Sgt. Barnes - Platoon
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
|Jeff joins us tonight with a
look at the cranky member of the Platoon - tell us all about him, Jeff!
A big thank you as always to Mike for letting me share my thoughts on the ever improving world of 1/6th figures.
A few months back I reviewed Chris Taylor
the first release in the Platoon series and I was suitably impressed,
we got a pretty awesome portrait from new gal on the block Song, a
great selection of accessories, a super detailed outfit and as always a
kick ass paint app, so ol’ Barnsey here had a lot to live up to. I’m
happy to say that he’s hit the tracking firing on all cylinders, but
for me his 3.0 L V8 performance is slightly outgunned by Taylors 3.5 L.
But more on that later!
In my Taylor review I gave a brief
synopsis of the story, a story in which Sgt Barnes is without a doubt
the big bad. An interesting concept considering it was set in Vietnam
circa 1967, a full six years before the Paris Peace Accords required
all external troops to be withdrawn, it was interesting as the Vietcong
was meant to be the enemy, and indeed in political terms they were. But
the monster in this particular story came from within.
was a man physically, mentally and morally scarred by his experiences
as a soldier, maybe at some point in his murky past he had been a good
man, but whatever goodness there had been was now totally corrupt to
the point that he saw his own comrades as the enemy, if they didn’t
share his warped views. And this man showed no signs of repentance or
regret and certainly didn’t achieve redemption.
So why is it we
always want the bad guy in our collections. I suppose it’s the yang to
the yin, for every Arthur there is a Mordred, for every Potter there is
a Voldemort and for every Skywalker there is a Vader, so what would
Taylor be on the shelf without Barnes here… exactly!.
follows the same format as the Taylor figure, which is something of a
classic tried and tested formula for well equipped military figures.
The images on the front and back are obviously different, but the rough
hessian texture is still there. The side is held shut with a magnet
that unfolds to show an accessory tray fixed to the inner flap and the
figure opposite alongside his other adornments.
have the super inventive feel of some of Hot Toys most outstanding
recent pieces of packaging, but for a Nam era military figure it gives
just the right feel.
Sculpting - ***3/4
is a fantastic portrait of Berenger as the psychotic, war addled
monster that is Sgt Barnes, it was overseen by Yulli and KoJun no less,
but the actual nuts and bolts of the sculpt were tooled by Song Hye
Hyun (who not only created the Chris Taylor sculpt, but also did the
rather impressive Milla Jovovich as Alice portrait that was recently
The likeness is striking, but it’s the way that she
has managed to incorporate the heavy scaring without losing any of that
likeness that I find most impressive.
The brow is slightly furrowed
and in the early stages of a frown, giving this a strong intense
expression. This is then made even more threatening by the paint app on
the eyes that are angled to look up slightly. The heavy scaring up the
right hand side of the face and lip is handled with great skill,
showing some great observational work based on some of those pics I
linked to above. So if I like this so much, why do I keep it just shy
of a full mark?
Well it’s a problem shared with the paint app
category (I shall go into it there as well), but the few strands of
hair that hall over the forehead just manage to spoil the illusion of
how realistic this could actually look. If a small section of sculpted
hairs had been made to hang down here I think the actual 3D relief of
them as opposed to an ‘implied’ relief could have maybe saved it.
it is, this is still a jaw-droppingly good piece of work, but that
fringe just robs it of a full score, well, in my humble opinion anyway.
Does JC Hong
ever sleep? I mean, Hot Toys has an amazing and it has to be said quite
large stable of talent working on many licences when it comes to the
actual portraiture and sculpting, and they are of course credited on
the packaging (something all hi-end manufacturers should do in my
belief… lets face it, you don’t leave the credits off of a movie… even
the bad ones!). But when it comes to masterminding and controlling the
paint apps, just one mans name appears time after time. And not only
that, he is often credited with creative control of other aspects too.
whatever his sleeping patterns, we can all be grateful for his input,
it’s as if his hands are guided by angels… or demons, depending on what
kind of deal he may have had to make to be so consistently adept!
So why no fuller than full score this time?
admit I feel a little weird not giving the Palme d'Or yet again, but
there is a slight problem on this paint job, and it’s a shame that it
is on his face, well, actually his forehead.
I have no issue
with the skin tones which are as convincing as always, and the glossy
eyes are just as realistic, and in this case downright sinister in the
way they look up slightly, making for some intimidating poses with the
head tilted forward. The way they catch the light is nothing short of
spooky I tells ya! The subtle work on picking out the scar and his lips
are also worthy of positive mentions in despatches.
So what’s the problem then?
those few strands of hair again at the front. For me they drag down
what was a study in utter perfection to something just that little bit
As I say above, in my opinion this should have been a
small separate sculpted piece that just hung from under the front of
the bandana/durag. The problem is that this painted representation is
actually quite accurate on many levels, Berenger’s hair was indeed
plastered to his forehead with sweat in the movie, as you can see here, here and indeed here,
but the subtlety of the way it looks has not been captured. The problem
is twofold because: A- This is a subtle, delicate and difficult feature
to sculpt convincingly. And B- This is a subtle, delicate and difficult
feature to paint convincingly.
And whilst I would never accuse this
of slop in anyway, it still doesn’t quite manage to look as convincing
as the rest of the outstanding paint app. I also noticed the paint
stopped a few microns from the edge of his bandana, but this can be
easily covered up if you futz the edge of the cloth and push/ease it
slightly over the lip of his forehead, in fact this futzing is
essential to make the transition point between the cloth and the face
look convincing, without a noticeable step or gap.
is a 99% great job, but when you are so used to a 100% result, I felt
this came up just that teensy-weensy little bit short.
base BDU’s here are identical to those we got with Taylor, so for a
piece by piece breakdown on the T-shirt, combat shirt, pants and boots
I’ll be lazy and say you can find out all you need under the outfit
section here, but they all fit well
and have working pockets and finely observed details throughout. Like
last time the boots are a mixed media representation of jungle issue
era boots with working laces etc. The outfit fits to the TT well and
even manages to look like it’s been slept in a few times, in short it’s
You do however have a few fiddly jobs to do, as you
need to take off the webbing harness and attach the various pouches,
canteens, knife sheath and safe keeper scabbard. The pouches and
canteens have double slide and clip fasteners while the scabbard just
slides on (after removing the suspender), the pouches also have straps
to attach to the suspender buckles for added support. Although the
small safe keeper fist knife has a small sliding clip on its back, it
actually needs to be bound to the upper-left webbing suspender, as seen
sticky backed tape you need to do this has been supplied as a sheet, as
it was with Taylor, you just need to cut the strips you require with a
scalpel. While you are at it remember to cut enough to bind the extra
magazine to the magazine fitted on the Colt 653P (remember to do it
upside down for a fast reload!). I guess I should have gone over that
in accessories, so moving along swiftly.
Barnes comes on a classic True Type, so no problems here. It’s a
dream of a body to pose and holds natural positions well; I’ve been
over its aesthetic, engineering and performance many times before. You
can find my previous low-downs here-
Classic True Type
Classic, narrow shouldered and slim True Type comparison
Various male and female True Type variations
been at the top of the heap for over five years, and the only people
who seem to be constantly improving on it at the moment are Hot Toys
themselves. If you’ve never owned one, and this is your first, you’ll
love it! And of course if you have, then I’m preaching to the converted!
always with military figures he comes well armed, and well equipped.
He’s not packing quite as much firepower as Taylor did, as he has no
M72 LAW or claymore, but what he does have is-
- Colt Model 653P assault rifle
- M1911A1 sidearm
- Extra magazine for rifle
- Combat knife with sheath
- Safe Keeper fist knife with scabbard
- Two M26 ‘Lemon’ hand grenades
- Helmet with camouflage cover
- Necklace with dog tag and can opener
- Webbing harness
- Magazine bandoleer
- Compass pouch
- First aid pouch
- Wrist watch
- Metal bracelet
- Folded document
- ARVN rucksack
- Two canteens with covers
- Entrenching tool (E-tool)
- Entrenching tool cover
- Figure stand with Sergeant Barnes nameplate and movie logo
of the pieces are self-explanatory and either fit on or can be held by
the figure well. I already said above how to attach the magazines to
the gun, but the 653P also has an adjustable strap and an opening dust
guard. The sidearm on this occasion has no moving parts, so no cocking
mechanism, however the magazine is removable and the basic detail and
paint finish is accurate and well carried out.
The small folded
green document is to slide under the strap on his helmet; I even got my
linen tester out and saw this has the synopsis of the movie written out
in microscopic type. It would have been cool to get a pack of Marlboros
to put here too, but I guess brand advertising for smokes would be a
no-no, we do however get a cute little cigarette to put in his hand,
which is a cool touch. If you do want his pack of smokes then a quick
root around on line throws up some print outs, which is what I did for
my photos. The entrenching tool fits into the carry cover supplied, and
can then be attached to the eyelets at the top of the rucksack, hanging
between the two pouches.
As far as helpful pointers go, I think
that is about it, I will point out that the knife is described as a
bayonet in the spec, but can’t be fixed to the rifle, so is really a
combat knife. Everything else is self-explanatory and carried out to
the quality of finish we now expect as standard from Hot Toys.
Factor - ***1/2
this could pass as a pretty bad ass looking grunt to your average young
boy who wants to play soldiers, but of course this is never gonna end
up in the hands of kids, at least I hope it isn’t!
aimed squarely at your more discerning collector; someone who can
appreciate the craft, love and attention to detail that has been
lavished on it. So if you are that discerning collector, you may just
be waiting to make sure we get a figure of Elias before you jump, but
the ‘catch 22’ is that if this ends up in the warehouse for too long,
will we get any more follow up Platoon figures at all? Well, I hope so,
but even just standing next to Taylor they make for a cool little
display, as I said at the beginning, the yin and yang of the movie.
for money - ****
the RRP of $145.99 seems like a good price to me, but by shopping
around you can get this guy for over $10 less. So at $135 I have no
qualms giving this a full value rating. And I wouldn’t even want to
knock too much off at the full RRP.
You get a stunning
portrait, nice outfit and some finely detailed accessories. I’m
actually quite surprised that these are still pretty available; I had a
feeling they would sell out faster than they have, especially when you
consider how popular the old sideshow figures were on the secondary
market. I wonder if Barnes was perhaps too much of a loathful character
My only minor
gripe is the few strands of hair on his forehead, but after just a
little minor futzing it’s almost a moot point, and if you decide on the
behelmeted look then its even less of an issue. Every other aspect is
pretty much A1 perfecto.
score him for $135 (and you still can) then with the overall quality
here, it just has to be a full score. And he makes a great add to your
rogue’s gallery of detestable characters, you know, the ones without a
single redeeming characteristic!
Where to buy
still has this guy in stock for $145.99 which as I said above
seems like a fair price, but you could save some money with the site
Fan Boy - in stock @ $134.99
Big Bad Toystore - in stock @ $139.99
Urban Collector - in stock @ $145.99
Or you can try eBay where he’s available for between $145 to $170.
Did you enjoy
the review? Plus 1 it!
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.