F15 Pilot "Viper"

bbi continues to impress with their high quality, extremely detailed sixth scale figures.  But if you've wanted to buy these, you've always had to find them on-line or at a local specialty store.

The latest figures, the F15 and F18 pilots, are now showing up at some regular retail locations, and at great prices.  This bodes well for the collector of bbi 12" figures.

This is the F15 pilot - "Viper" - and the two pilots are different.  Be sure to check them both out if you only plan on buying one, since the head sculpts, accessories and uniform are all different.

Packaging - ***1/2
The boxes on these pilots are terrific.  The text provides great information on the pilots and planes, and the artwork is eye catching and bright.  Unfortunately, bbi has had to make it so difficult to remove the accessories that you have to damage the packaging to get everything out.  They dropped me a line after my last review, and here's their statement:

"We share your frustration on having to destroy the box to get to the accessories. However as mentioned in our earlier email, we are unfortunately left with little alternative but to amend the design of the box. This is due to security reasons (theft and pilferage) as well as practicality reasons. Lost due to such instances means that our "cost" of manufacturing will actually go up in the long run. That will mean that we will need to factor in such consideration for future releases.  Something we feel that we do not want to do."

Accessories - ****
The F15 pilot comes with a number of accessories, including three additional left hands, a .38 die cast handgun, a dozen rounds for the handgun, sunglasses, a watch, a unique stand, and a full size badge.

Also included is a sheet of three iron on decals.  You can select which one you prefer, and then (with the uniform removed) iron it on to the front.  While it's a little effort, it gives you a chance to make your figure somewhat personalized.

The stand is also very unusual.  Made of interconnecting plastic pieces, it can take on almost any position and hold the figures in all sorts of ways.  One of the pluses of this stand is the extra wide base.  However, the ring at the top is somewhat small to fit around the pilot, and I had trouble using it the way it was really intended.  I did end up getting it to fit, but it was at an odd angle.

I think we've gotten a little to far however - the bullets can fit into the die cast handgun, and there is a tool included to remove them from the cylinder.  We may have reached the point of too much detail.

Sculpt - ****
The head sculpt on this figure is very nicely done.  The paint work is great quality, and the eyes and lips are painted just right.  I'm very impressed with this head sculpt, and with the overall style. 

The hand sculpts are all pretty good.  The standard hands can hold various accessories, and the thumbs up and salute hands are good additions.  It looks like you could use Dragon hands on this figure if you needed to swap on a pair of ungloved hands as well.  My only question would be why all left hands, and no extra rights?

Outfit - ****
Simply amazing.  I have never seen a 1/6th scale uniform at this level of quality and detail.  The jumpsuit is fantastic, as are both of the vests he wears over it.  The uniform zippers, stitching, pockets and details are all out of this world.  If you're a stickler for detail, you will simply love this figure.

In particular, the flight helmet and oxygen mask are extraordinary.  My only complaints is with the helmet though - where is the smoked plastic on the visor?  Instead we end up with clear plastic, and it doesn't look as good.  Also, for some reason the lightening bolts are missing off the top of the helmet, although they are pictured that way on the package.

Articulation - ****
bbi has all the articulation that we've come to expect from the higher end 12" bodies.  Double jointed elbows and knees, cut joints at the biceps and thighs, and in general excellent construction and articulation.  The only down side to this figure is the wrists.  Since the hands are all gloved, and all come removable, there is only the ability to twist the wrists.

Value - ****
On line, you could expect to pay $40 each for these.  That's about right I think, and even then it's a pretty good deal considering the level of quality and detail.  But if you have a Meijers around, you can pick these up for $30!  That is an excellent value, and should not be passed up.

Overall - ****
I've done over 125 reviews on this web site.  Of those, I think that less than a dozen have recieved four stars, and of those that did, three have been from bbi.  If you're looking for the utmost in 12" detail, then these figures are for you.

I might even pick up that Rudy figure, now that I've seen just how terrific the pilots are!  And if you want to outfit your pilots with some other gear, bbi also offers several different flight jackets that you can purchase.  The figure stands are also available separately.  There are a variety of helmets availabe too.

And do not forget that bbi has a truly amazing F15 cockpit coming out later this year.  It's going to be expensive, but from early pictures it looks to be the best vehicle ever produced.

Where to Buy:
If you're lucky enough to live around a Meijers, then that's where you want to find these.  They've just started to show up, and at $30 they are a steal.  There are also several other bbi figures showing up there right now, all at about $23.  Check it out if you can.

If you have to resort to on-line, here's some possibilities:

- icon has them for $40 each, and if you search around, you can find coupons to reduce that further. (MROTW affiliate).

- The Toy Cellar has both aviators for about $40, but that includes shipping.  I've ordered from them in the past and always had good luck.

- Justice Fighters has them for $40, but that doesn't include shipping.  Keith is always prompt and reliable.

- Small Blue Planet is also charging $40 plus shipping.  Can you see a pattern here?

There's a ton of other stores out there - if you have one you've had particular luck with, I'd really like to hear about it!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour