12" Astronaut Brent
Beneath the Planet of the Apes

Ron Hatchell is back tonight with not one but two excellent reviews of the Brent figures from Sideshow Toys.  Tell us all about the astronaut, Ron!

I was excited when Sideshow announced the first of their “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” line (based on the 1970 film) in February. I pre-ordered each one as it was available and have been waiting with a very controlled excitement for their arrival since then. I received the Beneath version of Taylor, the astronaut version of Brent, the slave version of Brent around mid-July, and in early August I received General Ursus and the San Diego Comic Con Exclusive Vision Lawgiver Statue (100 made). That leaves the two mutants (the leader and the jailer) to complete the announced “Beneath” line. 

It is my understanding that if we want the Planet of the Apes line to continue, we need to e-mail Sideshow and let know. Sideshow has acquired licenses for all five “Planet of the Apes” movies and the TV series, but will be deciding which characters to make based upon what they feel is enough demand from the buyers. Sideshow handles requests for future wants through their regular customer service forum. So, please, let them know which characters you want by visiting their website and selecting the CONTACT US link on the lower left side of the page. Then select the [Customer Service Form] link, which is also used for “General inquiries”. And then select the “Other” option. They regularly tally results for these requests and pass them on to the correct department. 

Packaging - ***1/2
The “Beneath” line uses an over-all color that seems to match the same movie in the 5-DVD box set (teal?). Each box released so far has on the front cover the logo, images from the movie, the “alpha-omega” bomb, and an actual image of that particular figure. The image of the figure’s head is also on the top and both sides. The back of the box tells Brent’s story from the movie. The inside flap shows five scenes from the movie and some written text that tells a general story of the movie. The main differences between the boxes are the images of the actual figure that is in the box, their name, and the story of that particular character on the inside of the front flap. The box is exactly identical to the “slave” version of Brent, except without the raised letters and images. 

The figure is held in place in the plastic mold with one regular tie around the waist, three see-through plastic strips (similar to the “dental floss ties”, but thicker) around the neck and lower arms, and there are two standard thick plastic bands that support the legs and torso that are taped on the back of the mold. One “dental floss” tie supports a silver liquid container and six more supports the “dog tags”, and a standard tie helps keep the “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” stand in place. The other two accessories are supported by the mold without ties, and are held firmly in place. 

It must be tough for Sideshow to try to please everyone, but they keep trying. The new see-through ties are a bit tougher to untie than the normal thick ones. However, if you just want to display them and cut through the thin ones, you can get remove everything in record time. 

Sculpting - ***1/2
The artists for this James Franciscus / Brent is Mat Falls, who is the principle sculptor and a co-founder of Sideshow Collectibles. His Sideshow portfolio includes 250 Sideshow items, and has had the honor of doing most of the Planet/Beneath line (except for General Ursus and one Brent). 

This looks like the same head sculpt used for the “slave” version of Brent. He has plenty of lines on his forehead, crow’s-feet, and other detailed definition. His eyes are looking to the left. The hair has much more detail than Taylor’s does. His head is the solid PVC type, and not the hollow rotocast that was used for Taylor. The rest of the body seems identical to the astronaut Taylor. The fingers can bend, which can help in the holding of accessories, and the hands show lots of veins. Also, Brent’s left hand is more “closed” than the others are. This helps him hold one of the accessories better, but not as well with the others. 

Paint - ****
The painting of his head is identical to the “slave” version of Brent. His hair is dark brown, with many darker lines skillfully painted for realism. His eyes are light blue, with a somewhat bloodshot appearance. He also has a somewhat darker shade of skin under his eyes. James has more of a tan than Taylor does, and his hands and face reflect this. 

Articulation - ***1/2
With over 30 points of articulation, his head can turn completely around and move up and down about a quarter of an inch either way. There is a full, realistic range of motion on the shoulders, upper arms, elbows, forearms, wrists, waist, hips, top of his thighs, knees, lower legs, and ankles. All the joints were very tight. The figures comes with a teal-colored logo "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" stand to help support him. I’m dropping a half-point because of the limited motion of the figure’s neck. This hinders his ability to lower his head much as he should be able to. If you want the character to look down, he has to bend at his waist. Sideshow’s figures’ articulation is always some of the very best available, and one of the many features that they stand out on. It is one of the top two reasons I continue to buy their action figures. 

Outfit - ***1/2
His outfit looks identical to the astronaut Taylor’s outfit, and it also has a “tank top”. And, of course, the name patch says, “BRENT”. The tank top is more of a T-shirt type quality, instead of the netted material on the Forbidden Zones Taylor’s tank top. Having this additional piece is very important, as Brent removed his tunic soon after he climbed out of the spacecraft near the beginning of the movie. So, we saw him in his tank top until much later on when he replaced his outfit with some animal skins provided by Zira. His suit is also more like the astronaut’s version of Taylor in that it is perfectly clean, whereas this was never the case in the film. Brent’s space suit was dirty from the beginning, but this is a minor issue. The suit looks excellent and very well tailored. It has lots of detail, including the nametag, “ANSA” patch, five areas that look like pockets, plenty of snaps, and the American flag stitched into his left shoulder (which is a bit too thick and stands out). The two leg pockets were higher up near his knees in the film, but these are lower and to the outer side of the pant legs. There is a buckle at the neck, three snaps going down to his waist, and two more snaps at the bottom, and one snap for his pants. And excellent job on the spacesuit, but it was not close enough to the version in the movie to warrant four stars. 

Accessories - ****
Sideshow’s website states, “Other accessories being announced at a later date”, but since they don’t update their website very well, you can find out what they are here. There are four cool accessories than come with this figure, plus the “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” stand. Brent spent most of his time in the film in a slave outfit with dog tags that he either hung around his neck or stuffed in his lower animal skins, so he gets his dog tags. These are identical to the “slave” version of Brent and Taylor’s tags (but with Brent’s name on it, of course). It has a long round chain with one tag, and a shorter chain attached to the longer one that also has a tag. Both read “BRENT A., next line is a long number, and I think the third line says, “ANSA”. 

The other three cool accessories are used when he makes his first appearance near the beginning of the film, and Sideshow made them for us. This is a very critical part of the film, as his “Skipper” is not in good shape, which means Brent has to make is on his own, which of course changes to course of his actions. These other three accessories are: (1) An oxygen mask that he uses to help Skipper breathe. This has exact same shape as the film version and almost the same colors. The face piece is even made of a bendable material, so that is a nice extra touch. (2) A silver shovel, that also looks identical to the film version. This was used for the Skipper, also. The handle pivots easily back and forth from the actual digging part of the shovel. This pivoting wasn’t even part of the movie, but a nice extra touch. (3) A metal looking (made of plastic) tube for liquid (water?). It looks like the film version (without what looks like a round ring at the top of it), and even has the plastic container part that slides out the bottom of the tube. It was all of the accessories he used in the film, and Sideshow went an extra mile to make these better than some would expect. 

Fun Factor - ****
Although he removes his tunic almost right away, he still wears the rest of his outfit for awhile as he hangs out with Nova and meets Zira and Cornelius. So, you can actually do more with him than Taylor’s astronaut, who never came in contact with anyone while in his outfit, other than the other astronauts. And like many of Sideshow 12” line, you can always do more with the figure than what he/her did in the film. If you enjoy setting up dioramas, and posing them, they are fun. 

Value - ***
Sideshow is selling this for $45.00. I don’t know how many they have made, as they are not very good at updating their web pages, and it is still listed as “TBD” (to be determined). As collectors, many of us really want to know how many of an item is actually made. Sideshow knows this, but has a hard time keeping us updated with this information. They have plenty of figures that have been SOLD OUT for a long time that are still listed as “TBD”. If I knew how to work on web pages, I would volunteer my time to Sideshow and update their pages for them. So, I don’t know how many they made, so I don’t know how “rare” they are (which would help determine the value somewhat), so I’ll drop a point. It cost $5.00 more than your average Sideshow figure, and I’m not sure what else to go on. 

If interest in this line declines, hopefully they can continue making limited numbers for the few of that want these bad enough to pay the amount needed to keep the line going. It does seem like a lot of money for some collectors, but we are not even sure at this point if there is enough interested buyers to support the rest of the movies, and TV series. So, if keeping them at a low production run and charging more is the only way to keep them going for us who really want them, I’m willing to pay the extra $10.00 and so for them. I mean (for example), an extra $10.00 per figure, if they create an additional ten figures, is only an additional $100.00, which I would gladly pay to get the rest of the Planet of the Apes figures I want. 

Overall - ***1/4
Outstanding in almost all aspects. I’m not sure if they are going to continue the “Planet of the Apes film/T.V. series” line, but I am very happy we are getting all of the major characters in the second movie. Brent was the main character throughout the entire film, and I felt he carried it very well, and held his own in scenes with Charlton Heston. The character of Brent allowed fans to experience more of the Planet of the Apes, help Nova find Taylor so they could be together one last time, and was instrumental in helping Taylor escape from his prison cell, which of course helped changed the fate of the entire planet. 

According to the, James passed away in July of 1991 from emphysema. He acted in many T.V. shows from 1957 to 1972, was a film writer, producer, and acted in more than 40 films from 1957 to 1985. 

Things to Watch Out For - 
The only things I can think of is to be careful that the plastic container doesn’t fall out of the tube and get lost and damaged. Also, just be careful when pivoting the handle of the shovel (just in case). 

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

Where to Buy -
I pre-ordered mine through Sideshow for $45.00, but they don’t update their website very well, and they still show this in a “pre-order” status for the US and Non-Europe. I received mine around July 15. I am not sure what is really happening concerning the current EUR status. 

- Alter Ego Comics has Astronaut Brent for just $31.50.

- Sideshow has both Astronaut Brent and Slave Brent still available.

Related Links - 
I've reviewed a number of the 12" POTA stuff:

- there's the Ape Marauder and Ape Enforcer.

- Dr. Zauis, both regular and exclusive.

- and of course, Cornelius and Zira.

- and there's Ron's other guest review of the Slave Brent!

Figure from the collection of Ron Hatchell.

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