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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Malcolm Reynolds - Firefly
Exclusive Sixth Scale Action Figure

Quantum Mechanix
Date Published: 2016-02-12
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

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Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

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Introduction

I've been waiting a very long time to review tonight's figure.  Years, in fact. The first time we saw the prototype was the 2014 San Diego Comic Con, about 18 months before its actual release. Browncoats were thrilled to see a great looking Malcolm Reynolds in sixth scale, and started their lists of what character should be produced next before the last convention dog was eaten.

But the road from prototype to production figure can be a long and tortuous one. The fine folks at Quantum Mechanix learned that lesson all too well as they hit snags with more than one manufacturing facility. Getting a figure produced that they would be proud of was paramount. They knew that if this figure failed, it would be the end of the series.

The biggest issues came with the likeness in final production, both in terms of sculpt and paint.  Remember, the amazing prototype sculpt must be translated to a steel mold, and this isn't without it's problems.  And we all know what kind of trouble can occur when a one of a kind hand panted prototype is compared to assembly line paint on thousands. 

While fans were frustrated, Qmx didn't rush it and continued to work to get the best possible result. Even last summer, when they received another final version of the figure shortly after SDCC, they were still unhappy with the look of the portrait, and reached out to another manufacturer to try again. This time, they were pleased, but rather than delay the process further by swapping in the new head on all the already completed figures, they added it in with each figure as an accessory. And Mal finally shipped!

He's actually been shipping for a few weeks now, and most online retailers should have him in stock.  They did a regular and an exclusive version, both for $180.  The exclusive is available only through the Qmx website, but they still have some available!

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

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Packaging - ***
The box is fairly simple stuff, but it works just fine.  There's a fifth panel wrap around cover, and it includes photos of the figure on the inside flap. The front clearly states this is the exclusive version, and the double interior plastic trays hold the figure and accessories safe. It's all collector friendly as well.

Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

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Sculpting - ***1/2
The figure comes wearing the original weaker portrait.  The improved head is included in a baggie inside the main plastic tray. Both of these heads started out as an excellent prototype sculpt by Trevor Grove, so this can be an excellent lesson in what can happen when the beautiful prototype enters the production process.  I'm going to show you the weaker release first, so you can get a good idea of where things started:

Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

While this is clearly Malcolm Reynolds (or at least Nathan Fillion), there's a few issues that are pretty clear.  The nose is too wide, the eyes are set too far apart, and the overall shape of the lower face and jaw are too wide, making the entire head look too big. There's some paint issues too, but I'll discuss those in the next section. I think this one looks more like Castle than Reynolds.

Now let's take a look at the improved version, which is technically an accessory:

Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

Bingo. Look at how minor tweaks to the lower face, position of the eyes, and shape of the nose make all the difference. The first sculpt was more caricaturish, while this is much more realistic and overall accurate. They also nailed the life-like component with just the right squint in the eye and smirk on his lips. This isn't quite Hot Toys quality, but it's damn close, and as a likeness goes, it's much better than even some of their recent work (I'm looking at you, Han Solo). With a smidge more improvement in the skin texture and hair (there's enough detail, but it's still a little rough), you have a four star sculpt.

Some people may actually prefer the first sculpt.  Hey, to each his own.  But the beauty of Qmx including both at no charge is not only to make a broader range of people happy, but to give you a second head for kitbashes. While I'd be peeved if the weaker head was all I got for $180, I'm a lot more forgiving of its warts if I use it to put together a second version of Mal.

The hand sculpts are decent, and not over sized, and the work on the other accessories and boots is extremely good. Malcolm stands almost exactly 12" tall.

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Paint - ***1/2
Let's keep in mind that this transformation isn't just about the sculpt - the paint has a huge effect as well.

If you think the hair color got darker from the original version to the improved version, you'd be right.  The skin also got darker and more realistic, including a very, very slight beard shadow. The eyebrows and lips look fantastic, and the eyes are sharp and clear with no bleed.

I do wish the eyes were just a little more glossy, something closer to what we just saw with the recent Asmus Saruman. They also have a little way to go to capture the uber-realistic skin, but it's very, very close.

Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

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Articulation - ***
The underlying body worked well, taking reasonable poses with decent fluidity and strength.  The ball neck allows for plenty of tilt and lean, even though they went with a single joint (the head and neck are a complete sculpt). The coat restricts the shoulders a little, but the chest, waist, hips and knees all have excellent range of movement. The boots are fairly stiff, taking away most of the ankle bend, but you can still get reasonable stances.

My only worry is with the wrist pegs.  They did supply a couple extra, much like what Hot Toys does, and I'm betting you might end up appreciating that. The posts can be very hard to get out of the hands, and breaking the ball in half is a real possibility.  The post comes out of the arm easy enough (and goes back in easily as well), but pulling the hand off the smaller post takes a lot of force, more force than is good with this sort of 'single pin through the ball' hinge joint. It's weird too, because the hands are fairly soft rubber, and inserting and removing the accessories is not a problem.

Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

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Accessories - ***1/2
He doesn't come with a ton of extras, but remember - there's that extra head.

Of course, this extra head isn't as good as a completely different look, similar to something like Red Skull. But it's still a whole 'nother head, which is a big plus in my book.

He also has a total of seven hands: a pair of fists, a pair of gloved open grips, a gun grip right, a wide grip left that is perfect for the PAL, and the exclusive has another gripping right designed for the Lassiter.

I mentioned earlier that you should take care swapping hands.  Try to put as little pressure on the pin that goes through the ball of the joint as you can. There's a couple extra wrists pegs just in case.

I do wish we'd gotten at least one more gloved right in a gun grip pose.  And while the exclusive has the extra hand for the Lassiter, you can get one of the standard gloved hands to work with the accessory as well. It's not perfect, but it works.

Of course, he has his trademark gun, and since Qmx is the same company that produced the exceptional 1:1 replica of this weapon, I'd expect no less than perfection. I was not disappointed. The only complaint is that the paint work could be slightly more accurate - the silver sections are missing - but that's a pretty minor issue considering the scale.

As I mentioned, there's a special hand to hold the PAL communicator. Sculpt and paint are great here as well, with a nice rough, oily appearance.  BTW, in the full body photo below he's holding it right side up, with the buttons at the top. In the close up shot over his shoulder, I switched it around so you could see it says 'PAL', but the top is actually where the 'buttons' are.

The exclusive includes the Lassiter pistol (along with that extra bare hand to hold it). This is a GREAT extra to have, and they did a wonderful job recreating it in sixth scale. Both the sculpt and paint are excellent, and I highly recommend picking up the exclusive to get this extra.  Did you know the gun was named after John Lasseter, the tremendously talented filmmaker behind much of the Toy Story franchise? As the story goes, he and Joss Whedon are bros, and Joss named it after his friend.

Finally, he does come with a fairly basic crotch support stand. It's nice for consistency in a display, but the figure won't require you to use it.

Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

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Outfit - ***
The costume consists of the boots, pants, shirt, suspenders, gun belt, and coat.

The red shirt, tan pants, and suspenders are all good quality, and fairly well tailored.  The pants might seem a little high waist-ed, but that's actually the way they were in the show. The Velcro 'zipper' makes them pooch out a bit, but overall the fit looks good.  I particularly like the quality of the 'Han Solo' stripes on the sides of the pants. The suspenders are lighter in color than what I remember, although I do know they varied from show to show.  I think of them as a medium brown, and these are quite light.

The boots look terrific, but they are a fairly stiff material, reducing the usefulness of the ankles quite a bit. Still, they look damn good, and in narrower stances it shouldn't pose a problem.

The brown coat is critical of course - fans are 'Browncoats' after all. In photos the color can look a little off, even slightly reddish, but in hand it's just about right.  The pleather wrists are nice, and the tailoring and fit are good.  The coat can be closed with the use of the metal 'buckles' on the front, and yes, they are metal. They look just a smidge big to me, but not enough to cause an issue. It's not weathered, and that would have been a nice touch, adding a little more reality. But unless you can do it as well as ThreeZero is doing it, I'd stay away from roughing up the suede.

Finally, there's the gun belt.  The holster and belt are made from a leather-like material, and while the combination works well - and hangs about right on his hips - it's one of the areas where the lower price point is apparent.

Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

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Fun Factor - ***
While there's no doubt any true Browncoat is going to have a ton of fun with this figure, he's not quite as posable as the best out there right now.  Most of that is due to the restrictions of the costume, and it's fairly minor, but the average collector is going to be more in the three star range in this category.

Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

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Value - ***
Going rate these days for high quality sixth scale figures is $220 - $250, particularly from companies like Hot Toys, Sideshow, and Enterbay. Smaller new comers to the market, like Qmx, are working hard to get that same quality at a more reasonable price.

At $180, you're getting pretty much what you're paying for if you get the regular version, and I'd drop a half star off this category to average.  But with the Lassiter pistol and extra hand, I'm wiling to bump that to three. It's close, and it's not like you're going to jump up and down over the Value, but you are getting a solid deal.

Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

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Things to Watch Out For -
The only thing to watch out for is those damn wrist pegs.  When popping off the hands, try not to pull straight out with too much force.  Even better, hold the two halves of the ball together with needle nose pliers while you do it - problem solved.

Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

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Overall - ***1/2
I've been waiting a long time for this figure.  As a huge fan of the show and a huge fan of sixth scale, this is a grail for me. That means that my bias is heavier here than with something I have less affection for, but I've done my best to stay fair and reasonable in my assessment.

The best aspects of this figure are the portrait (most critical, as well) and accessories. While I have a few nits with the outfit, they certainly aren't deal breakers.

This is one of those rare occasions where I highly recommend picking up the exclusive through Qmx. They still have them, and the price on the regular release at other retailers hasn't dropped below SRP at this point. That means you won't save money skipping it, and getting another cool extra for what amounts to free is too good to pass up.

Let's get Jayne up for pre-order stat!

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- is at $180.

- is also at $180.

- Entertainment Earth is at $180.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other Firefly/Malcolm Reynolds goodies include the action figures from Funko, the mini-bust, the truly awful action figures from DST, and the truly outstanding prop replica Reynold's gun from Qmx.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Firefly Malcolm Reynolds sixth scale action figure by Qmx

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2000 - 2016, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved.