12" Slave 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 slave, 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. The Slave Brent was available for pre-order in May. I received the Beneath version of Taylor, the astronaut version of Brent, the slave version of Brent around mid-July (limited edition of 400), 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 - ****
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 box is exactly identical to the “astronaut” version of Brent, except for raised letters and images, which you can see as well as feel. The logo and bomb on the front cover are “raised”. Then there are some almost see-through raised letters covering most of the bottom half of the front cover that read, “SLAVE BRENT” and “SIDESHOW EXCLUSIVE” a few times until they run out of room. These raised words also read the same thing on the sides, the top, and the back. And on the back there is a “raised” imprint of an image of Brent and Nova. This raised lettering and images makes for a very nice touch to this “exclusive” packaging. 

The figure is held in place in the plastic mold with one regular tie around the waist, five see-through plastic strips (similar to the “dental floss ties”, but thicker) around the neck, wrists and ankles, and the legs are held in place with the standard thick plastic band that is taped on the back of the mold. Two “dental floss” ties support the spiked prison guard club, one more supports the ape gun, three more supports the “neck collar”, five more supports the “dog tags”, and a standard tie helps keep the “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” stand 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 Andy Bergholtz, a leading professional in the toy-sculpting field, and is one of Sideshow's chief portrait sculptors. He has sculpted many of Sideshow figures, including characters from the Buffy series, the James Bonds films, the X-Files series, the upcoming Tony Montana “Scarface”, and many of the “1:4 scale / premium format” figures, including some of the Star Wars characters. 

This looks like the same head sculpt used for the “astronaut” 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. 

The feet, which usually fit inside boots and don’t need much work, are larger and more of a realistic size (as they don’t have to fit inside boots). They look great, with veins and separation between the big toe and the other four. The feet also seem to be made of the same material that they made his hands with. They are softer and the toes can even be bent slightly. The fingers also can bend, which can help in the holding of guns and other accessories. 

Paint - ***1/2
The painting of his head is identical to the “astronaut” 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 darker shade of skin under his eyes. Like the “Beneath” version of Taylor, “all” of his body is painted to look dirty, except for his face. The lack of shine on his body and dirt helps make him look more realistic. Even his toenails and fingernails appear to have gathered some dirt along the edges. His hands appear dirtier than the rest of his body, though from watching the film I cannot tell why this would be. I am dropping a half-point because the color of two of the accessories (the spiked prison guard club and the ape gun) is all black, and they have more colors in the film. Also, Brent’s body in the film is between very tanned to sunburned, and this one is not. I realize that the cost of the figure would probably be increased in order to paint it more like the character in the film, so I am not really complaining, nor criticizing. But “4” is perfect score, and as the saying goes, “you can’t always be perfect”, although Sideshow does manage to get there more than any company that I have bought figures from. 

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. I had some difficulty getting him to stand on his own, as his ankles seemed a bit weak. I’m assuming Sideshow doesn’t make a lot of “barefooted” figures, so the feet are larger than normal (they don’t have to fit inside of boots) and are less able to support the weight of the figure. All other joints were very tight. The figure 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 - ****
Although Sideshow’s web page for this figure states there are “boots” that come with it, I am assuming that this was a mistake, as Brent doesn’t wear any once he removes his astronaut outfit and puts on his “slave” outfit. His loincloth is very similar to that of the “slave” Taylor’s, except they have added a cut for the top half of the snap to go through before connecting to the bottom half. I’m guessing that this will help keep his loincloth from falling in case the snap comes loose accidentally. It looks very much like animal skin, roughly cut and/or torn, and also appears appropriately dirty. The rest of his “outfit” is a long stretch of bandage that Taylor tore from the mutant jailer’s rope after Brent received some stab wounds. It is wrapped securely around Brent’s torso several times and up over his left shoulder and is given a bloodstained color in many areas on the backside, which is where Brent received his wounds. They can be removed easily enough, but so make sure you remember how they are wrapped on him in case you want to place them back.

Accessories - ****
There are four cool accessories than come with this figure, plus the “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” stand. First is the spiked “prison guard club” that he used to try to kill Taylor. It is all black, unlike the movie version, but has a rough texture like the one in the movie. It also comes with a string at the end, so it can be hung on a wall, like the one in the movie. It is made of a rubber-type material, which is probably a good thing, as the “spikes” could break if they were plastic and even hurt someone if they were plastic or a harder material. 

The next cool accessory is the “ape gun” rifle, which he used on some gorillas. The rifle is like the one the Slave Taylor used, except the bolt action does not move and, the strap stops about mid-barrel (just like the one in the movie) instead of stopping near the muzzle. Be careful handling the straps, because they might come loose too easily (one of mine did). The rifle is also all black, unlike the one in the movie. There is no trigger in the guard, but you can’t really get his finger in the guard section anyway. But his hand does fit “over” the guard area pretty good. 

Third cool accessory is the “neck collar”, which is identical to the one in the Slave Taylor-Nova set. It is round and fits around Brent’s neck and snaps together. He wore this during his short time in captivity, and removed it soon after he escaped. And extending from this collar there are two additional and smaller round pieces, the smallest one connecting the collar to the second smallest one, which attaches to a stick, which is used for the apes to lead the human animals around with. The one used in the movie was more like a long strap, but this would also bring the cost up to create a different one for Brent that was used on Taylor. The round pieces have a leathery feel and look the same, and the stick handle even bends some, which should help prevent it from accidentally breaking. 

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”.

Fun Factor - ****
Well, speaking for myself, “I’m” having fun with it. I’ve got Taylor and Brent fighting each other with one of the spiked prison guard clubs (still waiting for the mutant jailer to arrive), and another set of Taylor/Brent figures having the time of their life, either shooting apes or getting shot by them just before it all ends. I wish I had these as a kid, as I watched these movies when I was, and “I” would have had the time of my life re-creating scenes from the movie by actually playing with them. But I can’t seem to get myself to play with them anymore. But it is still fun to pose them in “still life” scenes, and I’m looking forward to getting the two mutants (with removable faces!) so I can complete the whole “doomsday bomb scene”. I’ll have to use one of the two Zaius figures from the first movie (even though his outfit in this last scene is different than the two he wore in the first movie), as I see no sign they are releasing a “Beneath” version of Zaius. 

Value - ****
Sideshow is selling this web-exclusive figure for $50.00, which is pretty good considering they only made 400 and did such a great job with it. 

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 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 for 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 - 
“Not suitable for children under 14 years of age.” I am assuming it is because of the spiked prison guard club. It does cause some discomfort when the spikes are pressed into the skin, but it is not sharp enough the puncture it (I actually tried this!). As the saying goes, “you could put someone’s eye out with it”, but since that didn’t happen in the movie, just stick with the story line and everyone should be safe! Also, take care with the gun strap, as it might come off easily, like one of mine did. 

Score Recap:
Packaging - **** 
Sculpt - ***1/2 
Paint - ***1/2 
Articulation - ***1/2 
Outfit - **** 
Accessories - **** 
Fun Factor - **** 
Value - **** 
Overall - ***3/4 

Where to Buy -
I pre-ordered mine through Sideshow for $50.00, 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. “This figure is exclusively available only directly from Sideshow” is what the webpage states. 

- 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 Astronaut Brent!

Figure from the collection of Ron Hatchell.

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