Scarface action figure by Blitzway

   "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 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”.

There 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 it!

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.

Al 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 friend!

Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway

Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway

Packaging - ****
Blitzway 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.

Sadly 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 - ****
Although 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 Redfield, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’. And of course, most notably on her other celebrated and stunning portrait of Brando as Don Vito Corleone in the Godfather.

So 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!

However, 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!

I’m 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!

Paint - ****
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.

His 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!

Outfit - ****
The big 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.

So 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.

Montana 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 anyway.

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.

Now 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 on top!

Articulation - ***1/2
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 are).

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.

It 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!

Accessories - ****
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)

Any 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.

He 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.

I 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 more 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!

Fun Factor - ****
I often 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!

However, if you are a more discerning adult collector with a taste for more eclectic displays, then this guy is a virtual must have.

In 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.

Value for money - ***1/2
The 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 somewhat considerably.

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).

So 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!

Overall- ***3/4
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. 

As I said 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!

So 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 score.

Where to buy
You 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.

I 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-

BBTS- $199.99

If you are in the UK or Europe try Onesixthbruce who have the set for £129.99. 

Or hit eBay where I’m seeing prices of $180 t0 $270.

Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway
Scarface action figure by Blitzway

Did you enjoy the review? Plus 1 it!
Google +1

Scarface action figure by Blitzway

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

This page copyright 2000 - 2010, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour