24 Jack Bauer

Over the last six years, Jack Bauer has become synonymous with bad ass.  We've seen tough, hardened, no nonsense characters on television shows before, but none quite like Jack.  And while some seasons have been better than others, the writers, directors, actors and producers have found magic in the unusual format.

People have been clamoring for figures based on Jack's character for years now.  Kim Bauer...not so much.  So when Mcfarlane Toys picked up the license for 6" scaled figures, it was no real surprise that the line would focus on Jack.

The first figure has hit shelves, and is a 'deluxe' version.  The deluxe part comes from the display base that's included, making it more of a diorama than simply an action figure.

The second version of Jack should be hitting before the end of the year, and has him kicking in a door.  This first Jack is retailing for around $20 - ??? depending on the retailer, while the second series figure (with less detailed base) is more in line with the $12 - $15 price range.

Packaging - ***
Because of the large display base, this guy comes in a box rather than a clamshell.   The box will be easy to store for MOCers, but because he isn't holding the gun in the package, it doesn't really show off the figure particularly well.  This is one absolutely you have to open up to enjoy.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Jack turned out MUCH better in the final product than I was expecting from the prototype photos.

In person, this really does look just like Jack.  There's still a couple minor nits, but you don't have to worry about someone looking at him in your cube and saying "Who's that?".

They really nailed the eyes, nose and mouth.  He has a very unique shape to his nose and lips, and they managed to capture that here.  They also did a terrific job with the shape of the lower jaw, and the hair sculpt works great.

I have a minor issue with the forehead, which is a smidge too big.  It's just a little too tall for Jack - and not because it makes him look like he has a receding hair line (which he does), but because it looks like he has a tall head.

The other minor quibble is in how the head, eyeline and hands all line up.  Jack is raising his gun, and his eyeline is set up to be sighting it in a general way.  That means his head is tilted forward slightly, and that makes sense, but it's tilted just a bit farther than I'd like.  The eyes appear to be looking a bit too far downward (partly due to the paint), and even with the arms raised fairly high, he still appears to be looking down a bit too much.  Had the head been tilted back just the tiniest bit more, it would have been perfect.

My last whine is on the aging of the sculpt.  He's got some pretty serious crow's feet going on here, and is aged a bit more than he is on the show.  In photos it's more apparent than in person, since close ups magnify things beyond your own eye's ability to see, but it's still there.

But you'll notice that this sculpt still got high marks, even with these couple complaints.  That's because that these are very minor issues, and really don't effect the overall quality of the work.

Mcfarlane sculpts are often noted for their detail and realism, and I thought I'd point out one of those little things that's done here that might not get noticed, but which is an excellent example.  They could have easily sculpted the body armor tight to his torso, and it wouldn't have been noticed as a defect.  When you looked at it, it might not quite seem as realistic overall, but just what was off would have been difficult to say.

But instead, the armor is sculpted so that it's sticking out on his back, away from his shoulders that are hunched inward, holding the gun out in front of his body.  That's exactly how it would look in reality, and while your conscious mind might not notice it, it's these kind of small details that will give you that overall perception of realism.

Paint - ***1/2
Mcfarlane paint work is always top notch, and it's not so much the general quality here that I have some minor issues with as the aesthetics.  In other words, your mileage may greatly vary.

There's not a lot of small detail here on the body or accessories, since he wears a pretty drab outfit.  But even then they've found a way to vary the colors and use techniques like dry brushing to make the various pieces of clothing distinct and realistic.

The hairs a tad dark, but the highlights look good, and the paint work on the eyes, eyebrows and lips is extremely clean and neat.  The eyes are pointed down a bit more than I'd like (see above), but it's fairly minor.

My biggest issue is with the skin tone, which looks somewhat yellowish to me - or simply unrealistic in appearance.  It's not that it doesn't fit Jack as much as it doesn't look like anyone's real skin tone, and there's a bit of a gloppyiness to the color on the hands.

Still, these are minor points, and I suspect most buyers will be quite pleased.

Articulation - **
Jack has a cut neck, cut wrists, cut waist and cut shoulders.  That's actually more than I expected.

While you aren't going to be able to pose him in any way other than the single sculpted pose, these particular cut joints will allow you to get that pose exactly right.  It also means that the man-purse is removable if you're so inclined.

Accessories - ***
Jack is actually pretty well outfitted here for what amounts to a plastic statue.

He has the aforementioned bag and gun, both of which are removable.  You can even put the gun in the holster if you feel the inclination, although he's going to look a little silly with his hands out and no weapon.

The bag is removable, and made from a very soft rubber.  The sculpt is excellent, and looks extremely realistic.  It contours to his body perfectly, just as if it were made from material.

He also comes with his diorama base.  I'm a bit disappointed here, partly because we were teased with the more intricate early prototype version, and partly because that even had we not seen that one, there's still a couple issues.

He's standing at the door of a gated area in a warehouse.  The chain link fence on either side looks terrific, and is relatively sturdy.  It fits in the base properly, and you don't have to force it or risk breaking it just to assemble things.

There's a couple loose wooden crates which look good stacked off to the side.  Different sizes would have been nice of course, but at least we get a couple.

On the front is the trademark clock, at its final second.  It's done cleanly, and makes for a reasonable name plate - not too obvious, not too obtrusive.

My only real issues are with the cardboard backdrop.  This one fits inside a slot in the back, with no attachment to the fence on the right side.  That means it leans back naturally from the base, looking a little odd.  I'm betting you use one of the stray pieces of tape from the packaging to hold this in place at the top.

My biggest issue though is with the perspective in the photo.  Maybe it's because the color of the floor in the photo and the color of the diorama floor don't quite match...maybe it's due to the inclusion of the hanging lamp in the photo, which really requires the 'scene' to be much further behind Jack for it to hang so low...whatever the case, the backdrop just doesn't seem to fit with the front section of the diorama in terms of physical perspective.   Either the objects in the photo needed to be much larger (appearing to be closer), or the amount of space at the bottom of the photo implying the amount of floor between Jack and these objects needed to be greater.

Fortunately, it's not a huge problem, but it does nag me, since the entire figure/diorama could have been fantastic, but misses just slightly.

Fun Factor - **
If you're looking for a Jack Bauer for the kids to play with, this ain't it.  If you're looking for something to put in the cube at work, look no further.

Value - **1/2
You can get this 'deluxe' version for around $16 at some online stores, and that's a reasonably average price considering the complexity of the diorama.  But paying $20 or more drops another half star to a star off this category.

Things to Watch Out For - 
While the fence is pretty sturdy, don't put too much pressure outward on the link.  It can pop loose from the pipe, although it's easy enough to put back.

Overall - ***1/2
I'm very happy with the sculpt on this Jack, and from what we've seen coming from various other companies, I don't think we'll see a better version any time soon.  Unfortunately, that includes the second version from Mcfarlane, who is in that silly 'kicking in a door pose' that I've ragged on before.

I'm hoping we see more of Jack though in other poses and other outfits from McToys, since there are so many excellent possibilities.  Scene specific moments, much like the Lost figures, have some real potential in this line, and could allow for some other characters to be included in an interesting way.

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

Where to Buy -
I haven't seen these at a brick and mortar retailer yet, but online options include the following sponsors:

- Amazing Toyz has him at just $16.

- CornerStoreComics also has him at just $16.

- Time and Space Toys has him in for $20.

- Clark Toys also has him in at $20.

- Circle Red has him in stock too, also at $20.

- for the UK readers, Forbidden Planet has him in at $14 GBP.

Related Links -
Nothing yet, but with all the planned Bauer merchandise for later this year, I'm sure that's going to be changing. 

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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