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Robocop Premium Format Figure

Twenty years ago, the X rating was still being given to films that weren't porn.  When it was conceived, the rating was merely intended as 'not for children under 18', but during the eighties the porn industry pretty much converted the rating to their own use.  Eventually the MPAA adopted the NC-17 rating to counteract the perception that X meant hardcore, but the film Striptease managed to destroy the NC-17.  That's a whole discussion in it's own.

But I digress.  Back in 1987, when Robocop was first released, it was given an X due to its extreme violence.  Directer Paul Verhoeven trimmed up the most excessive violence, and managed to get it down to an R, but even at that rating, it was an ultra-violent movie.  If you'd like to see the original version in all it's gorey glory, pick up the recently released Anniversary Edition (also available in blu-ray.)

I'm not a huge fan of the movie, but it was a solid action flick.  What I did always love was the Robocop design.  When Sideshow said they were producing a Premium Format version, I knew I wanted such a iconic character for the eventual dream home movie set up.

If you're a regular fan of Sideshow, then you won't be surprised to hear there is a regular and an exclusive version of the mixed media statue.  The exclusive has an edition size of 300, while the regular is set at 500.  Both retail through Sideshow for $275, but I have some suggestions at the end of the review where you can pick the regular up a bit cheaper. 

 









The exclusive version includes a swappable hand with the extended metal spike, which as exclusives go, is a pretty cool addition.  This review will cover the exclusive, pointing out where the score might be different for the regular edition.

Packaging - ***
Like all the Premium Format boxes, this one seems to do the job of keeping things safe and sound quite well.  The number for the statue is on the bottom of the box as well, and they've included extra protection on the inside, like the plastic cover over the painted base.

And if you're like me, you can use the big outer box for storing other toys!

Sculpting - ***
Robocop is a Premium Format figure, the label Sideshow uses for their originally unique mixed media series of statues.  The original versions had only sculpted heads and hands, with a softer body and wire armature, covered in fabric clothing.  That has slowly evolved over time, with the body becoming fully sculpted as well (sometimes even in plastic), but the 'mixed media' concept has remained.

Robocop is one of the least mixed of the PF's, however.  He's 95% traditional polystone-like material, very heavy, and very detailed.  The mixed media aspect comes in with some rubbery material around the neck, and the small metal and plastic parts that make the holster mechanism possible.

I like the dynamic feel to the stance, and you can find plenty of arm positions that it compliments nicely.  The various included hand sculpts look great, and he's definitely a big boy, standing almost 19 inches tall without the base.

The proportions are the biggest issue here, starting with the skinny, smallish guns (one loose, one sculpted in the hand).  This weapon was much more impressive in the film.

The face seems a bit thin, and even smooshed a bit to one side.  This is accentuated by the paint job, especially on the lips where it's a bit lopsided.  The head is fairly large as well, with the chest being a bit flatter than the on screen version.  The ankles seem to wide and bulky, and the torso too thin. This slightly off appearance to the proportions was a bit of a disappointment in an otherwise solid sculpt.  Detail is there, but this is not the definitive end all Robocop sculpt, at least not if you're looking to match the film perfectly.

However, while some of these features aren't screen accurate, I think they are also improvements in some ways.  For example, I think the NECA version has the more film accurate torso, but I like the slightly slimmer version, particularly in the waist and midsection.  Hey, sometimes you can improve on perfection.

The other major positive in this category is the base.  Many of Sideshow's PF's have fairly plain basic, simplistic designs.  This time they gave us a carved Detroit Police OCP badge.  It looks terrific, and adds quite a bit to the display of the statue.

Paint - ***
As I mentioned, the paint tends to accentuate some of the minor sculpt issues, making them a bigger problem.

The lips are clearly uneven, and without eyes, the lips and lower face become more of a focus.  The paint work on the body is clean and high quality, but it's lacking something...some extra oompf to make it a bit more realistic.  In person, he doesn't have as metallic or mechanical of an appearance as I expected, particularly at this scale, and that's largely due to the paint work.  Hot Toys smaller version managed to pull this off much better.

Still, with the exception of the lips, there's no slop or poor cut lines, and the consistency of the metallic silver coverage is quite good.

Articulation - ***1/2
Holy crap!  An articulated Premium Format figure!  The early PF's had a wire armature that could be posed...somewhat.  But this guy actually has joints!  I was quite surprised to find that out, assuming that the various poses he had taken in photos were the result of swappable parts.

But no - he has a swivel neck joint, ball shoulders (the ball is up inside the arm), pin elbows, cut forearms, and even a cut waist! The forearms turn at the top of the black 'gloves', giving the extra hands even more value.

I'd take care with all the joints, particularly the neck and shoulders.  The cut joints at the forearms and waist turn freely, and you're not going end up breaking anything turning them.  In fact, I had to turn the forearms around 360 degrees to get the hands positioned correctly, as they were upside down otherwise.

But the neck is a bit stiff, and you could damage the neck or the helmet if you crank on it too hard.  The shoulders more pretty freely, but they are tight, so take care testing out the range of movement.

But with a little care, you can pose this guy far more than any previous Premium Format from Sideshow.  None of the joints are obvioius or intrusive on the sculpt, and yet you'll be able to have your own personalized version of the pose.

Those joints alone would have gotten this statue three stars for articulation - which would have been a huge plus in the final Overall score, since statues are rarely articulated at all, and this one is done so intelligently.  But the opening right holster/hip garners him another half star alone.

It might take you a moment to figure out how to get it open the first time, but be patient.  The front of the hip slides forward first on four brass rods, and then the side of the hip swings out and back.  Inside is the holster itself, which can be CAREFULLY pulled out.  I can't stress the CAREFULLY enough here.  The included gun fits inside the holster, although not quite as tightly as I'd like.  It flops around a bit, and it could drop out with a bump to the shelf.  Still, it looks amazing, and I found that I could leave the gun in the holster, slide it all back in place, and have no trouble closing the leg.  Outstanding!  The engineering is pretty impressive, but keep in mind that if you break one of the small inner pieces, fixing it might be extremely difficult.

Accessories - ***1/2
I'm grading both the regular and exclusive the same here, although the exclusive has one more accessory - and it's actually a pretty worthwhile one.

I've already discussed the outstanding base in the Sculpt and Paint sections, so I won't add anything else here.

The loose gun that fits inside the holster is a little thin for my tastes, but I have to admit that by having it fit inside the closed leg, they've really added to the cool factor.  If it had to be skinny to do it, I can live with that.

The sculpt is great, although the paint seems a bit toyish.  Still, hanging on his side in the open holster, it looks pretty sweet.

The rest of his accessories are made up of extra hands.  Each of these hands is on a square peg, with a strong magnet to hold it in place.  That's good, since you'll want to pose the arms with the hands facing down, and you wouldn't want them to drop out easily.  The magnets appear to be plenty strong enough to fight gravity, at least for now.

There is one fisted (left) hands, and two open, relaxed hands.  The regular version of the figure also comes with a right hand with the trademark gun sculpted into it.  By mixing and matching these hands with the opening/closing holster, you can get dozens of poses.

The exclusive version has one more hand, this one a fist with the thin spike weapon coming out of the knuckles.  The spike is a little thinner and smaller than I remember from the film, but it's a nice addition straight from the movie.  Throw that into the mix, and you get even more posing potential.

Value - **1/2
Sideshow's Premium Format mixed media statues are not cheap.  Never have been.  And at $275, he's about $25 more than usual.

The extra features, like the articulation and opening holster, along with the good number of swappable hands, is what keeps this guy at an average value score.  Assembly costs on the holster/hip alone had to add quite a bit to the unit cost on this guy, and with such a low production run (only 800 total), I'm surprised he didn't actually end up at $300.

Things to Watch Out For - 
I'd be extremely careful working with the opening leg.  Yes, it's very cool, but I think that damaging it is very easy, especially if you try to force anything.  Patience is the word of the day.

The small spike on the exclusive hand is also very fragile.  Take extra care when working with this one.

Overall - ***
I have to admit to being a bit disappointed in the sculpt on this figure.  I was really hoping for the perfect, end all Robocop, and this isn't it.  The proportions are clearly off, although not as badly as some folks would have you believe.

The working holster is a thing of beauty though, and I'm very pleased with the added articulation.  Those two factors keep the Value score from dropping the Overall any, and really add to the visual pop on the shelf.  The serious Robocop fan will be able to pick out the issues I've talked about, but the casual observer will be wowed.

I've included a comparison shot with the much cheaper NECA 18" version.  If you can't afford the Sideshow version, the NECA will do fine.  And if you can only afford one, and want the very best representation out there, go for the Hot Toys 12" version.  But if you're looking for the one with the biggest wow factor when you walk in the room, and you can manage to drop this kind of cash without selling the children, then go for the Sideshow version.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Value -  **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Of course, Sideshow has both the regular and exclusive versions (which is available right now on second chance!) for $275. Or you can hit one of these retailers for the regular edition:

- Alter Ego Comics has him at $248.

- CornerStoreComics has him at $248.

- Amazing Toyz also has him in at $248.

- or you can search ebay for him with MyAuctionLinks.

- Related Links -
There's actually been more Robocop stuff than you might imagine:

- there's a guest review of the cool ED-209 by Hot Toys.

- my favorite Robocop figure ever is the Hot Toys version from a couple years ago.

- I also reviewed the Movie Maniacs version.

- and don't forget the cool 3-D wall art version of the old movie poster.

 

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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