SEARCH      FEATURES    NEWSLETTER/RSS     EMAIL     HOME
White Space
Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week
Review Header Bar
White Space

Review of Snake Plissken 1/6th action figure
Escape from New York

Sideshow Collectibles
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 2.5 out of 4

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Dividing Bar

Introduction

I'm a huge fan of John Carpenter and Kurt Russell, and with good reason. Two of the times they worked together - The Thing and Escape from New York - they created two of my all time favorite movies. On the third attempt, they created Big Trouble in Little China, another fun, weird film. And yes, I know they also did Escape from L.A., but I merely pretend that never happened. It helps me sleep at night.

Sideshow is starting up a series of sixth scale figures based on properties where there's really one key character that everyone wants.  Coming up in this series is Beetlejuice and Ash, but to kick it off they've released Snake Plissken, the license we all thought was dead.

Regular readers know that I do my best to avoid discussions on a figure once it's started to ship, but I haven't yet received it. I believe that if a reviewer sees too many opinions before he or she gets their own hands on it, it can color their interpretation and opinion.

But sometimes it's pretty unavoidable. Sometimes, there's a lot of talk, either good or bad, so it's impossible not to know what people are thinking. And sometimes it takes just so damn long for me to get my figure, that the proverbial cat is out of the bag way in advance.

That's certainly the case with Snake. Due to all those port issues, the shipments from Sideshow were interrupted, but a fair number of folks got their figure in 2014. Add in a lot of discussion and controversy over the final result, and avoiding the conversation was pretty much impossible.

That means that I will be referring to some of that discussion within this review, particularly when I either am in very close agreement or very great disagreement. And there's some of both.

They produced two versions of the figure, a regular and an exclusive with an additional accessory. Both are $160 at Sideshow, so if you're going through them, you might as well pick up the exclusive. I'll be reviewing that version tonight, but the only difference will be in the Accessories category.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Packaging - ****
While this is a pretty standard shoe box style package, and includes the usual layers of plastic trays to hold the figure and accessories, it's the artwork that garners it the top marks.

The exterior of the box has an embossed snake, and some weird intentional damage. I'm not really digging the damage, but I get the concept. On the bottom is some of that terrific artwork however, and when you open it up, you get more on the inside 'cover'. While the usual photos are nice, I much prefer this sort of artwork, and it hearkens back to the style of movie poster so popular in the 80's. Back then, artists like Drew Struzen and Richard Amsel created true works of art for film marketing, instead of the cookie cutter photoshop crap we end up with most of the time today. The artwork here is very reminiscent of that, and I love the concept.

It's all collector friendly too, of course, and very sturdy.

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Sculpting - ***
A lot of people have been in hyperbole heaven when it comes to this figure, most notably around the sculpt and paint. And while there's some issues, it's not nearly as bad as some people would like you to believe.

The sculpt, like the recent Captain Rex, has a lot of realistic detail in the texture and subtle veins and wrinkles. The hair looks great, at least in terms of detailed stranding and hairline, and the patch (which is a separate piece) is attached cleanly and evenly.

The hair is a two piece affair, allowing them to insert the very realistic eye into the head. I'm all for that - the eye looks great - but you can see the seam if you pay attention. It's not as bad as several of the Hot Toys PERS figures, but in hand you will notice it.

The sculpt is also a fairly good representation of a young Kurt Russell in this role. In fact, when I started comparing him to screen caps, I was pleasantly surprised. 

I do have two issues with the head sculpt however, and they are what pull the score down. First, the beard is too heavy, and it's not just the paint, but the sculpted effect as well. I think someone who is skilled at repainting heads will be able to minimize this, but it's still a basic issue with the sculpt.

The other issue is a bigger one for me. Like the Hot Toys Tonto, it lacks life. I don't mean it's not life-like or realistic, and I actually think it's one of Sideshow's most realistic human likenesses to date. But there's no life in the eye, no tension in the muscles of the face, no real expression at all. He looks like he's sitting around, zoned out...this is Snake Plissken sitting in the back of 11th grade American Lit.

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Paint - **1/2
The other area that most people seem to be focused on is the paint, and no, it's not Hot Toys or Enterbay quality. The number one reason for this is the beard.

It's much too heavy and dark above the jawline. It gives it a very full, thick look, more beard than stubble, and the reason this is so obvious is because it is also very neat and trim. This doesn't look like a three day growth situation, but more of a consciously trimmed and maintained look - not appropriate for Snake.

Getting facial hair just right is no easy task, and again, I think someone with some painting skills can lessen this effect and greatly improve this sculpt.

I'm also not digging the scar on the left cheek. This cut is much too clean and straight, and it looks exactly like what it is - a line of paint.

The rest is fine - good skin tone, nice work on the hair, eyebrow and lips, and even a light touch when adding the one small cut on the forehead.

He also has the appropriate snake tattoo on his lower abdomen. It looks pretty accurate to the film, and it appears to be a tampo. Mine has a bit of damage on the tail, and it's applied too high on the stomach, with the head being covered by the upper torso at the ab-crunch and the tail not extending into the low rider pants. Obviously, they couldn't drop it down too far with the waist joint where it is, but another 1/8" would have been a big help. More on those pants in a bit.

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Articulation - ***
Because the figure is going to be displayed without the jacket by quite a few people, Sideshow went with slightly less articulated arms.

But let's start with the double ball neck - yep, it works great. The head does pop off a little easy, but it pops right back on again.

The ball shoulders are ratchet style, but I'm not sure why. It does mean that he maintains arm poses long term, even when holding heavier items. He doesn't come with any heavy items, but I suppose that's beside the point.

The ball elbows have a limited range of movement, but are really here to look better than traditional double pin elbows, cut biceps, etc. Unfortunately, they do greatly reduce the number of arm poses, since they only bend about 45 degrees on a good day. That means he won't be bringing anything up close to his chest of face, including the ciggie. They don't look all that great either, so I'm not sure the tradeoff is worth it.

The torso and legs have all the articulation you've come to expect, and this is one of the tightest Sideshow bodies I've ever handled. That's a very good thing, and I'm hoping it's here to stay.

In fact, the elbows might be a little too tight. Again, no worries when holding heavy stuff. I highly recommend removing the coat before you attempt to bend the arms at the elbow to ensure that the lower arm is turned properly. One of mine was backward, and if you put too much pressure on the arm in that position you can damage it. Since you have to put quite a bit of pressure on the arm even if it is in the right spot, you'll want to check first.

One of my big problems with this figure is the difficulty you'll have getting him to stand in any natural way. While I mention it here, it's not really the articulation's fault and isn't a big part of this score.  It's actually the boots fault, almost entirely, and I'll be deducting most for it in the Outfit section. Still, since it relates to his ability to stand, it's important to mention here.

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Accessories - **1/2
This category was a surprise for me. He comes with a ton of extras - and almost all of them are weak.

Let's start with the usual hands. He comes wearing fists, and there are three more pairs included. Two are gripping hands, while the other four are kinda designed to work with the accessories. There's a right gun hand, a left hand that can hold the cigarette or the radio, another that works pretty well with the cassette tape or the cigarette...but no left hand that works well with a gun. That to me is a huge omission since a) the holster for the Smith and Wesson model 67 handgun is on his left and b) he has two guns, making it likely that you'd want to pose him with both at once.

The hands swap easily enough and every one has it's own wrist post, always a plus. The hands are made from a VERY soft rubber this time, too soft for me. I prefer this to a situation where you can't get the accessory in place because the material is so hard, but I'd also like something that actually holds onto it once it's in place. It wasn't too much of a problem with the guns, but the larger items like the tracker or the radio can be tricky.

I've already mentioned a lot of the accessories in discussing the hands, but let's go through them in detail. There are two guns - the Smith and Wesson (with permanently attached black scope) and the MAC-10, with a detachable silencer and scope.

The silencer fits in place tightly, but the scope is very loose, falling off with the slightest touch. Since having all three pieces assembled is the most recognizable look from the movie, I'm tempted to merely glue it in place, but that would mean you couldn't use the holster any more.

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure
Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure
Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Speaking of which, there are two holsters, one for each weapon. The have straps with little nubs that hold them in place. The soft material on the holster can rip though, so be careful pulling the harder nubs out of the holes.

The handgun actually has a removable cylinder and rounds, tiny as they may be. That's a nice feature, as is the two extra magazines and moving slide on the MAC-10. But it can't overcome the overall cheap look of these weapons. The paint work is terrible, especially on the scopes, and the sculpts are soft and clunky.  Even the ammo from the handgun ended up with silver paint on them instead of brass. It's quite surprising, because Sideshow was doing excellent weapons before most of the rest of the industry, and this is a huge step backward.

If you'd like to unhook his belt and load him up, he has three extra pouches as well. One is long, perfect for the extra magazines, and all three are made from a soft material. The larger two tend to be a bit misshapen because of the softer material, but it's a minor issue. The radio can attach to his belt as well, but doesn't require unbuckling it.

To add to the screen used accessories, Sideshow included all of the mission critical items: the wrist timer, the wrist tracker, the large radio (with extending antenna), and the hand held screen he used to track the President's beacon. Of these, the radio is the worst, once again sporting a terrible paint job. The others are reasonably well done, but still not at the quality you expect in this market or from Sideshow.

To finish off his weapons, he has three different shurikens. These are nicely done, with the best paint job of any of the extras.

As I mentioned, he has a cigarette, and it looks just about like you'd expect.

He has a pretty basic crotch stand, and because of the boots (more on that in a minute) you'll probably need it.

Finally, the exclusive includes the cassette tape that was so critical. Another bad paint job, with the white areas applied with slop and no detail.

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Dividing Bar

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Outfit - **
I am disappointed in the quality of the accessories, but this is where I really felt let down.

This isn't a super complicated outfit. With motocross style boots, patterned pants, a black sleeveless t-shirt and a leather jacket, it's not exactly the hardest outfit to get right. And that makes the errors with every piece all the more annoying.

Let's start at the bottom with the boots. The sculpt and paint work is great, and out of the box I couldn't figure out why some people had complained about them. And then I tried to get him to stand. While there is a little side to side mobility, there is practically no forward and back movement. The boots are manufactured with too much tilt back to the heels, throwing off the overall figures center of gravity. Getting him into any pose where the knees are bent (i.e. pretty much any action pose ever invented) is very, very difficult, and most will require you to use the included stand. It can be done, but it's not easy or stable.

Next up is those pants. From the front, they don't look too bad, although they ride low. From the back, it's like a plumber's convention. They barely ride half way up his ass, and the belt, which runs through a couple loops thankfully, is wonked up because of it.

You'd think the t-shirt would be hard to mess up, but they found a way. It fits nice and tight, and is long enough to stay down in the pants when posing and moving. But the stitching at the top of the chest, across the front of the shoulders, is really sloppy and poorly done.

Finally, there's the jacket, the single best piece of the ensemble. The material is soft and pliable, and feels very high quality. The tailoring is good, and even the inner liner is nicely done. And yet it has two glaring flaws - the huge, huge lapels, and the lack of wear.

Now, it's not a complete lack - there's some areas where it does look like the material has started to wear at the high spots. And, unlike the lapels, the wear is fixable with a little very, very fine sandpaper ans some basic talent. But out of the box, the jacket (and pants, for that matter) are just way too clean.

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Fun Factor - ***
While the figure has his flaws, he's still a ton of fun to work with, and very sturdy. I had no fears of damaging him or his accessories, and the average fan will have a great time finding that perfect pose.

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Value - **1/2
One of this figures saving graces is the price point. He was just $160 to start, and I've already seen regular retailers knocking ten bucks off that. I suspect that you'll be able to get a pretty good ebay or sale price over the next month, at least until stock sells out. Then be prepared for sticker shock, as fans of the movie will start driving up demand.

This figure isn't Hot Toys quality, but it's not $240 either, which seems to be the new norm. Even figures from companies like Star Ace, ThreeZero and Asmus are in that $180 or so range at this point, and I'm not sure we're going to see a lot of figures in this particular price range anytime soon. With the problems he has, I'd say the sweet spot would be right around $140, and that might be possible, at least until the stock is gone. Unlike a figure like Tonto, where only the most hardcore fans are interested even after he's sold out, Snake is going to generate demand for quite some time to come on the secondary market.

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Things to Watch Out For -
I mentioned the elbows - make sure the arms are turned correctly before applying too much pressure. Otherwise, you should be good to go!

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Overall - **1/2
I had a hunch I'd have some issues with this figure - there was just too much buzz going on to ignore. Oddly enough, the issues I have are not the ones that others seem to be focused on.

The sculpt is actually quite good, and with a better paint job, I think it makes for a solid Snake. Even without a repaint, most fans will be fine with the  portrait, which suffered from some rough photos and harsh lighting early on.

But the outfit and accessories are sorely lacking, especially considering Sideshow's track record in these areas. It seems like they switched gears and poured money and time into the portrait, but cut it from the budget in the accessories and outfit. The end result is extremely apparent - sloppy paint, soft details, and a poor overall outcome.

I do think if you're a fan of this character, you better pick him up, particularly if you can find him down in the $130 range. Because of the negative reaction from vocal collectors, the price is going to drop below retail for awhile, especially on ebay. We've seen the same situation with Tonto, for example. He started out at $200, but can be had pretty easily for around $150 these days. The big difference is that very few people are ever going to care about that particular character from that particular movie.  Dealers are likely to shy away from Snake, so that all the current stock is going to eventually end up in the hands of fans. Once it does, getting it out will be tough, and fans that either missed out, realize he's not that bad, or decide he's their only option are going to start shopping for him, driving up secondary market prices. It's not going to happen overnight, but I think it will eventually, and like playing the stock market, you just have to take a guess at what the bottom price will be and buy.

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

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Dividing Bar

Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Sideshow has the regular and exclusive in stock for $160.

- has the regular at $160.

- has the regular for just $150.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
While there are currently a couple other Escape from New York figures out there (the small ReAction figures with and without the jacket, as well as the NECA 8" mego-esque version), I haven't covered any of them.

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

Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find thousands more just like it!

Dividing Bar

Dividing Bar

Please share with your friends!

Sideshow Snake Plissken Escape from New York action figure

Back to Main Page
This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

White Space
Review Bottom Edge
This page copyright 2000 - 2015, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Click here for copyright permissions!