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The Rocketeer Premium Format Statue
Sideshow Collectibles

The Rocketeer Premium Format Statue by Sideshow Collectibles


I have a fairly long list of older movies that I'd love to see on blu-ray, but while the list might be long, there's still a top ten. And in that top 10 is the classic 1991 adventure film, The Rocketeer.

The movie stars Bill Campbell as Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who inadvertently comes into possession of a cool rocket pack. This is 1938, and in that setting such a device allows him to become the hero, while using an equally cool mask to hide his identity.

On its release the film was well received by critics, but not the general public, killing plans for any sequels. Over the years however, the retro look and homage to the serials of the 30's has garnered it much more favor, and it's release on blu is a common request. There hasn't been an official announced date that I know of yet, but I'm hopeful we'll see it before we all have our own rocket packs.
The Rocketeer Premium Format Statue by Sideshow Collectibles
The Rocketeer Premium Format Statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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The Rocketeer Premium Format Statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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The Rocketeer Premium Format Statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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The Rocketeer Premium Format Statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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The Rocketeer Premium Format Statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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The Rocketeer Premium Format Statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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The Rocketeer Premium Format Statue by Sideshow Collectibles
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The Rocketeer Premium Format Statue by Sideshow Collectibles

Sideshow has the Disney license for it's Premium Format series, and this is the first 'human' character they've attempted under that license. As you'd expect, there's a regular version (limited to just 500), and an exclusive version with a second portrait (limited to just 375). You can pick up either at Sideshow right now, although I do have some cheaper alternatives for the regular edition in the Where to Buy section. I'll be reviewing the exclusive, but since the only difference is the addition of the Cliff Secord head, it should be easy enough for the reader to differentiate between the two.

Packaging - ***
The box has some very cool art deco style graphics, based on the look of the original film. There's not a ton of text, but the interior foam is the sturdy kind, which works great when it comes to protecting the statue and it's various parts and not shedding all over the house.

Sideshow doesn't do Certificate of Authenticity's, but they do include the edition number on the bottom of the box, as well as the bottom of the statue.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Both versions come with the helmeted portrait, and there are plenty of photos out there for comparison. Here you can see a shot that's almost straight on, and here you can see the side

One of the common complaints with the 1:1 prop replica that Master Replicas produced a few years ago was that it was squished side to side. I don't think that's a problem here, and the overall shape is much closer to the film version.

There are issues, but they are all minor ones. The eyes aren't quite the right shape, the mouth guard lacks the slightly protruded 'lip', and the sculpted wields are a bit too thick and obvious, and those are the ones my casual eye observes. Still, considering the scale, it's a fairly accurate version, and certainly captures the general look and feel of the original.

The second portrait is of Cliff Secord, played by Bill Campbell in the movie. You'll recognize Cambell as the character, but it's slightly comic book stylized as well, perhaps in tribute to the original comic. When I first ordered the exclusive, I thought for sure that I'd only display him wearing the helmet, but once I had the Secord head in place, I thought it looked extremely good. We'll get to the paint issues in a minute, but I like the overall sculpt enough to at least consider using it as an occasional alternative.

The heads and right hand attach to the body with strong magnets. The post on each is a pentagram, and the sides are all of equal length. That doesn't mean much for the head, because the distinct angle of the neck makes it work in only one pose, but the hand can actually be attached at least three different ways that all look reasonable. I stayed with the hand posed completely straight, but you can have it angled slightly outward or inward if you think the pose works better.

The base is an angled solid chunk of polystone, done up in true 1930's movie house style. It matches the overall designs and tone of the film perfectly, as well as the style of posters that were used for the movie. Art deco is a common design element in many home theaters as well, and this base will make the statue fit in perfectly.

The pose is slightly awkward from some perspectives, but from key angles it looks good. He's mid-battle, just ready to blast off, and while I'm usually not a fan of bases that scream the name of the character right on the front, this time it works because of the art deco, 30's serial feel to the overall statue.

Paint - Regular ***; Exclusive **
Gah. The most important feature of this statue is the two head sculpts - and both have major paint issues.

The helmeted version is splotchy and inconsistent in its coverage. I Know what they are trying to go for here - the helmet was tarnished and splotchy in the film, and they are trying to match that look. Here's another shot showing Campbell holding the weathered helmet. I understand what they were going for, but in this scale it doesn't quite seem to work. I applaud their attempt at screen accuracy, but it has to be more than just an attempt - it has to work visually in this format. I was originally going to dock the score another half star here, but I softened after looking at it a couple days. Still, this might not be to everyone's tastes.

Thankfully, the paint work on the rocket pack itself does not suffer this problem. It's nice and consistent, reflecting the light in dazzling ways depending on the angle. The color even seems to shift from a more silver to a more blue depending on your angle and the intensity of the light, and it looks terrific. There's some nice small detail work on th exposed wiring, and the cut lines are clean and neat. Some of the colors are slightly off from the film (the tops of the cannisters seem too dark to me), but the quality is top notch.

The boots, gloves and gun are also all well done, with a very realistic weathering and excellent small detail work.

But wait - there's the second head sculpt that comes with the exclusive! While I like the sculpt quite a bit, the paint work is exquisitely lacking. The hair, eyebrows, lips and skin tone are all very good, and fairly realistic. But what happened to the eyes? The pupils aren't even, the iris' are different shapes and sizes, and the cut lines between the colors are sloppy. This is a portrait that's as big as an entire 4" scale action figure, so there's no problem seeing these defects with your nekkid eye. At this scale (and price point), it's just not acceptable.

They've done a marvelous job on the base, but used a airbrush type weathering to give it an aged appearance. This works much better than their hand painted attempt at the spotty, stained look on the helmet.

Articulation - N/A
I always like to include this category with Premium Formats on the off chance you're new to them. The originals had some basic articulation, but that stopped fairly early on. The Rocketeer is like most, a true statue when it comes to joints. This isn't going to effect my overall score, but is included as an FYI for the reader.

Accessories - Exclusive ***; Regular Bupkis
Obviously, there's nothing added in with the regular statue. Since the figure can't stand without the base, it doesn't count as an accessory. I supposed you could count the pack as an accessory, since you can remove it and display the statue without it, but me thinks most folks won't go for that option. 

The exclusive includes the Cliff Secord portrait which I've already discussed in some detail in the Sculpting and Paint sections. There's a separate issue worth noting here, however.

The heads (and right hand) are held in place with a strong magnet, similar to past Premium Format statues. This time, the magnets on both heads AND the neck pop out very easily, almost as though no glue was applied at all. I had to reglue all three to make them work properly. It's important because with the sharp angle of the neck and heavy head, it can topple off quite easily if the magnets aren't glued in place.

I didn't have that issue with the hand, but it would be worth checking on yours.

Outfit - **1/2
I mentioned the boots earlier, but it's worth saying again that they are extremely well done. Sideshow seems to always do great boots.

I've also discussed the pack in detail, but I will mention how it attaches to the rest of the outfit. There are two long thin metal tabs which slip down into the back the underlying harness. This works smoothly, and there appears to be little chance of damaging the cloth or stitching over time.

The pants fit cleanly, and have the necessary realistic components, like pockets and buttons. The light color matches the film, and gives some more color to the overall outfit. As I remember, they were more of a riding-style pant, which early aviators favored, but these have less of that poofyness at the thighs. I'm all for that, as I'm not a fan of poofy.

The jacket, with it's unique snap over flap, is made from the very thin nylon material that approximates leather so well in this scale. It looks terrific, and is tailored well to the underlying resin body.

Which brings us to what causes the score to drop a full star from where it could have been - the harness. The harness looks good from the back, and it is very sturdy and well made. However, it is fairly bulky in the front, probably done in an attempt to be accurate to how it actually attached in the film. The thin jacket doesn't cover it well, and the edges poke out in a manner much too obvious for me. I tried to find a reference photo of the actor wearing the pack that showed the front of the jacket clearly, but came up empty. The way it looks here - with the harness this obvious - just isn't working for me. Since it is right up front, it hurts the overall Outfit score more than something less immediately visible would.

Value - **
Even buying the regular version at a retailer other than Sideshow, you'll find yourself three bills lighter. That's a lot of cash for any statue, but this one isn't particularly complex. At $250, I would have felt a tad more generous in this category.

Things to Watch Out For -
There's not too much to worry about, but if your magnets, like mine, tend to pop out, you'll want to superglue them back in place to avoid losing them down the road or having the head topple off unexpectedly.

Also, the heavy metal post on the bottom of the foot is a much harder material than the soft resin base - that means in a battle, it's going to win. Don't force the peg.

Overall - Regular ***; Exclusive **1/2
This is one of those rare times where getting the extra accessory actually hurts the statue, rather than helping it. This is due to the awful paint work on the eyes of the Secord portrait. If Hot Toys can give me something that looks like this in sixth scale for $150, then I expect just as good in quarter scale at more than $300.

The regular version isn't hampered by the weaker head sculpt, allowing it to score slightly better. The quality of the sculpting, outfit and design are all top notch, but two things hold it back from a higher score - while I understand what they were trying to do with the paint work on the helmet, it simply didn't work out well, and I'm not loving the way the harness is clearly visible under the front of the jacket. Take those two issues away, and you have a near perfect version of the classic character.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - Regular ***; Exclusive **
Articulation - N/A
Accessories - ***
Outfit - **1/2
Value - **
Overall - Regular ***; Exclusive **1/2

Where to Buy -
Sideshow has both the regular AND the exclusive in stock right now! The regular is $330, and the exclusive is $340. If you're looking to get the exclusive, this is the way to go! Online options for the non-exclusive include these site sponsors:

- Alter Ego Comics has him at just $297.

- Big Bad Toy Store has him at $310.

- or you can search ebay

- for the UK buyers, Forbidden Planet has him for 270 GBP.

Related Links -
While the Rocketeer hasn't had a ton of merchandise, there has been some. Medicom has done more than one version in their sixth scale series, and here's a guest review of version 1.0 and version 2.0.

Discussion:
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The Rocketeer Premium Format Statue by Sideshow Collectibles


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

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