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The Green Hornet Kato

By Enterbay

The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure

   "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."

Jeff Parker checks in with a review of Enterbay's latest release - take it away, Jeff!

Hornet gun... check. Hornet sting... check. Let's roll, Kato!

It’s hard to believe but The Green Hornet ran for just one, 26 episode season back in 1966, and a movie ‘Fury of the Dragon’, cobbled together from the series and released in 1976 to cash in on the popularity of  Lee after his untimely death… and yes, sadly I do own it!
To say Bruce Lee ‘stole the show’ can’t be overstated enough, in fact it became known as ‘The Kato Show’ (it was actually called this when re-dubbed for Hong Kong audiences because of Lee’s Star status there) and it’s rumoured he received twice as much fan mail as the shows ‘supposed’ star Van Williams.

In a nutshell, following of the popularity of the Batman TV show it was decided another super crime-fighter was needed, this time just as exciting and glamorous but less camp. 

It told the story of Britt Reid, mild mannered newspaper publisher by day and crime-fighting vigilante by night, he was always partnered by his trusty manservant and chauffeur Kato, cleansing the streets of crime in their super car ‘The Black Beauty’.

It’s a little known fact that the Green Hornet was actually meant to be the great nephew of The Lone Ranger (both characters were created by Fran Striker for US radio shows) meaning Kato is in fact a modern day Tonto.
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure

The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure

Although the show was cancelled, it acted as a springboard for Lee to get more guest spots on other TV shows of the time. However, he soon became disillusioned for being seen as the ‘novelty’ Asian ‘Kung Fu’ guest star, so he decided to return to Honk Kong where, due to his amazing abilities, he quickly earned star status and started making movies featuring the martial arts that were the cornerstone of his life.

They were of course a run away success and young people flocked to see a strong Chinese role model at last, dishing out justice the way they wanted, through his groundbreaking kick ass Kung Fu moves.

Then, as now, Hollywood was quick to spot a good thing when they saw it, and so muscled in to get a piece of the action. To answer the publics thirst for more martial arts based movies ‘Enter the Dragon’ (EtD) went into production, Robert Clouse was given directorial duties, casting the popular B movie star John Saxon to give the film more appeal in the West, but ultimately this film was Bruce Lee’s, and once again he totally dominated with his screen presence and stole the show.

Tragically, just a month before EtD was released Lee died from cerebral oedema, the movie was a smash hit, but sadly Bruce never got to see that success on an international level.

However, back to this figure, showcasing our hero when he was just 26 and at the peak of physical fitness playing Kato, the Green Hornets Karate kicking sidekick, always ready with a ‘sting’ dart'. At the moment there is no figure of the Green Hornet to accompany Kato, so is the lure of just the ‘sidekick’ enough to make this figure worthwhile?


Packaging -
****
Enterbay certainly know how to make a nice box! There was a time, not so very long ago, when the box was the thing you ripped to shreds just to get to the goodies inside. But in these collector obsessed ever increasing anally retentive times (yes, I consider myself part of the problem. NOT the solution), we demand something well designed, well constructed and all importantly… quirky. This box effortlessly manages to tick all the relevant boxes (pun intended)! 

At first glance it actually looks quite retro, as the front image has the feeling of jumping straight out of the sixties, this is the box that the ultimate ‘Kato’ figure would have been packed in ‘back in the day’… why, oh why wasn’t this figure available when I was a kid!

Once you open this baby, it becomes apparent this is a thoroughly modern bit of design, with no expense spared.
It’s held shut with a Green Hornet logo sticker, I peeled mine aside rather than cutting down the middle, It then opens up a bit like an old fashioned ‘gentleman’s steamer trunk’, so imagine if you will opening a box that in effect has a third tray/compartment at the rear. Each hinge of the two front trays joins the side edges of this rear tray, so it’s quirky, but also cool and strangely functional.

Once opened, the box on the left holds the figure, cushioned by black foam and protected by a white, breathable. zip-up bag, the rear ‘middle’ section holds the certificate of authenticity and a bonus pair of opera glasses, these aren’t designed to fit any specific purpose, they’re an added bonus, but are just the kind of thing you would of got as part of a ‘spy kit’ when I was a kid (cute touch, adds to the nostalgia). These are housed in a plastic tray, the right hand box holds the multiple extra hands, other accessories and solid metal stand again all held secure in a vac formed tray.

So, a nicely put together package that protects the contents perfectly and it don’t hurt that it’s mighty purdy to boot.

Sculpting - **** 
This is another masterful sculpt, but hey it’s of Bruce Lee and it’s by Arnie Kim, so what did you expect? 

I’m beginning to think I ought to go out and buy the Diamond Select Jack Bauer just so I can write a review for a figure that deserves to be pulled apart piece by unacceptable piece, lord knows I need to vent my spleen! 

Lately, every figure I get seems to be oozing quality from each of it’s 1/6th plastic pores. Sure there are a lot of differing styles, and some are better than others, but I can’t remember the last time I received a really bad 1/6th figure!

Well, you guessed it, this is most definitely continuing Enterbay’s upwards trajectory. Here Mr Kim captures Lee as a younger man, still incredibly physically fit, but carrying that youthful look to his face. It’s a face that was slightly fuller in the cheeks than any of the versions we have seen to date.  The expression is relatively neutral, but determined enough for those Jeet Kune Do flying kicks of or heavy punches. 

Up until now, if you wanted a poseable Kato figure, the only real option was the Captain Action version, they also did a Green Hornet to accompany him! 

Now, for kids toys these were pretty darn good and still carry a lot of retro charm, but for your more serious hi-end collector they just didn’t cut the mustard, this however most certainly does! Now we just need Enterbay to give us a Green Hornet too, even if it’s just a limited release like Pres Palmer, it would be much appreciated by many collectors, but I guess it’s all in the hands of the licence holders, and with a new movie version in the works to be directed by Michael Gondry, perhaps new interest might make it more likely!

So as I said above, we have a more youthful Bruce here, but still unmistakably him, it has the Enterbay movable eyes, which are under the hair… or hat, depending on what mode you have him in. As for ‘sans chapeau’ he has a nice neat ‘preppy’ side parted hair style, but when you want to add the hat, you have to remove the ‘full hair’ completely and replace it with a half head of hair, this has a plug on top that matches up with one on the hat. The hair sculpts are nice and show plenty of detail in the styles, as does the hat, however, I do feel the sculpting of the strap on the front of the headband could have been a little ‘crisper’ in it’s execution, but it’s so slight I don’t think many would even notice it. 

The hands are all carried out wonderfully, with some nice fine details on wrinkles and seams for the gloves, and the all important mask fits perfectly as well, it slips on like a pair of spectacles over the hair and around the ears.
So, as always with an Arnie Kim sculpt of Lee, lots of great details and subtle observations, he knows this guys face inside out.

Paint - ****
Enterbay, like Hot Toys are on a different planet when it comes to paint apps, no one, and I mean NO ONE can even come close at the moment. Even large-scale statues and mixed media figurines made by other ‘hi-end’ companies struggle to match the amazing subtlety these Hong Kong companies are achieving. 

So once again, very lifelike skin tones with great subtlety shown between the slight shadow of hair growth on his upper lip and his general skin colouration and lips. I still feel the eyes could do with a little more work on their fine detail, but they are still beautifully executed, accurate and glossy, really helping this figure come to life.

The gloved hands are painted in a flat matt black paint that manages to approximate leather pretty well. The hat is made up of differing finishes of black, the peak is ultra glossy, the band a mid matt/silk and the upper ‘cloth’ part is more like the paint used on the gloves. 

Lastly his small ‘Hornet darts’ have tiny details picked out on the wings and stripes for the bodies… miniscule, but well observed. Definitely a full score, even at this price!

Articulation  - ***1/2
Kato comes on the new BL3.5 base body, I went through the features of the BL3 on my review for the Fist of Fury http://www.mwctoys.com/REVIEW_020909b.htm figure released a few months ago and this new one is virtually identical but for stronger and better engineered ankles, so for a full breakdown of his joints please revisit that. 

As I said back then, this is beautifully designed and engineered base body made from solid vinyl rather than ABS plastic. This gives the figure a lot of weight and certainly makes it feel like a quality item, but it does mean it needs very strong joints to hold that weight upright. This body is far more concerned with looking like Lee’s physique than making it ultra articulated. I’m sure it’s well within Enterbay’s ability to give us a more articulated figure, but too many ugly joints would just make this like any other base figure, and this certainly doesn’t look like ‘ANY’ other base figure. 

Arnie Kim’s talents have been used to sculpt his abs, pecs and specific musculature of his arms to accurately match Lee’s. These are without question THE figures to own if you are a fan of Bruce Lee. 

However, even though ‘excessive’ articulation wasn’t their main objective, as I said before, I still felt a little more was needed, especially in areas like the ankles for more authentic kicking poses and general deep stances. But the good news is the BL3.5 is far stronger and more stable at the ankle and it can still be positioned very naturally and you’ll achieve ‘almost’ any pose you want due to the slight tweaks they have made to improve its articulation. It can now rock from side to side, point the toes and turn/spin, and most importantly all these movements are much more easy to achieve and far stronger once positioned.

However, because of that hefty vinyl body, you’ll now find that for any hi-kicking or action stances, the new and impressive 100% metal stand is very much more up to the job in hand.

Outfit - ***3/4
I happened upon this website for all things ‘Green Hornet” http://www.leekirkham.com/GH/GH_attire.html while researching this review, it’s a fantastic source for images and info. The main outfit here, the one Kato is wearing in the box is his chauffeurs uniform, consisting of shiny black shoes, socks, trousers and double breasted Nehru style jacket. 

You also get a very well tailored white shirt, jacket and black bow tie for when Kato is on more general butling duties back at Britt’s bachelor pad. It’s great to have the option, but let’s face it, the chauffer suit is so much more iconic and cool, I can’t imagine many will be using it as the primary display suit. No, I imagine this shirt and tie will end up on a lot of Indiana Jones ‘Club Obi-Wan’ bashes instead.
The white shirt is beautifully made, it’s held shut by a couple of plastic press studs but has five tiny white buttons glued (well it’s actually more like riveted) to the outside for authenticity, there are also a couple on the cuffs. It’s quite a high collared shirt that is held closed at the neck by wearing the bow tie. You have to remove the head (which pops off easily because of the magnets) to slide the elasticated bow tie over the upturned collar. After a little (well, in my case quite a lot) of futzing you’re ready for the jacket. This is again nicely put together and is tailored to look like a utility butlers jacket, so it has two simple buttons on the front and the three pockets are all of the ‘patch’ variety rather than concealed with flaps. 

The main outfit consists of black slacks with an elasticated waist, this is a small detail, but for Bruce an essential one. It means that when you position him in his more extreme poses the trousers remain in the right place without being pulled down at the back. 

Over these is the chauffeur’s jacket; to keep this garment snug without too many bulges it has mock-pockets rather than working. It does-up with clear press-studs and has tiny scaled buttons hand sewn at an angle on the front. I found the symmetry was ever so slightly off on the buttons for mine, but it was only evident when he was standing straight, you’ll never notice when he’s in an action pose, which is how mine will be displayed.

So, close to perfection, but due to the excessive futzing necessary to get the bow tie to lay right with the collar and the buttons being ‘slightly off’ on the main jacket, I’m just trimming it back a little, but both outfits look fantastic once you’ve got them how you like, and the fine details are great, even to the most critical of eyes!

Accessories - ****
Kato comes with a lot of hands, which is cool as most Enterbay figures come with a good selection; often having new individual sculpts even with the base bodies. However, Kato is wearing gloves, so to equip him with all he needs, you get 5 pairs (ten hands), they are-

2 x un-gloved fists for the fightin ‘butler’ look.
2 x gloved fists
2 x relaxed
2 x gesturing/cupped
1 x fingers splayed left
1 x Hornet dart grip right

These are all beautifully carried out, I’m especially liking the fingers splayed and dart grip, as the gripping position is nice and tight and it doubles up as a good grip for holding the hats peak.

You also get two tiny Hornet darts, careful when unpacking these as they are pretty damn tiny, but luckily they are also pretty damn bright, with their lurid striped bodies and green streaked wings, so if you do drop one hopefully it wont too hard to spot!

Next up is the classic Kato mask, this was the inspiration for Tarantino’s Crazy 88’s in Kill Bill, obviously it was imperative that this fits like a second skin and I’m happy to report it does. It fits close to the head, is a great smooth flowing shape and has just the right amount of flexibility that you don’t panic it’s gonna snap every time you put it on. As a bonus item there’s also a small pair of folded opera glasses/binoculars made of cardboard with plastic lenses (1/1 scale for you to use), these are printed in black and green with the Hornet logo on top, at first I thought these were a strange addition (truth be known I still do), but I think I get where they’re coming from, when I had my Captain Scarlett dressing up outfit as a kid, it had some bins very similar to these, so as I said in the packaging section, it’s kind of a nostalgia trip for us more mature collectors!

There’s also the numbered certificate, no real use but at least it verifies you have ‘the real thing’ and it tells which number it is in the 5000 unit run.

And lastly there is the RM FS200 (Real Masterpiece, Figure Stand: Version 2), this is a very tasty bit of kit and I’m sure it’ll be popular when it’s available as a separate item. It’ built like a freakin Humvee, solid metal in construction and sturdy as hell, unlike the RM FS100 this baby is never falling apart. The design of the figure grip pincers and adjustable stem is the same as the old one (with the exception of the 100% metal construction) and the base even has a hinge so you can flip it out to be wider for open legged stances or for more surface area stability when doing action poses.

Although I went over it in outfit, I guess the extra shirt, jacket and bow-tie are all bonus accessories as well, so all in all this has to be a full score area from me!

Fun Factor - ****
Four stars all the way, I have personally had a ball posing this guy, it’s made me realise that you don’t NEED a Green Hornet figure to stand next to him, but it’s made me WANT one even more! So, for the time being he’ll have to partner The Spirit…but c’mon Enterbay, you just gotta give us Kato’s boss as well!

The biggest and most pleasant surprise with this figure for me was that he comes on the BL3.5, I thought it was coming on the BL3 for some reason and the redesigned ankles make a HUGE difference, meaning Kato can at last be shown going what he does best!

Value - ***1/4
This is an absolutely cracking figure and impresses on every level of its build and quality. However… $190 (or $199.99) depending on your place of purchase is still a lot of mullah!
For the price you pay you’re getting a top quality product, but with other companies giving us extra outfits and heads and still keeping to the $150 price tag these do seem a little on the expensive side.

However, like I’ve said in other reviews, Enterbay seem to be trying to position themselves as the Ferrari’s of 1/6th figures, especially with their Bruce Lee range, so you pays your money and makes your choice, some of what you are paying for is ‘exclusivity’. And looking at how quickly the Bruce figures tend to sell out, and then the prices they demand on the secondary market it would seem most people don’t have too much of an issue with the price at all!

Overall - ***3/4
Those slight tweaks to the ankle make all the difference when it comes to posing. The sculpt is another Arnie Kim classic, but he has long proved that he owns Lee when it comes to likeness. The outfits are beautifully tailored, with only a couple of very slight issues, and the accessories are amazing… and by that I mean the stand! It’s not often I’m into figure stands, but this is just fantastic and will be used frequently by me for action or flying poses. Of course the Hornet darts and huge selection of hands help out as well.
So why not a full score, well it’s those outfit issues (which might be specific to mine) and the price. Don’t get me wrong the outfits are ‘near’ perfect so don’t let it put you off, and the price is pretty fair especially as the body is constructed of solid vinyl. But had it been $150… maybe even as high as $165 then I’d have gone for a full score. However, if you are a regular hi-end 1/6th collector and are getting used to this price range I’d say go for your life!

SCORE RECAP:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ***3/4
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***1/4
Overall - ***3/4

Where to Buy -
As always with Enterbay you can order direct from them where he’s $190, or in the US the official distributor is Yes Anime. http://www.yesanime.com/, Michael’s sponsors Urban Collector is just $160, while Corner Store Comics have him for $199.99 And Alter Ego Comics also has him in stock as well, where he’s also $199.99 on pre-order, in the UK the official distributor is the ever reliable onesixthbruce.co.uk where you should find him in stock for 149.99… but probably not for long!

The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure
The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure

The Green Hornet Kato Bruce Lee action figure


Figures from the collection of Jeff Parker

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