Mad Bomber

21st Century just seems to have awful timing with their villains.  The original terrorist villain hit the market at just the wrong time, right after the tragedy at Columbine.  His outfit mirrored those worn by the attacking students, and drew harsh criticism, although the figure had been planned for months before.

The villain line chugged along okay for awhile, but the Mad Bomber has done it again.  With the tragic events of September 11th, many people are none too pleased that an action figure of a 'mad bomber' has been released.

This has caused 21st Century to release the figure through on-line stores only.  Supposedly the production is limited - one site claims only 1680 were manufactured.  But if we ignore the controversy and the bad timing, is the figure really worth the high 'exclusive' price?

Packaging - **
The packaging is utilitarian, but that's about it.  I assume the front is supposed to look like a Most Wanted poster, but I'm not sure why his picture appears to be something done by an impressionist artist, rather than a mug shot.

Overall, the package graphics are fairly dull and boring, and the box isn't collector friendly, even though it's being marketed to a very small customer base.

Sculpting - ***
The head sculpt isn't bad, although it's just a generic head.  I think he looks a lot like Richard Nixon.  Does it look like a mad bomber?  I'm not sure what one is supposed to look like, so I suppose it's close enough.

The real highlight of the sculpting is the accessories, where once again 21st Century has done a tremendous job.  But more about that later...

Paint - ***1/2
The paint ops are very nice on all the accessories, particularly the bundles of dynamite with small timers.  The facial paint looks good, and the eyes were straight and even.  The facial coloring is good too, and he doesn't look too zombie or too shiny.

Articulation - ***1/2
Four companies produce great bodies right now - Dragon, bbi, Sideshow and 21st Century.  If you've bought their product before, you'll find no surprises here.

Some folks prefer one over the other, since some are lighter or stiffer than others.  But the points of articulation are certainly adequate on the 21st Century body, and I had no trouble getting him to hold quite a few poses.

However, he seems to suffer from the same disease as my other 21st figures - he fades.  I find their figures tend to end up on the floor the next day, although the joints don't seem to be unusually loose.  Maybe they tire easily.

Accessories - ****
Here's why you buy this figure - the accessories.  21st usually does a nice job on their accessories, and this figure is no slouch.

MB comes with six dynamite packs, a newspaper highlighting his antics in 'Blackwater', a handgun with molded silencer, tool chest (that opens), dynamite pack that straps to his chest with a detonator, three masks (clown, transparent and monkey), and a briefcase filled with C4 with a digital timer that can be set for 30, 60 or 120 seconds.

The quality of all the accessories is great, and the details on the dynamite packs and toolchest are excellent.  The paper is cute, having some other amusing headlines.  The masks are great, with excellent sculpting and paint work, and all fit perfectly.  The only thing I find odd about the masks is that they don't really fit the character - it seems they'd go much better with a bank robber than a bomber.  But the clear winner here is the case of C4.

Why is that so cool?  Because the timers work!  Press the button, and the timer will tick down the appropriate number of seconds, and then a blasting sound comes from the case.  It could have been a little louder, but otherwise it's a really imaginative touch.

Outfit - **1/2
The outfit is a little sparse here.  Since I counted the masks as accessories, that only leaves his orange maintenance worker jumpsuit (stolen from someone named "George W."), and his boots.

The boot sculpt is good, and fits with the jumpsuit nicely.  The jumpsuit quality is pretty good, and fits reasonably well.

A couple other outfit items would have been good though - a hard hat and a tool belt come immediately to mind.

Value - **
Since these have been limited, and have controversy surrounding them, you can expect to pay $45-$50 each for them on-line.  That's almost twice what you'll pay for most other 21st Century figures.  While the accessories are great, overall the figure doesn't warrant that high of a price tag.

Overall - ***
If this guy was $30 instead of $50, he would have gotten ***1/2 easily.  He's a unique character with some excellent accessories, and everyone needs bad guys to pit against their good guys.  Surround this guy with a few SWAT figures, and you're good to go.

Where to Buy - As I said, these are only available on-line.

- I picked up mine at Small Blue Planet for $50.

- Good Stuff to Go has them for $45 plus shipping.

- but the best deal I've found so far is at Consolidated Merchandise, where they have it for $40.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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