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Hot Toys Movie Icons 001 James Dean
(Cowboy version)

  hot toys movie icons james dean action figure

"The 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 guest author."

Jeff Parker is back tonight with a great guest review of a classic movie icon - James Dean!  Tell us all about the latest Hot Toys release, Jeff!

Hot Toys (HT) are riding the crest of a wave right now, and with the recently announced and very ambitious 1/6 vehicles from Batman: The Dark Knight the competition has some serious catching up to doÖ again.

The recent announcement, that the next three figures in the M-Icon range are to be of the Hong Kong Ďmusicí star Wong Ka Kui (he died tragically in a stage accident 15 years ago, these are to celebrate his talent and life) one of these versions is only having 40 figures made, and can only be bought at online auction with all the proceeds going to charity. This shows us that the ĎMí donít just stand for movies, and opens up a whole new direction this line can go in (Iíd love to see Bowie as Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke). In the next couple of months we shall also get MI 002, Marlon Brando from The Wild One (whoís iconic outfit was copied for the character of Mutt in the recent Indiana Jones movie, though they gave him a Harley instead of a TriumphÖ travesty!).

hot toys movie icons james dean action figure

hot toys movie icons james dean action figure
hot toys movie icons james dean action figure
hot toys movie icons james dean action figure
hot toys movie icons james dean action figure
hot toys movie icons james dean action figure
hot toys movie icons james dean action figure
hot toys movie icons james dean action figure
hot toys movie icons james dean action figure
hot toys movie icons james dean action figure
hot toys movie icons james dean action figure
hot toys movie icons james dean action figure
hot toys movie icons james dean action figure

But right now we have the first release, James Dean as the young Jett Rink from the movie Giant. Now Iíd guess Howard Chan the CEO of HT must be a fan of Dean, as this is the second time theyíve visited the actor. Iíve been looking forward to this one since I first saw the proto pics, I already have the HT Eric So one from 4 years ago, how will the new one measure up?

Packaging - ***1/2
As this series was devised to give us some of the classic actors (and musicians) from the past, theyíve steered clear of bright, gaudy, in your face packaging and have gone for a far more subtle bit of graphic design. This is a lovely box, and as the first in this series itís destined to become a bit of a classic in its own right.

We have a simple shoebox design that opens sideways designed and printed to look like denim. On the front thereís a picture of Deans face made to look as if itís worn/bleached out of the denim so you can still see the weave in the fabric. The bottom left corner has a small blurb/bio of Dean and the top right has a rather nifty cast metal badge with the flaming Hot Toys logo set into it.

The back has more blurb but no production credits, so Iíll let you know that on this production we have Kang In Ae on sculpting duties with prototype paint production once again from J.C.Hong, but we shouldnít forget to mention the Harue Creative team as well, as this figure has another outstandingly tailored outfit by them.

Sculpting - ***1/2
James Dean was THE poster boy for the 1950ís and like Monroe his premature death elevated him to the status of icon.
In his brief professional career he had about 30 television appearances but only made 3 movies, firstly as Cal Trask in John Steinbeckís East of Eden (1955), then as Jim Stark in perhaps his most iconic performance alongside Natalie Wood in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and finally as Jett Rink in the epic and hugely budgeted (for itís time) Giant (1956) opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson, and itís from Giant that this figure is based (Giant and Rebel were also two of Dennis Hoppers earliest big screen roleís, thereís something for you trivia buffs!). Dean was famous for always playing brooding outsiders, but all his directors said he showed great range, that was sadly never given time to develop.

If you are a fan of the 50ís as an era (or perhaps you lived through them, donít want to be ageist) youíll know how magazines featuring all of the Ďmovie starsí of the day were big business, and Dean was one of the most photographed leading men of the time, considering his few staring roles.

He was also something of a chameleon changing his appearance and look all the time, which means itís difficult to say what Ďthe James Dean lookí is, for many itís the turned up jeans and red Harrington jacket from Rebel, for others the iconic pose with the rifle slung across his shoulders from Giant , and for others still, itís the off duty actor strolling through a rain drenched Times square, cigarette in mouth but what ever your favoured image is, thereís no denying he was cool, hell, he practically invented cool.

Itís those chameleon qualities that make it so hard to pin Deansí features down. From some angles this is spot on, from others itís good, but not as perfect. Four years ago HT released a different version of Dean by the celebrated toy designer Eric So, his work is far more stylised than Kangís, but itís still fair to say that this version is an improvement and a lot more subtle. Now four years ago I gave that old version 4 stars where as this one gets 3 Ĺ, just goes to show how much this art-form has improved in the last few years. There is still a lot to really like about this sculpt, the eyes have that brooding intensity, this was mostly caused by Deans poor eyesight, as soon as the cameras stopped rolling heíd put his glasses back on, the hair is also beautifully sculpted in his trademark style and the overall proportions mean this is undoubtedly Dean. The only slight problems I have are in profile, his jaw-line, the distance between chin and ear should be slightly shorter and a more acute angle and his nose has a slight curve not present in the sculpt. But apart from that, this is a very, very impressive sculpt and Iím hoping Kang gets to visit Dean in his other movies as well (unofficially it looks like HT did some warm up work on the HT Modern Military CIA Commando figure, sure looks a little like Dean to me.)

Paint - ***3/4
This is a very subtle paint job bringing to mind their earlier work on the Prison Break figures. Nice crisp work on and around the eyes, subtle variations in general skin tone work around the chin, mouth and cheeks. The hair looks like it may be a little too red, but itís difficult to find a good accurate colour photo of Deans hair, as you can see it can look very blonde or very dark or somewhere in between. So I guess to be fair Hot Toys have found the middle ground.

Thereís also some solid work on his hat and boots, nothing too taxing or complex for Hot Toys, but all carried out to their usual standard.

Articulation - ***3/4
JD comes on the standard HT True-Type bar the fact he has the newer modified neck, this means itís the same configuration as the recent Will Turner from Pirates of the Caribbean. It definitely improves the aesthetic of his open shirt, but does mean you canít tilt the head as far forward as Iíd have liked, especially in the iconic Ďrifleí pose. This is still one of the best performing and sturdiest base bodies out there though, and can pose in pretty much any position a human can and hangs well to boot.

Accessories - **1/2
A stand and a cigaretteÖthatís itÖwell you get a cool hat, but thatís more part of his outfit.

To be fair itís difficult to know what he could have had, but an alternate hand position, a couple of spare cigarettes would have been nice and perhaps even a rifle to sling over his shoulders (I borrowed mine from the HT RE4 Leon) and the glasses are from the earlier Eric So version so donít expect to find them in the box.

Outfit - ****
This outfit is just beautiful, simple but expertly executed, and as the old adage goes, itís better to do something simple, well, than something complex, badly. We get western style ankle boots, expertly tailored and weathered jeans, all the pockets are working and have mini metal rivets, a working patterned pleather belt, a western styled cotton shirt with working flapped breast pockets, white detail stitching and clear plastic poppers to do it up, these are concealed by small pearl effect buttons. Over this he wears a black waistcoat with four working patch pockets, working adjuster at the rear, fully lined in grey with two white cords on the front to tie it shut, in the movie these cords are much thinner and less visible, so if accuracy is your thing, these could be swapped out for finer sewing thread. That is my only minor quibble with the clothes, but the detailing and stitching are all so expertly done that this has to be a four star outfit.

Fun factor- for kids *, for your usual 1/6 fan-boys **1/2, for discerning eclectic collectors ****
This ainít ever gonna be on ANY kids wish list, hell this isnít even one for a lot of your usual 1/6 geeks (I mean you no harm, I am very much one of you as well). This one is for fans of the classics, and as such HT has delivered a classic figure, roll on Brando!

Value for money- ***1/2
Most eBay traders are offering a buy it now price of between $120 to $140, a few chancers are asking for up to $200, but hey, letíem ask!

SST still has him up for $114.99 on pre-order and for that price I think this is a very nice package, as I said above a couple more accessories might have been nice but youíre still getting a well sculpted, finely painted, expertly tailored figure in some very nicely designed packaging, I have a feeling this will still be one of my favourite figures come the end of the year, but that said, there is still a lot of incredible stuff due to hit this year.

Overall - ***1/2
Iíve made no secret of the fact I think thereís a gaping hole in market for more classic and eclectic figures to be made in 1/6. The trouble with many of these figures is that it can be high risk, Iím interested to see how the new Amok Time figures will do, the Rondo Hatton figure looks great but how many people will want itÖ a lot more than 500 I hope. And so Iím very, very pleased with this figure, itís not Ďspot-oní perfect, but itís close, and is the best 1/6 Dean Iíve seen so far.
I now hope this line continues to bring us more classic actors and musicians and perhaps a few more out of leftfield as well.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***3/4
Articulation - ***3/4
Accessories - **1/2
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - for kids *, for your usual 1/6 fan-boys **1/2, for discerning eclectic collectors ****
Value - ***1/2
Overall - *** 1/2

Where to Buy -
SST the official importer still have him on pre-order for $114.99 and some of Michaelís sponsors also have him for over $10 cheaper,

Sideshow
$114.99 - PRE ORDER

Amazing Toyz
$103.49 - PRE ORDER

Dark Shadow
$103.50 Ė PRE ORDER

Alter Ego
$103.99 Ė PRE ORDER

Or if youíre in the UK

Forbidden Planet
£89.99 - PRE ORDER

Or you can use Michael's sponsor www.MyAuctionLinks.com to find a good deal as well.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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hot toys movie icons james dean action figure


Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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