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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week
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Review of Steve McQueen (The Great Escape) 1/6th action figure

Star Ace
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

Steve McQueen Great Escape action figure from Star Ace

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Introduction

Before there was Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, or Johnny Depp, there were the great leading men of the 60's and 70's - Robert Redford, Paul Newman, and of course, Steve McQueen.

His early career started to take off after starring in the low budget horror film The Blob, and continued to get steam with his three year turn as Josh Randall on the hit television show Wanted Dead or Alive. But it was really his performance in the classic war drama The Great Escape that made the movie going public realize that he was a great actor, and damn smooth too.

Star Ace is producing a figure based on the McQueen character from the film, Captain Virgil Hilts. This guy is just getting read to ship, and you should be able to find him for around $180 - $190.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Steve McQueen Great Escape action figure from Star Ace

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Packaging - ***
This is a pretty standard fifth panel box, with a single plastic tray designed to hold all the accessories and the figure. Both the box and the tray are a little flimsy, but the graphics are drawn right from the film and it's completely collector friendly.

Steve McQueen Great Escape action figure from Star Ace

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Sculpting - ****
There's no shortage of good reference shots of McQueen from this flick, and plenty are perfect for comparison. Check out this one, or this one for good reference material.

Star Ace went with a moderate expression, but not a blank one. I recently complained about the Snake Plissken because of the lifeless, slack expression, and the work here is a good counter point to that argument. 

Here, the eyes have a life, a determination, a grit. The muscles in the face aren't slack or soft, but slightly tense, as they are with an actual person.

The portrait is extremely good as well. This is very much Steve McQueen, and any big fan would recognize him immediately. From the trademark mole below his left eye, to the jawline, eyebrows and even set of the eyes, it's clearly him.

When I first checked him out, I thought the nose might be slightly off. But after reviewing a dozen different stills, I think they've actually captured it extremely well.

Star Ace is also rivaling the big boys when it comes to realism in the skin and hair. They aren't quite as extreme in their detailing, but that works particularly well for this character. The fine lines and wrinkles match up perfectly with his age and look at the time of this movie.

The fine stranding in the hair is nicely done as well, and the texturing of the skin, eyebrows and lips is great.

While the hands are clearly not stock, they are still a little over sized for the body. It's a minor nit though, within an otherwise excellent sculpting job.

Steve McQueen Great Escape action figure from Star Ace

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Paint - ***1/2
The majority of the work here is extremely nice, particularly when it comes to the skin tone on the face and neck, and the fine detail work with the eyebrows, eyes and lips.

Star Ace is proving they can be a force in this market, and it's the paint application that will make or break them long term. If they can maintain this level of realism and quality in the sub $200 range, they'll be good to go.

I do have one nit that pulled it down slightly. The hair line doesn't quite follow the hair, and comes down onto the skin a bit right at the front of the forehead. It's very minor, and you have to be pretty damn picky to notice, but then, that's what I am.

Steve McQueen Great Escape action figure from Star Ace

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Articulation - ***
This is the one category where I was a bit disappointed.

It's not the base body that's the overall problem. There's all the joints here you expect, and the arm, torso and leg articulation allows you to get plenty of natural poses.

Unfortunately, the neck doesn't co-operate. There's a single ball joint, down below the collar line. While I personally prefer the double joint (with a second below the jaw line), I know some folks find it less appealing aesthetically. So it's not the single joint that's really the issue, but rather the single joint's design.

The interior of the body does not allow the head to tilt very far forward. Between the plastic 'ledge' around the joint on the inside of the torso, and the thick sculpted base on the head/neck piece, there's no way to tilt it forward. This is very restrictive, making the articulation in the body less useful, and many of the poses look stiff. An enterprising futzer can carve out some space inside the body, or reduce some of the bottom of the neck, or both, and greatly improve the mobility, but as it stands, it's a bummer.

Steve McQueen Great Escape action figure from Star Ace

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Accessories - ***1/2
Virgil is well equipped with the most important accessories for his character.

There's not a ton of hands, but there's enough to work with the other key accessories. There's the relaxed left and right that he comes wearing, plus the right designed to hold the baseball, and another right that's a more generic gripping hand.

I mentioned the baseball, an item that is key to this character, and there's a right hand/baseball glove combo also included. The sculpting and paint work on the ball and glove are great, and these are accessories that I bet get use in a lot of displays.

Along with the extra hands, he has an extra pair of bare feet.  These are perfect for his time in the 'cooler', and actually work a bit better than the boots when it comes to posability, thanks to ball joints inside the feet themselves.

In the 'tiny extras' department, he has his watch (with a stretchy band that works great) and his ring. The ring is removable - pay attention to it! I didn't realize it was a separate piece at first, and almost lost it.

Both the ring and watch have nice detailing and paint, and add that extra level of realism to the overall appearance.

He has a large duffel bag that can be carried over his shoulder, or simply by the handles with the gripping right hand. The quality is extremely good, from the zipper to the materials to the stitching.

Also included is what appears to be a St. Christopher medal, in silver. The sculpt is very tiny, but I believe that's what it is - I'm seeing one character riding on the back of another in the sculpted relief, but you can let your imagination run wild. While I don't remember the character wearing one in the film, I do know that Steve McQueen wore one pretty much all the time. This may be more of a tribute to the actor, than the character. BTW, while the medal itself is sculpted plastic, the chain is real metal.

The final extra is a display base, specifically designed for the POW camp setting. More specifically, I think they are going for a look that reminds you of the motorcycle escape sequence, complete with broken fencing,spent casings, and a single tire tread.

I love the detailed sculpt and paint on the base, but would have preferred if the support was crotch style, rather than waist pinch style. Still, it's a nice addition, particularly for those that use bases regularly.

Steve McQueen Great Escape action figure from Star Ace

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Steve McQueen Great Escape action figure from Star Ace

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Outfit - ***1/2
As with the sculpt, there's lots of good reference photos out there of his costume, including the jacket and the shirt.

The outfit is fairly basic, and includes his boots, socks, pants, shirt and jacket.

The boot sculpt looks good, and the paint works adds some wear and dirt. The socks were a surprise addition, and the pants are nicely tailored with a good fit.

The shirt has a unique look, with the half length arms, but they did an impressive job matching the on screen color and style.

Over it all is his leather bomber jacket. This is the only piece of the outfit that I felt was a bit out of scale, but just a bit. The zipper is a smidge large, the collar is a smidge large, the knitted cuffs and waist are just a smidge large. It's not awful by any means, and the quality of the material is fantastic. Still, it's the one area where there could have been some improvement.

Something worth noting on the jacket is his name tag, which is actually made from material and attached to the jacket. With both the Harry and Ron figures, Star Ace went with iron on house patches, a big negative for me. Here, they went with a much better looking alternative that adds quite a bit of realism to the appearance of the jacket.

There are a couple minor nits with the jacket when it comes to screen accuracy. For example, I believe that the epaulets on the shoulders were separate pieces in the film, but here they are sewn down. Also, in the film he had his captain's insignia up under the collar - he flashes it at Luger at one point, as I recall. It's not included here.

Steve McQueen Great Escape action figure from Star Ace

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
While the articulation could be a little better, the overall posing and futzing potential is high with this one. Considering the potential for cool dioramas and displays, collectors should have a great time with him. Now all you need is a German motorcycle!

Steve McQueen Great Escape action figure from Star Ace

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Value - ***
You should be able to pick this guy up for around $190, maybe just south of that with a little effort. That's about $30 - $50 less than the current average Hot Toys price. As an example, I'll be reviewing their Maleficent shortly, a figure I'd put on par with this in terms of accessories and costume, and she retails for about $230.

That makes this guy a solid value in my book. Hot Toys has vacated the sub-$200 market, and it's hurting a lot of collectors. If Star Ace can keep their prices in this range, and continue to produce this sort of quality, collectors will most certainly reward them.

Steve McQueen Great Escape action figure from Star Ace

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Things to Watch Out For -
The pegs on the wrists (that fit into the hands) are a little short, so take some care popping the hands on. There aren't any extras (something that would be nice, just in case), but with basic care you should be fine.

And don't forget about that ring! It can slip right off his hand, and you'll never see it again.

Overall - ***1/2
2014 saw several new players enter the sixth scale market, and Star Ace is one of the strongest. The quality of their sculpts and paint is already there, and while I've had my nits with the occasional accessory or outfit, they are filling the under $200 market quite nicely. They are also doing something their other freshmen competition is not - getting product out the door and into collector's hands.

I'm hoping we see some improvement with the neck joint on this adult male body. I didn't have this same problem with the kids of Harry Potter, but they had the double joint, rather than this single version. While I had other minor issues with the figure overall, it was really that one that held him back from an even higher final score.

Fans of McQueen should be very pleased however, and it's clear that Star Ace took their time with the figure and showed it the sort of careful consideration only a true fan would.  This bodes well for their adult Harry Potter characters, and I'm hoping we see them pick up some other solid licenses this year.

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

Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has him for $190.

- Entertainment Earth has him on pre-order for $195.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
This isn't the first Steve McQueen sixth scale action figure I've reviewed - six years ago, Triad Toys did a "Wanted Dead or Alive" Josh Randall, also played by McQueen. They also did a 1/3 scale bust of the character.

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Steve McQueen Great Escape action figure from Star Ace

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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