Boris the Enforcer

The big news this last week was the letter of intent from Jakks to purchase 21st Century.  What that means in the world of 1/6th scale figures is yet to be seen - it could be bad, it could be good.  But certainly things will change at 21st Century.

And here we have Boris, one of the villains series from 21st Century.  He is showing up at many Toys R Us stores these days, and not many other places.  They've got themselves pretty much locked in right now with Toys R Us, although both Wal-mart and Target still carry a little of their stuff.

Villains are everybody's favorites, whether we like to admit it or not.  Perhaps it's the danger, the power, or just the cool outfits they always seem to get.  I'm not absolutely sure what Boris is supposed to be - Russian Mafia is probably a good guess - but he's definitely on the wrong side of the law.

Packaging - **1/2
The boxes haven't changed, but I really would like to see some text with these villains.  Guessing about who or what they are leaves something to be desired.  I suspect 21st Century is terrified of saying anything that might cause controversy after all the news they received over the first villain and his resemblance to the Columbine killers.  Still, some basic info on just why Boris is such a nefarious character would be nice.

Accessories - ***
For Boris, his accessories are his strongest point.  But exceptional accessories are getting to be the norm.

His handgun is nice, but die cast is getting pretty common and this type of basic plastic is being seen in the lower end figures with increasing quality.  His knife and sheath are nice, as is his baton.  There is also a pouch and  a pair of clips that are molded as part of their pouch.  Neither of these are all that exciting.

But the nicest accessory of this set is by far his briefcase.  It has actual snaps on top, just like the real thing.  It holds his automatic weapon inside, with a trigger on the outside of the case, and a contraption on the interior that is intended to appear as though he can fire it covertly.  There's even a small hole in the case where the barrel would line up.  This is an excellent accessory, and over shadows the rest of the figure.

Sculpt - ***
The head sculpt here isn't bad, but it's nothing particularly exciting.  He can pass for Russian, and there's no goofy evil grin, just a serious expression.

Outfit - **
This is where I'm most disappointed.  The hat is the highlight - the sculpt is great and it fits fantastic.  Unfortunately, Dragon has produced hats similar to this in cloth and shown that it can be done, so a plastic version doesn't excite me.  And that's the highlight of the outfit.

The black turtle neck and pants are very basic, as are the boots.  The long jacket is not bad as far as quality goes - the stitching is good, and the fit is great - but I hate the color.  This light brown is just too wussy.  What, is this from the villains spring collection?

Articulation - **1/2
The 21st Century body is just as articulated as always.  Unfortunately, as time goes by the bar keeps being raised by other companies.  Companies like bbi and Dragon are producing better articulated and tighter bodies than 21st Century, and that hurts them in a category that just last year they were tops in.

My Boris has a tough time standing on his own.  His hips are very loose, and I could barely keep him up long enough to shoot photos.

Value - **
Last week, I bought the F-15 pilot from bbi for $30.  I saw the Kenneth figure at KB Toys for $25 from Dragon.  And 21st Century is charging $30 for Boris?  He only has a handful of accessories, albeit the very cool suitcase is one of them, and his outfit is fairly plain.  Sorry, but here's another area that the bar has been raised.

Overall - **1/2
This is a pretty low score for 21st Century.  Unfortunately, they seem very hit and miss with their figures, and the consistent quality that we are seeing from Dragon and bbi is going to cut into their market in a big way.  On top of that, Jakks is likely to make some changes that will appeal less to the adult collector and more to the kids.  It looks like a rocky year is in store for 21st Century.

Where to Buy:
Toys R Us is the only bricks and mortar store that is currently carrying these figures.  I got lucky - my local store has mis-marked these at $9.99, and that's how I ended up with one.  Like I said, $30 is way too much for this level of figure.

As usual, on line offers many choices:

- Toy Maniacs has him for $24.99 plus shipping.

- Entertainment Earth also has him, but at $27.99 plus shipping.  He's currently in stock (MROTW affiliate).

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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