Josh Randall 1/3 scale faux bronze bust
By Triad Toys

Josh Randall bust Wanted Dead or Alive by Triad Toys

   "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."

I have several Jeff Parker reviews I need to catch up on, starting with his look tonight at another Josh Randall item from Triad - take it away, Jeff!

Last year I reviewed the 1/6th figure that Triad released of Josh Randal and I was on the whole very impressed by it. During my research I found out it had been sculpted by the hugely talented Mr Shane Talbot, and whilst perusing his blog (which now seems to have mysteriously vanished) I found a number of variously scaled studies that he had been undertaken whilst he worked on the final Josh Randall sculpt. It would seem Triad were as knocked out by these, as was everyone else who saw them because his work has now been put to great work as this 1/3 scale faux bronze bust. Now I know not everyone is into busts (hell some weirdoes aren’t even into 1/6th figures) but I have a father in law who is a big fan of old school Westerns. His study has all kinds of John Wayne memorabilia (including the only figure I have ever bashed in the world, I even made a box!) and various other bits of Western ephemera, so this bust literally had his name on it!

I’m often amazed at just how little good quality Old West stuff there is out there. I still have most of the old ‘Six Gun Legends’ by Sideshow (I know they did the PF’s recently as well, but that is a scale jump too far for me) and of course I already have the Triad 1/6th Josh Randall. But it seems to me it’s a whole genre that is crying out for some good collectibles attention. I know for a fact there is a rich vein of folks that would give their eye teeth to have some top quality Sergio Leone characters (yes I’ve seen the awesome Rainman versions, but second mortgages aren’t always an option). Maybe there are licensing issues, but someone needs to try and make a good quality mainstream set.
But let me drag myself back on topic, I’m here to talk about this particular cowboy, Steve McQueen playing Josh Randall, the star of the old TV show Wanted: Dead or Alive, it’s a show so ‘vintage’ that even many of the old timers round here might not have that strong memories of, I know I don’t. So will that influence just how ‘essential’ this piece is to you. I’m guessing it will, but it’s a fine, fine piece of work!
Josh Randall bust Wanted Dead or Alive by Triad Toys
Josh Randall bust Wanted Dead or Alive by Triad Toys

Josh Randall bust Wanted Dead or Alive by Triad Toys
Josh Randall bust Wanted Dead or Alive by Triad Toys
Josh Randall bust Wanted Dead or Alive by Triad Toys
Josh Randall bust Wanted Dead or Alive by Triad Toys
Josh Randall bust Wanted Dead or Alive by Triad Toys
Josh Randall bust Wanted Dead or Alive by Triad Toys

Packaging - **
This is just about as plain as bit of packaging can get without actually just leaving it plain!

It consists of a sturdy white box with a sticker on it. To be fair the sticker is full colour and has a photo of the contents in profile, and as I said the card used is very sturdy.

Inside the box the bust is wrapped in a plastic sheet and sandwiched snugly between two formed Styrofoam trays. So in terms of protection you cant actually get much better, but in terms of design it basic to say the least.

Sculpting - ****
This is for me the strongest area for this piece of work; the larger 1/3rd scale has given Shane a much bigger canvas to capture McQueen’s likeness, and the fact it is a faux bronze as opposed to a real world ‘flesh and bones’ representation means he could go to town on the effects, textures and forms.

The leather of the jacket and the felt of the hat for example actually have quite an illustrative quality to them like cross-hatching and stippling. It’s going more for an artistic suggestion of texture rather than just a dull flat or leather grained look.

The face is obviously the most important part of any figural bust, and this is a pretty bloody good likeness. The heavy grain and pitting are down played on the flesh areas slightly, but still show a good degree of texture hinting at the exaggerated pores of his skin. The expression is relatively neutral, looking wistfully off to the left, with the eyes being particularly well handled. The iris is carried out in the classic style of an inverted conical pyramid meaning that the form looks especially good when you have a strong light source from one side making the shadow play over its surface. The likeness itself is just fantastic with some great observations on the curl of the upper lip and the lines on either side of his mouth and the hollows of his cheeks.

The hair which can be seen at the sides around his ears and at the back is again very sculptural, you can see the sweeps and ridges that look like they are worked out of clay, again helping offset the smoother finish on the skin. The shoulders drop away at the sides into the back to form a classic ’chess piece’ pedestal stand. The texturing at the back here (though it will be rarely seen) has the rough pitted look of heavy cast metal, but smoothes out into the base.

All in all this is an outstanding portrait, and one I feel confident in recommending to any one with an interest in the character of Josh Randall, but more importantly in the actor Steve McQueen.

Paint - ***
The paint app here does a good job of replicating a bronze bust, but its nye on impossible to capture the subtleties and nuances of the natural patina a real bronze statue picks up over years of being handled. The dark marbling, spotting and swirls would take a day to paint, so what we have here is a good approximation at a metallic golden bronze finish with dark areas in the creases and edges. This is a piece that ‘could’ look fantastic if painted up well in colour. The likeness is all there, and in the hands of a master it could be awesome. But as is always the case with any 3D portrait unless the paint app is truly ‘AWESOME’ it just ends up cheapening the final look and often drags away the underlying likeness achieved by the sculptor. And so for that reason if no other I’m glad Triad went for an effect rather than attempt a ‘real world’ paint job that could have ended up detracting from Shane’s beautiful piece of work. The metallic paints used are nice and matte so any reflections are gently diffused rather than hard and shiny, the darker tone then worked into the detail areas then helps to emphasise features, especially round the eyes, so on the whole it’s a good competent paint effect.

However, that’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement here. If you have the skills, then the bronze effect could be made even more convincing, but if you’re just an average Joe like myself, then they are still more than good enough to live with.

Value - ****
When I started this review the RRP on this piece was $89.99, so I was hovering around the 3.5 star score, but because of its weight and tactile nature it actually ends up feeling like something that might have cost a whole lot more. However since then the price has been dropped to $69.99. So at the new lower price, even taking into account the paint app, which is good, but not perfect, then I feel for a bust of this quality that manages to come in a whisker under the $70, then its gotta be a full score. But to any fans of McQueen or indeed those classic old cowboys shows of their childhoods (yes, I know I’m talking to the readers of a certain age here) then this makes a great adornment to any desk.

Fun Factor - ***
Hmmm, it’s a bust; not much fun can be garnered other than sitting it on your desk, shelf or perhaps even mantle piece, but even then don’t expect to be beside yourself with glee!

No, this is one to be gently appreciated in those moments when sitting back from your computer, sipping a rye whisky and looking at it in the half-light, then it’ll give you a lot of pleasure, if not actual ‘fun’.

Overall - *** 3/4
Like I just said, this is a thing to be casually positioned, just tucked into a corner and to be quietly enjoyed. It’s quite understated, which in this case is a positive thing. It’s a good size and it’s quite a weighty piece as well, meaning it has the ‘implied’ feeling of value and worth making it an ideal gift for the Old West cowboy lover in your life. You can guarantee that after unwrapping him they’ll be thinking ‘Wow, you really shouldn’t have’. It really is one of those rare collectibles that costs $70 but manages to feel like $150 worth of goods.

And even though this had my father in laws name on it… I have a bookshelf that’s whispering ’put it here’ rather loudly as well. 

So, to sum up, it’s a great sculpt, a good paint app and a fair price, meaning that all in all it seems like a damn good buy to me.

Where to Buy -
You can buy this direct from the Triad site for the reduced price of $69.99 (down from the RRP  of $89.99).    
Or you can try Michael’s sponsor below-

Big Bad Toy Store - $87.99

Alternatively you can hit up eBay where I’ve seen it going for BIN prices of $70 to $90, go round’em all up y’hear!

Josh Randall bust Wanted Dead or Alive by Triad Toys
Josh Randall bust Wanted Dead or Alive by Triad Toys

Josh Randall bust Wanted Dead or Alive by Triad Toys

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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