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The CEO
Ace Toyz
07-09-14

The CEO (Morgan Freeman Lucious Fox) sixth scale action figure by Ace Toyz


Customizing and building the B characters in any license has been going on for many years. Occasionally, the customs are popular not because the characters are unlikely to ever be produced by a mainstream company, but because of the artistic style of the customizer themselves. Most often though, people turn to independent sculptors and creators to fill in the holes and gaps in their collection, adding B and C listers that will likely never see the light of day otherwise.

Larger companies occasionally skirt licensing issues by releasing a somewhat generic figure with a less than generic likeness, but name it something else.  Even Hot Toys has been known to do this in the past, when they produced largely military figures. This method provides kitbashers with a good enough likeness to reproduce various characters portrayed by big name actors, some unwilling to provide their likeness rights.

Tonight I'm looking at a figure that is born of several of these factors. I don't know how willing Morgan Freeman is to have an action figure done based upon his appearance, but I do know that there aren't any. I also know that as much as sixth scale fans love the Batman movie license, the odds that Hot Toys will ever produce a Lucious Fox figure are just slightly better than my odds with Scarlett Johansson. And that's where companies like Ace Toyz step in.

I don't know a whole lot about Ace. They have a Facebook page, but the link to their website doesn't work. This Morgan Freeman figure is their first release, but they have shown photos of a very impressive Michael Keaton sculpt as well. Rumor has it that they were originally under another company name, but have switched to Ace. 
Click on the photo below for a life size version
The CEO (Morgan Freeman Lucious Fox) sixth scale action figure by Ace Toyz
The CEO (Morgan Freeman Lucious Fox) sixth scale action figure by Ace Toyz
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The CEO (Morgan Freeman Lucious Fox) sixth scale action figure by Ace Toyz
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The CEO (Morgan Freeman Lucious Fox) sixth scale action figure by Ace Toyz
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The CEO (Morgan Freeman Lucious Fox) sixth scale action figure by Ace Toyz
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The CEO (Morgan Freeman Lucious Fox) sixth scale action figure by Ace Toyz
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The CEO (Morgan Freeman Lucious Fox) sixth scale action figure by Ace Toyz
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The CEO (Morgan Freeman Lucious Fox) sixth scale action figure by Ace Toyz
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The CEO (Morgan Freeman Lucious Fox) sixth scale action figure by Ace Toyz

I'm assuming that this is an unlicensed figure, since no character name or any sort of licensor logo exists on the packaging. 

I suspect that the license holders - particularly Warner Brothers - aren't all that keen on a company producing unlicensed figures.  They never are, sticklers for the law that they can be. If the work that Ace does is good enough, it's possible that the licensors will go to them and make a deal, working out an arrangement that won't bankrupt Ace and allows them to produce figures without operating in the shadows. Or they just may try to crush them like a bug.

Until then, we have The CEO.  Originally Ace called this The Black CEO, but wiser heads prevailed. Obviously this is Freeman, but the outfit is not directly from the Dark Knight movies. It looks to me like a conglomeration of things, from Through the Wormhole to Now You See Me. In the end, it's Morgan Freeman in a suit, which pretty much covers a whole lot of ground.

You can pick this guy up at various retailers for around $120. Whether or not the licensor or current licensee steps in and puts the kibosh on this is yet to be seen, but if they do, these figures will disappear quickly.

Packaging - **1/2
The box is pretty simple - brown with the logo on top. The interior is made from nice, soft foam, which carefully cradles the figure and accessories, but as a presentation device it's pretty basic. It's all collector friendly, but we've come to expect that in the sixth scale market.

Sculpting - ***1/2
This is an extremely good likeness of Morgan Freeman - no doubts about who this is supposed to be. The quality of the sculpt is well above what we usually see with a non-licensed product, and certain rivals others in the sixth scale market.

I particularly like the wrinkling and texturing of the face.  Mr. Freeman has a lot of personality in his face, and they've captured that here, even with a rather basic expression.

The hands are a little large, which tends to be problematic with many figures in this scale. The newer TrueTypes have addressed this issue, but more generic bodies like this still tend to sport pretty big paws.

The only thing holding this back - and it's slight - is the hair. I'm not quite feeling the way they've tried to capture the short Afro, which ends up looking a little too spongy to me. Still, it's a minor nit - a very minor one - and this head sculpt can stand toe to toe with others produced by much larger companies.

Paint - ***1/2
While I was a little surprised by the quality of the sculpt, it's really the paint work that took me completely off guard.  We all know that Hot Toys and Enterbay have found the sweet spot when it comes to production paint work, and everyone else is merely playing catch up.

But somehow Ace has managed to get awfully close.  It's still not perfect - I'm not digging the slightly darker stripe of skin at the hair line - but it's far closer to that perfection than I would have anticipated given the bootleg nature of the figure. Like the sculpt, the hair is where I have a few problems, but even there the transition from light to dark is well done.

The eyes are another area of particular note, with a bright gleam and no bleed. Even the mustache is just right, matching some of the better facial hair work we've seen.

Articulation - ***
Underneath the slightly padded suit is a pretty standard body.  There's all the articulation you'd expect, although the overall design doesn't quite allow for the same level of fluid, human-like posing as the best bodies on the market.

I do really like the ball jointed neck, and the arm articulation allows for realistic poses. The lower body is a little loose, especially the knees, but for this particular character (who isn't going to be posing in any deep fighting stances) this body is certainly adequate. Of course, you can always swap it to something else, but it isn't a necessity.

Accessories - **1/2
There's not a lot of extras here, not that there's a lot that would make a good addition. He does have a very nice cane, as well as a couple extra hands. The hands swap pretty easily, and each has it's own wrist peg, but a couple more pegs just in case would have been appreciated.

The cane isn't something I immediately associate with any Freeman character, but it would make a nice add to your Bruce Wayne, post Bane-beating.

There's no display stand, which is something that collectors have come to expect. I don't use them, but I know a lot of collectors that do, so a basic stand would have been a smart choice.

Outfit - ***
The costume consists of his shirt, pants (held up with suspenders), shoes, suit jacket, overcoat, tie, hat and scarf.  The tailoring is solid, and they've used decent quality materials.

The shoe sculpt is somewhat basic, and not quite as realistic as we've seen with other companies. I'm not feeling the style in general, with a larger boot heel. The design is a bit old school, and I always picture Freeman (and Fox) as being fashionably trendy. It's serviceable, but won't catch much attention. 

The pants and shirt are well tailored, and underneath is padding to give him that slightly puffy middle age dude look. It works well, and isn't over the top.

The shirt is held closed at the collar with Velcro though, and this isn't a particularly tight fit. It effects the tie, making it difficult to get and keep a clean, tight knot at the neck. Mine came hanging down too far, and even with quite a bit of futzing, I can't get the sort of look I expect. I will have to completely untie it and re-tie it, but that brings with it a whole new set of issues.

If you needed more proof that this isn't *really* Lucious Fox, the tie is the giveaway. Fox always (as far as I remember) wears a bow tie.

The snaps on the suit jacket are larger than what we've seen with recent Hot Toys releases. It's good and bad - good, because the metal snaps are much easier to work with, and bad simply because they are a bit larger in scale.

The outer coat is made from a very high quality material, and looks great on him.  The material is thin enough to keep things in scale as you add layers. There is a little fraying around the bottom edge though, which caught me by surprise. 

Most of the photos I've seen have the collar up on the coat, and that's how I did most of mine as well. However, I did include one with the collar folded flat, in case you were wondering how it looked.

The red scarf is merely a rectangle of soft cloth, but it looks good nonetheless. The figure was advertised to have a pocket square that would match this scarf, but I didn't find one in my box.  Even if it was included, it would be very difficult to work with as a separate piece.

And then there's the hat. Ugh. You'll be tossing this one in the extras box. It has a soft velvety exterior, and a slightly different sculpt front to back. No matter how I turned it, tilted it, or leaned it, I just didn't like the look. Sixth scale hats are tough to do properly, and Ace has a way to go before they manage to get the size and fit just right.

Fun Factor - **1/2
At the end of the day, this is a guy in a suit. We've had plenty of conversations about the boring nature of such figures, and it's unlikely you'll spend a lot of time posing and re-posing him. Get him in a nice, neutral stance to go alongside Bruce Wayne and Alfred, and you'll be all set.

Value - ***
It's far too rare these days to find any sixth scale action figure under $150, particularly one of any quality. It's nice to see the low price here, but the lack of licensing reduces the cost while it increases the companies risk.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

Overall - *** (3 out of 4)
The number one reason to pick up this figure is to snag this head sculpt. With an excellent likeness and a solid paint job, you can use it to re-create just about any older Freeman character. This is a head sculpt that can go right alongside other much more expensive figures in your collection, and not look the least out of place.

I can't be quite as generous with the outfit. The hat is simply sad, but even the suit and overcoat are just acceptable, not exceptional. The good news is you don't HAVE to swap out the body or clothing if you don't want to - it will work well enough right out of the box. But for the kitbashers and customizers in the crowd, there's plenty of potential here to put together a fantastic Lucious Fox to stand along side Bruce Wayne and Alfred.

Let's chat for a minute about the legitamacy or ethicality of the figure. Warner Brothers and DC have nothing to complain about here. Yes, the name of the figure is the CEO, and thot's who Fox is in the Dark Knight films, played by Morgan Freeman. But the name is the only hint at that character - the costume is not screen accurate in any way. Fox wears bow ties or sweater vests, and the outer coat, hat and scarf seem much more similar to the character Freeman played in Now You See Me. Even the purple shirt is something you'd see him wear as host of the show Through the Wormhole, not as Fox. Claiming that this is an infrimgment on the Batman license is a pretty serious stretch.

The same can't be said about Mr. Freeman. This is clearly his likeness, and I doubt it's been licensed. While it's obvious a company like Ace should get the proper approval, it's also true that getting to the actor through the labrynth of managers and agents to even discuss it can be near impossible. Once they do, it's likely that the compensation for a low run figure would be so minor that the actor's camp wouldn't feel it was worth the effort. A catch-22 for those of us looking to add a Morgan Freeman to the display shelf with no easy answer.

With this kind of sculpting and paint quality, I'm hoping that Ace manages to actually pick up some licenses. Now that they've shown what they can do, I'm betting there are some licensors out there that would love to work with them.

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

Where to Buy 
Online options include:

- Alter Ego Comics has him in stock for $120.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered a ton of Nolan Batman related sixth scale figures that this guy will fit right in with, starting with the Jokers, including the DX11 Joker, the Cop version of the DX01 Joker, as well as the regular DX01 look. Hot Toys also did a Bank Robber version, as well as an original non-DX version

Other characters include Bane, Jim Gordon, Two Face/Harvey Dent, the Bruce Wayne/Batman figure, as well as the Demon Bats/Scarecrow set, the DX02 Batman, and the cool Tumbler and Bat-pod.

Discussion:
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The CEO (Morgan Freeman Lucious Fox) sixth scale action figure by Ace Toyz


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

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