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Review of Z.E.R.T. Deathridge 1/6th scale action figure

MSE
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 4

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Introduction

I love looking at stuff from new companies, particularly new sixth scale companies. MSE (Mission Specific Equipment) fits both bills, and they do it with some serious quality and a whole lot of love for the product.

One of their recent releases is Jameson Youngblood Deathridge, an elite member of Z.E.R.T. That stands for the Zombie Eradication Response Team, and it's a real thing...sort of. You can sign up and be a member, and do actual training. Or you can be a sane person and read the comic book series. That's where Deathridge comes in, as a main character on the comic pages.

MSE is known for doing extremely accurate modern military gear, and they've released their Deathridge figure with a whole lot of it. They've also done a very limited edition size, with only 600 regular figures (like the one reviewed tonight) and 200 'zombie' figures produced.

Considering the low production run, the price point is a surprise - just $165 for the regular release, and $195 for the zombie version.

There's a ton of photos with this review, so please be sure to scroll all the way to the end to see them all.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Packaging - ***1/2
The front of the fifth panel box has the ZERT logos, along with the characters name. It's attractive in a post apocalyptic way, but the best part is inside. Not only do they skip the plastic trays for high quality foam inserts that keep all the accessories super safe, but the top layer cardboard insert holds the two 1:1 scale patches and special I.D. card!

I did take off a half star though, simply because there's no instructions. Normally, this isn't a huge deal, but this isn't a normal situation. This guy requires some serious kitting, and without any instructions, you'll be left using photos to figure it all out. And believe me, that can be a bit frustrating. Of course on the plus side, it's nice to get a figure with so much equipment that suiting him up is complicated!

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Sculpting - ***
The underlying Deathridge head sculpt is decent, and high enough quality in terms of realism and life-like attributes that I would have gone another half star here, if not for the goofy cigar expression.

The detail work on the skin and texturing is great, as are the eyes, teeth, and hair. In fact, the hair is terrific, particularly for such a short cut. Getting the right level of detail in a buzz cut like this (with just a hint of Mohawk in front!) is very difficult, and the recent Captain Rex from Sideshow missed the mark. The face sculpt was great, but they did a poor job getting enough detail in the short hair. Not a problem here, even on the beard and mustache.

Ah, but then there's the expression. It's designed so he can hold a cigar in his mouth, but unfortunately, that means that without the cigar it just looks weird. And the cigar is easily the worst accessory of the bunch, looking nothing like a real stogie.

But let's be honest here - the only purpose for this head is to hold the helmet anyway. Odds are pretty strong that you'll look at him once, kit him up, and never see his mug again.

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Paint - ***1/2
The paint work is high quality as well, with terrific eyes, lips, teeth and gums. Even the skin tone is realistic and even, and while there's some hair in the beard that's sculpted but not painted, I rack that up to their attempt at feathering in the color from light to dark.

While neither the paint nor the sculpt really are critical here, it does bode well for any future projects where the likeness and realism are more critical.

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Articulation - ***1/2
The underlying body is extremely articulated - extremely. There's just as many joints here as any top end figure, including the extreme shoulders that have multiple joints and allow for posing the arms even flat across the chest.

The neck is a little skinny looking without all the clothes, but that's to allow for the layers to lay right. It's also a double jointed ball, with a huge range of movement.  All the joints can move freely, including the ab-crunch and waist, which allow for deep stances and hunched poses.

I did have a little trouble with a couple of the joints being a bit loose, particularly the aforementioned shoulders. It wasn't so bad that he couldn't easily hold the weapons and maintain stances, but they did feel a bit floppy when posing.

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Accessories - ****
Here's where MSE really goes insane - totally. There's a crap load of extras here, and you can use just about all of them with the figure at the same time.

I mentioned the slightly over sized goofy cigar - yea, stuff that in one of his pouches and let's move on.

I also mentioned that there are two 1:1 scale patches on the top card. There's a photo right there to the left. These two patches are complete with Velcro on the back, ready to slap on your own Z.E.R.T. gear.

There's also a 1:1 scale Deathridge ID card included, made from a very stiff credit card style plastic.

Speaking of patches, Jameson comes with 6 of his own. These can be placed on various Velcro equipped spots on his outfit. There's a couple American flags, as well as ZERT logos.

You'll get two sheets of stickers too, and these can be placed on the hard plastic gear like the helmet or holsters. There's more than enough to repair damaged stickers, or put a few in additional spots.

He has two bladed weapons and two guns. When it comes to blades he has a military tomahawk, complete with a hard plastic sheath. This can be attached to the back of this backpack (water bag), and it fits pretty well in his gripping left hand.

There's also a small 'Hawk' curved blade that has it's own hard sheath. This attaches pretty easily to the vest.

The handgun is a G17 pistol, and you get a suppressor that attaches easily to the end of the barrel. There are five mags, two with the red caps indicating special ammo. Two of the magazines can fit in holsters on the belt. 

There's also the sub-compact rifle, and it has lots of additional pieces you can pop on, including the front grip, PEQ IR Laser sight, flash hider, and tactical light. There's also a sling to hold it around his neck and shoulder, and there's a clip on the end of the strap that attaches to a metal ring on the gun. I wish the clip on the sling was metal and not plastic, but it's a minor quibble.

Both guns have working slides, and of course the magazines are removable. Just like the pistol, the rifle has five mags in total, and one is a special 60 round version. This one, plus one of the regular mags, have holsters on the belt. The other mags fit nicely in one of his bags.

Let's not forget the suppressor for this gun, which snaps on the muzzle smoothly. That's a lot of firepower, and all the sculpts and paint work is simply outstanding.

He's got a couple other items that I'm counting as part of his Accessories, rather than his Outfit. That includes a tourniquet, which is a belt and a thin plastic rod connected and wrapped in a tight bundle. This bundle has a strip of Velcro, and can be attached in a number of places.

There's a couple D rings, which can be hooked just about anywhere. Also in the small extras category are four yellow tubes, which are intended as chemical lights. Another interesting extra is a pair of medical scissors, which can be stuffed in a pouch.

He has to be able to communicate, and there's a large radio that fits in another holster on his belt. It has a long rubber antenna that can be removed if you'd like to get it out of the way, and the head set can actually attach to the top of the radio as well.

There's still some more major extras, but I'm putting them in with the outfit proper. And isn't this enough? I've included three photos of piles of the extras to give you some idea, but there's a ton of stuff here, and it's all exceptional quality. I imagine that kitbashers working on modern military figures are going to want to get their hands on this stuff.

You'll notice one major missing item here - hands. He only comes with the pair he's wearing, a gun grip right and a general gripping left.

There are some better ways to kit this guy out, and I've included those in the "Things to Watch Out For" section.

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Outfit - ****
The outfit isn't far behind the accessories when it comes to this figure. It starts with his high collar urban camo shirt and pants, complete with plenty of pockets and padding. They also have Velcro closures at the wrists and shoulders.

He has a regular black belt to hold up his pants, to go along with the black tactical belt with all the holsters.

There's a black balaclava that fits tightly over his head, and is perfect under the helmet. They've also given you some rubber padding that you can attach to the inside of the helmet depending on how high or low you'd like it to sit.

To finish off the critical clothing, he has a pair of red and black sneakers, with a great sculpt and paint. They allow him to stand in just about any pose.

Over all of this goes his tactical vest, called a "Banshee Plate Carrier System". It fits tightly and looks great, and has loops to attach the other Ranger green bags - four in front, and the large hydration bag in back. Two of the front pouches are designed to hold the additional magazines, and the larger square bag is general purpose.

The long water bag in back also has a tube with black plastic fitting that can run up through the shoulder loop of the vest. This is the tube he can use to drink the water.

There is one additional soft black pouch that can be attached to the very back of the tactical belt. It has Velcro on the front, perfect for either a patch, or in my case, the tourniquet.

The last piece of the outfit is the helmet. You'll have to attach the night vision goggles, the radio headset, and the top lamp/strobe.

This is very difficult work - trust me. I started with the night vision goggles. You first attach the mount to the front of the helmet, then attach the goggles, including the stretchy cords on either side. This wasn't too bad, but the mount did not want to stay in place. I ended up gluing it down, and things went smoother from there.

Next up was the ear cups for the headset. These were tricky to attach as well, and while the concept seemed reasonable - they are designed to slide into tracks on either side - they don't stay in place. More glue! They also tend to sit pretty far from the head, but if you're gutsy you can bend the metal clamps slightly. I'm not doing it, but you can give it a go.

Once that was all done, I put the Velcro strips on top and in back, as well as the strobe. You also have to attach the microphone on the side of the head set, and I found that to be another piece that falls off much too easily.

The final look is tremendous, and you can flip up the goggles to show off his eyes. It works great, and while it was a LOT of work getting it put together, the completed product is very high quality and very realistic.

You'll want to unbuckle the chin strap before you try to put it on, and re buckle in front of the face before pulling it down into place. Once it's on and complete, I suspect that's the way it will stay forever.

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
Whether this figure is a ton of fun or a load of frustration depends on what you enjoy. If you want to spend hours - and yes, it can take hours with care - to get this guy fully dressed and outfitted, then you'll have a blast. Regular kitbashers will enjoy the complexity, and revel in getting a great looking final product.

If you're on the other end of the spectrum, and really just want to pull the figure out of the box, pop a gun in his hand and put him on the shelf, this is not the figure for you. You have been warned!

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Value - ***
With Hot Toys, Sideshow, Enterbay, Medicom and others charging north of $200 for their normal releases, getting something like this for just $165 is a solid deal. Of course, we aren't talking about some sort of high priced license, but then again, they only produced 600 of this guy. I'm sure they'll re-use plenty of this equipment with other military releases, but you're still getting a ton of great items.

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Things to Watch Out For -
I spent some time already discussing how I put the helmet together, and it's probably the most complicated feature.

However, there's some other things you might want to consider. Assuming that you'll be dressing this guy once, I'd put the hood and the gun sling on before putting on the vest. You'll get an overall tighter fit for both.

It also helps if you completely outfit the vest before putting it on him. There's no reason not too, and it's a lot easier to work with. 

The rifle has an extendable stock, but be very careful with it. The plastic is thin, and can break when you slide it back in.

The same is true with the handgun suppressor. You can damage the end of the barrel with too much side to side pressure. The rifle is not the same.

I also kitted the belt up entirely first too, although you can slide things in and out pretty easily once it's on.

Other than that, you should be good to go!

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Overall - ***1/2
If you're looking for a military figure with an amazing array of modern armature and gear, this is the perfect choice. The sheer amount of accessories and clothing is astounding, and the detailing and accuracy is fantastic.

Unlike a Hot Toys or Sideshow release, this isn't a figure where the most critical aspect is sculpt and paint, this figure doesn't live or die by those categories. It's nice to see they have the potential moving forward to do well with both areas, but for this particular release, they aren't critical.

Instead, it's the outfit and the accessories - their number, their quality, and their accuracy. And when it comes to those two categories, this guy is a complete home run.

You have to want to build this guy though, and he's not something that you'll just pull out of the box and sit on the shelf. It will take some time putting him together, and you may find yourself half way through and deciding to start over to do it slightly different. If that's your thing, you're in luck. If not, steer clear, because you'll find yourself annoyed and frustrated.

With the quality of this release, I'm really looking forward to see what MSE does next!

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has this version for $170 and the super exclusive dead unit version for $200.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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Related Links -
Check out the MSE site for other goodies, and if you need a zombie for him to kill, head to this page and type 'zombie' in the search box.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Z.E.R.T. Deathridge action figure by MSE

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

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