Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Captain Toy Picks...
The Top Ten Sixth Scale Action Figures

Date Published: 2016-08-12
Written By: Michael Crawford

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Star Ace Harry Potter Voldemort action figure

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Thanks to an excellent suggestion by a reader (thanks Kyle!), I decided to look at the last 16 years of my reviews and select my top 10 best sixth scale figures.  I suspect this will become a regular thing for awhile, at least until I work my way through every collectible type. If you have suggestions like that, please let me know!

Over the course of that time, we've reviewed about 1000 sixth scale products. I'm a huge fan of this type of collectible and toy, having grown up with the original action figure of G.I. Joe and his cousins Captain Action and Johnny West. It is a fantastic time to be a collector of this scale, and looking at the number of companies producing quality product at this year's SDCC, I'm expecting that situation to continue for quite some time.

My very first sixth scale review at this site was on the WWII Normandy Army Ranger from the Hasbro Collector's Club. My latest was on the Gandalf the Grey from Asmus Toys. In between a lot has changed, from the quality of the figures to the quality of my reviews. But what remains consistent is the passion fans of this scale have for their favorite releases.  Let's get to mine!

These selections are in order, from 10 to 1.  Don't get too worked up about the order though, since my personal preferences vary day to day, and something on this list could fall off and something not on it could leap to the top. I also tried to spread things out a bit, to avoid just picking the newest 10 figures in my collection. Of course, most of the figures are going to be newer, since quality continues to rise, but there's a couple classics on the list as well.  I tried to spread things out a bit in terms of licenses too, so that there aren't 3 Iron Man figures or 6 Batman figures. It's also important to note that many of these are very personal, often due to the license and my own tastes. Your mileage is going to vary GREATLY. There is a link to my original review in the title of each listing.

And no, Voldemort from the very first photo isn't on the list...I just like that photo.

10 - Frankenstein, Sideshow, 2000
This isn't the best sixth scale figure from 2000 - it's not even the best sixth scale Universal Monster (that remains the Sideshow Creature from the Black Lagoon). But it's on my list because it was a turning point in the industry and my collecting. Prior to his release, there was plenty of great work being done in this scale, particularly from Dragon and others, but it revolved around military and historical figures.  This Frankenstein was the first major foray into the world of licensed characters in high quality (not Hasbro quality) sixth scale, and it cemented Sideshow as a leader for several years as well as kicking off a major new market.

Besides, he comes with the daisy. How twisted is that?

Sideshow Frankenstein sixth scale action figure

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9 - Ultimate Ghost Rider and Cycle, Hasbro, 2007
This is my one outsider pick, the one no one will see coming.  Yes, Medicom did a nice Ghost Rider, and Hot Toys did the best...but  you were paying for all that goodness.  Here's a figure that cost just $40 for him AND the bike, and the bike is good enough to use with your Medicom figure, if you so desire.  In fact, I put away the Medicom when I got the Hot Toys version, but this Marvel Icons style action figure is good enough to continue to claim a display spot.

Hasbro Ultimate Ghost Rider and Motorcycle

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8 - Terminator 2 T-800 DX10, Hot Toys, 2012
There have been somewhere between a million and a billion versions of Terminators just from Hot Toys, let alone the astronomical number when you add in other companies. Everyone is going to have their favorite, and for me it's the DX10 release.  The head sculpt might not be the best of the group (although it's damn good), but it's the extras that sold me on this one.  I'd also note that if I was going to choose one more sixth scale figure from the entire Terminator world to include, it would have been the Hot Toys T-1000. I think they did such an excellent job giving you a ton of different looks for that character.

Hot Toys Terminator T-800 DX10

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7 - The Godfather, Hot Toys, 2009
Somewhere in 2009 - 2010, Hot Toys made a massive shift in their human portraits.  This was no longer the company that gave us the better than average but still obviously fake sculpts like their early Tony Stark, but suddenly was creating production portraits that looked so realistic and life-like that it was scary.  For me, their Godfather was a major turning point in this evolution, and along with the excellent diorama accessories, it remains one of my very favorite figures.

Another figure that came out during this same period that also stands the test of time is Aldo Raine.  They don't always hit the mark with their sculpts, but when they do, it's a thing of beauty.

Hot Toys Godfather action figure

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6 - Captain Jack Sparrow DX06, Hot Toys, 2011
Here we have another figure in the same vein as the Godfather...but I like the specific character even more. While not all the Pirates movies have been winners, the character of Jack Sparrow has become iconic, and I think the DX release captured him best. Add in a very complex and beautifully executed costume and you have a hit. It also helps that he has some very cool accessories, and we all know how much I love me some very cool accessories.

Hot Toys Jack Sparrow DX06 action figure

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5 - Hermione, Star Ace, 2015
My list is sorely lacking when it comes to female figures, and a big part of that is the overall inability for most companies to capture the beauty and intricacy of the female face. Things have improved quite a bit over the last 2 - 3 years though, and figures like the latest Hot Toys Black Widow or Scarlet Witch prove it can be done.  But it's the amazing accuracy of the Star Ace Hermione that really blew me away, considering a) they were going with rooted hair and b) this was a child figure, not an adult, and child likenesses are always harder to capture correctly. They have a slightly older Hermione coming soon, but it's going to be tough for them to top this one.

Star Ace Harry Potter Hermione sixth scale action figure

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4 - Iron Patriot, Hot Toys, 2014
Hot Toys has gone more than a little nuts when it comes to producing Iron Man figures. So much so in fact, that I quit picking up any of the new versions awhile back, and it's going to take something really special to suck me back in again.

Don't get me wrong - I love a lot of the figures.  The original MKI is great, as is the MKII. The Iron Monger is amazing, and the die cast MK43 is a beautiful figure. But of all the versions I have, my favorite remains the die cast Iron Patriot. It's a magical combination of the basic armor, done with enough metal parts to give it a feel of quality and heft, and an lip smackingly good paint job. When people ask me to see a great Iron Man figure, this is the one I always pull out.

Hot Toys Iron Man Iron Patriot action figure

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3 - Dark Knight Joker DX11, Hot Toys, 2013
The only character that rivals Iron Man in the 'number of Hot Toys releases' category is the Joker from the terrific film, Batman - The Dark Knight. As a massive Batman fan, you knew one of these versions would be high on my list, and it wasn't easy to pick.  I almost went with the Bank Robber Joker, another favorite, and the DX01, with it's Cop Joker parts, was another solid choice. But the DX11 has my favorite likeness, and as much as everyone else hates the PERS, I enjoy the display flexibility they provide.

Hot Toys Dark Knight Joker DX11 action figure

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2 - Captain Kirk, Qmx, 2016
I tried really hard to avoid any time bias that could cause me to pick more recent figures just because they were more recent. But I couldn't help myself when it came to this guy, a favorite character on a favorite show for decades.  We've never gotten a Kirk this good in any scale, and considering how many have been produced over the years, that's saying a lot.  He still has the minor issue here, the little nit there, but overall I'm really happy with him, and I can see building out the full bridge crew in this scale. That's not something I ever thought would happen.

Star Trek Captain Kirk sixth scale action figure Qmx

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1 - Jack Nicholson as the Joker DX08, Hot Toys, 2012
While I am a major Bat-nerd, regular readers would have probably predicted that I'd have either the 66 Batman on this list, or the DK Joker would be higher than the Nicholson version.  That's because I love the old Adam West show...and I like the Ledger Joker far better than the Nicholson Joker.

But there is just something about the brightly colored outfit, the bleached white face paint, and the Jack likeness that makes me love this figure. I can't quite put my finger on any one thing, but it's the combination of all that went right with this guy that makes him such a favorite of mine.

Hot Toys Nicholson Joker action figure

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In Closing...
As I said earlier, I wouldn't get too worked up about the order. Even as I wrote it, I swapped them around repeatedly, and just decided to stop it and get it published.  There are plenty of other figures that were close to being on this list - everything from Sweeney Todd to Bruce Lee to the Bossk - and making the cuts was a difficult process.

I did find two things interesting. First, you'll notice there are NO Star Wars figures on this list. As I said, the Bossk almost made it, but in the end my final set was Lucas license free. I have no explanation for that, which makes it all the more interesting to me.

The second oddity was the number of DX figures that made it. Out of the 10, there were 6 Hot Toys picks, and 4 of those were DX releases! Considering the complaints about PERS, I'm betting that's not true for most collectors, but the terrific accessories and extras that tended to come with them is a big selling point for me.

So was this a worthwhile endeavor? Would you like to see more? Top ten 1/4 scale? Top ten mini-busts? Top ten horror figures? Etc. etc. etc.?  Drop me a line and let me know!

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Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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