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 hotly anticipated Scarface - tell us all about him, Jeff!
“All I have in this world is my balls and my word and I don't break
them for no one”.
can be very few movies where the main protagonist goes far and beyond
being an antihero and just becomes a loathsome amoral, murderous, drug
addled villain, but Tony Montana literally had no redeeming features
whatsoever. Well, I guess he did decide it was wrong to blow up a
couple of innocent kids, I’ll give him that, but in every other way he
was pure bad to the bone. Sure there are all kinds of horror
‘antiheroes’ from Freddy to Jason, but they’re not exactly the most
cerebral of stories, so they don’t really count as proper ‘anti heroes’
in my book.
What Brian De Palma as director and Oliver Stone as
screenwriter pulled off was a modern fable of Shakespearian
proportions. They took the original 1932 version directed by Howard
Hawks and reinvented it for a 1980’s audience giving the tone almost a
new wave meets cinéma vérité feel. It works because at no time during
the story are we moved to actually ‘like’ Tony Montana, yet we do care
for him. He is the Cuban immigrant underdog, the guy who seizes the
‘American Dream ©’ and plays it out to a bloody and violent conclusion.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stupid enough to think the
‘American Dream ©’ encompasses the selling of class A narcotics as a
legitimate business opportunity. But in the spirit of free enterprise,
the movie certainly shows the intoxicating effect of money and power,
and how when the recipient isn’t used to, or prepared for a certain
type of lifestyle, it can crumble much faster than it takes to create
Because of this Montana became an icon for a generation
that loved the get rich quick ethos, his lack of respect for authority
and his f**k you attitude. It’s that very attitude that gives the movie
its enduring quality, and why it has spawned multiple figures from
Sideshow, Jada, How2Work, Mezco, Neca and now Blitzway.
Pacino has gone on record as saying it’s one of his favourite rolls,
and even though critics have slammed his portrayal as everything from
racist to hammy, it seems that perhaps those reviewers were missing the
point. This is not a subtle character, a complex character maybe, but a
subtle one, hell no!
At the world premiere the star-studded and
Hollywood-centric audience were hugely divided, with many stars and
writers walking out of the screening (especially at the notorious
chainsaw scene). But notably Martin Scorsese turned to Steven Bauer
during the movie and said "You guys are great - but be prepared,
because they're going to hate it in Hollywood… because it's about
them". Luckily the populace knows a good movie when it sees one, and
although some movie execs would have liked to see it buried, it went on
to become a cult classic (largely due to the emerging home video
market), and lets face it, what self respecting movie buff doesn’t now
own it on DVD?
Sho, what are we waitin fo mang, lets say hello to my new 1/6th little
http://www.blitzway.com/ are very much the new kids on the block, and
so far this is their only figure with no new ones having been announced
as yet. But when they do go chasing some new licenses this is gonna be
a very impressive calling card. And as this is their premiere figure
they have pushed the boat out to give us some very premiere packaging.
mine took a little bit of punishment while in transit, but I won’t be
counting the rigours of the world’s postal service against them as it
was well boxed and bubble wrapped.
It’s also worthy of mention
that this is a big box (16”x14”x7”) as it needs to house the figure,
chair and base. The outer box is matte black card with a die-cut window
through which we can see the wood and metal magnetised base, adorned
with the Tony Montana monogrammed logo. The rear has a large panel
glued on, with an image of the figure mimicking the classic 2-tone
poster alongside a list of the production credits (I maintain that this
should be done by every company purporting to be high-end as standard
practice). You open up the container by releasing the front tabs and
lifting over to show the base nestled within a die cut foam board, this
lifts out to show a brown cardboard layer that protects the vac formed
tray holding the figure and his accessories.
An impressive box, no two ways about it, but can the figure live up to
its tantalising promise!
Sculpting - ****
this is my first review of a Blitzway product, (well it has to be,
after all it is their first product), it is far from my first review by
the portrait artist Inae Kang (or Kang In Ae as I used to know her).
She has worked in the past for Hot Toys, and her sculpts have been of
note on some iconic figures, such as Chris
Dean, Marlon Brando,
Jackson ‘Thriller’. And of course, most notably on her other
celebrated and stunning portrait of Brando as Don Vito Corleone in the Godfather.
this is a sculptor with a proven track record, and all those portraits
above were solid work. Some better than others, but none of them were
what you could call ‘bad’, and a few of them were pretty amazing!
here we have Kang working under a new flag, and on a new subject
matter, a subject that one of Hot Toys resident artists, Ko Jun has
done outstandingly well himself a few years ago, both as Carlito
Brigante from Carlitos
Way and also as Lt Vincent Hanna from Heat
(note these were private low edition projects, not connected with Hot
Toys at all). So with such amazing work having preceded her, it’s
gratifying to see Kang come up very much smelling of roses. I think
it’s fair to say that when Blitzway first unveiled the prototype many
people were amazed, and just prayed that the production model could
deliver the goods, well now I have it in hand and by Darwin on a bike
it actually manages to improve upon it!
It’s one of those
times that a sculpt just jumps out at you and grabs you by the scruff
of the neck. It is absolutely note perfect and captures his maniacal
glare and malevolent attitude perfectly; I swear that when you leave
the room the other figures on the shelf will feel intimidated!
so glad they didn’t go for a passive face as this expression
personifies Montana, and it lends itself to so many threatening poses,
be they seated in his thrown or standing with his gun and huge Cuban
cigar. The mouth is down turned with a slight pout to the bottom lip
and the brow is furrowed in a concentrated frown, it’s a pretty intense
and focused facial expression, but the likeness is just amazing. It
shows all the minutely observed texturing on the skins pores that we
now expect, incorporating his trademark scars on the left cheek and
eyebrow. The detailing on his hair is fantastically realised, and even
has a small section seamlessly stuck on at the fringe to add the
illusion of layering.
He also comes with a selection of four
hands; the left is in a relaxed pose with the watch sculpted to it. I
have to admit I would have preferred the watch, as a separate because
the strap in effect gives the hand a shallow collar, meaning some of
the articulation is lost. He then has three left hands, one in a gun
grip (though it can work well with the cigar as well) and two further
relaxed hands, the positions are slightly different, but too similar to
be of much use. I think a more extreme gesture or pointing hand might
have been an improvement for one of them. They have however remembered
to include the two gold rings on the left hands and the small tattoo at
the base of his thumb.
In short I think its fair to say that
Blitzway have created a new classic, and as a first release it is an
amazing piece of work, one that puts it instantly as a company to
watch. Now we just need some news of follow up figures!
We all know
that the best sculpt in the world can be ruined by poor paint apps, and
likewise a mediocre sculpt can be made to come alive when a maestro
passes his/her brush over the surface. But here we have the same artist
in control of both sculpting and paint application, and she proves to
be a master of both mediums.
In the past we have had
consistently amazing paint apps from the likes of Hot Toys and Dragon
In Dreams. Enterbay can do some pretty amazing work when firing on all
cylinders, but sadly that isn’t all the time. However, with this single
figure, Blitzway have put themselves 100% up there with the best of the
best. Yep, it really is that good! Of course we still need to see if
they can follow it up and stay consistent, but as an opening salvo it
packs quite a punch.
The flesh tones are hugely convincing, with
perfect and subtle graduations where the skin darkens around the eyes,
and the eyebrows are gently indicated without any harsh lines or edges,
even managing to get the look of his scared left eyebrow just right
(the inspiration for a million hip-hop fans having a ‘cat scratch’
shaved in). His 5 o’clock shadow and the tonal values for his lips are
thoughtfully and carefully executed to compliment his Latin
colouration, but as is often the case with these ultra realistically
painted high-end figures, it’s the glossy wet look eyes, with the
convincing way that they catch the light that truly brings them to
life. The hair is painted flat black, but the light falling on its
surface brings out plenty of detail from the underlying sculpt.
hands also get a detailed paint app as all have the fingernails painted
in. The rings on his right hands and his gold wristwatch on his left
are picked out super accurately with a nice dense gold colour. I have
to admit that the watch face could have perhaps used a little more
detail to indicate the numerals and hands, but the over all paint job
here is so amazingly well carried out that there is no way it could
pass with anything less than a full score. Quite exceptional!
hitters in 1/6th show time and time again that they keep at the top of
their game by paying attention to the whole package! Ignore the
tailoring, accessories and indeed even the packaging at your peril; for
these are the things that can make or break a release. They are in fact
the elements that separate a good release from an outstanding one.
baring that in mind they have created a shirt and suit here that can
live up to the standard set by the sculpt and paint apps. It was
tailored by Jino Koo, who has done an outstanding job of replicating
the screen seen white suit that he sported in the poolside scenes with
Pfeifer seen here.
wore it slightly over sized, as was oft the style in the 80’s (just ask
David Byrne). All the pockets are working as are the belt loops and
indeed the belt, the jacket is fully lined (even the sleeves) and there
is the tiny red patterned handkerchief in the breast pocket. Under the
jacket he wears his burgundy slim-tailored ‘70’s disco stud’ wide
collared shirt. This is held shut with a strip of concealed Velcro, but
has tiny metal buttons glued on the front. When dressing and futzing
the collar from the shirt should be worn over the lapels of the suit as
you can see in the pics I linked to above. The only thing missing are
some red sock tops, again you can just about see them in the pic where
he’s on the sun lounger. It’s an easy fix that I might rectify, but to
be honest the trousers are long enough to make it a bit of a moot point
He also comes wearing a pair of Cuban healed shoes,
there are no feet inside them, as it is done in the same way that Hot
Toys have handled many of their recent shoed figures like the smiling
Bruce Lee’s for example. This is a wise move as it does also give a far
better range of articulation at the ankle for deep or action poses. The
detailing on his footwear is all nice and crisp, and they even put the
small ‘real leather’ logo on the heel… nice!
In short this is
an amazingly well observed and tailored outfit. It’s a slight shame
that we need the press-studs to hold the jacket shut, as when worn open
they are pretty visible. But they manage to claw back the illusion with
the well-sourced fabrics utilised, it even has the slight but distinct
vertical stripes within the weave. It’s a quantum leap from either the
Sideshow or How2Work versions that were available before.
Blitzway just has to consider giving us Tony in the dark blue, 3-piece
pinstriped suit he wears for the final showdown… they should of course
include his ‘little friend’, and a snarling face would put the cherry
You know you’re a geek when
you get excited to hear a
manufacturer is developing and releasing a new base body, and it should
be blatantly obvious to anyone reading that I am indeed that geek, but
hey, you are reading this, so I’m in good company!
One of the
first things I wondered was whether Blitzway would use an off the shelf
body or go the whole hog and develop there own, as lets face it, Pacino
is a rather diminutive actor coming in at a mere 5’6” (an inch shorter
than Bruce Lee).
And so I’m very pleased to say that not only
have they designed their own, it’s also a strikingly good one. Hot Toys
have been developing new bodies on an almost figure by figure basis of
late, so it’s hard not to take Blitzway seriously when they kick off
with a figure like his. And some of the other major players must be
sitting up right about now and paying attention too (you know who they
There is however one slight problem here, not a major
one, but one I thought I’d get out of the way early… It’s the elbows!
There is no double joint here, so they can only just achieve a
90-degree bend. You can get a reasonably good feeling for its
engineering and articulation by studying the pics I put together here.
shows how the upper abdomen, chest and neck have a silicone/rubber
covering, but everything else is a mixture of vinyl and ABS plastic. So
apart from the elbows it is all good, with a great range of movement at
the ankles and neck, the legs have ratcheted joints and the knees have
a double joint as well. In short it all feels like a good sturdy body
that balances and poses naturally. The only oversight is those elbows
(and a couple of spare wrist pegs would have been nice too) but apart
from that it’s a beauty!
The list is -
- 2 Extra left hands with rings sculpted
- Beretta Model 81 sidearm
- Leather shoulder holster
- 2 gold necklaces
- Tony’s monogrammed chair
- Wooden base with Metal plate (so magnetic shoes can grip it)
figure that comes with a chair has instant kudos in my opinion, and
this comes with onehellova chair, yep in terms of ostentatiousness this
even dethrones both the Godfather chairs from Enterbay and Hot Toys
(pun intended). Tony was not famous for his self-deprecation, subtlety
or indeed humility, so when he orders a chair to go behind his desk,
he’s not one to downplay it.
Oh no, he really does want a
throne, and a monogrammed one at that. As pretentious flamboyance goes,
this is the seating equivalent of the Hef’s monogrammed silk pyjamas
and smoking jacket, but turned up to 11. It actually manages to look
like Gianni Versace designed it on an off day!
As a side note,
folks might be interested to know that the original chair ended up in
the collection of Bernie Madoff and was auctioned off after his fall
from grace, funny how life imitates art.
But however gaudy and
appalling the chair was as a real life piece of actual furniture,
Blitzway (or Andy Kim to be precise) have done it proud by reproducing
it so well in 1/6th scale here. It’s constructed of ABS and vinyl, and
the vinyl actually manages to make it feel like it has a slight
cushioned effect. The decorative baroque sculpting of the chairs arms
and golden cherub head above the back is also beautifully observed and
finely carried out. All the decorative sculpted parts are then given a
metallic gold finish, while the implied leather areas are matte black.
also comes with his Beretta Model 81 pistol; this has a cocking
mechanism and removable magazine and is a nicely put together little
gun, he then has a leather shoulder holster which the gun fits into,
but I did find it was a strange fit (and after reading the IMFDB
page I can see why, he apparently had a S&W Model 36 in the
shoulder holster for the movie), but that really is getting into the
realms of super pickiness as the gun does fit, but has to hang down
with the handle pointing backwards, not a great position for a quick
draw shoot out, but at least its relatively screen accurate.
already went over the extra hands in sculpting, and to be fair the gold
necklaces are self-explanatory, they are real metal and shiny gold, not
much more needs to be said. So that just leaves us with the figure
stand, and it’s a pretty darned cool one, which is actually a shame as
I never use stands. It’s constructed of a wooden frame with a black
gloss enamelled metal plate baring the TM monogram embossed out of it,
he then has small magnets concealed within his shoes, so when he’s
placed onto it he stays upright with minimum fuss. The only slight
annoyance is that the ankles aren’t quite stiff enough for
extreme ‘bullet time’ poses or the ‘Smooth Criminal’ forward lean, but
at the end of the day this is Tony Montana, not Neo or Michael Jackson,
so I guess that doesn’t really matter!
Factor - ****
say that these hi-end figures are not for kids, normally because of
price, fragility and rareness, but this is also based on a character
from a movie that no kid should have seen. And if yours has seen it,
then you are a bad, bad parent… there, I said it!
you are a more discerning adult collector with a taste for more
eclectic displays, then this guy is a virtual must have.
terms of build quality this is very high-end, as the sculpt, paint,
tailoring, accessories and indeed packaging have placed Blitzway as
major contender in terms of production values. All they need now are
some more juicy licenses, and follow those licenses through with
product of the quality they have put out here.
for money - ***1/2
full RRP direct from Blitzway is $180, which it has to be said is a
hefty sum, especially from a new player. However, being a new player
also means that their production costs are almost certainly higher for
a first outing, and the fact we get a chair does help soften the blow
It’s also worthy of note that many Hot
Toys figures regularly have RRP’s of $150 to $225 (and judging by some
of the spectacular stuff they unveiled at SDCC those prices might shoot
even further skyward in the not too distant future).
considering this is definitely equal to HT quality and it comes with a
chair, then it’s just a price level we are all going to have to either
get used to… or find another hobby!
I don’t know
about you, but I always liked having part 1 of any set, be it comics,
trading-cards, toys, movies, even first edition imprints of books, you
name it, I’ll collect it. Sometimes what followed the original would be
better, often it might be worse, but having the premiere release always
gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. So for that reason alone I can
imagine there are a lot of hardcore 1/6th collectors out there who just
have to have this in their collections. It goes to stand with my
Sideshow: Karloff as Frankenstein’s Monster, Hot Toys: Terminator- Kyle
Reese and Enterbay: Bruce Lee- GoD (Ver 1.0) in the 1/6th first
editions hall of fame.
above, both Sideshow and How2Work have done good 1/6th figures of
Montana in the past (well, good based on the time of release) but as of
right now, there is only one 1/6th figure from Scarface that you need,
and this is it!
the only reason for
the lack of full four stars is the price and the slightly limited
articulation at the elbow. Other than that, in terms of quality alone
this is full score figure, but taking those other categories into
account I feel it only fair to keep it a whisker short of that full
Where to buy
can order direct from the manufacturer Blitzway, but due to licensing
restrictions there are global territories that this cant be sold to
(sorry North America), but check the list, because if you are in an
approved zone you can get it right here
for the full RRP of $180.
have been told that due to the unforeseen demand for this figure (It
even surprised Blitzway) the first batch sold out super quick on
pre-order. They are therefore considering the production of a second
batch, should the demand from retailers merit it. But I guess that’s
over to you guys.
I could only find this listed with one of Mike’s sponsors-
If you are in the UK or Europe try Onesixthbruce
who have the set for £129.99.
where I’m seeing prices of $180 t0 $270.
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.