Packaging - ****
Step aside Enterbay and Hot Toys - the package of the year has arrived!
I was blown away when I opened the outer shipping box to reveal a
wooden - yes, WOODEN - product package! The box is very sturdy, with a
slotted lid that slides out the top side. On the front and back are
graphics and text done in a wood burned style. Remember wood burning?
That was a fun filled boy's art project until adults figured out that
giving an 8 year old an electrified hot metal poker might increase the
likelihood of a singed cat or a burned down house. Of course, that's
just ridiculous - I loved wood burning when I was a kid, and there was
just that one minor carpet fire, and the cat's whiskers eventually grew
I don't think this is actual
wood burning as we used to do it, but
rather a laser cut process, but it does a great job of capturing the
nostalgia. It's also done in a way that depending on how the light hits
it, you see more or less of the lettering and art, giving it a worn,
old look, like a cool wooden box you just uncovered in Grampa's
edition size is etched right on the front (I have number 381 of the
1000 produced), and the lid slides on and off quite smoothly.
is a more traditional plastic tray, with double plastic covers. There's
no twisties, rubber bands, or other forms of entrapment. It's
completely collector friendly, and you can pull everything out and put
it back later without any sort of damage.
Inside is also a
very cool business card sized Certificate of Authenticity. It's printed
with a highly reflective multi-colored ink, and is one of the coolest
COA's I've ever seen.
This is beautiful work,
fulfilling the best
of what product packaging can be. It captures the nostalgic feel of the
license perfectly, and shows some real ingenuity on the part of Go Hero.
Sculpting - ***1/2
If you were hoping for Gil Gerard,
you'll be disappointed. This isn't your dad's Buck Rogers - this is your
Unless you're as old as I am, and then it really is your dad's, but he
thinks you're nuts for spending your hard earned money on this 'crap'
anyway, so it's better if we don't tell him you bought it.
Buck has been played by a number of people, and has also merely been a
drawn comic strip longer than anything else, there really is one actor
that defines the character - Buster Crabbe. Buster Crabbe was the
Sylvester Stallone of the Depression. You needed someone to play a
heroic adventurer? Buster was your man. He played Tarzan more
convincingly than Johnny Weissmuller, he made Flash Gordon
life, and he portrayed the classic Buck Rogers on screen in 1939,
bringing in a huge fanbase of kids longing for adventures in outer
Here's a still
of the actor to get a feel for what he looked like. Keep in mind that
this portrait is NOT intended to be an exact duplicate of Buster
Crabbe, but rather an amalgamation of the various versions as well as
Go Hero's own design of what the original character would look like as
a real person.
hair is excellent, with nice detailing in the layers and strands, and a
perfect match on the style of the day. The features have a chiseled
look, and are very reminiscent of the 20's
and 30's style action hero.
While this isn't supposed to be
Crabbe, it bears enough resemblance that fans should be pleased. I
think that going with a more generic look here was a smart move, and
this version captures the strip profile extremely well. For Crabbe
fans, they have a Crabbe Flash Gordon coming next, during the first
quarter of 2010, and it is obvious from the
sculpt that they have the
rights to his likeness for that figure.
He comes wearing
the normal flesh colored hands, so those are the ones I'll include
here. The right hand is sculpted to hold the gun, while the left is in
an open, flat pose. I mentioned in the Karloff review how these
standard ATOM hands were inappropriate for that character, but here
they work fine.
Paint - ***
I'll just be discussing the paint work on the head sculpt here, leaving
the discussion of the other areas for the Accessories and Outfit
in the Sculpt section, I think it's the hair that is the real stand out
here. The paint work, including a nice dark wash, manages to add depth
and detail to the sculpt, and there's almost no slop to be seen. The
hairline has some very minor issues, but they are only noticeable under
extremely close inspection.
The eyes are straight and sharp,
although they do have the accursed catch lights ("doll dots") added in.
Fortunately, they are very small, and almost identical in size and
The eyebrows are very clean and
neat, and the lips
have a slight gloss to them. He does suffer a bit from the lipstick
look, and the skin tone is not quite the same as the body itself,
pulling down the score here for me slightly.
We've been spoiled
by the production paint work of Hot Toys and Enterbay, but the work
here is solid, with no major quality issues.
Articulation - ***1/2
Go Hero's underlying body is called the ATOM, and you can find detailed
information on both the basic body and the talking version here. You
can also see the nekkid body in my review of the recent Boris Karloff.
This is the same body, but it has the added electronic features.
The ATOM body has all the joints
you'd expect for a modern sixth
scale figure. It holds poses well, it hangs naturally, and most of the
joints are quite tight. I did have a little looseness in the
neck, shoulders and knees, but this was only noticeable because of the
extreme weight of the metal and glass accessories.
The body is
designed to make swapping heads and hands easy, and I found the process
painless. The posts for the wrists are a little longer than TrueTypes,
and seem extremely sturdy. That's a very good thing, since wrists are
one of the most commonly broken joint.
The ATOM body takes all
that goodness and goes one step further. The arms can pop off at the
shoulders, making the removal and redressing of a figure much, much
easier. It didn't do me a lot of good here, because the cuffs on the
shirt are so tight that I couldn't slide the arms down through the
sleeves, but I did pop the arms off to test it and pop them back on,
all under the shirt, with absolutely no problem.
This ATOM is
called the ATOMEdia, and includes a very unique sound feature. More on
that in a later section. I was able to pose it in a wide variety of
ways, including a very realistic flight pose. The head and torso tilt
back perfectly, arms out in back, but you won't be able to get the feet
to stretch out due to the boots. Still, pop him on a display stand with
jet pack alight, and he'll look smokin' hot.
Accessories - ****
There are two helmets that come with Buck, a flight helmet and a space
helmet. I'm splitting them up between outfit and accessories, putting
the flight helmet in the next category, and discussing the space helmet
Along with the space helmet,
there's the holster, ray gun, flight pack, and extra gloved
start with the large space helmet. Yes, that's real glass. The real
deal, like you drop it on a concrete floor and it breaks real deal.
It's fairly thick, and certainly sturdy, but do keep in mind that it's
The big benefit here is that
it's crystal clear and
has no seam. It's a completely transparent, smooth dome, much nicer
than any plastic version could ever be.
It's large enough to
allow the figure to wear the flight helmet underneath, like he did in
the strip. I've included a shot that way, but I also included a couple
with just the head inside too - I was getting tired of all the photos
wearing the flight helmet! It's a tight squeeze when he's wearing the
smaller helmet, so take care.
The space helmet has real metal
rivets around the collar, as well as leather straps that buckle around
the armpits. These buckles are also metal, and they are fairly easy to
work with, and hold the helmet tightly in place. I was very impressed
with the fit of the collar on the body, and it rests smoothly on the
The jet pack is painted in a
gold metallic color, with
two 'flames' extending from either tube. These flames work nicely with
the light up feature (more on that in a minute), but can also be
removed. I did have some trouble getting the left flame out, but the
right one popped out smoothly. You might want to heat the flame up a
bit with a hair dryer to soften it if it sticks.
The jet pack
attaches to his back with a metal clip. This very sturdy clip fits
inside a small slit on the upper back of the vest, and remains tightly
Speaking of metal, let's move on
to the ray gun. Yep,
it's metal all right! The sculpt is quite detailed, covered with a nice
plated gold color. It's a bit heavy, but the ATOM body was able to hold
it up in most poses. And how can you not love a weapon called the
The gun properly fits right
included holster. The holster is made from a soft rubber material,
including the flap and the belt loop. The post on the front appears to
be metal though, making it much easier than usual to attach and detach
the soft flap.
Finally, there's the extra
hands. The right is
done in a gun grip, while the left is fisted. The hands pop on and off
pretty easily, but the large, tight cuffs on the shirt did cause some
issues. They tend to deform the gauntlet of the glove up near the hand,
and make it a bit tougher to get the hand popped on in the first place.
gloves are made from two different materials. The hands themselves are
a hard plastic, but the gauntlet that covers the sleeve is made from
the same soft rubber as the holster. If this weren't the case, you
wouldn't be able to get the hands on, because of the underlying cuffs.
The color of the gloves matched the faux leather color of the vest,
boots and flight suit perfectly. And while the are made from two very
different materials, you can't see any variation in color between the
hand and the gauntlet. There's even a little wear included on the hands
that adds to the realism!
there's no included display stand. Considering the risk of posing this
figure on the shelf wearing the glass helmet, I think you'll want to
hunt one up if you go that route.
Outfit - ****
The quality of the accessories is eye poppingly good, and that quality
extends to the outfit as well.
boots, best and flight helmet are all made from the same sort of rubber
material that I discussed with the gloved hands. Some are very hard and
dense, like the helmet and vest. The material here is thick and sturdy,
and highly unlikely to rip or come apart.
The boots are softer,
allowing at least some of the ankle articulation to work. The boots
also sport a fantastic sculpt, real leather straps, and a real metal
The sculpt on the vest is also
quite impressive. Rather
than try to mimic a leather look with material, Go Hero went
this dense rubber. It was a brilliant choice, as it looks just like the
real deal, but holds its shape and stays snug on the body much, much
better than any cloth material possible could.
The soft riding
pants might look a little silly, but they match the source material
quite well. There's a very thin velcro 'zipper', and the quality of the
material is top notch.
The belt he's wearing is
leather, with a
metal buckle. This buckle detaches on both sides, making it easy to
clasp and unclasp, but once in place, it holds very tightly.
the cool vest is his bright red shirt, with stitched cuffs and collar.
It fits great, but the tight cuffs do hinder removing the arms as well
as getting the gloved hands in place. Something a bit thinner here
would have been very welcome.
Finally, there's the flight
Again, the leather look is achieved with the hard rubber material,
which holds a sculpt extremely well. The helmet includes several metal
components, including the 'top knot', the visor and ear pieces, and the
buckle on the chin strap.
I never could get the chin strap
connect with the head in place, but my fingers are just too clumsy. I
to put the strap through the buckle with the helmet off, then pop the
head off the body and insert it into the helmet. Then pop the whole
thing back on! Sounds a little complicated, I know, but it is
easier than trying to
connect it with the head already in place, but I haven't tried it yet.
much more to the flight helmet than first meets the eye. The visor arms
slide out of the round ear pieces entirely, and then you can turn the
ear pieces 90 degrees. The arms on the visor also extend and turn, so
that you can re-insert them in the earpieces and have the visor resting
high on his forehead, above his eyes. How cool is that! The engineering
that went into designing it is extremely impressive.
Electronic Sound Feature - ****
As I mentioned earlier in the Articulation section, this figure comes
on the ATOMedia body. The 'media' part refers to the sound functions.
While instructions are included
with the figure, you might want to take a gander at the PDF
version they serve up at their website.
The actual manufacturers of the
ATOM are Day 2
a company that works with a variety of small manufacturers to see their
product make it to the light of day. While the regular ATOM is a solid
sixth scale body, the media version adds in several key sound
There is 1 gig of storage inside
the body, far more
than we've seen in any talking figure in the past. That means that TONS
of sound clips are possible.
Better yet, there's also a small
microphone on the side of the figure, and you can record any MP3, WAV
or other compatible sound file right to the figure.
Want more? No
problem. The figure uses a rechargeable battery (included), along with
a USB port and cable. Hook the figure up to your computer to recharge
And what good is a USB port if
you can't load the files that
way too? Ah, but you can! Hook the figure up to your computer
you can use the 1 gig of storage right from Windows, dropping in any
sound file you'd like to add, instead of recording it.
comes with a series of buttons on the back, set in a circular pattern.
There's functions for play, record, next, previous, volume up
volume down right at your finger tips. It's a little tough to work the
buttons on this figure due to the heavy rubber vest, but it's not
To make things even easier,
there's a remote control!
Yep, the small blue remote has all the same functions, including the
record button. It's powered by a couple regular large sized watch
batteries, also included.
The remote is IR, so the heavy
tends to interfere again. I found that sometimes the remote worked
flawlessly through the clothes, and other times it refused to do a
thing. The remote is the type of feature that's going to work far
better on figures clothed in less restrictive materials.
with the problems with the clothing, this is one of the coolest sound
features I've ever seen. Go Hero is going to be selling these bodies
for customizers, and I expect quite a bit of demand.
Light up Feature - ***1/2
Did you think that nifty sound feature was enough? Go Hero didn't! They
added a light up feature as well on the jet pack. Press a button on the
inside bottom, and the flame attachments are light up with bright red
LEDs. It's a little tough to get to the button when the pack is on his
back, but that's a minor quibble.
Fun Factor - ****
This isn't a fun toy in the traditional sense - I'm not recommending
that you give it to your eight year old to toss around the back yard.
The body, clothing and accessories are actually quite sturdy, and can
hold up to play as well as some mass market stuff (with the obvious
exception of the glass helmet), but nobody in their right mind buys
$175 figures for their kids.
However, this is a figure that
doesn't just understand the theme of Buck Rogers, but it understands
that its heritage lies in toys, not 'collectibles'. The sound feature
makes this something an adult can have all kinds of fun with, and the
posability and quality of the ATOM body, along with the uber cool
accessories and outfit, go a long way to making it a great toy for big
Value - ***1/2
A $175 figure that gets a better than average score? Hell yes! Only
1000 of this figure were produced, it doesn't just have an excellent
outfit and accessories (that included leather, metal and glass!), but
it has a great light up feature and outstanding sound feature! We
haven't seen another sixth scale figure this loaded for under $200, and
given the right licenses, Go Hero could do some amazing things.
also like to point out that at least one of my sponsors has this guy
for only $130, but I don't expect him to last long at that kind of
Things to Watch Out For -
Most of the figure is quite sturdy, but you do want to remember that
this is a highly detailed adult figure. Take care with areas like the
glass helmet, small leather straps, or wrist pegs.
also worth noting that the soft rubber used here *might* interact with
other types of rubber if left in contact. I noticed that the strap on
the holster was sticking to the holster itself right out of the
package, and back in the day this type of rubber would often cause melt
marks on harder plastic pieces. Just keep that in mind when storing the
figure, and keep items like the holster or gloves out of direct
prolonged sustained contact with areas like the vest.
please, don't drop the space helmet on a concrete floor. Really. Trust
me on this one - if you wonder what happens when you do drop the space
helmet on a concrete floor, just check out the last photo. And if you
want to know what it looks like when a grown man cries, just ask my
wife, as she got to witness it first hand. *sob*
Overall - ****
The very best figures come from companies and creators that truly love
what they are doing, and love the properties they are working on. That
sort of love and dedication is obvious in every aspect of this figure,
from the packaging to the accessories.
companies are willing to take risks and chances, coloring outside the
lines when it comes to new features and functions. Using a tremendously
wide range of materials, using a unique sound feature, and adding in
every bell and whistle they could think of, Go Hero has set a new
standard in what 'high end sixth scale' means. Go Hero's Buck is like
Medicom's Rocketeer on steroids.
time I thought I had found all the awesomeness that this figure had to
offer, something else popped up. By the time I was done shooting and
posing this guy, I was completely wowed by the overall attention to
The license itself is going to
put off some collectors, because they aren't familiar with the old
school Rogers, and the slightly goofy old school nature of the design
and style won't be their thing. But even if this particular license
doesn't make your bread rise, you should be able to appreciate the
level of quality that is here, and the potential that ATOMedia body and
Go Hero exhibit. Go Hero has already announced The Shadow and Doc
Savage to go with Buck and Flash Gordon, which is a terrific start to a
pulp character collection. Now I just needs me some Zorro!
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Sound Feature - ****
Light Up Feature - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ****
Where to Buy -
Online options include:
- You can get it directly from Go
Hero for $175.
- Urban Collector
has him at just $131.
has him for $175.
Earth has him at $175 as well.
also has him at $175.
Planet has it in the UK for 140 GBP.
- You can also always try
ebay looking for a deal.
This is the first product from
Go Hero I've covered, but you'll want to hit their web site for
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