Josh Randall 1/3 scale faux bronze
By Triad Toys
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
|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!
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
- *** 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
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.
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.
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
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.