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Barney Ross - The Expendables
Hot Toys

Barney Ross The Expendables sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys


When Sylvester Stallone announced that he was bringing together some of the most famous names in action film history in one big, glorious slam-bang of a flick named The Expendables, a lot of folks got interested. I know I did - with names like Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin and even Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, how could you go wrong?

And then we got to see the final product. I wouldn't say he went wrong, but he did manage to take an off ramp to mediocre somewhere along the way. There was plenty of action alright, and much of it in the over the top 80's style, but it couldn't support the generally weak plot and dialog, and some truly God awful acting. There's a reason we haven't seen much of Lundgren outside of direct to video foreign flicks in the last 20 years, and it's not because he isn't still one Hell of a menacing guy.

Hot Toys grabbed the license early, probably for the same reason we were all excited - all those big names in an action flick? How can it miss!  They've released the first figure based on the film, and it's the obvious choice - Barney Ross, Stallone's character. They have not yet announced plans for any others, although it will likely depend on how well Barney does for them.

And he seems to be doing well, selling out at most places. it helps that he was originally on the lower to mid price range for a Hot Toys figure, coming in around $150 or so.

I also have a guest review of this same figure up tonight, which includes a couple additional photos that you might find useful. I'll mention it when appropriate through this review.
Barney Ross The Expendables sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
Barney Ross The Expendables sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Barney Ross The Expendables sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Barney Ross The Expendables sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Barney Ross The Expendables sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Barney Ross The Expendables sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Barney Ross The Expendables sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Barney Ross The Expendables sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Barney Ross The Expendables sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys
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Barney Ross The Expendables sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

Packaging - ***1/2
While this packaging is much more simplistic from a mechanical design perspective - there's just an outer sleeve over an interior box with a plastic tray inside - it's the clean use of the Expendables logo on the all white backdrop that really sets it apart. There's very little text or photos this time, but that clean look really works well.

Of course, it's all completely collector friendly too, and you can easily remove all the pieces and put them back later if you're so inclined.

Sculpting - ****
I suspect that some collectors have become so jaded or perhaps spoiled by the sculpts we've seen the last couple years, that they'll be able to look at that portrait in the photo to the immediate left and tell you it's not quite good enough. But all I can see is Stallone, properly aged and perfectly captured.

Of course, the skin texture creates a far more realistic sculpt, and here they've added in an appropriate number of wrinkles and age lines. The hair on the eyebrows and Van Dyke is finely detailed and softly sculpted, and the hair on his head has the type of stranding that we've come to appreciate. The eyes have the slight droop that's part of his trademark look, and the lips - particularly the upper one - has just the right shape. The jawline, the shape of the head, the nose - it's all just about as good as you could get.

The torso has a slight texture to the rubbery skin as well, and the hands are all done in proper scale and with good detail. Some are gloved, some bare, some open, some closed, the assortment of sculpts work well with a multitude of poses, and the hands swap cleanly and easily.

Paint - ****
The work on the head and face is the usual outstanding quality that we now expect every time from Hot Toys. Everyone points this out in every review, but the fact that they are able to get this sort of quality out of production paint operations is nothing short of amazing. That they make it seem easy is probably all the more frustrating for the competition.

Along with the usual - perfect hair line, realistic skin tone, sparkling eyes, etc. - Barney has the additional tattoo work on his torso. Over the shoulders and biceps of both arms is complicated animal artwork, done in full color. It's beautiful, although some people have complained about the fact that when you move the arms, the tats don't line up any more. Personally, that seems like complaining that if you drop him, he'll hit the floor. It's simply the physics of the situation.

Between his shoulder blades, done in black, is the Expendables 'team' skull logo. Again, it's very clean and sharp, and quite realistic. While I don't plan on displaying him shirtless, the inclusion of the tattoos is a great addition.

Articulation - ***
This is the larger muscled body that has been popular with Hot Toys for their more beefy characters. It looks good in the tight fitting shirts, and does give the character a more impressive look on the shelf when standing next to other standard TrueType bodies.

It's a bit less articulated though, particularly in the torso. The ball jointed neck still works great, although as always you'll want to pay attention to the included instructions and not turn the head while it's bent downward. Doing so could damage the soft rubber skin on the neck.

The ball jointed shoulders work well, but there's no bicep articulation, and the post/disc ball elbows are a bit restricted by the sculpt. There's ball hips, ankles and an ab crunch of course, and the usual waist and knee articulation is present as well.

You should be able to find a unique action pose you can call your own, but don't expect this guy to have quite the range of movement of the less bulky TrueTypes.

Accessories - ****
He includes a metric ton of extras, all well done and made from high quality materials.

I'll mention the holsters in the Outfit section as well, but it's worth noting that these are very well made - much better than some of the cheesy cheap versions other companies pass off for this scale. The guns fit in tightly and look great, and there's no assembly required.

Speaking of guns, he comes with three handguns. On his back, he carries a Colt single action revolver, made famous by a million westerns. The sculpt is very well done, and both the hammer moves and the cylinder turns!

On either hip he wears a 1911 .45. These are modified Kimber Combat pistols, made special for the film. Hot Toys has replicated them extremely well including the silver accents. They have removable clips, and there are two additional magazines included with the figure that fit in a special pack on the belt.

He also has one rifle, the Noveske Diplomat. It's complete with the attached flashlight up front, which has a clear plastic lens, and an adjustable stock. The breech breaks open as well, and of course the magazine is removable.

For those times when stealth is important, he also has his large knife, pretty much machete sized, which fits in a sheath that can be attached to the back of his tactical vest. I had some minor issues with the 'magic tape' on this, as it came loose while I was putting the sheath in place. A little fabric glue fixed it for now, but take care.

There's a pair of necklaces, one that has his dog tag and the other with an iron cross. These fit over the head without opening the clasp or removing the head itself.

I'm also adding in the very nice watch (complete with clear plastic 'glass') and wrist bands that he's wearing as accessories. You can easily remove them, and you should be careful when swapping hands, as it's easy for them to fall off without noticing.

Another item that could be considered part of the outfit but that I'm adding in with the accessories is the beret. Generally speaking, sixth scale hats that are not sculpted are bad at best, truly awful at worst. Even Hot Toys hats tend to be oversized and ill fitting. But not this time! The soft cloth beret fits perfectly and looks great, especially when used in concert with the sunglasses.

These sunglasses are nicely scaled as well, and stay in place on his face without any issues. The clear lens look great, and they are a nice addition to the tactical outfit.

There's also a pair of goggles, which he did wear in the film. These have an elastic band to hold them in place, but I thought that while they are a nice addition, they looked a tad dopey on his face. I didn't include a shot with them, but the guest review did.

Lastly, there's the ever present stand and extra wrist pegs. Think of these as insurance.

Outfit - ***
I had my one big issue in this category - without that, this guy would be a four star figure.

There are two outfits here, one for military ops, and one for lounging around. He comes dressed in his ops outfit, and it's the one I left mine in.

There's the black pants tucked into black boots and held up with a black leather belt. On this belt are the three holsters plus the case for two additional magazines. All of these are in place when you get the figure, which is a big plus - kitting these guys up can be a pain.

In the box comes his tight black shirt, as well as his black tactical vest. This vest is where I had my problems.

Like the vest that came with Royce, this vest has Velcro ('magic tape') closures on the shoulders. That makes it easier to get on, but you still have to unhook either the front or side of the vest to put it in place.

Don't unhook the front. I opened up the two snaps and tried to unzip the front - made the most sense to me. However, the zipper came off both sides entirely, and even after an hour of fiddling with it, I have not been able to get it back in place. You'll notice in all my photos that the vest is not tight on his chest, being held together with only the snaps.

It's a better idea to unhook two of the snaps at the side, which I think is the intention of the instructions. It's a little confusing - anyone that's read Hot Toys instructions before knows what I mean. Undoing the hooks is not without it's issues either, as the short straps tend to come out of the buckles, and the small round elastic bands that are supposed to keep them in place simply don't. Still, it's far easier to get the straps re-threaded in the buckles if they come out than it is to get the zipper pull back in place.

BTW, once you have the shoulders Velcroed down, you'll want to tuck the ends into a small slot on the back. That keeps them flat on the figure, and makes the vest look much better. It's not easy to tuck them in, but you'll be glad you did. Even with them tucked in, the vest tends to ride up on the torso too much, adding in a bit more frustration. Yea, I didn't like the vest.

Along with this ops outfit, there's a pair of jeans, another shirt, and a western style belt. This gives him more of a relaxed look, and is a nice touch, although I'm betting no one will actually use this costume for display. Since I already had enough issues getting the vest in place, I opted to NOT swap him to the less exciting outfit, but you can see him in it in a couple of the photos in tonight's guest review of this same figure.

BTW, I hear he also has on underwear, although I didn't feel the need to check.

Fun Factor - ***
Other than the issues with the vest, I found this figure to be very well made and quite sturdy. I wouldn't hand it over to the average 8 year old to use in the sandbox, but these figures have a rich history in the sixth scale toys of the 60's and 70's, and that DNA is still obvious.

Value - **1/2
You're getting a ton of excellent accessories at the price point, plus two complete outfits. Since this guy was at the median Hot Toys price point, I feel that's about an average value. Of course, Hot Toys is spoiling us a bit with their recent releases in the $150 range, all of which have been very well outfitted.

Things to Watch Out For -
Well, there's that damn zipper. Don't mess with it if you can help it - while the straps on the sides might be annoying and difficult to work with, they are less likely to cause you long term issues. To get the vest on and off I suggest unhooking the three snaps on one side, trying your best not to pull the straps loose, and slipping it on that way rather than unzipping it.

Overall - ***1/2
If you loved Stallone, or are a big fan of the movie, or both, you'll love this figure. The sculpt and paint are what you expect from Hot Toys, and there is a ton of goodies packed in the box.

The only reason I didn't go with a full four star score here is because of the issues I ended up having with the vest. Stay away from that zipper, and you should be fine - don't make the mistake I did! Hopefully Hot Toys will send along another vest for me, or I'll find someone with tiny enough fingers to get it fixed.

I will be surprised if we end up getting any more figures from this license - it'd be nice to have someone for him to stand with on the shelf, but it's not really necessary. You can pair him up with other modern military figures and he'll look fantastic, or even with Arnie from Predator or Royce from Predators. The black military outfit is generic enough to fit with plenty of scenarios.

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

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Big Bad Toy Store had him for $155, but appears to have sold out.

- You can jump on the wait list at Sideshow, where he's $170.

- or you can search ebay for a bargain.

Related Links -
Nope, no other figures from this series, and I have a sneaking suspicion that there won't be. That's just a wild ass guess on my part, however.

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

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Barney Ross The Expendables sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys


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

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