SEARCH REVIEWS    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE >


Laboratory Environment for 1/6th Figures
Sideshow Collectibles

Laboratory Environment for 1/6th action figures by Sideshow Collectibles


Regular readers know how much I like diorama style environments, particularly for sixth scale figures. They add a tremendous amount of pizzazz to your shelf display, especially in these days of such accurate, realistic, life-like sculpts.

A number of companies - and customizers - have produced environments over the years, but Sideshow has been making a concerted effort to give us several unlicensed, generic dioramas that fit in with the general theme of some of their key lines.

The latest in this series is the Laboratory Environment. Considering all the Frankensteins and mad scientists that they and others have produced in the 12" format over the last decade, it seems most appropriate.

This environment, like their other 'originals', is a limited edition. They are only producing 500, making it actually limited, and not something you'll see in every collector's display. The price comes in about the same as well, running $80 - $90 depending on the retailer.

Sadly, I still have not completed (or technically, gotten much of a start) on my huge collection display that will someday exist in the out building in our yard. Hey, at least the building is done...and until that happens, I don't have access to all my figures, particularly the older ones. All the best figures to use for photos with this set aren't just boxed up, they're buried. But I did what I could with some other more recent releases, and I think that also shows the versatility of the set.
Laboratory Environment for 1/6th action figures by Sideshow Collectibles
Laboratory Environment for 1/6th action figures by Sideshow Collectibles
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Laboratory Environment for 1/6th action figures by Sideshow Collectibles
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Laboratory Environment for 1/6th action figures by Sideshow Collectibles
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Laboratory Environment for 1/6th action figures by Sideshow Collectibles
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Laboratory Environment for 1/6th action figures by Sideshow Collectibles
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Laboratory Environment for 1/6th action figures by Sideshow Collectibles
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Laboratory Environment for 1/6th action figures by Sideshow Collectibles
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Packaging - ***
It's a big box! Looks like Sideshow had the same problem I did, since they used zombies for their box photos, albeit one of them in a lab coat.

For those with no Sideshow experience, there's no Certificate of Authenticity, but there is the edition size and number both on the bottom of the box and the bottom of the statue.

Sculpting - ***1/2
While this is technically a 'laboratory' environment, it's really a hunk of old school monster movie lab equipment and a rough stone staircase. The staircase, complete with real metal railing, can work with just about any sixth scale figure, and since the equipment is not a permanent part of the base, you can mix and match with other displays quite easily.

The equipment is a solid heavy piece, with a soft material base to keep it from scratching the stairs or any other surface. Inside it and the base are strong magnets - at least in the area over to the left side where you see I have it place. These magnets will hold it tightly in place with normal handling, but try not to turn it on its side over a concrete floor.

The stairs also have a soft material covering the bottom as well as the edition size and number, along with a cool graphic.

The metal railing fits inside the post holes along the back, but mine isn't a straight, even fit. Since this rail is a very solid, welded real metal build, there's no easy way to bend it to fit. I can understand that perhaps that was the plan, since it bends out in a way that would be correct after years of use, but it still doesn't quite work for me, and I'd prefer a perfectly straight fit. From the front view, it's not really noticeable, but turn it to the side and it becomes pretty obvious.

The most important feature of this environment is that it is IN SCALE with sixth scale figures, something I felt was not true of Sideshow's previous unlicensed releases. I'm extremely grateful to see that they've added that extra 20% or so to the size, and done it up right this time.

With the lab equipment being removable, this base can work with tons of different figures. Let's face it, just about every action character has ended up on some cold, dank stone stairs at one point or another. Add the lab equipment to your Young Frankenstein display, and they'll be rocking!

Paint - ***1/2
There are no stickers or tampos - everything you see is painted. The rusty damage on the lab equipment looks excellent, as do the dials and gages. There's a little bit of clumpiness in a few areas, but nothing too serious.

The stairs have a weathered stone appearance that is extremely realistic, with just the right amount of wash for shading.

While the hand rail is already metal, it's still coated in a metal paint to give it a very consistent, even look. A little wear and tear here might have been nice as well, since the perfectly clean surface contrasts a bit with the rougher stairs and equipment, but that's another minor quibble.

Value - **
While I'm still knocking this guy by a half star on value, I have to say that this HAS improved over their other releases like the Reactor Station. Why? Because this time the set really is in scale with 12" figures. Still, $90 is a tough one for a display piece, but if you can snag this guy for $80 or less, you can add another half star here.

Things to Watch Out For -
Be careful putting the metal railing in place, since the harder material can easily chip the polystone stairs. Otherwise, you should be good to go.

Overall - ***
I love adding environments to my sixth scale display, and the old horror characters are in serious need of some additional equipment. This is the first of these non-licensed environments that I've felt was truly in the proper scale as well, which is a huge plus.

While the slightly bent hand rail grew on me over time, it's still something that may effect your appreciation of the item. I would have preferred a perfect, straight fit, especially since there was no damage or wear added with the paint work. This may very well also be a 'your mileage may vary' sort of thing, since the railings were probably hand weilded. Had the fit been better on the hand rail, this environment would have easily captured another half star overall.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Sideshow still has them available for $90.

- Alter Ego Comics has it for $81.

- Big Bad Toy Store has it for $88.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Sideshow has done a few other environments in this scale:

- similar to this one, there's the Shrine of Dagon and Temple of Anubis.

- Sideshow also did the Reactor Station Alpha, very much for Star Wars figures.

- Sideshow's also did Recon at Waypoint.

- other recent ones include Hot Toys T-700, the Ark that came with Sideshow's Toht, and the Fertility Idol environment that came with Belloq. 

- With Star Wars, we've seen the Jabba Throne, as well as the Han Solo in Carbonite.

- and if you want to get a bit more old school, don't forget the Freddy Kruger furnace Sideshow did years ago.

- Triad Toys has done several great environments, including the Firefight, Grave Danger, Mayan and Tech Savvy.

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

Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find thousands more just like it!

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR MORE PHOTOS!



Share this review with others! 
Google +1
 
Digg it!
 StumbleUpon Toolbar
Stumble It!
 
Reddit

Laboratory Environment for 1/6th action figures by Sideshow Collectibles


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2000 - 2011, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Click here for copyright permissions! Hosted by 1 Hour Hosting.com