Bruce Lee
Casual and Suited Versions
Hot Toys

Bruce Lee by Hot Toys

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

I've had this review sitting in the pile for quite a few months now, hoping I'd get around to my review of the suited Bruce and run it at the same time. I covered the casul version earlier, but when it comes to the suited figure, sadly, that doesn't look like it will ever happen, so it's about time we got to hear what Jeff has to say on both these figures - take it away, Jeff!

"If you love life, don't waste time, because time is what life is made of." Bruce Lee (27 November 1940 – 20 July 1973)

If you need any proof as to whether someone is an icon or not, just ask yourself, has there ever been an action figure of them in their ‘off camera’ moments, in their down time, kicking back?

Regardless of who your favourite movie star is, invariably the answer will be no!

Over the years there have been quite a few representations of various political figures from both ancient and modern history, but they simply don’t count. As far as I’m concerned they are all two faced, supercilious ‘characters’ wearing their uniforms anyway! And sports stars don’t count either as they are always depicted in their team strip.

The only ones I can actually think of (and I fully expect a slew of information correcting me) are the earlier Hot Toys versions of George Lucas and James Dean, the Toys McCoy: Marilyn Monroe, How 2 Work: Steve McQueen (for those that don’t know it, McQueen and Lee were great friends, McQueen was even a lead pallbearer along with James Coburn at Lee’s funeral in 1973) and perhaps the Amok Time Boris Karloff. I think that’s actually about it! I did think of including How 2 Works: Albert Einstein as well, but really he doesn’t count either, if you think about it, it’s not Einstein kicking back… it’s just Einstein… but maybe that applies to Lucas as well… whatever!

Bruce Lee by Hot Toys

Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys

However here we have not one, but two versions of the Jeet Kune Do master at his ‘recreational’ best. Both are wearing key outfits that he was often photographed in, be it a variation on his super-fly suits like this or this or even his pimped up lace-up collar shirt here, this is also good ref for those cool dude shades the figure comes with.

So, why should you want this in your collection?
Well, if you need to ask that question you almost certainly wont want or have it in your collection. But for those to whom it seems like a no-brainer that we should at least get one great representation of Bruce off duty, then why not two, and it gives Hot Toys a chance to utilise that much wanted Arnie Kim smiling face sculpt, so read on.

Packaging - ****
Before Hot Toys ever gave us a DX figure they had already started surrounding all their M-Icon figures in soft cushioned foam, and I have to admit it’s a feature I really like. Every time you un-box or re-store an M-Icon figure, it makes you feel a little like toy collector Al from Toy Story 2.

First you are met by a thick hard board box with a small cast metal ‘Hot Toys’ badge in the right hand corner, on this occasion the box comes in two colour-ways with differing images depending on which flavour you decided upon, brown for suited and blue for casual. It lifts open from the right and unwinds over to the left, remaining joined to the main body of the box by a spine. This then shows a full colour printed overlay with an image of the figure and a brief biography. Under this are the figure and his alternate hands, set in die-cut foam. This can be lifted out to show a second level of foam in which the figure stand and the chairs are held softly but securely. I’ve loved these boxes since the first James Dean figure, pure class!

Sculpting - ****
The first time I saw this sculpt it was on Arnie Kims blog a couple of years ago, and I wasn’t alone in recognising it as an instant classic, if you look at this hi-res photo of it here, you can see it has had some minor revisions, most notably the hairstyle. But for whatever reason it never got a release while Kim was working with Enterbay. Maybe it didn’t fit with the movie release structure they had set, but I know for a fact that a lot of Bruce Lee fans were desperate to get their hands on it. The irony is that now that Hot Toys have made this amazing portrait available, Enterbay have also released a version by their chief sculptor YJ Park, and its very nice.

However, this is just so perfect that I am sure it will remain peerless for a good time yet, it has a naturalness to the portrait that is sometimes lacking in other sculpts, it’s a thing that is difficult to capture, and quite difficult to describe. I also found it’s actually quite hard to find good still images of Lee smiling, but I found a few like this, this, and of course this classic pic, that show how Kim has managed to catch not only the smile in the mouth, but he’s also captured it perfectly in the eyes.

Of course this also integrates all the usual amazing detailing on the skin, showing lines, wrinkles, individual hairs and even the tiny pores. The hair is on this occasion all part of the head sculpt, in the past many Asian figures have had the hair sculpted as a separate piece, even when there is no need to remove the hair to access the moving eye mechanism (like on Goemon for example). But because of the nature of the style it works well here, and there are even two small slots disguised at the temples where you can slot the small tabs from the sunglasses arms… nice.

Both versions also come with the same collection of hands, they consist of-
2 x relaxed
2 x fists
1 x V sign right
1 x thumbs up left

They are all as per usual well sculpted, and because of the classic photos of Lee taken in the 70’s (some linked to above) I would imagine most people will display with at least one of the unique hand sculpts. I personally have a preference for the suited with the V sign and the casual with the thumbs up… but of course you may differ.

Paint - ****
Once again it’s a home run in this section. JC Hong has yet to miss a shot. Sure he hits some harder and further than others… but he NEVER misses!

The whole shebang is another master-class, so I’ll just let my photos do the talking. But I know they wont do it justice, because until you have held a figure painted by JC in your hands and turned it this way and that in differing lighting conditions, you just cant fully appreciate it… so real it’s unreal!

Even the hands have a light paint effect to match the skin tones of the head. It is however worth pointing out that because both these figures are fully clothed the base bodies don’t have quite as detailed a paint app as the ones that came with the ETD set that I reviewed here. So if you are buying one of the parted out bodies be aware of this, however if you plan to dress him in the stealth suit, and you’re zipping it right up, you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Outfit - Suit ****, Casual ***1/2
The two outfits chosen are certainly well researched and perfectly represent not only key items of clothing that Lee actually wore, but are also supremely evocative of the whole 70’s fashion scene. Everyone will have their own opinions, but for me the coolest look is that super fly 3 piece suit, with the flared trousers, low waist and wide lapels, and when coupled with the wide tie and long pointy shirt collar its just such a definitive look.

Casual Bruce comes in his flared grey trousers and classic lace-up dark blue shirt, so classic in fact that you can even buy a reproduction of it like this. However, being a man that is past the first flush of youth, and with a silhouette that is more… well, just more than Bruce Lee’s, I think I’ll pass on that one.

I have to admit I did give the suit a quick press with a warm iron, but the nature of the fabric used meant that even though I put a nice sharp crease in the trousers, the act of putting them back on and attaching the feet did crumple the bottoms a little.

As I already said, of the two outfits available, the suited and booted is my fave, and what boots these are. Well, actually shoes, but with fantastic stacked Cuban heels. There are no feet inside; instead they have the same dumbbell design as the HT GoD figure had, with sock tops covering the join. He then has the trousers with a Velcro fly and working belt (the same belt is used on both figures, he was often seen wearing it as here). Next up is the fitted waistcoat with small-scaled buttons and tiny press-studs to fasten it, and lastly the wide lapelled jacket with full lining. All these garments have working pockets throughout, and the tailoring is at the top end of what is commercially available in 1/6th today. The Casual version has slightly lower heels on his two-tone cream and tan dress shoes, these join the body in the same way as the one above. He has grey hipster jeans, again with working pockets and the same belt as mentioned above. The standout garment here is the ‘far out’ blue shirt, which you will either dig, or not dig dadio, but I am totally jonesin it dude!

The collar has a working lace-up feature with real metal eyelets and tiny flapped patch pockets that have miniscule silver buttons glued on. The nature of both outfits is that with the 70’s tailoring they tend to hug the body, so you have to work with the outfits to get the best poses. But with minimal futzing I found both worked well. Just loving that suit!

Articulation - *** 1/2
Like the GoD figures this uses the newly developed TTM17 (True-Type Muscular 17) that has been created to enhance and compliment their new Bruce Lee license…

Now if you think you’ve read that before, it’s because you have. This uses the exact same body as on the GoD figure, so you can either go and re-read that review here or just use the ‘edited highlights’ I shall I shall cut and paste below…

…The ankle articulation is a simple ‘dumbbell’ double ball and cup design that’s padded out between with a thick soft foam washer, this affords a good range of movement in a full 360 degree.

Next up we have a double knee that can bend right back on itself completely. The hips are a double-pegged, swiveling ball-joint. The waist is a variation on the ball and cup mechanism, much like the old G.I. Joe’s, it has a limited range but affords for movement forwards and backwards and some tilting in a full 360-degree range. The upper torso is all covered in a rubber/silicone skin up to the top of the neck, but the neck still affords a small but significant amount of ‘tiltage’ in all directions, and anyone who’s used to posing figures will tell you that a little head and neck articulation goes a long way in giving your finished pose a lot of character.

Hidden within the shoulder, under the rubber covering is what appears to be a pegged, hinged, swiveling, cup-joint. Meaning you can spin the arm a full 360 degrees, it can bend out from the body by 90 degrees and the cup joint can rock back and forth by a few degrees. The elbows are a pegged hinge joint, meaning they can bend to 90 degrees and turn a full 360, and lastly the wrists are the usual double pegged cut ball joint, which as always gives a full universal range of motion.

So, as I said last time, this can’t get the full range of poses that you expect from a True-Type, but it still has a good range and looks great?

Accessories - ***1/2
In terms of accessorise that these guys can actually hold and interact with, then I have to admit it’s a big fat zilcharoonie!

However, this is handsomely compensated for by the cool chairs they come equipped with.
So what we actually get is-

Suited Bruce-
- Collapsible directors chair
- Sunglasses
- Gold wristwatch
- Figure stand
- 2 x fists
- 1 x V sign hand right
- 1 x thumbs up hand left

Casual Bruce-
- Collapsible deck chair
- Sunglasses
- Gold wristwatch
- Figure stand
- 2 x fists
- 1 x V-sign hand right
- 1 x thumbs up hand left

I don’t know if many of you folks have tried getting hold of good quality 1/6th furniture, but it tends to be expensive. I’ve been coveting an amazing Charles Eames, ‘Vitra’ lounge chair and footstool in this scale for ages, but the price has so far meant it’s been beyond my grasp… but one day, oh yes, one day!

This means that to me a cool chair actually seems like quite an amazing accessory, not since the Hot Toys and Enterbay Godfather figures have we actually gotten one. Again my favourite is the directors’ chair for the suited Bruce, but both are well put together and folded away and erected easily.

The sunglasses are based on the ones seen here and are again of a classic 70’s design, and like the belt he was photographed wearing them on numerous occasions. They don’t have full arms at the sides; so don’t work as an item to hold. Instead they have small delicate tabs that slot into tiny holes hidden within the hairline, but once in place they do look pretty convincing and to scale.

The gold watch is pretty tiny, but it still has that fantastic Hot Toys attention to detail, even incorporating painted hands, numerals and a tiny glass like dome over the face.  I’m sure I remember reading somewhere that Lee was given a gold Rolex by Steve McQueen (himself a collector of Rolex’s) as a gift, however I can’t find the relevant article, but maybe this is meant to be that watch.

Lastly there’s the old faithful black figure stand, but I got both to stand fine… but who wants to stand when you can sit!

Value - ****
If paying the full RRP then I guess you could knock off 1/2 star, but I love the fact we get a functioning collapsible chair with these figures. So if you manage to score one for $140 or under then I have no issues with a full score, the suited figure with the directors chair seems to give you slightly more for your money, but both are outstanding, and charming figures.

I don’t think I’ve ever called a figure charming without a heavy hint of irony, but it really is!

Fun Factor - ***
There is no reason you couldn’t display these in a ‘kick ass’ action pose, but lets face it, he has a big cheesy grin, and he comes with a very nice chair.

So what are ya gonna do?

That’s right, you’re gonna sit him in that chair, and have him making like the Cheshire cat while giving you the thumbs up or the peace sign… simples!

So the fun factor has more to do with how big a fan of Bruce you are, and also how long you may or may not have been coveting that smiling sculpt.

Overall- ****
For me it’s all good, the head sculpt is a dream, the paint is perfection, the outfits are well executed and at the price of $139.99 (still achievable at the time of writing) I think it’s a great deal. Throw in the chair and I’m very happy with this release. Of course the smiling relaxed sculpt won’t be for everyone, but for those that it is, fill ya boots! 

I also have to take into account the packaging for my M-Icon figure reviews, as the quality of the materials used, much like the DX series of figures is so high that I consider it part of the whole experience. 

I often wonder what Bruce would be like were he still alive today, and what would he make of figures like these. But as he said, and I quote…

“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering”, so I guess he could consider that ‘job done’!

Where to buy
Sideshow still has both the casual and suited versions available and in stock @ $154.99.

Or you can ‘potentially’ save up to $15 if you try the sites sponsor who have it for the prices listed below-

Alter Ego - $139.99 

Fan Boy - $139.99

BBTS - $144.99 

Or hit eBay where prices are between $135 to $175.

Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys
Bruce Lee by Hot Toys

Bruce Lee by Hot Toys

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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