12" Spinal Tap

This is Spinal Tap was a classic cult film from 1984.  This 'mockumentary' covered the backstage lives of the famous band, Spinal Tap.  Fans of rock and roll loved the film, and the lampooning it gave the industry.

When Sideshow Toy announced that they would be doing 12" figures of the band, plenty of folks were surprised.  But these came out this year, and have been selling at comic shops and music related stores such as Media Play and Sam Goody.

I picked this set up from Hot Topic, in our local mall.  These sold originally for $30 each, similar to other 12" figures in their class.  But I couldn't pass them up at $6.97 each!  Check out your local Hot Topic, and perhaps the sale will be at other stores as well.

Packaging - ***
If you plan on keeping the packaging, I'd leave the figures in.  Sideshow did make it simple to remove the insert with the figure, by slipping it out the side.  But the accessories are still blistered to the insert, making it tough to remove them without damage.  Still, if your careful with a razor blade you can cut the bubbles of each of the accessories and still keep everything in fairly decent shape.

The box also has 'updates' on each of the band members.  Well written, in the vein of the film, the package adds to the attractiveness of these figures. 

Articulation - ***1/2
Sideshow is beating all others in the 12" market right now, including Dragon, in terms of articulation.  At least in terms of number of points - there still are some quality issues.  But with a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps, double jointed elbows, cut jointed forearms, wrists, chest, waist, ball jointed hips, cut joint hips, double jointed knees, cut joint calves, and ankles, *whew*...these things have plenty of points.

My only complaint is that the joints tend to be loose.  These figures definitely need the small stands they come with to allow you to pose them in the types of positions that you'd expect.

Accessories - ****
Each character comes with his trademark guitar, and these are of the same quality as the Resaurus Pickups.  Right in 1/6th scale, with excellent details and sculpting, the guitars are superb.  They also each come with a stand shaped like a guitar pick and with their name, an album and album cover (made of cardboard), and one specific accessory.  See the picture below for a better idea.

The accessories are all top notch, and fit the characters well.

Sculpting - ***
Sideshow is doing a great job capturing likenesses in their 12" line.  These figures are not quite as good as some of their other offerings, but they are still quite nice exception.  Each looks like the original actor - Harry Shearer as Derek Smalls, Michael Mckean as David St. Hubbins, and  Christopher Guest as Nigel Tufnel - but the sculpts aren't as dead on as the Karloff Frankenstein for example.

Value - ***
At the original price of $30 a pop, these were a little steep.  Not terrible, but $25 is a little more correct for the current 12" market.  But on sale at seven bucks these guys are an absolute steal!

Outfit - ***1/2
Each of these three costumes is very nice.  Perhaps the best touch is the shoes - if you're looking for 1/6th scale athletic shoes, then these are for you.  They are perfect, and are made of a nice soft rubber that allows them to stand well, yet can be removed and put on with ease.

The stretch pants and outfits are great as well.  The leapard print vest on Nigel fits great and is well designed.  All the clothes fit well, and the quality is great, with one exception - the guitar straps.  The three straps could certainly have been made of a better material, but they'll suffice.

The real chains on Derek's hand cuffs are the type of nice touch that Sideshow is becoming known for.

 Overall - ***1/2
If these hadn't been on clearance, I never would have picked them up.  While I think the movie was terrific, I had no burning desire to own the plastic versions of the band members.  But I'm happy to say that the quality of these is great, and further proves that Sideshow Toy is the company to watch in 2001.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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