Construction Jack Painter

Occasionally us adult collectors lose sight of the idea that not all action figures are for us. I started collecting toys because that's what they were - toys. I also collect statues, mini-busts and other items, and so I can appreciate a beautiful sculpt or paint application, but when I'm thinking action figure, I also want something that has play value.

The new sixth scale figures from Link certainly fit the bill. The Construction Jack series contains several figures based on the real life occupation of many people - the trades. There's a carpenter, plumber, electrician and painter (reviewed here), along with these figures in the Construction Jill line as well.

One of their recent moves is to get involved with some other related companies for licensing deals. There will be new figures sporting the Ace local, along with other companies in the future.

The SRP is around $20, although I've heard you can find them as cheap as $12 at some stores.

Packaging - **1/2
Keeping in mind that this line is for kids, the packaging makes good sense. It's sturdy, but not collector friendly, brightly colored yet fairly basic. There's a great text description on the back of the figure and his or her profession. The figure and the accessories are all easy to see, and fairly easy to get out of the package once you get home.

Sculpting - Collectors **, Kids ***
The sculpts are extremely basic, with little variety between the guys. It is nice to see though that the Jill figures have a fairly attractive head sculpt, certainly better than the awful work Hasbro seems to consistently provide on their 12" females. Okay, so maybe most female carpenters don't look quite like that, but Amy Wynn Pastor on Trading Spaces is pretty damn cute...

These head sculpts are adequate for kids toys, but if there was one area I'd improve on the figures this would be it. Even kids can appreciate a realistic looking sculpt, and judge quality based on it.

Paint - Collectors **1/2, Kids ***
The paint ops are pretty basic throughout the line. The heads are fine, although there's not a lot of detail and the facial tones are more toy-like than real. All the accessory paint ops are decent, with a few details here or there, but predominately just no nonsense, straight forward work. If they have any plans to try to grab some more of the collector dollar, they should add a little more detail, but right now I'm sure the kids are more than happy.

Articulation - Collectors ***, Kids ***1/2
I was surprised to find a pretty well articulated body, one that could be used for a variety of figures.

The lower half of the body is extremely well articulated, with waist, hips, cut thighs, double jointed knees, cut shins and ankles. All of these joints were nice and tight as well, making posing and playing extremely easy.

The upper half of the body had a few less joints, and some basic issues. There's a neck joint, but it is very limited. The ball jointed shoulders, elbows and wrists work fine, but the lack of a cut bicep and double jointed elbows cuts down the amount of posing possible.

The sculpt of the body is extremely well done however, and this figure could be used for just about any sort of hero/license. Unlike some of the better articulated bodies, his upper body and arm sculpt would allow him to be a more bulked up character, something that some lines get complaints about regularly.

Accessories - ***
All the figures come with a decent share of accessories, although not quite as much as I'd like to see for a kid's line. The sixth scale figures of old, designed exclusively for kids, did a wonderful job providing tons of accessories to add to the play value. That's what I'd like to see the current 12" kid's lines return to.

Jack the Painter comes with a paint roller attached to an extension handle (not removable), and the paint roller itself spins. There's a great paint bucket with a metal handle, a good red tool chest that opens, and a measuring tape that fits on his belt.

All the accessories are decent, and the quantity is acceptable, but I'd love to see a few more for the kid's market, and a little better quality for the collector market.

Outfit - Collectors **, Kids ***
Jack the Painter has on a fairly basic outfit, but fairly accurate as well. He has on his painter's overalls, with velcro attachments on the straps to hold them on. The red shirt underneath is a good contrast color with the off white of the other items. His painter's hat is physically attached to the head using one of those little plastic connectors that they use to attach the tags to plush figures. No worries about it falling off!

He also has a soft rubber belt which fits correctly and connects tightly in back. It goes on and off  easily, and the tape measure fits on it easily as well. There's also the soft canvas tool belt, with pockets that could have held things like paint brushes, putty knives, etc.

The last item is the boots, which are made from a soft rubber. The sculpt and paint ops are good, and the soft rubber makes it easy to pull them off and put them back on again.

This isn't a Dragon quality uniform, but it does match up extremely well with the kid market.

Value - Collectors ***, Kids ***1/2
The $20 SRP is a little steep for the market segment, but I've heard you can find them for as little as $12 at some stores. At that price point you can add another star to the value rating.

Overall -  Collector's **1/2, Kids ***1/2
These aren't intended for the collector audience, but I think that collectors of 'toys' should give them a closer look. They are great for kids, although I'm sure that not all kids will realize it
themselves. Boys like conflict driven action figures, and there's little conflict here, unless they
make a scab worker figure and union steward figure. Still, I think these figures could work great
with a child's imagination to provide a ton of fun. And if they could up the quality in a couple areas, I think they'd actually have a shot at some of the collector dollars as well. If we could get Ertl's quality of accessories and uniforms from their Sportsman line, combined with the articulated body of this line, and some new sculpting all around, we'd be set!

Where to Buy:
Locally you can find them at specialty toy stores, like Zany Brainy or other learning based toy stores.  That's currently your best bet.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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