Che Guevara - Enterbay
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
|Jeff is back tonight with a
look at the latest Enterbay figure - take it away Jeff!
In just a few short months ENTERBAY seem to have gone from being an
also ran to being a serious contender again! They continue to impress
at 1/6th scale, and have an even more impressive array of ¼ stuff
planned for later this year and into 2013. So if the T800 was a taster
of the quality they have planned for the rest of their work at this
scale, we could be in for one hell of a geek ride. But it may also be
time to take out second mortgages and start selling your less essential
But back to Che here. This is ‘officially’ the first time that ENTERBAY
have done this particular Marxist/Trotskyist Cuban revolutionary, note
I say ‘officially’ because just a few months back they released the
RM4-02 and there was very little doubt as to who it depicted. I
reviewed it here
and was impressed not just by the fact ENTERBAY had managed to crack
the tricky 1/6th base body market, but also because they topped it off
with a great bonus sculpt and fantastic paint apps. But, as I say, that
was a bonus. This time it is actually MEANT to be Ernesto Che
Guevara (1928-1967), after all, that is what it says on the
box… leading us nicely onto-
I have said it before and I’ll say it again, ENTERBAY really know how
to make a box!
It’s been an area they have consistently been strong in, and here they
continue using their tried and tested layout which utilises top quality
strong hard-board and a full foam surround for the figure.
The front and sides of the box are a deep mottled red out of which is
the classic image by the Cuban photographer Alberto Korda titled ‘Guerrillero
Heroico’. The photo was then used as the inspiration for the
iconic screen print poster by the Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick and went on to
be pinned to every ‘radical’ students wall from 1968 till today.
It needs little introduction, apart from to say regardless of political
or geographical boundaries it has become an enduring symbol for
revolution and the power that individuals can have to instill change
over governments, and is as potent today as it has ever been.
The right hand side panel is magnetic and opens to the left. Once
opened the left hand side has a shallow tray holding the accessories
whilst the right is die-cut foam holding the fully dressed figure. The
build quality is all faultless and the design is as iconic as it gets
by way of using that classic image.
Sculpting - ****
YJ Park must be one of the busiest sculptors on the planet, so I asked
ENTERBAY how he managed to produce so much work and found out that as
well as doing his own sculpting work; he has recently been promoted to
do more senior supervising work. He is now responsible for
the majority of ENTERBAYS products in terms of head sculpting prototype
guidance and managing the quality of production painting and
techniques. He has several apprentices working under him, and
this portrait is from his leading apprentice ‘Scuderia’, who I’m
informed is now one of ENTERBAY’s lead head sculptors. He was
responsible for most of the 1/6 and 1/4 scale prototype head sculpting
we have seen recently. People who know anything about the CEO of
ENTERBAY: Mr Bill Chan might be familiar with the fact he’s something
of a Ferrari fanatic (he drives one himself) and the company used to
make scaled model Ferraris as well. You might be wondering where I’m
going with this, but the name Scuderia is the Italian word for ‘stable’
(as in the place you keep horses), and is also the name of the Ferrari
F1 team…leading me to surmise that the name might be some kind of
alias… hmmmm, curious!
This portrait is based on Che in 1960 at the age of 31, just about his
most photographed and pivotal time in his life. It captures
perfectly his stoic focussed expression. There is a look of brooding
grief but tinged with controlled anger, as the source material for the
sculpt was taken at memorial service for victims of the infamous La
Coubra explosion where he had used his medical training to tend the
dying and the injured.
The detailing is nothing short of fantastic, with some beautifully
subtle work on his wispy beard and moustache. But the standout area for
me is on his unruly mop of hair. He wears it long and unkempt, as let’s
face it, he had his mind on other things rather than ‘how his hair
looked’, and ‘Scuderia’ has gone to great lengths to capture just how
it looked in that iconic shot. All the little waves and curls have been
replicated, with many being small stuck on sections to add to the
layering and realism of the finished look. The top section is pushed
down so that the sculpted beret can fit snugly on to head, but even
though they have done it this way, his hair still manages to look
convincing, even when the hat is off. I’m normally someone who would
always go for a fabric hat over plastic, but having seen how well this
fits and just how convincing it looks when compared to the fabric beret
I got for the previous RM4 figure (it’s the HT Barney Ross one), well,
you can consider me convinced, but I shall include some comparison
photos to help make my point!
If you do get this figure in hand you must compare it to that classic
photo side by side because the likeness is truly amazing.
We all know that YJ oversees the paint application on all his own
sculpts, and as time goes by it is becoming more and more apparent that
not only is this guy a prodigious talent in the sculptors room, but he
is just as adept in the paint studio. This paint job has knocked my
socks off, and from some of the forum feedback I’ve seen it has
cemented ENTERBAY securely into the hearts of collectors all over
world, even the ones who have no interest in this figure. It continues
the outstanding work they showcased on the recent Scarface and Leon figures, but even
manages to slightly trump them.
The hair is a dense black, but the deep crisp sculpting allows plenty
of detail to shine through as light plays over its surface, but as
convincing as the hair is, this is all about the flesh tones and eyes.
To make this sculpt truly work it is essential to capture something of
the intensity in that stare. That brooding stare that spells out that
Ernesto Guevara was not a man to trifle with, you just know he would
not suffer fools lightly… but hey that’s Marxists for ya, never famous
for being a bundle of laughs. And if you thought they were you may be
thinking of the Marx Brothers… totally different thing!
The skin is another master-class in understated perfection with warm
swarthy tones that manage to look slightly grimy and sweaty. It never
ceases to amaze me that if ENTERBAY, Hot Toys and companies like Dragon
In Dreams can consistently pull jobs like this out of the bag, why it
is that bigger companies can’t improve or even come close to matching
this work on the larger scale pieces and statues they produce?
Then over the flesh tones we have the facial hair delicately painted in
with a great degree of sensitivity, no harsh divisions are evident here
and YJ shows an insightful eye for gentle observation. Then the eyes,
those eyes that would make or break this portrait are just perfect in
both the physical application but also and perhaps more importantly in
the emotion they manage to convey. They work from all angles, but are
best viewed when he is looking slightly up and to the right (his right,
your left when viewing) again to match the famous photo.
There are also a few details painted on the various accessories that I
shall cover later. But as far as the actual paint goes on the face, you
have nothing to worry about, it’s just sublime!
With the RM-5 ENTERBAY
really do have a base body that can be ranked with the best, and even
the issues I had with the stiff neck on the Leon and base RM4-02 have
now been ironed out with these newer versions. Many parts of the RM4
that I went over in detail here are replicated, in fact from
the waist up it’s pretty much identical, as indeed are the arms. The
main area of improvement here is the neck and upper torso, as now we
have a silicone/rubber skin covering this portion of the body. The
joint between the chest and abdomen allows a fair range of mobility,
but it’s the neck I’m most impressed with. It’s quite a refined bit of
engineering that doesn’t allow for extreme up, down or side to side
movements (so no prone sniper poses will be on the cards). But it more
than makes up for it in the way some very subtle and convincing head
gestures can be achieved, and all without any visible engineering. This
is without a doubt the best body to be released from ENTERBAY to date,
and it shows that the company has seriously upped its game. They aren’t
just playing with the big anymore… they are the big boys!
If they can continue to improve at the pace they are and follow up the
recent spate of excellent quality figures they have released, I have a
feeling that the Year of the Dragon could be a very good one for them,
and the year of the snake may be even better!
Che comes with a great selection of detailed goodies consisting of-
- one M2 carbine rifle
- one M1911 automatic pistol
- One holster for pistol
- one beret with red star
- one beret with gold star
- one wrist watch
- one black arm sling
- one Leica M2 camera
- one Cuban cigar
- one leather jacket
- one FS-201 figure stand
ENTERBAY also continue to improve on their accessories, both the
weapons have removable magazines and cocking mechanisms and the rifle
has an adjustable strap. The holster for the pistol is a well-tailored
snug fit as described above. My personal favourite out of his
accessories is the miniature Leica SLR camera. Guevara was known to
have carried a camera on many occasions and was a keen amateur
photographer, so the inclusion of this item is a nice touch. It
features a soft leather strap and the tiny winder arm can even flip
forward, and the fact its based on the Leica
M2 is a nod to make and model that Alberto Korda used to
capture the iconic Guevara image.
The rest of the items are small and well observed, like the wrist watch
and cigar, but obviously have no moving parts. They even included a
strip of black material to make an arm sling to mimic the one worn in
the famous photographs by Joel Scherschel,
another nice addition.
Lastly there is the sturdy FS201 figure stand. Not the most exciting
stand to look at visually and as most regular readers will know, Mike
and I don’t favour stands at the best of times. However, if you are a
‘user’ this one is well made, has a metal support arm and the base
section even has a hinged section that can flip out from underneath to
give a larger surface area for those more dynamic poses.
So I’m happy with the selection and pretty much all bases are covered
for his most memorable and iconic poses. I guess a small journal and a
pipe would have completed the selection, but to be honest, much like
the sling, they would have stayed in the box. It’s the inclusion of the
camera that gets the biggest thumbs up from me.
Although Guevara was regularly photographed in his simple green/khaki
military fatigues, for the classic photo that this figure emulates he
also wore his dark chocolate brown leather bomber jacket zipped tight
to his chin.
And luckily this all important garment is included as an accessory.
The full outfit consists of moulded combat boots with working laces,
these carry some impressive detailing on both the texturing and the
detailing on the soles tread. Then he wears a matching pair BDU cargo
trousers and a lightweight jacket/shirt, both these items have working
pockets throughout and show a high standard of tailoring and finish.
Over the shirt around the waist he wears a real webbing belt with
working metal eyelets, sliders and buckle. At the right hip he wears a
leather holster to hold his pistol. This is made of fake leather, but
has a metal stud fastener, detailed scale stitching, a metal clip
securing it to the belt and a pleather lanyard tied at its base.
The accessory jacket is also made of pleather, but looks very
convincing at the scale with working zips, pockets and ribbed ‘knitted’
detailing at the shoulders, wrists and cuffs. The pockets here are also
working and the whole outfit comes together beautifully.
Lastly we get not one but two of his iconic black berets, with a choice
of either red or gold star insignia at the front. They are made of a
soft textured vinyl and are sculpted to fit the head perfectly. I admit
I’m usually more into fabric constructed hats, buts these do work
exceptionally well and the fact you get two means you can even have one
for your first non-official Che from ENTERBAY. As I said above, I did
use one of the Hot Toys: Barney Ross berets for a while, but these do
actually work better for this figure.
In short this is a relatively simple outfit for a company like ENTERBAY
to get right, but that doesn’t undermine just how impressive the final
outfit looks. And even though I liked the pleather boots on the DiD
version, the overall aesthetic of this one is even more impressive,
One sticking point for some collectors is ENTERBAY’s price point. I
already explained in my Scarface reviews that for a smaller company the
higher overheads are bound to be reflected in the price, especially
when they have to take a license into account. Here however there is no
license to worry about, even the image used on the front of the box was
made public property at the time of its creation in the Marxist spirit
of things. However, quite what Guevara would make all these years later
of people collecting highly priced plastic effigies of himself, whilst
paying into mass consumerism in his name is another matter for us to
You can order this direct from ENTERBAY with free shipping during March
(might be a moot point when you read this) and although that isn’t what
anyone could consider cheap, I certainly see it as fair.
Factor - ****
This is very much a hi-end GI Joe! I grew up playing with my old Action
Man (UK equivalent) in my back garden scrabbling around in the
undergrowth, and this is at its core just an ultra-detailed version of
him. Yes the outfit is vastly superior to my old toys and yes the
sculpting and paint apps are from another planet compared to his crude
daubing’s, and it goes without saying that the detailing on his
accessories are also more befitting the price we know pay. But in
essence there is no reason you shouldn’t have as much fun with this
figure as you did with your old Joe’s back in the day. This may however
depend on your political leanings… GI Joe is an all American hero… Che
Guevara… not so much!
At $170 this actually looks like a pretty good deal to me. The new base
body means he can pose well with some great subtle articulation
available, meaning you can inject a lot of personality to your poses.
The detailing is phenomenal, and although there has never been a
shortage of good quality Guevara figures, at this present time I think
it’s fair to say that ENTERBAY have produced the best so far… Viva la
Where to Buy -
ENTERBAY are selling this directly from their own site
for $170 with free shipping included during March.
It is also available through Mikes sponsor
BBTS, who have it up for pre-order at $224.99. Or
eBay where prices are fluctuating between a low $199 up to
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.