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Buck Rogers and Tiger Man
Zica Toys

Buck Rogers action figure by Zica


Buck Rogers has seen a lot in more than 80 years - comic strips, tv shows, movies, he's hit just about every form of pop culture. One of my favorite incarnations was the 1979 film and then television show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, starring Gil Gerard. I suspect a lot of that has to do with the beautiful Erin Gray, but that's just a wild guess.

Zica Toys is producing some cool new figures in the 8" (1/9th) scale market based on their newly designed body. The first out are based on Buck, and the series features Buck and the evil Tiger Man, Princess Ardala's henchman. Tiger Man died in the film, but was somehow re-incarnated to later appear several times on the show itself.

They have several more figures on pre-order, including Hawk, a Draconian Guard,and Killer Kane. Not only that, but they have additional licenses planned, like Logan's Run and a unique series called Adam West Presents.

These figures run around $30 each direct from Zica, but you can pick them up a few bucks cheaper at other retailers. However, if you're looking to buy them singly (and not as a pair), Zica is your best bet.
Buck Rogers action figure by Zica
Buck Rogers action figure by Zica
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Buck Rogers action figure by Zica
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Buck Rogers action figure by Zica
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Buck Rogers action figure by Zica
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Buck Rogers action figure by Zica
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Buck Rogers action figure by Zica
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Buck Rogers action figure by Zica
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Buck Rogers action figure by Zica
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Buck Rogers action figure by Zica
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Buck Rogers action figure by Zica

Packaging - ***1/2
They've gone with a simple but effective style - a box with a window front. This box is made from VERY sturdy, thick cardboard, much better than even what we see with higher end companies. The window shows off the figure well, there's no real wasted space, and the interior tray holds them safely.

However, they lose a half star for those damn twistie ties - you know how much I hate those. Considering that these are online sales, with little fear of theft and even less of coming loose in transit, the ties really weren't necessary. Be especially careful with the twisty that's wrapped through Tiger Man's holster, because it can damage it if you're not careful when removing him.

Sculpting - ***
Buck is supposed to look like Gil Gerard, and considering the usual Mego-esque style of figures in this scale, I'd say they've done a better than average job. While it's never going to rival the work from a Hot Toys or an Enterbay, it's about 20% of the cost.

The hair is surprisingly detailed, with very fine strands. I was surprised at the detail here considering the price point and the hollow head.

Yep, the heads are hollow, just like the old school versions, which makes it pretty easy to pop them on and off.

Tiger Man has a bit more of a generic sculpt, but the nose, mustache and head shape match up with the screen version pretty well.

The hands are properly scaled, and the gripping hands hold the accessories properly.

Paint - Buck ***; Tiger Man ***1/2
The paint work on Tiger Man's face is pretty impressive, although some of it looks like tampos. Still, everything is very clean and neat, with a nice shine to the funky tattoos. The eyes are also well done, especially the messed up left.

Buck isn't quite as fancy, and his eyes aren't quite as clean. Still, there's no serious slop, and the hair, including the eyebrows, looks great.

Articulation - ***1/2
I stripped down Buck so that you can see what the Zica body looks like. There's ball shoulders, cut biceps, pin elbows, pin knees, cut waist, ball hips, post and disc wrists and ankles, and a cut neck.

The joints are tight and solid, with high quality pins and high density plastic. It's a huge improvement over the other 8" scale bodies currently on the market, especially the floppy rubber band version that Mattel is using for their Retro figures.

But there are still two areas that could use improvement. One is that neck - regular readers know how much I sing the praises of ball jointed necks, and the personality that you can add to any pose with a little tilt action.

The other joint that would be useful would be a pin ab-crunch, similar to what the smaller DC Universe Classics sport. These two joints would take this body to the full four star level.

I couldn't quite get the natural flow that I can with something like a 12" TrueType, but I did feel that this new body is much better for posing than the others currently on the market in this size.

Accessories - ***
Both figures come with four extra hands - two sets - to go with the gun gripping set they are wearing out of the box. There's a pair of closed fists, and a pair in a relaxed pose.

These pop in and out tightly, and you should take a little care when removing them. The hand is a softer material than the post, so it's possible to tear it off the attachment when pulling the hand out. Again, use steady pressure and a tight grip. I used a pair of needle nose pliers to remove them and it worked great.

Both characters come with blasters, and the designs are great. I don't remember exactly what these looked like on the show, but I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming that these cool designs are right from the show. Both fit in their hands or their holsters perfectly.

Buck also comes with his helmet, which fits tightly on his head. There are soft, cloth pads on the top and sides on the inside so that it won't damage the paint work on his hair. And while you might think it looks silly, it matches the on screen version well.

Tiger Man has another accessory too - his deadly looking cutlass. The sculpt on the hilt is a little soft, but it fits in his gripping hand nicely and slides in and out of the sheath cleanly.

Outfit - ***1/2
Both outfits are excellent, although they do suffer from a problem that seems to always plague this scale.

It's only been in recent years that the maker's of sixth scale figures have been able to get clothing and materials that are realistically in scale. To get cloth, rubber, leather and items like buttons and zippers thin or small enough for a 12" figure costs big bucks, which is one of the reasons the best sixth scale figures run north of $125 these days.

Now shrink down those figures another 4", and you can see the problem. Getting outfits that are thin enough and properly tailored only gets tougher the smaller the base body.

Considering the price point ($30 or less), I'd say they've done an awfully good job. Buck has his classic white costume, and the shirt and pants are made from a stretchy Lycra-like polyester. Both are tailored great, and fit tightly. The collar on the shirt is a bit too big, and will probably have to be adjusted when you first get him out of the package, because they put the shirt on before the head. When they pushed the head on, it's likely that they snagged some of the material, pulling it down and messing up the lay of the collar Just pull it all the way up and you can readjust it to get just the right look.

There's the winged symbol on the shirt, sculpted and glued in place. It's a very nice touch, and adds quite a bit to the look of the tunic. There's also a band for each arm, with the one on the right simply held in place because it's elastic, while the one on the left has a Velcro closure. It also has a sculpted plastic box that's tightly glued in place.

His belt is also held in place with a Velcro closure, and the fit is nice and tight around his waist. It hold the holster in place, and has another sculpted attachment in front.

It's only with his last piece - his shoes - that the real scale issues occur. They are big and clown-like, and considering the quality of the rest of the costume, a bit of a let down.

It's the boots that mess with Tiger Man too, but we'll get there in a second. First, let's talk about his exceptional vest and pants, again tailored perfectly and made from high quality material. I love the look of the silver belt with it's sculpted ornamentation, and his holster is held in place with a silver rope belt.

There's a red rope bandoleer that holds his scabbard on his back, and this is another exceptional piece of work. The rope is a little out of scale, but the larger size actually works with this application. There's a long necklace with bone decorations that loops around his neck twice, and there's another Velcro closed band on his left bicep.

All that is excellent - and then there's his boots. The only actual manufacturing problem that I've seen with these is in his boots, where the soles are made from a flexible plastic. The majority of the boot is cloth, but this plastic base has curved, making the bottom of the boot bowed. That means getting him to stand on his own is just about impossible. To get a few shots, I had to place something under one or both boots, and couldn't really do much with the poses.

It's also worth noting that the gold plastic tops on the boots are not attached to the cloth, so you can adjust them however you'd like.

Fun Factor - ***
Like the Megos of yore, these are great action figures. They pose much better than some of the other 1/9th scale figures currently available, although the license is certainly a bit dated for most kids. I haven't tried it yet, but I have plans to see how well these base bodies can be swapped over to the Retro suits and heads.

Value - **1/2
At $25 - $30 each, these are a solid value. The Mattel Retro figures sold through Toys R Us have a poorer base body, poorer costuming, and fewer accessories, and they run $20 each. Considering the online nature of these, low production runs, and high quality costumes, I'd say $30 is a good value, and the closer you get to $25 the higher this score gets.

Things to Watch Out For -
I'd watch those right knees - don't force them and use steady pressure to free them up the first time, making sure you're bending them properly. The rights were tight on both figures, but freed up with a little pressure.

And don't forget the warning on the twisty tie that's wrapped through Tiger Man's holster. Make sure it's completely free before pulling him out to avoid damaging it.

Overall - ***
I really like what I see with this first release. In fact, Tiger Man would score another half star higher overall had it not been for the silly problem with the soles of the boots, and with better shoes Buck would have had a shot at a higher score too.

The base body is good, the best currently on the market in this scale. The costumes were also excellent, with the exception of the shoes and boots - clearly footwear is the only real problem for these guys. While the sculpts and paints aren't at the level of Hot Toys, I'd hope that no one would expect it at 1/5th the price. These are a big step up from something like the Retro figures from Mattel or the Venture Brothers from Bif Bang Pow. They still have some work to do, but I'm liking what I'm seeing.

I'm also very interested in what the Adam West Presents line is going to bring, and I'll be looking forward to their other releases this year.

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

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Urban Collector has the pair for $54.

- Big Bad Toy Store has the pair for $60.

- or you can pick them up direct from Zica where they are $30 each.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
If you're a fan of Buck Rogers, check out the 12" figure from Go Hero, or their very cool retro full scale toy gun!

Discussion:
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Buck Rogers action figure by Zica


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

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