Ertl Bass Fisherman

Ertl has produced all kinds of die cast vehicles for many, many years now.  But their foray into action figures has been relatively limited.  A couple years ago they produced the Top Cop and Top Jake figures, and although they were good figures, they were not a huge hit.

This time around they've produced a series of six figures in the Sportsman series.  These figures include a duck hunter, bow hunter, a couple different fishermen, and even a couple licensed figures that you'll recognize if you're a regular watcher of the fishing channel.

This review is for the Large Mouth Bass fishermen.  I also picked up the duck hunter, and I may review him at a later date.

Packaging - ***
Nothing exciting here, but serviceable.  It's sturdy, and the figure is clearly in view along with all the accessories.

Unfortunately, there isn't much in terms of text or graphics on the package.  The figure is also intended for kids 8 and older - I have no idea.

Sculpting - ***
The head sculpt is a nice, generic, average looking guy.  Nothing weird, and he doesn't suffer from any of the problems that we've seen with the heads from 21st Century or Dragon at times.  No zombie look, no daffy expression, just a regular guy. 

The hand sculpts are designed to hold the accessories, and work well.

Paint Ops - **1/2
The majority of the paint ops on this guy are good.  The big reason I took off points was that he suffers from Star Trek Lips.  Similar to many of the 9" and 12" Star Trek figures, he has that odd lip color that makes it look like his choice of underwear isn't limited to boxers or briefs.

The eyes are well done though, as is the hair color.

Articulation - ***1/2
The Ertl body is quite good, having all those double joints and extra articulation that you expect these days.  The body is light weight, but I haven't had any trouble with loose joints.

The figure held lots of poses easily, although I'm sure part of that is due to the great boots he's wearing.

While I said he has all the double joints, that's a bit of a misconception.  He has the standard double jointed elbows, along with both cut joints and standard joints at the wrists to give him tons of arm and wrist articulation, but he doesn't have double jointed knees.  Instead, his thighs have been carved out to allow the calves to fold all the way up against them with the single joint.  This accomplishes much of the same thing as the double joints.

The only real oddity here is the ankles.  The unusual design on the foot articulation means he really has no heel.  The foot goes in and out of boots far easier than standard feet, but he'll never stand barefoot.

Accessories - ***1/2
There's plenty here, which is always a great sign.  Our Bass man has a bass of course, along with a rod/reel, tackle box, folding chair, cooler, fillet knife and sheath, net, and stringer.

The cooler and tackle box are particularly nice, and the tackle box even has metal closures just like the real thing.  When you open it, the trays fold out just like you'd expect.  All you need is a few custom made lures!

The rod and reel are very basic, with almost no detail.  I was a little disappointed with them - there's not even any paint work on the entire rig.  The fillet knife and sheath look good, but the knife is made of too soft of material.  And the folding chair works great, although it makes more sense for an ice fisherman.

The only serious problem with the accessories is in the bass and stringer.  The bass actually looks great, with great paint details and sculpting.  But the 'stringer' is nothing more than a piece of string, and the bass has no holes in his mouth or gills to be able to put him on it.  It really is a worthless accessory.

Uniform - ***
I'm counting the boots, hat, vest, shirt and pants as the uniform here.  And unfortunately, they aren't quite as nice as the accessories.

Don't get me wrong - they aren't bad, just not as good as I'd hoped.  The boots are the best piece, with a great sculpt and nice paint work.

The jeans look like a pair of 'comfort' fits, and he doesn't have the hips to wear them.  The shirt and fishing vest are pretty good, except for one glaring flaw.

All of these things - pants, shirt, vest - use velcro for closures, rather than snaps.  The velcro on the vest is understandable, since in reality velcro is often used.  But the cuffs of the sleeves, the jeans, the shirt front...these should have used snaps.

To top it off, there's the cap.  It's completely made of cloth, and is a standard ball cap.  It fits well, but the brim is simply material, with no cardboard liner, so it's not stiff.  Therefore you can't really get it to look right on his head, unless you want him to look like Goober.

Value - ***1/2
I paid about eighteen bucks for this guy, and that's a darn good price.  Compare this to the average twenty dollar Star Wars 12" figure, or one of the awful N2 12" figures, and you can see how much better bang for your buck is really available.

Overall - ***1/2
Ertl has done a nice job here, nice enough that I've picked up the Duck Hunter and plan on also getting the Bow Hunter.  The accessories are nice, and the body and sculpting are good.  For the price you really can't beat it.

Where to Buy:
I highly recommend Evers Toy store.  They normally deal in die cast cars, farm toys, etc, but they are also carrying the various 1/6th and 1/18th scale figures for great prices. Look under Banks and Collectibles in the Ertl section.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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