlets and 2 sets of bare hands.

The Sharps carbine included in the set is nicely reproduced, as is the leather shoulder sling designed for the cavalry and this weapon. Be careful when connecting the carbine to the snap rings as they are small and may break. Mine hangs just right and looks good. The 1851 Colt Navy is a great sidearm and, with the extra hand set, can be held properly. One even looks good tucked into his belt.

The head sculpt by Mat Falls is one of his best. Attributes such as collar length nape hair coupled with his goatee and extended mustache make him a fine period soldier. The interesting thing about this figure is that it can be used to create other ACW soldiers with other Sideshow uniform parts or someone from another time period. Kit bashing is a big deal in the 12" action figure collecting world and many collectors like the Sideshow figures for their different heads. The Sideshow Exclusive comes with the Kepi and a nice reproduction bugle with gold cord tassel and is in stock at the Sideshow warehouse.

This one currently sits on my shelf with my other figures. It is representative of the soldier who cleared the trenches, followed orders, and only complained to the man above. He is representative of the man who defended the rights of his country, his family, and his friends. Sideshow's military line does great work representing the soldier as he was and as he will always be seen. As a veteran, I am proud to research soldiers of the past for these reviews and for you, the readers and collectors.

Sideshow Collectibles: J.E.B. Stuart

THE FIGURE

Sideshow's articulated figure enhances any head sculpt and is top of the line. The ankles are a good example for this point. Sideshow's accurate boots were hard to put on other figures because they do not have an articulated ankle. Sideshow's feature makes the whole foot move, thus making boots easier to put on. Stuart's gauntlet covered hands are also a work in articulation. The hands on this figure are softer than most figures from other companies allowing the gauntlet to be moved in ways other gloved figures hands cannot. The overall articulation allows this to be a superior figure for kit bashing with horses in this scale.

THE UNIFORM

I spent several hours researching the uniforms of the American Civil War on the web, at the local museum where I do volunteer work, and through several books I have on the US Military. The uniform is an accurate representation of the basic uniform worn by JEB Stuart. The officer's shell jacket compliments the military vest and is a near copy of his original jacket with the gold sleeve braiding being actually stitched into the material. The uniform pants have stitched leg striping and have stirrups on them to keep them from riding up when putting the boots on. The boots are standard southern cavalry boots and were typically worn by Stuart complete with cavalry spurs. The cavalry sash included with JEB Stuart was only worn by Confederate Cavalrymen. His plumed slouch hat is the perfect accent. It should be known that during an engagement this hat, his prized hat, was lost to Federal troops who flaunted their find.

THE FIELD GEAR

The 1st pattern Le Mat pistol has a long history but was considered a rarity. Manufacturing was started in New Orleans but was then relocated to France at the start of the war. This particular pistol fired a .42 caliber bullet from the upper barrel and a .63 caliber shot load from the lower barrel. The Model 1860 or French Pattern Light Cavalry Saber is expertly done. The hilt basket or quillons is recreated perfectly, as is the blade, which has the right curve. Neither of these features are found on some swords in this scale. The field glasses or binoculars and case are nice reproductions of the originals issued to the signal corps and general officers. The holster and belt is nicely done in leatherette and complete with sword hangers.

In looking back at this figure I can say that this figure was well done. I must admit that the US Civil War is not my strong point but working with the local museum as a living historian has taught me a lot. It seems that Sideshow has done its history homework and I am proud to say that this figure would be great for display in a museum case, a civil war buff's shelf, or part of a diorama or vignette.


Sideshow Collectibles: Hot Yoys RoboCop

The Head Sculpt

Hot Toys did a real good job with this. Screen shots and photos from the movie compared to the 12-inch model kit show very little difference. Sur, you can't spoil much copying only a chin and lips, but this is a lot considering that through 80% of the movie Weller had the helmet on and that the jaw and mouth look just like Weller's in close-ups. The helmet lens is clear red, and with a bright light you can see that the eyes are painted. Also OCP serial markings are present and clear in the crown band. BUT there has to be one complaint, which is... I wish it had A REMOVABLE HELMET!

The Hands

Murphy is different than most of the Sideshow and Hot Toys figures in the fact that it comes with 6 different hands. You get 2 open / flat hands, 1 fisted with 1 clutching his Auto-9 hands, and a fisted and fisted-with-spike hand set. I like the various sets, but my only wish is that the fisted hands were made to hold things. Other than that they are great and can be made to replicate various action poses.

The Armor

Representative of RoboCop 1 and 2, the armor is near-perfect in scale. With the serial numbers and OCP markings, the seams and screw heads are detailed nicely. The blued armor, representative of RoboCop 2, is done well, right down to the flexible toes and pivoting ankles. The heal actuators with their metal springs are a great detail. The body suit under the armor is replicated nicely in rubber and plastic. Detailed rib-for-rib and down to the gauntlets there is no comparison between this RoboCop model kit and any other.

The Weapons

The Auto-9: A must! RoboCop is not RoboCop without his Auto-9. The gun included is a nice copy of the real gun, which is a converted Baretta M93R. Many people believe that the boxy muzzle of the gun is shaped like a coffin. This could not be farther from the truth. The muzzle brake was based on a compensator used by some competition guns. When fired, the cuts spray flame in a menacing way. The Data Spike: Not designed as a weapon but as an input/output device for OCP's NCIC system, Murphy found it handy as a close in defensive weapon. Replicated here in shape and size and attached to an extra hand it is a great addition to Murphy's arsenal.

Conclusion

I have built other resin and vinyl RoboCop kits from various makers, and I have come to the conclusion that I should have just waited for the Hot Toys plastic and rubber version. While the other kits have set me back over $200, the Hot Toys beauty will set you back only $129 plus shipping. The leg holster actually opens and holds the pistol, plus you are allowed to change his hands and position him however you want.

The Hot Toys RoboCop is well worth the money. Well made and detailed nicely, this is one figure that, even though it may be out of your budget, saving for it is worth it! If you are a fan of movies and the other off shoots, you will be a fan of this figure. Mine sits on the shelf between RoboCop: The Series and the RoboCop Trilogy. Thank you for your cooperation. Good night.

After thought: May 11, 2011 - Removed the helmet and now wish I had not done that.

Sideshow Collectibles: General Ursus

The Review

The Head Sculpt

Several companies in the past have tried to do a good Planet of The Apes (POTA) head and they always came out to comic book for may taste. One company tried to do real or imitation hair and that was a flop. But it was the apes that Sideshow has done that shows imitation hair is not necessary as long as you are a great sculptor. Brian Dooley pulled it off. A great gorilla sculpt. Flared nostrils, the movie grimace with showing teeth, and the angered "I hate humans" look is great. Flat earthy tones and nicely shaped sculpted hair make Ursus a must for POTA collector.

Uniform

The uniform is a standard brown fatigue that is nicely replicated here on this figure. I watched the sequence during Ursus' speech and I believe they have the color and style down. Not to baggy and not to tight, it is on the money. Several articles that I have read on the making of POTA states that most of the costumes were made for the actors and very little was store bought. One thing I noticed during my research is that Samurai wore similar clothing under their armor, though more decorative.

Armor

The armor is very interesting. The more I looked at it the more I could see a very Asian, mostly Japanese, semblance. I researched several armor types and the armor represented with Ursus, Zunari Kabuto (head shaped helmet) and the Yoroi style armor, are from around 11th - 12th Century Japan. The helmet with leather neck guard sitting high on the head almost crown-like emphasizes Ursus as a prominent leader if not the true heir to the Ape Kingdom. The breastplate (tsuru bashiri), shoulder guards (sode), and neck armor (guruwa) are molded with metal disks and plates. They have the look of being held together with wire or string and this appearance is done nicely. The hands, in gauntlets, are soft and can hold just about any weapon.

Articulation

Articulation is 30 points which means that it can do just about anything the normal figures can do. A little limited by the armor but it is still a great posable figure. The head and neck are loose but this is a good thing. During the movie Ursus (James Gregory) would stand but lean to his off side (left) but keep his head straight. This is something you can do with this figure.

Conclusion

I have always been a POTA fan. From the very first movie to the short lived TV series; I liked the content of the series and the movies. There was always action and never a dull moment. Many character actors either started here or enhanced their careers acting in these movies and shows. With that, if you have the boxed DVD sets but are trying to decide whether or not these figures are for you let me settle you mental debate now...BUY HIM! Buy a Gorilla Enforcer as well and use them both as bookends for your box set!

Even if you were not a POTA fan this would make a great addition to your movie monster collection.