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Cult Classics 3
Bubba Ho-Tep and John McClane

NECA's movie based line, Cult Classics, continues this month with the release of four more classic characters.  There's the Endoskeleton from Terminator, John McClane from Die Hard, Bubba Ho-tep from Bubba Ho-Tep, and the Flyboy from the original Dawn of the Dead.

I picked up the set of four, but decided to split this set up into two reviews.  Tonight I'll cover Bubba and John, and on Tuesday I'll have a review of the Endo and Flyboy over at MPS.

This is the first figure based on either Bubba Ho-Tep or any of the Die Hard films.  This isn't the first Bruce Willis figure that NECA has produced though, since they did the Sin City line as well.

In the next series of Cult Classics, we'll get the Elvis figure from Bubba Ho-Tep as well, so the poor mummy doesn't have to hang on the shelf all alone.  You can find these at Spencers and some Hot Topic stores, or at one of the online sponsors I have listed at the end of the review.









Packaging -  ***
Yes, I know that isn't either Bubba or John in the package to the left.  That's because I shot one package shot for the whole series, and Flyboy had the coolest looking insert of the bunch.

Still, all four had some decent graphics, and included shots of the group on the back.  There was a good use of color throughout, and you all know how much I like clamshells.

Sculpting - Bubba ***1/2; John **
These two figures represent the opposite ends of the visual spectrum - beauty on one end, butt ugly on the other.

Bubba Ho-Tep is an excellent sculpt, with tons of detail work, and plenty of realism.  The face has the shrunken, drawn yellowed skin, and the exposed bone on the chin looks perfect.  The hat is affixed and not removable, with a soft brim and feathers, and looks terrific over the head and sculpted hair.  The clothing hangs off the mummified body, and the wrinkles and flow matches with the position of the bones and skin.  This is a great figure, and turned out much better than I had expected.  He's going to make a great addition to the monster shelf.

Ah, and then there's John McClane.  This is John McClane as drawn by a guy at the carnival.  The face looks stretched, the proportions slightly skewed.  In just the right light, and just the right angle, it looks a little like Bruce Willis' cousin on his mother's side.

From the waist down, the body sculpt is pretty good.  He has the bare feet, and the wrinkles and stretch of the pants at least matches up with the pose of the legs.

The torso has some weird issues however.  The lower arms are very hairy (and both this hair and the chest hair is sculpted in), but at the elbow he seems to go nekkid, as if someone drew a line across his arm.  The size and build are fine, but the sculpted scar on his left shoulder is over done, and there's a sculpted handgun in the front of his pants.

While the head sculpt isn't fantastic, it's passable.  Hey, you can learn to squint when you look at it, and it gets better.  But this funky gun is the worst aspect of the figure overall.

As I said, it's actually sculpted onto his belly, but it sits way up in the belt, looking like it should fall out any second.  It looks awkward and silly, and it would have been good just to skip it.

Paint - Bubba ****; John *1/2
The sculpts weren't in the same ball park - the paint ops aren't even in the same league.

Bubba sports some great paint work, with lots of tiny details and great colors.  Of course, the funky colored shirt and hat help here, bringing in some much need flair to the display.  But had they screwed up the application, all the color in the world wouldn't have helped.  Fortunately, that's not the case.

I'm particularly impressed with the face work on Bubba.  There's the right amount of wash, not over done, not under done, and the bright white of the exposed bone stands out perfectly against the old yellowed appearance of his rotted skin.

The didn't skip any of the important details, including the ornamentation on the boots, the cool head band on the hat, and the blackened dead fingernails.  If I have one complaint, it's that the figure is a bit thin.  Yes, I know he's a mummy, so he's pretty much skin and bones.  But let's also remember that this latex mummy suit fit over the body of a regular guy, giving him some imposing bulk in the movie.

In every way that Bubba went right, John went wrong.  The face isn't a great sculpt, but the heavy black line under the eyes, and the weak attempt at dirt and/or stubble on the face hurts it even further.  The t-shirt has a liberal amount of blood, but it's not realistic in any sense, and is wiped clean on the back and front in some areas in a weird, obvious pattern.  For all the blood on his shirt, it doesn't appear that he's actually wounded, and his feet are completely free of injury.

Just like the sculpt, the gun is really my least favorite aspect of his paint job.  I mentioned that it was sticking way out of his pants.  Well, there's a painted on trigger, and what appears to be the start of a trigger guard.  However, it turns into one long line that runs down the front of his shirt, straight, until hit reaches his belt line.  It looks like the person in charge of this paint operation was partying a little too much the night before.

Articulation - Bubba **; McClane *1/2
Neither of these figures is highly articulated, and are intended more as plastic statues than action figures.

Both have a ball jointed neck, although neither has a particularly wide range of movement.  Bubba also has ball jointed shoulders, much to my surprise, which allow for a little lateral movement, but not much.  Still, it helps with the arm poses a bit.

He also has cut wrists and cuts inside the boot tops.  He can't stand on his own without the included display stand.

McClane has cut shoulders, and cut ankles.  Yep, that's it - no cut wrists, no waist, no other articulation of any kind.  He can hold the machine gun in one way, and that's about it.  I was able to get him to stand without the base, but it adds enough to the character that you'll probably want to use it.

Accessories - Bubba **1/2; John ***
Ah, the only category in which John outdoes Bubba!  Both come with a small display stand, but John's includes a section of the railing.  He also has a machine gun, which fits neatly in his hands and sports a rubber strap.

Bubba's stand is a little less impressive, but decent in its own right.  There's some of the reeds and the license plate from down by the river, a nice touch.  He doesn't fit quite as easily to the pegs as does John, but if you play around with him for awhile, you'll get him to stay.  He definitely needs the base to remain upright.

Value - **1/2
Both of these figures run around $12 - $14, which is the average going rate right now for specialty market figures.  It's not a great price, but does line up with the market pretty well.

Fun Factor - **1/2
Neither of these are really designed for kids, but as 'collectibles' to be up on the shelf..

Things to watch out for - 
Not a thing, really.  If you're picking these out on the shelf, look for the best paint you can find, particularly on McClane.  You should also be a little careful with the strap on his gun, as it can tear pretty easily.

Overall -  Bubba * **1/2; McClane **
Of the four figures, these two represent the two ends of the spectrum.  Bubba was easily my overall favorite of the set, while McClane was easily the worst.

This Bubba also assures more sales of the upcoming Elvis figure in wave 4, so that they can battle for eternity on your display shelf.  Let's just hope that Elvis turns out more like Bubba in quality than John.

This is the only Die Hard figure we've ever been treated to, although fans have requested him for many years.  The head sculpt isn't as bad in person as it is in photos - the camera always gets you closer to the action than your human eye - but it's still more caricature than reality.  The paint ops do nothing to improve on the situation, and that funky gun down his pants pretty much kills the deal.

I'll have my review up on Tuesday of both the Endoskeleton and the Flyboy over at da Poop, and as you might guess, they fall in between these two extremes in quality and results.

SCORE RECAP:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Bubba ***1/2; McClane **
Paint - Bubba * ***; McClane *1/2
Articulation - Bubba **; McClane *1/2
Accessories - Bubba **1/2; McClane ***
Fun Factor - **
Value - **/2
Overall -  Bubba * **1/2; McClane **

Where to Buy -
Local stores like Spencers and Hot Topic may have them in.  Your online options include:

- CornerStoreComics has the singles for $12 each, or the full set for $44.

- Time and Space Toys has the singles at $12 as well.

- Amazing Toyz has the singles for $11 - $13 each, depending on the character.

- Alter Ego Comics has the set for $48.  The listing says only three of the figures, but at that price (and with the photo including the Bubba figure), I'd assume that's all four.

- Killer Toys sells the individuals for $14 each, or the set for $50.

Related Links:
Series 1 included the Mohawk Gremlin and Patrick Bateman, and series two had Leatherface, Freddy, the Tall Man and Frank the Bunny.



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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