Michael Jackson - Beat It
Hot Toys 10th Anniversary
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
|I'm a bit behind - okay, not a
bit but a lot - on my guest reviews. Jeff sent over this review awhile
ago, quite awhile ago, but better late than never! I covered this same figure here, but
now you can get Jeff's thoughts on this version of the King of Pop -
take it away, Jeff!
Just over six months ago Hot Toys celebrated their 10th year
anniversary in style by holding a huge expo to showcase the companies’
achievements over the past decade. At the show they exhibited every
figure they have produced to date (well, baring a few early “ahem”
bootlegs and military ones) and also produced a limited run of 4
figures that were to be exclusives to the event in Tokyo. There were
also a limited amount being made available on a first come first served
basis from their showcase store (Toy Hunters) in Hong Kong, but at the
time… that was it!
Of course many collectors in Europe and the
Americas fretted that the exclusive nature of the release would lead to
mucho disappointmento. And indeed it inevitably did, with the Demon
Batman and Scarecrow set (reviewed here) proving to be by far and away the most in demand and popular!
after that initial scrum, and now that the dust has settled somewhat,
Sideshow did manage to secure a few to sell through their site.
Obviously the Batman Begins set sold out rather quickly, but this
Michael Jackson ‘Beat It’ version is still available here, as indeed is the ‘cult’ Friend figure from 20th Century Boys here.
|Both of these have already been reviewed already with Michael covering the MJ figure here and the Friend figure reviewed by myself here.
as I had already given my thoughts on the first two sets, I figured it
was only polite to round out the trilogy (well, that and the fact I had
a few requests to do it on FB and various forums).
So with the figure being in stock again, if you did miss out in that first frenzy, now might be the time the act!
All of the 10th Anniversary figures came in stunning packaging, and
this obviously continues the theme. We get a leather effect hardboard
slipcase with an embossed logo and real metal badge. Inside the there
is a bright red box with an image of MJ on the front. The top opens
like a book cover to show the figure completely surrounded in foam,
alongside his accessories, much like the DX and M-Icon range.
The whole thing is completely collector friendly and very luxurious, the very top end of high end.
Sculpting - ****
relationship with the Michael Jackson estate seems to be going strong,
with this their fourth release of the late troubled star, and a fifth
one based on ‘Smooth Criminal’ is supposedly still under development.
I’m thinking magnetic shoes and a metal plate for the famous lean are proving tricky to get right ;)
is however one of, if not the strongest MJ portrait to date from the
company, but with Yulli on sculpting duties you know you’re in safe
hands. This is her first go at the ‘King of Pop’, as Inae Kang and Lee
So Young executed the previous portraits respectively.
gone for a relatively neutral expression but one that does have a look
of focused concentration, making it ideal for any number of dance moves
or general poses. The detailing of the skin texturization and the
complex hairstyle are all executed with a tight degree of detail, but
as we have been spoilt for so long we kind of expect that as a matter
of course these days. However those key features aren’t worth jack if
the likeness isn’t there, and as hard as Jackson’s constantly changing
face seems to be to capture well, Yulli has done a great job of
bringing him back to life here.
class is presented here in how to do a top-notch factory paint app. The
African American flesh tones are rich deep and warm, showing the usual
deft touches and subtle graduations as it passes over areas of darker
and paler skin. The eyebrows and light indication of 5 o’clock shadow
are as well applied as ever and the classic glossy ‘JC Hong’ eyes have
lost none of their sparkle. The hair is painted a flat black colour but
as I seem to say ‘ad nauseam’ when it is handled this way, the quality
of the sculpt does all the work in catching light and creating shadows
to give it a feeling of layered depth. The hands are tonally perfect to
match the body and hands, and even have a slightly lighter palm and
underside to the fingers, and that’s the kind of observation that
separates the men from the boys.
There really is nothing to say
negatively about this paint app, I just wish all manufacturers could
attain this level of realistic perfection when required by the subject
matter or style.
Michael Jackson was an entertainer from the age of six, living a life
where he was performing to huge audiences while most of us would have
still been learning to tie our shoe-laces. He lived in a world so very
far removed from everyday reality that it is of little surprise he
turned out to be… well, a little eccentric to say the least!
part of the way he expressed his ‘otherness’ was through the clothes
and outfits he chose to wear both in everyday life and when performing…
but it is arguable he never actually stopped performing, hence why he
was always dressed in such over the top outfits. I hope he had moments
slobbing out on the couch at home wearing sweatpants and a stained
T-shirt while slurping on a pot-noodle… but somehow I doubt it!
basically he spent his life wearing outlandish clothes that were
carefully fabricated for him by a succession of designers and stylists,
with fashion consultant Faye Poliakin conceiving the specific look he
sported in the ‘Beat It’ video. The video viewable here
told a ‘West Side Storyesque’ tale of rival gangs having a good
ol’fashioned face-off, but using the medium of music and contemporary
dance Michael manages to unite the waring factions into a carefully
coreographed finale. OK, I admit it hasn’t aged well, and viewed now it
is campier than Elton John at a tent convention, but hey it was 1984!
The actual jacket can be seen in detail as it was well documented for a charity auction here, so by scrutinising both the video above, the photos in that link and the reference shots I put together here
you can see just what a great job Pun Lo and Tam (the 1/6th tailors)
did for Hot Toys in recreating it at this diminutive scale.
they are not working, it has every tiny zipped pocket (including the
strangely placed ones on the rear) all replicated and positioned
perfectly. The T-shirt has become something of an enigma for Jackson
enthusiasts over the years, you can now get copies… but ‘copies’ is the
word, they could never be called replicas. You can see a few on this
website here, but the ‘real thing’ was actually far more detailed than those available there, and was actually sleeveless as can be seen here.
So again by scrutinising these photos you can see that the details have
been replicated very closely. Perhaps the block print behind the
cherubs could do with being a tad pinker, but its still a fantastically
researched and fabricated little garment.
the jacket and T-shirt right, the loafers, socks, pants and belts must
have been a walk in the park. But still the details are note perfect.
The skinny tight black jeans are worn at his traditional half-mast so
as to give a large flash of his bright white socks (Jackson’s tribute
to Fred Astaire’s spats) and also to ensure the eye follows his foot
movements when performing on stage. Around his waist he has a leather
effect belt and a chain… just so you don’t forget he is ‘bad’.
of the important factors when putting together an out fit for Jackson,
(be it in the real world or in 1/6th scale) always had to be his ease
of movement. He had to be comfortable and able to throw some shapes
with as little restriction as possible. Lets face it he was kind of as
famous for his dancing as anything else. And so I’m glad to report this
outfit hardly impacts on the base True-Type at all, and with a little
work and futzing you should be able to achieve pretty much any pose you
want to recreate.
Hot Toys have tackled more complex outfits in
the past, but they have also done far simpler ones. Hence I am scoring
purely on the ability to replicate the video seen outfit here… so for
me the only very slight negative is the colour of the block print on
the T… but I still feel that this much love and research deserve a full
All the figures of Jackson so far have been designed around the slim African-American True-Type, as seen here.
So we all know the score in terms of articulation, and if you don’t you
can pretty much find out what you need to know in my old breakdown of
the joints here. And even though that
spec is for the regular version, in terms of engineering it’s pretty
much the same for the slim version utilized on Jackson. The only major
difference is the ankles; these have different engineering, which can
be seen here. So ultimately I have no problems here, it’s a joy to pose and the True-Type is still a pleasure to do business with!
This is the one area that this figure is found more than a little
lacking. He comes with a great selection of hands, but so have all the
other Michael Jackson figures so far, and these are all re-used poses
and gestures from the previous sets. The Thriller version had 11
different hands where as this one comes in with 10. A good selection,
there’s no two ways about it, but when they are the only usable
accessories (I’m a no stand man) then it seems a little under-equipped.
As I just alluded there is also the classic black figure stand for
those that like to use them. It’s of the usual spec, with the name and
the ‘Beat it’ logo on the base, but sadly mine will be staying in its
comfy foam surround.
really not that sure what else he could have come with, but a simple
re-use of the mic and stand that came with the first Billie Jean
version would have added just a little more to the value for me, not
video accurate perhaps, but a nice extra. Or perhaps the simple white
T-shirt with the piano keyboard design he wears at the beginning of the
video. Either way, what you see is what you get!
Factor - ***1/2
one for the true devotees of Michael Jackson, of which I consider
myself more of a passing fan rather than a hardcore follower. I’m
certainly more into his early catalogue, as I have virtually no
interest in his later work. Lets face it, as he got stranger his music
got more convoluted and introspective… well, to my ears anyway!
to the multitudinous legion of rabid Jackson fans out there, this is a
must have shining beacon of MJ goodness, and one that a price tag of
$225 and distinct lack of extras will probably matter diddly-sqat to!
for money - ***
This was intended as a very limited edition exclusive for the Tokyo
event, and at the event it had an official RRP of JP¥ 18,000, which
worked out as about US $220. However that price shot up to any where
between $250 to $400 on the grey market as soon as the scalpers got
their grubby little hands on them directly after the event.
if you were one of the many ‘real fans’ that missed out, the price of
$225 that Sideshow has this up for as of right now might seem like a
bargain. However, with hindsight and a collector’s mentality that might
seem like the case, but in the real world it has to be said that $225
is a hefty amount for a figure with so few accessories. Especially when
compared with the ‘Friend’ figure that had a ton of stuff and three
heads for the same price.
So basing my review in the real world
I can only say that this is not a four star figure in terms of value.
However, it’s likely to be the case that if you are reading this review
in a couple of years from now… then it might have seemed like the sale
of the century.
Only time will tell!
There’s no two ways about it, this is a rare figure that will only get
rarer. The funny thing is though that the first ‘Billie Jean’ version
still seems to be by far and away the rarest. I would imagine the
fact it was released just a few weeks before his untimely death
(coupled with the low pre-order that resulted in a small edition size)
means that although subsequent figures get better with each release,
that original will remain a grail for many.
there is no way of knowing if this figure will ever demand the huge
sums that one does, but if you are a fan, I’d recommend jumping earlier
rather than later if you have the means to do so. Because once these
are all gone from the ‘legitimate’ traders I can see the grey market
pushing this guys price up higher and higher. And to be fair it is a
very strong figure.
Where to buy
At this precise moment, your very best bet is to try and secure one with Sideshow before they are all gone.
They are listed as in stock with a price of $225.
Of course if you are reading this as an archived review you may well find they are all sold… sorry.
Try eBay… and good luck ;)
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This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.