The Dead - Subject 5

Earlier this week, I looked at a couple zombie hunters, and on Tuesday night it was some itty bitty flesh eating dead. Sideshow Collectibles has a terrific line of 12" zombies called The Dead, and I realized that although I own the whole set, I haven't reviewed a single one. And somehow, that just doesn't seem right.

So tonight I'll be looking at Subject 05, the second figure in the line. First, there was (appropriately) Patient Zero, a figure that now sells for several hundred bucks on the secondary market. Then came tonight's release, a poor security guard who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Both of those were done as SDCC exclusives in consecutive years. Next up was Subject 57, a doctor working in the facility where it all started. He was released in blue and green scrubs.

And now for SDCC 2007, the fourth figure is being released - Subject 560, the Corporate Spokesman (). He'll be available at SDCC of course, but Sideshow is also selling him through there site as a 'non-attendee' version, and still has him available.

Packaging - ***1/2
Since this figure is from awhile back, the packaging is a bit of a blast from Sideshow's past. There's a number of twistie ties inside, including one around the neck and through the cardboard tray. The inner box fits into an outer sleeve with the now standard bloody hand print logo on the front. There could be a little more explanatory text, and the twisties are annoying, but since this is no longer the standard way Sideshow packages figures, I can deal.

Sculpting - ****
We all know and admit (if we're being fair and honest) that Sideshow has their problems with human likenesses. Often this is due far more to the application of paint than it is of the underlying sculpt, but the two get so intertwined that it's often difficult to separate them.

But when you let the talented sculptors working for Sideshow loose on something like this, something that isn't tightly constrained by a character's likeness (although this sculpt IS based on an actual person, and in fact one of the Sideshow sculptors), and they can let their artistic side free, you get some amazing work.

The detail work on the eyes, lips and rotting skin is great, and the design would look right at home in any A grade zombie flick. The excellent sculpting is also obvious in the contorted and shriveled hands, thrust out from the arms in clutching, desperate poses. The hands and forearms are sculpted and cast as a single piece, making the quality of the sculpted pose all that much more critical to the final appearance.

Paint - ***1/2
Interestingly enough (if that sort of thing interests you), Subject 5 has a bit of a shiny head. This would be a huge problem if he were still living, but this character is dead, and due to that state a lot of slack gets cut.

The slightly shinier face actually works for a dead, waxy appearance. Where the zombie look is bad for regular figures, it's right on target for this guy. It's still a tad shinier than I like, but I can live with it considering the subject matter.

Once you get past that, there's nothing but top quality. Good cuts between colors, nice small detail work, and even appropriate use of color to give that authentic dead like me look.

Articulation - ***
This is the usual Sideshow body, from a year ago. It doesn't quite pose as well as recent bodies, which seem to have some improvements in the hips and shoulders.

However, this isn't a regular person - this is a zombie. He is supposed to look awkward and angular, twisted in death. And the highly articulated Sideshow body has no trouble taking and holding some great zombie poses.

The ball jointed neck is critical here, allowing the head to loll to the side or look upward from a hunched stance. The joint works great, and can hold positions for long periods without moving back to center on its own.

There is a joint - or actually, two joints - missing however. The wrists aren't articulated, although there is a cut joint up on the forearms. This lack of articulation works alright in this case, since the zombie hands are usually going to be in an awkward bend, but I would have preferred being able to put them in multiple awkward poses, instead of having a single one dictated.

Accessories - ***1/2
There are several accessories, and with one I got quite a surprise!

There's the included display stand, done in white, that looks good but I never use. There's no need with this figure either, as you can easily get him to take and hold several good zombie poses. But for those that like that extra bit of assurance (or live in earthquake zones), the stand is included.

His heavy accessory belt looks excellent, and fits nicely around his waist. It includes a holder for the flashlight and a clip to attach the keys. There's also a very nice pouch for the radio, with an elastic closure that works perfectly. The whole set up is very realistic, and one of the nicest belts Sideshow has done in terms of detail.

The radio is the large handheld type, and looks great on the belt even if this guy doesn't have much use for it anymore. The keys are plastic, but scaled well and the chain and clip are actual metal. But that wasn't the big surprise! The big surprise was that the flashlight is die cast metal through and through. It's very heavy, and looks extremely good. The only thing missing is a plastic cover over the end, but I can live without.

The entire belt/accessories set up looks great on his waist, and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail that went into it, considering that this is 'just a zombie'. There is one more accessory as well, a copy of Guns and Bullets magazine. It's a folded piece of paper with the front and back covers printed. It's a cute addition, but will be less useful than the other goodies.

I had thought about including his wristwatch as part of the outfit, but I think it makes more sense as an accessory.  You can remove it of course, and it's scaled pretty well, but there's not much detail on the face.

Outfit - ***1/2
The security guard outfit is very complete, including the trademark pants and gray long sleeve shirt, wife beater t-shirt, and boots. There's also a small belt on the pants themselves, separate from his accessory belt.

The clothing is stained with reddish brown dried blood, and there's plenty here. The majority of it is on the shirt and undershirt, which makes sense since most of his damage and rot seems to be above the waist. The clothing is tailored fairly well, but does hang off his body a bit weirdly. Like most Sideshow figures of this era, the pants are a bit lanky (due to the lanky body underneath), and the shirt is a bit baggy. If you were looking for a normal security guard, and this one had a cleaned up head sculpt and unstained clothes, he'd look a bit odd standing on the shelf because of the Sideshow body and tailoring.

Ah, but this isn't a normal person. This is an emaciated, disgusting, contorted zombie. His clothes should fit oddly, and his body should look a bit wonky. I'm actually going to give Sideshow the credit here, and say that they tailored this outfit so that it fit a bit oddly on purpose, designing it to look good as a zombie, not a regular guy.

The details are also of the usual Sideshow quality, from the imprinted logo on the shirt to the stripes down the pants. Everything is done with quality material, and all the stitching and manufacture shows attention to detail.

Value - **1/2
He was originally $50, which is pretty consistent for low run SDCC sixth scale exclusives. Since he's an internal non-licensed property, that's a little more than you'd like to pay, but fortunately the quality of the outfit, sculpt and paint help make up for it a bit.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Even kids just looking for generic monsters in sixth scale will love this guy. He has solid articulation, good accessories and a cool outfit, and he's actually sturdy enough to handle normal play. Sure, the price tag will keep him out of most kids hands, but if you have a ten year old that loves the gorey monsters, he'll love this one.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Nothing here that's fragile, dangerous, or problematic. Go nuts!

Overall - ***1/2
Sideshow does a lot of lines, including their top Star Wars and Lord of the Rings figures. But I got to say that the 12" zombies are my current favorite line up from them, and I look forward to every release. There's something fun and inventive about these that the big name lines lack, and zombie fans should really be giving them a second look. Throw a few military figures from Hot Toys or Dragon into a set up with these guys, and you have yourself a great zombie diorama.

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

Where to Buy -
You can get on the wait list at Sideshow for this guy () or you have to hit the secondary market. But don't let that happen with the next release! Snag your Corporate Spokesman now, while he's still available (). And he'll be shipping in just a couple weeks!

Related Links -
I like my zombie reviews:

- my last was on the Peril Unlimited 12" zombie, the GITD Flesh Eating Zombies,  and the recent Shaun of the Dead 2 pack.

- my review of Cult Classics 4 that included the plaid shirt zombie from Dawn of the Dead and the zombie fighter Shaun from Shaun of the Dead; and the Cult Classics 3 Flyboy Zombie from Night of the Living Dead.

- then there's my review of Earl, from Mezco's line Attack of the Living Dead.

- check out the Marvel Legends monster boxed set that included the zombie from Tales of the Zombie.

- SOTA recently released the Land of the Dead figures.

- and don't forget the cool (but expensive) zombies from the sixth scale Dust series.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour