Planet of the Apes
Astronaut Taylor


I've really been enjoying the recent Sideshow Planet of the Apes sixth scale line.  They've managed to released a nice mix of figures already, some great, some just okay, and on top of it, I received the monkey-licious Lawgiver statue this last week, the centerpiece for any ultimate POTA display.

I've already reviewed Zira and Cornelius, Zaius, and a couple of the Gorilla Soldiers, but the big star of the first film was Charlton Heston of course, playing Astronaut Taylor.  Not only was he the centerpiece for the first film, but he also had a small role in Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and we're getting a very limited (only 400!) version of him in that outfit as well.

Actually, we're getting more Taylors than you can shake a monkey club at.  The first one to arrive is the normal Astronaut Taylor, reviewed tonight.  There is the aforementioned BTPOTA version (who is selling out fast), the two pack with the Slave Nova figure, and the Forbidden Zone version of Astronaut Taylor.

The astronaut outfit versions are very popular - both the regular and Forbidden Zone versions have been sold out through Sideshow for quite some time.  While the others are still available, I doubt they will be for long, and I'm betting this is a line that builds a fan base slowly, similar to the Monty Python figures.

I do have some suggestions at the end of the review for picking up the regular versions, but the ones exclusive to the Sideshow site will be tougher to come by.

Packaging - ***1/2
The box sports the usual exceptional grapics, although it's a tad light on text.  The most infamous images are here, and the photo of the figure itself works well on the front panel.

There were also no twisty ties attaching the plastic tray to the cardboard tray, always a plus.  There were a couple of those annoying floss-like strings, but overall it's a very collector friendly package.

Sculpting - ***1/2
I won't call this a 'young' Heston, since he was 44 at the time the film was made.  But he's certainly younger than most folks will remember, and the sculpt does an excellent job of capturing the truly chiseled looks of the actor.

It's not a perfect sculpt, and he's a touch generic, almost as if Dragon or bbi had done a figure based on Heston without trying to get themselves into trouble.  Actually, that's not completely fair, and this is very close to the correct appearance, right down the hair style in back and along the sides.

The hand sculpts are fairly general Sideshow work, but he can hold the gun nicely in his right hand. 

Paint - ***
Unfortunately, the paint ops aren't quite as nice as the sculpt, taking a little away from the work.

There is something very weird going on with the hair.  It's hard to really tell in the photo, since you probably think it's shadowing or light, but it's not - the front and lower back of his hard is MUCH darker brown than the top and back.  The prototype didn't have this extreme difference, but the more I looked at it, the more I thought it actually worked. I'm not sure why, and it might catch you off guard at first.  But give it a little time to grow on you, and you might find yourself liking it better just like me.

That's not the reason for the slightly lower score, since I grew accustomed to the slightly odd hair color.  It's those damn lips, an area that causes Sideshow issues every once in awhile.  Rather than being the nice, even color of the prototype (see the box photo), they have the lines and variations in color that we've seen occasionally in the past.  It ends up looking like he has some sort of lipstick or odd lip disease.

Articulation - ****
Do you like Sideshow's body?  Then you'll be happy.  Not only did he have all the cool articulation, including the ball jointed neck, his joints were all tight and held poses well.

Taylor is back on the normal, taller Sideshow body, allowing him to stand a good half head over all the apes.  This scale difference is critical to making these figures look good together, and is an excellent touch.  I'm sure Sideshow is happy to have a shorter male and female body as well for other licenses, but the POTA fans should be happy that they have figures that are more accurate than usual.  I've included a couple photos with Dr. Zaius for comparison.

Accessories - ***1/2
At a price point of $40, Taylor comes with quite a few more accessories than usual.

First, there's his big honkin' astronaut backpack.  There are three straps that work together - one for the waist, and one for either arm.  The straps work well, and fit through several buckles.  It's very easy to pull the straps through the buckles and get it to fit just right.  It pops open to reveal a number of sculpted items inside, and two compartments for his gun and hammer.

The gun and hammer are both good sculpts, and the gun has a removable clip, but scale is a slight issue.  The gun isn't too bad, and you can fit it in his right hand pretty easily.  However, the hammer is very small, and he can't hold it easily in either hand.

Both of these accessories fit perfectly in the slots open for them in the backpack.  Taylor also has a cigar, which can fit neatly between his fingers for those thoughtful, reflective moments.

There's also the display stand of course, just like every other licensed Sideshow product.  It looks good and works fine, but you really won't need it to keep Taylor on his feet.

This is quite a few more accessories than usual for a $40 price point, especially considering how large and detailed the backpack is.

Outfit - ***1/2
The outfit is fairly basic, and includes his tunic, pants, and boots.

The boot sculpt is very accurate, and the soft rubber matches up well with the soft 60's inspired boots the film version wore.  There's some dirt here, with a scruffy appearance created by the paint ops.

The tunic and pants are extremely well tailored, fitting him tightly and snugly all around.  The neck has a buckle, along with snaps down the front and at the waist.  They patches look excellent, but the one thing holding this outfit back from a perfect score is the American flag on his left shoulder.  The material they used for the patch is simply too thick and heavy, and it stands out abruptly from the shoulder.

Fun Factor - ***
If you have kids that love the old movies, they'll love Taylor.  Of course, the odds of that are only slightly better than the odds of getting hit by lightening while being stung to death by killer bees, but it's still possible.

This is a figure that will be more fun for the adult fan, and will look great on the shelf with the rest of the series.

Value - ***
As I already mentioned, this figure is a slightly better value than the usual $40 Sideshow licensed figure.  He has larger and more varied accessories, with a great looking outfit, all for the same price as other less well outfitted characters.

Overall - ***1/2
This line continues to improve with every release.  I'm hoping we see a number of additional announcements in the series at Toy Fair, although I think the line isn't doing that well right now.  This is one of those that 20 years from now will be very popular with collectors, because it will be the definitive sixth scale version of the old films.

The 18" Lawgiver statue just hit my doorstep late last week, and I have to say it impressed me as well.  I can't wait to find a place to display this entire line, all standing around the Lawgiver.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Be careful with the clip in the gun, since I almost lost it a half dozen times already.  It drops out of the gun very easily, and is tough to find once it does.

Also, there is a small radial like device in the backpack that does pop out pretty easily, although I don't think it's supposed to.  My son had it out in under 2 seconds, so be careful you don't loose that one either.

Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy - 
I picked up mine directly through Sideshow, but they are long sold out.  However, you can still get the Slave Nova two pack version, or the very limited Beneath the Planet of the Apes version from them.  For your astronaut fix, try these on-line stores:

- Alter Ego Comics has Taylor available for just $32.

- Southern Island has him for $35.

- Killer Toys has him for $35 as well, along with quite a few of the other earlier figures.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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