Tony Montana Scarface - Respect and War versions

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Jeff checks in tonight with a look at both Scarface figures recently released by Enterbay - take it away, Jeff!

Scarface is a movie that just refuses to lie down and die, and its permanent cult status means the collectibles of Tony Montana just keep on coming. A few years back Sideshow gave us a couple of versions and then last July I reviewed the outstanding white suited Montana figure from Blitzway. It was their very first foray into 12” figures, and for an initial release it was nothing short of amazing, at the time I thought we had the definitive 1/6th edition. The strange thing is that since it was unleashed to a pretty unanimous chorus of approval they went very quiet… could that be about to change?

However, in the interim another company that was already reasonably well established has built on its well-regarded name and has seriously upped its game. That company is ENTERBAY, and the last few months have seen numerous new releases from them, including the fantastic scale T800 from T2. They have even more impressive stuff lined up for 2012 including more figures from Batman, Robocop, Rambo and a whole host of others.

But the license announcement that surprised me most was for Scarface. As I already said in my Blitzway review viewable here, it’s a cult favourite that has already received a lot of attention from manufacturers over the years, and coming so hot on the heels of the other figure did we really need another, let alone two?

Well, as it turns out we do, because not only have ENTERBAY given us a coked up to the eyeballs and mad as hell ‘war’ version depicting Tony in his final bloody showdown, but they have also done a version in the white suit, but this time with a more relaxed facial expression. So between the three of them I think it’s fair to say that fans have been truly spoilt, and if you have the readies to invest, you get a chance to display everybody’s favourite psycho drug dealer in any pose you could possibly wish for, all bases are covered!

Packaging - ****
Hot Toys have recently cemented themselves as one of the most innovative companies going when it comes to interesting boxes, but it has to be said, right from the offset ENTERBAY have also had a good eye for some top quality packaging.

I still remember being blown away when I unpacked my first figure from them, the Game of Death Bruce Lee. It was the first time I’d received a figure in a hardboard package and fully surrounded by soft black foam, and it made me realise that as a statement of intent it showcased that ENTERBAY had their eye on delivering top quality merchandise.

Now here we have two representations of the same character from the same movie, so the fronts are near identical in utilising the classic black and white movie poster. However, to differentiate them the ‘Respect’ one has deep Ferrari red sides whilst the ‘War’ one is a dense black. The sides are held shut with magnets that lift to release the two halves of the inner box that open up like a book with a central spine. The left hand tray holds the accessories in a vac formed tray and on the right side is the fully dressed figure enveloped in soft die-cut foam.

In short the build quality of the boxes is absolutely top notch and the use of the iconic imagery from the classic movie poster makes for a striking bit of packaging.

Sculpting - ****
Although this is the same character, we get two figures with distinctly different facial expressions. Both are sculpted by Enterbays busy artist in residence YJ Park, and like the work he showcased on Leon (reviewed here) they exhibit his keen eye for subtle detail. The ‘Respect’ version has a relaxed, dare I say it even serene expression, but it is undoubtedly Montana/Pacino from any angle. The trademark scar is of course there and the distinct Roman nose is unmistakable. It also has all the finely observed wrinkles and pores on the skin texturisation and the front section of hair is seamlessly stuck on to add to the effect of depth and layering on his fringe. The more eagle eyed amongst you will notice that the two hairstyle are also unique to the two separate figures. It would have been pretty easy to just re-use the same sculpt on both. But YJ has taken the time to translate the distinct detailing and executes it perfectly on both individual figures. That is the kind of thing where the sculptors sense of perfection takes over from the cold hard business of going for the easy option! You will also find two tiny holes/slots hidden in the edges of the hairline in front of the ears; these are for inserting the short arms of the sunglasses. They are pretty well disguised and are only evident to those looking for them, but if you decide the shades are never going to be worn by your figure it would be a simple job to fill and paint over this feature with a spot of acrylic paint.

The ‘War’ version has a much more intense grimace, even more extreme than the expression on the Blitzway figure. The mouth is contorted in an angry snarl with the upper lip curled exposing his teeth as he releases hell with his little friend. It manages to convey expertly the desperate fury unleashed in what he knows is his final stand and I for one love to see scene specific portraits like this conveying tons of emotion. Especially when as companion pieces to more regular sculpts. That way we get more display choices and the best of both worlds… expensive for completists though! Like the other version it has all the super fine observations on the skin and also has some beautifully rendered detailing on the hair.

Both come with a selection of eight hands in a variety of poses (I’ll go over in accessories) that are also expertly painted with the tiny rings and tattoo painted in as well. In short these can sit on any shelf beside the finest 1/6th available and hold their own handsomely.

Paint - ****
ENTERBAY really know about paint apps, they have proven this numerous times in the past and the work they showcased way back when they first released the two 24 figures showed that YJ Park was just as talented with a brush as he was with a sculptors tool. The detailing here is nothing short of phenomenal. Not only do we get the warm and swarthy flesh tones with delicate mottling on the skins texture, but the sublime work and the hint of beard growth is just astounding when viewed up close in hand. Both have the ‘cat scratch’ applied delicately into the left eyebrow and they have even darkened the inner nostrils to enhance the illusion of depth. I also noted that the ‘respect’ version has that healthy complexion of someone who has just the hint of catching the summer sun on their face; it’s a subtle but still distinct detail. While the War version has a more urban, unhealthy mottled look to its finish, more suited to the drug addled nocturnal psycho that Tony has become by the end of the movie.

Both also share some uber detailed work on the eyes, which are not only shiny enough to catch the light in a way as to be spookily realistic, but also have so much microscopic detail as to be unnervingly convincing. They have tiny lines radiating out of the iris, and we also have even finer work on the miniscule thread veins that are dispersed over the white of the eyeball… this is just amazing work, and makes one realise what a quantum leap this hobby has taken since Sideshow first released their versions of this character back in the day.

I like to keep all the figures I collect, even when superseded by superior versions, I see them as taking their place in the evolution of this art form. But I think it’s fair to say that if you are lucky enough to own the ENTERBAY or Blitzway versions of Montana, all previous attempts are now sadly cast asunder!

Because of the snarling expression the War versions paint also shows just a flash of the teeth and the inner mouth. This is also executed deftly with subtle colour on the lips and very convincing tones on the actual teeth meaning it all comes together beautifully to look very convincing.

Outfit - ****
During the course of the movie Montana wears a number of choice outfits. I have to admit one of my favourite looks in the movie was the striking orange Hawaiian shirt, but I also loved the blue suit with the arm sling as seen here. However, even though I liked those looks, it’s undeniable that the two most iconic looks are the ones they have gone for here! But there is something of an enigma involved, as even though, when scrutinised I can see that the tailoring and finish is slightly stronger on the white suit (most notable in the edging of the lapels) I still have to admit that the pinstripe 3 piece is my favourite.

The complete War outfit consists of sculpted black dress shoes; the sculpting here could be a little crisper on the laces and perhaps show some more wear and creases across the top to be more convincing, buy they certainly suffice for the job at hand. He also wears some black socks and these appear to be real full shoes and socks over a foot rather than just sock tops and a ball joint into the shoe. Next up are the trousers, these have a velcro fly, working pockets and a black belt with a functioning silver buckle threaded through the belt loops. He then wears a slim tailored white cotton shirt with working press studs on the cuffs and up the front for the buttons, and it features a wide 70’s style collar. Over this is his pinstripe waistcoat/vest which has two cut pockets and a row of tiny buttons up the front over the functioning press studs, and the back panel is a satin/silk effect. Finally over this is the matching pinstripe jacket, it has three non-functioning cut pockets on the front with a handkerchief sewn into the breast one, it’s a classic Savile Row cut with two vents at the back and a peaked lapel with an unorthodox rounded point, in the movie they had more of a traditional point, but for the scale this is pretty damned impressive, especially when you consider it is lined as well. It’s held shut at the front by two concealed hooks that slide into sewn loops, this is a very well executed feature that means that when opened you don’t see any unsightly oversized press studs, it does however lack any buttons at the cuffs.

The Respect outfit consists of the same shoes but painted in a deep brown with the laces picked out in black, this definitely helps the detail stand out here but the underlying sculpt does still lack crisp definition. Under the shoes he has black socks, the more obsessive fans amongst you will already be aware that he should actually have red socks to match his shirt, but like I said with the Blitzway figure, the trousers are designed to fit long and sit on top of the shoes making it a moot point for only the most anally retentive. The trousers are an identical cut to the others with four working patch pockets and a functioning belt through the belt loops. The red shirt is also a slim cut with an even wider 70’s super-fly collar that is worn over the lapels of the white double breasted jacket. I had to unpick the press stud on the right cuff of the shirt and move them closer to the edges as they were originally just too far apart to fasten. It was a minor annoyance that took a couple of minutes to rectify, but shouldn’t really need to be done on a figure in this price range. However, it might be an anomaly peculiar to my figure, you hopefully will have no such issue!

The Jacket has three cut pockets, the two lower ones are working whilst the breast one is sewn closed with the red handkerchief in it. It follows more of a classic Italian cut with no vents at the back but also has peaked lapels (which are more suited to a traditional double breasted jacket), and I’m happy to say that this jacket does have a tiny row of three buttons on each cuff, nice attention to detail lacking on the pinstripe version. This one also fastens at the front with a small press stud, but the female coupling that is visible when undone manages to look like a button anyway, and a double breasted jacket should never be worn unbuttoned anyway!

In summing up I’d say both are supremely well tailored, the fabrics used are well sourced to fit the outfits they represent and apart from a few minor niggles like the moving of the press stud on the red shirts cuff and the lack of buttons on the pinstriped jackets cuffs it’s all good to go. And even though I bring these two items to your attention, neither are big deal breakers for me (I doubt most will even notice). So because of the outstanding quality of everything else I feel more than happy awarding both outfits a top score, they really look great.

Articulation - ****
These are based around the RM5 base body which is very similar to the RM4 which I gave a full lowdown on here, so for a comprehensive breakdown of all his joints you can revisit that old review. This is however a slightly revised version that incorporates a soft PVC upper chest and neck area so as to improve the aesthetic without impacting on the articulation. You can see the base body here and compare it to the RM4 here.

So what would I add to the review linked to above for this figure? The main thing is of course the rubber skin covering the upper half of the figure, as not only does this have a fantastic paint app matching the heads skin tones and also have microscopic hairs applied to the neck and chest, but the articulation of the neck beneath has a much better range of movement than was evident on either the base RM4 or the Leon figures that I previously reviewed. In short this a great base body, up there with the very best, and the improved aesthetic coupled with the revisions to the neck articulation mean this is fully deserving of a top score here.

Accessories - War ****, Respect ***1/2
These come with two distinctly different sets of accessories on the whole, but cross over on the hand sculpts, shades and stands. The full list is-

War Version-
Six extra hands (eight including the ones on the figure)
One assault rifle (Colt AR-15 carbine with ‘fake’ grenade launcher)
Two 40mm grenades (for above launcher)
One pair of sunglasses
One briefcase
Two bags of heroine (inside briefcase)
One pack of vacuum sealed cocaine (inside briefcase)
One gold neck chain
One cigar
One silver bracelet
One gold wristwatch
One figure stand

Respect Version-
Six extra hands (eight including the ones on the figure)
One pair of sunglasses (polly bagged next to the stand)
One cigar (polly bagged next to the stand)
Two gold neck chains
One silver bracelet
One Beretta
One suppressor
Eight packs of Benjamin’s
One figure stand

Looking over the list it’s obvious that the War version is just a little better equipped, not only does he come with a case full of class A drugs but he’s packing the most iconic firearm of the whole movie, his ‘Lil frien’. It’s a not widely known fact that the props department couldn’t locate a real grenade launcher, so the one seen in the movie is actually a fake that was machined by the props crew, hence the oversized trigger guard, you can see it here as opposed to the real McCoy here and a great bit of trivia is that the exact same prop was used on Dutch’s assault rifle in Predator, cool huh. And it’s double cool to see that ENTERBAY have replicated it perfectly here rather than just going for an off the shelf version. It has a sliding pump action on the launcher (sadly the grenades don’t actually fit inside); a flip up targeting sight and the two taped together magazines are removable and indeed swap overable. It has no other moving parts, but it certainly looks the part. The Beretta has a higher degree of finish and detail than ENTERBAY weapons have traditionally had, and I’m glad to see that like on the arsenal received with Leon the finer points of articulation on the sliding cocking mechanism removable magazine and attachable suppressor are much better observed. The War version also comes with his case of drugs, consisting of moulded bags of heroin and a block of cocaine, the detailing on the heroine is nice, with the outer bags being made of transparent plastic and the inner part appearing to be white, the cocaine is just a simple white block but has a couple of rubber bands sculpted around it as well. The briefcase that houses the items is perhaps a little simple in its construction, but still displays all the requisite detailing on the tiny latches, moving handle and implied stitching around the edges. The only actual unique items that the respect version comes with is the huge stash of hundred dollar bills, eight wads to be precise, these are simple tiny printed notes with buff paper strips holding them together, but for the scale the detailing is more than sufficient to look convincing.

So, onto the shared elements, both come with a cigar and a pair of shades, though it is worth pointing out that the respect version has both of these items bagged next to the stand rather than placed into vac formed mould in the accessory tray. So don’t panic, just look closely and they are there! I mentioned above about the shades, these don’t have full arms but have short rods that insert into concealed slots on the sides of the figures hair; they attach reasonably easily and look pretty good for the scale once put into position and futzed with for a few seconds. They also share the same metal jewellery of a silver chain on the right wrist and gold chains around the neck (Respect has 2 as opposed to War’s single necklace), they both also have moulded plastic ‘gold’ watches with black faces and of course they also have sturdy figure stands.

Lastly they have a selection of eight hands a piece and even these differ from each other, the ‘Respect’ version has two fists, two relaxed grip, two fingers splayed/gesturing and two gun grip. Then the ‘War’ version has two fists, two tight grip (for the briefcase or a knife should you decide to equip him), two relaxed grip, then we have right gun grip and a left grenade launcher grip (also good for cigar poses).

I think you’ll agree that is a pretty handsome selection, but the War version is definitely worthy of the higher praise in my most humble of opinions.

Value - WAR ***1/4, Respect *** (Double pack ***3/4)
ENTERBAY as a company are not as fiscally or physically big as some of their major competitors, but despite their ‘Indie’ nature, they continue to punch well above their weight and their product just keeps getting better. The quality of these two figures is definitely up there with the very best and the whole package is quite a triumph, but whichever way you look at it these are very far from cheap figures. Of course the size of a company’s overhead expenditure tends to be reflected in its products retail price, you want top quality and exclusivity you gotta pay for it.

There is a way to make a much bigger saving by buying both together at the same time as a double pack. ENTERBAY are offering these for $375 shipped anywhere in the world which works out at $187.50 each. However, if you are just getting one, the price does jump somewhat with the individual cost being $225 a pop (which also includes world-wide shipping).

So it’s obvious that the double pack is by far the better deal, but it’s still not the sale of the century. And the fact that as individual figures they top the $200 ceiling and come equipped with what is in effect quite a light accessory assortment (for that outlay), does mean these are gonna struggle to get a decent score in this category, that’s for sure.

However, if you are the kind of hardened collector of hi-end 1/6th that has a collection you would never tell anyone the financial value of (part shame, part self-denial), then you will have managed to reconcile the price in the blink of an eye… enjoy, and just ignore my ramblings in this section!

Fun Factor - WAR**** Respect***1/2
These are both solid representations of the character, but I have a feeling that the WAR version might prove more popular in the long run. The reasons being twofold, Firstly there will be a lot of fans who already invested in the Blitzway white suited version. And secondly (and for me most importantly), the final shootout scene is just so much more iconic as a memory seared into peoples collective consciousness. Once you have bought it it will give you an excuse to start re-watching those final scenes again in slo-mo looking for the best poses and then you can futz to your hears content putting this guy in that classic crouch with ‘his little friend’ low slung letting loose the dogs of war (I defy you not to start quoting lines as you do this!). If I wasn’t such an anal collector who keeps everything box fresh I’d be tempted to give the shirt a good blood spattering too.

Of course this is not to undermine the cool factor of the white suited version, and he does make for a supremely good display piece, but when it comes to pure fun, then how can he compete with his ‘little’ alter ego?

Overall- War ***1/2 Respect ***
Of the two on show here I consider the War version to be the most indispensable, in fact if you consider yourself a fan of the movie it is an essential part of your collection, it should be made geek law that you find a way to own it!

And of course if you have the monetary funds available I’d recommend you get the double pack and save yourself $75 (or club together with friend and buy one each). However, I have to talk cold hard facts and grade these, and to my eyes the War version is the better of the two (some will undoubtedly disagree). As not only do I find the aggressive portrait more interesting, but the accessories are more impressive as well. There is however a mere a star in it, because when all is said and done both the head sculpts are approaching perfection with a paint app to match, the tailoring is to a very high standard and they come housed in some beautifully constructed boxes.

And so it is that the curse of so many top quality high-end figures these days is that price alone robs them of a higher score. Of course if you are not the kind of person used to high-end prices I guess these would be lucky to scrape through with any stars at all, and likewise an old hack like myself is tempted to give them an even higher score… but I’m at least ‘trying’ to keep it real. I recently showed a few of my figures to some professional ‘figurative’ sculptors, and when I told them the money they retailed for they were amazed at how reasonable the prices were… make of that what you will.

Where to buy
As I said above, the most cost effective way to get the pair is as a double pack from ENTERBAY direct where you can get them both shipped anywhere in the world for $375, alternatively you can get them individually for $225 a pop.     

I could only find them with one of Mike’s sponsors BBTS, where they have the War version in stock for $234.99.  And the Respect version on pre-order for $239.99.  

Or hit eBay where BIN prices are between $180 to $270.

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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