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Hot Toys Rocky III

   

"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 Parker checks in with another terrific Hot Toys review, this time looking at the Italian Stallion version from Rocky III.

A big thank you to Michael, now back in August of last year he reviewed the first Rocky figure along with Drago from Rocky IV. They were, and indeed are two very nice figures, and with Stalone's re-emergence in the last couple of years, interest in both Rambo and Rocky is as fanatical now as it was at anytime, perhaps more so in these mass-media, product driven times!

Now I admit, I’m not the biggest Rocky fan on the planet but I also figured I ought to have at least one in my collection, and seeing how much the sculpt had improved on this version (coupled with his ‘super-fly’ yellow boxing outfit) was enough to tip me over the edge. 

Packaging: ***1/4
Compared to a lot of the Movie Masterpiece Series (MMS) this has a lot less frills, gone is the metallic sleeve, so it’s your basic flap fronted, five panel box. Inside he’s in a vac formed black plastic tray held down by a rather excessive six twisties, along side his accessories and stand. So it’s all ‘reasonably’ collector friendly, but lacks a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’.

That said, the soft focus pic of the Rockster on the inside flap is so fey and camp its worth the extra star!














Sculpt: ****
The belt, gloves and boots are reused from the previous figures, but that’s no surprise, as if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and these are all sculpted beautifully.

But what we all care about most here is the head, it’s another outstanding sculpt of Stalone from Yulli; she really does get better at him with each and every release. She’s captured his features and expression virtually faultlessly, and there’s some fantastic detail work on the hair as well.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I've learned that this was not Yulli's work, but rather the work of Kang, another excellent sculptor for Hot Toys. Back to Jeff...

Perfect doleful eyes enhanced by some sweet paint apps and the general tightness of detail seems stronger than on the first Rocky, I especially think the work on his nose seems closer to Stalone, both front on and in profile. My only slight misgiving is I feel the head could be a few percent bigger, I haven’t heard anyone else raise this concern so maybe I’m in the minority… wouldn’t be the first time! 

But that doesn’t infringe on the quality of this sculpt and he will stand perfectly next to my First Blood- Rambo in his M65 jacket and the recent Rambo bust.

Paint: ****
This is one area where he seems head and shoulders above the first version. Now that old one had some pretty sweet painting done on it, but this version seems much stronger and far more life-like and subtle, especially round the eyes. HT seem to have perfected eye painting at this scale with their last few human releases. Always crisp, with just the right amount of gloss to catch the light without needing to revert to a doll dot, and so far I’ve never got a HT figure with a 1000 yard stare or Marty Feldman eyes. The mouth is painted cleanly and has just the right amount of colour differentiation without looking like he’s just left the Max Factor counter at Macey’s. The general skin tone is also very smooth and has a hint of 5 0’clock shadow without slipping into Fred Flintstone territory.

His accessories are all painted crisply as well with no slop at all and the title belt has a nice metallic gold finish that sparkles like it’s freshly polished. All faultless, no complaints, just lots of praise! 

Articulation: ***
If you already own a HT muscle body you know what to expect. They’re no where near as pose-able as the True-Type, but that’s outweighed against the need for these figures to look as aesthetically pleasing as possible with their clothes off, and in the case of Rocky there is a lot of flesh on show. You also get a sheet of instructions telling you the limitations of the basic figure, so you don’t try to push it too far. I recommend you read this and stick to it, these are not intended as toys.

So in ‘brief’ish’ you can raise the arms up away from the body by almost 90 degrees like wise the elbows and knees bend about this far comfortably, the arms can also move up forwards from the shoulder by about 80 degrees. The hips move pretty freely but he is in effect wearing a pair of skin coloured rubber tights to give the effect of no joints. These work well for your general posing, but when you try any deep stances, with the knees bent too far, they can ruck up a little behind the knee joints, which kind of spoils the illusion. 

However I found that the rubber used is so thick on the trunk and torso, that I didn’t have any such problems here. Articulation at the wrists and ankles is very restricted as the boots are pretty solid and the gloves and bound hands have a cuff that covers the joint making them pretty immobile. So nowhere near as poseable as most high end figures, but the aesthetic is so good for a partially dressed character that you’ll cut them a lot of slack. Now where are those Gladiator and 300 figures Hot Toys?

Accessories: ***1/4
Rocky comes with all he could need in the ring, he comes with the bound/taped hands attached in the box, then we get his yellow boxing gloves, a Stars ‘n’ Stripes flag, his title belt and a stand, I note that in the original specifications it said he’d come with a towel, but no mention of the flag, mine however came with just the flag, so I contacted my seller and found out he should have a towel and one is now in the post, winging it’s way from Hong Kong. 

I generally don’t like to use stands, but on this occasion I have. Rocky’s feet are a tad undersized as Michael mentioned in his review, and the extra bulk of the muscle body mean that if you’re leaving this guy on the shelf for any period of time the stand might be very handy indeed. The gloves are very nicely sculpted with some expertly observed work on the detail of the laces. This is enhanced by a nice clean paintjob, and the accurate ‘*ROCKY* BALBOA’ name patches applied. The flag comes polly-bagged with the articulation instructions to the rear of the package, the flag is only printed one side but is a nice addition and works well when wrapped round him. The title belt is a great piece of work and looks like a lot of work has gone into it, there’s the big gold crest on the front then four smaller framed pictures are mounted either side showing Drago, Clubber, Creed and Rocky himself, it has two buckled straps that do up at the back, fiddly but satisfying! Judging by the pics in Michael’s review it looks like this is exactly the same as the last one, but still a very nice accessory. Lastly there’s the stand, it’s the same configuration as all the other HT stands and has the movie logo and a ‘ROCKY’ nameplate, he can stand unaided, but as I said, on this occasion I shall be using mine.

Outfit: ***1/2
He comes with shorts, socks (well, sock tops, as he has no feet, but pegs that fit into pre-formed cups in the boots), boots, boxing gloves (as an alternative to the taped fisted hands), title belt and his robe. I went over a few of these items above, as they kind of straddle two camps. All the clothing is well tailored and fits the figure well, but beware of the shorts and robe, I’ve had no problems with mine and I fully intend not to. But take care when handling as they are the kind of silky/satiny material that is likely to pull and snag if you haven’t had a decent manicure recently, you know what I mean!

The shorts are yellow with a black elasticated waistband and black side stripes; they also have ‘Rocky’ printed on the left leg. The hooded robe is a base yellow with contrasting black collar, cuffs and belt, there is no ‘Rocky’ printed on the left chest but they’ve done a great job on the big ‘Italian Stallion’ patch covering his back, so all in all a relatively simple outfit by HT standards but still expertly executed.

Fun factor- ***
Although he has the limited articulation we’ve come to expect from the muscle body, it doesn’t bother me too much, as my figure will just be posed in a general sparing pose and it’s more than capable of that. He’s a very solid figure though and if he were ever end up as a kid’s plaything I think he’d stand up reasonably well. But to your serious Rocky fans and collectors, and lets face it, that’s who it’s aimed at, he’s like manna from heaven, if you consider yourself in this category, I figure you’d give it top marks!

Value: ***
Side show were asking $124.99 so he’s gone up $25 since the first version, now admittedly he has an improved sculpt, but it’s essentially the same amount of kit in the box. So a 25% hike in price seems a little steep. But in the present economic climate with oil prices spiraling on a daily basis, and plastic being made from the by products of fossil fuel processing, alongside needing to be road cargoed to shipping ports then loaded into containers and then shipped half way round the world, perhaps it’s no great surprise, still hurts the wallet though.

Overall: ***1/2
I like this figure a lot, the main reason for marking down are price and his (IMHO) slightly undersized head, but I wanted a Rocky figure to stand alongside Rambo and I’m glad I waited for this one. I almost gave him just 3 stars but he’s just too good for that.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/4
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***
Accessories: ***1/4
Outfit: ***1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
SST have sold out of this figure with it priced at $124.99, it might be worth trying to get on the wait list or you can try Michaels sponsors below-

Dark Shadow- was $112.50 in stock

Or if you are in the UK try-

Forbidden Planet 99.99 pre order

Apart from these two It’s time to hit eBay where I’ve seen plenty for between $109.00 to $139.00 with plenty of bits being parted out as well.  You can search using the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.com.

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR TONS MORE PHOTOS!


Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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