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Medicom James Bond

Jeff Parker stops by tonight with a guest review of an oldie but goodie - or is it?  It's the Medicom 12" James Bond from Dr. No - tell us all about it, Jeff!

I'm not a big James Bond fan, but I have many friends who are, and whilst I had a soft spot for the series when I was young, as I've gotten older I find them a tad embarrassing, Dr No and Goldfinger, being the only two I feel it essential to own on DVD. The production values, particularly during the Moore and Dalton years were often left wanting. Even now with the soon-to-be-retired Pierce Brosnan at the helm I feel the franchise looks tired and dated, and I feel the only thing to stop it looking that way would be to go retro, instead of trying to keep the contemporary/futuristic feel.

If they went to a 1950/60's retro look (when the books were set), with suits, hats, cars and locations all harking back to those Cold War/spy days it could really bring something 'new' to the series. But hey, what do I know? As long as the movies continue to put bums on seats, and turn more than respectable profits, it would seem it's me that's out of kilter with the world rather than the producers of the films. 

However the upside of Bond's continued popularity is if you're a collector of anything '007' Sideshow have spoiled you for choice recently. Every Bond actor (bar David Niven- but lets face it, that was never official anyway) has had the 1/6 scale treatment, along with a fantastic 'rogues' gallery' of his various nemisi.







But if you'll cast your mind back to 1998, if you wanted a 12" rendition of Bond, just about the only one on the planet was this by Medicom, well there was the Hasbro (I think British-only release, ltd to 5000) Action Man 'Tomorrow Never Dies' figure, but they didn't even attempt to make him look like any of the Bond actors, and just went with their regular figure dressed in a dinner suit (I shall be using the term dinner suit instead of Tuxedo as he is a very British gentleman). I remember seeing this Medicom version back then for sale in Forbidden Planet, London, (or Foreboding Prices, as its sometimes affectionately known) for 99.00 which seven years ago, and indeed now, is a lot of money, so I passed. I recently bought this guy on eBay for 35 from that rarest of things a UK-based dealer so the shipping was a bargain as well! But having already got the Sideshow 'Dr No' Bond, was he going to measure up?

Packaging - *
Dull, dull, dull, dull, dull, just like the Medicom Alien I reviewed a couple of months back, this is as DULL as it gets. Plain black window box with stickers, serves the purpose of protecting the figure, but nothing else, the back does have a rather crude line drawing of the figure, to show its articulation and let you know it had the 'then' new Combat Joe body. But when you see what Sideshow did with their packaging this baby is left looking even lamer! Especially when you chuck in the twisty ties and reams of sticky tape holding the bagged accessories in place.

Sculpting - ***
This is the strongest area for this figure. It has a more cartooney/caricature feel to it than the Sideshow version, but is still unmistakably Sean Connery. A reasonably clean sculpt with subtle detailing on the hair, he sits well next to his Sideshow brother showing how two completely different sculpts can work for different reasons. Sideshow still have the edge though!

Paint - **1/2
The head is the only area painted, the eyebrows (an important area for Mr Connery) eyes and mouth are all crisply painted. But the strange thing is the hair! It's an overall black but they've painted in a grey line along his hair line. I think trying to mimic that area where you can still see through the hair to the scalp, rather than the stark change from flesh tone to black. That might be what they're trying to do....but it doesn't work. 

Articulation - **1/2
This is another area where it's instantly apparent this is an older figure, but let's face it, 1998 was hardly the Dark Ages, pestilence and plague weren't stopping manufacturers from giving decent amounts of articulation! When stripped down this body looks in many ways just like an old style G.I. Joe (or Action Man if your my side of the pond) even down to the visible rivets and screws holding him together. This body gives him a reasonable range of movement, but is nowhere near as good as the 'almost' perfect bodies Medicom are manufacturing today.

Outfit - *1/2
Not a bad attempt at a dinner suit, but left at the starting blocks by Sideshow again. The tailoring and quality of material used are poor, and the jacket hangs badly. That coupled with the fact that the trousers are both too close fitting in the leg and short, doesn't make for the most sophisticated looking secret agent in town. But the biggest cardinal sin is they have given him white socks....WHITE SOCKS! No gentleman wears white socks, especially not with a dinner suit. This is meant to be James Bond, educated at Eton and Cambridge then onto officers military training and covert special op's....WHITE SOCKS!!! It's James freaking Bond, NOT Michael freaking Jackson.

Accessories - ***
Not a bad selection here, the all important Walther PPK with silencer, that both fit snugly into pre-shaped holes in his briefcase. He also has a Martini glass, which kind of makes more sense than the tumbler Sideshow equipped their 007 with. As we all know it's Vodka Martini (shaken, not stirred) and not Scotch on the rocks as the preferred tipple, but having said that the material (a soft, bendy transparent plastic) used on the glass, was so bent and misshapen when I removed it from its bag taped into the box, that it's usefulness is debatable. The one and only area this guy betters Sideshow's version is his shoulder holster. Now if you go back and read Michael's review you will realise they would have actually had to 'work' to make it worse. This is a much better constructed piece of kit that fits snugly, and doesn't look like an old cut off bit of scrap cloth.

Fun factor - ***1/2
All I can say is as a kid I would have loved it, looks like it's more designed to be played with than displayed. Nice and solid in construction, if not a little loose round some of the joints. 

Value - **1/2
Well at 35 I think he's pretty good value for a pretty rare figure. And if you're a Bond completist, a must have item. If you're not (like me), and just want a Bond figure to display, you'll be happier with the Sideshow version.

Overall - **1/2
Not a bad figure, but not a great one. Standing next to his Sideshow alter-ego he looks like a slightly weedier clone that went a bit wrong in the maturing tank, a bit more Mr Bean than Mr Bond. 007 has always meant to be irresistible to the laydeez, so if Pussy had to choose (that's 'Galore' by the way) between these two - I think it's safe to say who she'd be taking home from the casino at the end of the night.

SCORE RECAP:
Packaging - *
Sculpt - ***
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - **1/2
Outfit - *1/2
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - **1/2

Where to Buy:
As he's 'vintage' it'll have to be specialist shops, conventions or eBay where he crops up quite regularly with the Brosnan version that came out about the same time. Expect to pay anywhere between $60 to $120 (a big swing in price, but thats what I've seen).




Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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