One of the greatest Vietnam War movies, and certainly one of Oliver Stone's greatest films, was the 1986 movie Platoon.

Stone won the Best Director Academy Award for this tale of a young recruit, torn between two powerful commanders, who see the war through very different eyes.  Taylor, the fresh meat, was played convincingly by Charlie Sheen, one of his best performances.  The two Sergeants, Elias and Barnes, were played by Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger.

These three central characters have now been brought to the sixth scale world by Sideshow Toy.  Military collectors have long clamored for figures based on film and TV shows, including Saving Private Ryan, the old John Wayne films, and others.  Perhaps this will be the beginning for some other terrific military licensing possibilities.

I picked up the dvd of this film specifically to watch it again and compare the figures against the source material.  They looked awfully good when I pulled them out of the box, but I wanted to be sure I wasn't forgetting any details.

Packaging - ****
I wanted to include a ton of figure photos this time, so I left out the packaging shot.  Believe me when I say that they've done an excellent job however.  With great movie graphics, including scenes from the film, photos of the figures, and text describing the movie, they put together another piece of art.  On top of that, it's collector friendly once again, with no damage necessary to remove everything.

My only gripe is that there is a twisty tie around the waist that was ran through the buckles of the various pouches on their belts.  This was true with all three figures, so it wasn't a fluke.  You have to be EXTREMELY careful pulling that tie out to avoid breaking off any of the plastic attachments.

Sculpting - ****
Mat Falls has done another outstanding job.  Real Scan?  What the hell is that?  The only way to do the likeness of a real person right is to get an exceptional sculptor.

Oh, don't get me wrong, as you could pick some nits.  Dafoe is a little too chunky in the cheeks, and Sheen seems to have a bit too long of a face.  His hair isn't quite on target with the film, being not quite as poofy (a good thing).

The sculpting on Barnes is particularly remarkable.  The work on his heavily scarred face is perfect, and matches the source as good as you could possibly expect.  I was hoping there'd be a scar on Taylor's neck, but they didn't get that detail specific.

Overall these are some excellent real life likenesses, and visitors to your house won't have any trouble recognizing them immediately on the shelf.

Paint - ****
No slop, no over spray, no poor lines, not a single problem on any of them.  They eyes are all centered and clean, and they look like the eyes of the characters, not some generic figure.

There's not a lot of ops outside the heads, but what is on the guns and other accessories is well done and realistic.

Articulation - ****
These all use the standard Sideshow body, but they have the ball jointed necks rather than the simple cut joint.

That means there's a ball jointed neck, shoulders, cut biceps, double jointed elbows and knees, chest, waist, ball jointed hips, cut thighs, the special Sideshow wrists (which work extremely well) and ankles.

With the ball jointed neck, the better wrists, and no looseness in the joints on any of the three I got, these bodies are as good as any others.  I have no idea how manufacturers are going to find a way to top the current crop of excellently articulated 12" bodies from Sideshow, bbi, Dragon and Drastic Plastic.

Accessories - ****
All three of these guys is fully loaded. And while there's some re-use of accessories, there's also a surprising number of completely unique items, specific to each character in the film.

Taylor (Sheen) comes with his automatic rifle, with bayonet.  While I don't recall him using it specifically, they did have the bayonets attached during the scene in the village.

He also has two canteens, four various solid plastic pouches, three hand grenades, his belt and rigging.  Most of those items are shared amongst the figures.

Taylor also has a unique cloth bag, used to carry his claymore mine and reel of wire.  There's also a mine detonator ("Squeeze it three times"), and these items were central to a couple scenes in the film.  Taylor has a helmet (as does Barnes, but Elias does not), specific to his character with the inscription "when I die, bury me upside down so the world can kiss my ass".

Everything attaches to the belt or various straps, and the bayonet fits nicely on the end of the rifle.  Unfortunately, while Taylor's helmet is great looking, it doesn't fit his head particularly well.  I think it's the hair sculpt that throws things off.

Barnes has some exceptional accessories as well.  He too has a helmet, but his has a pack of "Morlley" (Marelboro) cigarettes in the band.  His fits extremely well over the sculpted doo rag.

Barnes has the pouches, grenades, canteen, belt and rigging just like the other figures.  He shares a couple items just with Elias - his watch, small metal bracelet on his left arm, Colt sidearm, and his rifle, which has a telescoping stock.  Finally, both he and Elias carry a cloth bag that holds seven additional clips of ammo.  It's a little tough getting all those clips in there, but once you do it looks terrific.

Just like Taylor, Barnes has a few unique items.  He has a Kabar knife and sheath, and the 'knuckle blade' that he pulled on Taylor during a tense moment in the film.  Another clip is also taped to the clip currently in his rifle.

Elias has the same pouches, grenades, belt and rigging that I already mentioned.  He also has an additional plastic pouch that is unique, his large brass wrist band, a different knife and sheath, flashlight, canister grenade, and necklace with white beads and cross.

He shares the sidearm with Barnes, along with his rifle, extra clips and ammo pouch, watch, and probably some other stuff I'm simply forgetting, even with them sitting right here in front of me.

All three figures are wearing their specific dog tags, with the information cut into them.  Bet you didn't know Barnes was a Protestant?

Suffice to say there's tons of accessories here, and using so many character and film specific items really adds to the realism of these figures.  I'm tremendously impressed with the effort that Sideshow has put into this license.

Outfits - ****
There's far less unique about the outfits between the figures, but there's still a few differences.

All three are wearing combat fatigues, with jacket and pants.  The pants have elastic at the ankles just above the boots, making them look far better than if they had stuffed the pants into the boots.

Speaking of the boots, all three share the same sculpt as you'd expect.  They look excellent and fit extremely well.  No oversized clown feet here.

I mentioned the belts and rigging in the accessories, but it's worth mentioning them again.  The fit together great, and I wish all belts had such well done buckles and real metal eyelets.

Each of the jackets has the proper rank and other markings for that character.  They also included the scarf that Taylor wore, making his outfit even a little more unique.

I would have preferred the tank top that Elias wore during his climactic scene, but I think the uniformity of the outfits works well on the shelf.

Value - ***1/2
If you end up paying $40 each for these, pull off a half star.  But there are plenty of places selling them for $30-$35, and at that price, this level of quality and detail for a licensed product is great.

Overall - ****
These figures are simply amazing.  Certainly some of the best produced by Sideshow so far, I have to say I'm tremendously impressed.  If we could get a Tom Hanks from Saving Private Ryan, a John Wayne from Back to Bataan or the Longest Day, or Lee Marvin from the Dirty Dozen, we'd be on a roll!

Where to Buy - 
Sideshow is selling them direct, and many sixth scale retailers will be carrying them.  I'm betting they turn up at specialty stores like Media Play as well.  On-line:

- Sideshow Toy has them available direct for $40 each.

- Aisle Sniper has them available for $32 each plus shipping, and has them currently ready to ship

- Big Bad Toy Store had the set listed at $85 for pre-order, with a flat $5 shipping.

- Entertainment Earth has the set available for $99 plus shipping.

Keep scrolling down, as there are a ton more photos!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour