Medicom RAH Boba Fett

Medicom, Hot Toys, and Sideshow...all producing high quality licensed sixth scale figures at high end prices.  They all seem to be friends right now, but can that last?  Of course not, since all three are going to look for ways to increase their market share.  They'll also be competing with each other for licenses, and for the dollars of the collectors.  Let's face it, the average collector of these kinds of items only has so much money to spend, and every purchase takes a big chunk of the budget.  Getting brand/company loyalty is one way to keep them spending it with you, but that means pulling them away from the other guys.

So who is in the best position to be the market leader once the shake out comes?  They each have their strengths and weaknesses.  Sideshow has the best head sculpts (generally) of the bunch, but Hot Toys is catching up fast.  They also have terrific accessories and costumes, but not quite at the quality of Hot Toys and Medicom.  But that slightly lower quality translates to a slightly lower price too, and you can often buy TWO Sideshow figures for what a Medicom figure will cost you.  Sideshow also has the highest name recognition, both with collectors and with licensors due to their work on Star Wars, and they have the very best online ordering/affiliate/distribution system of any pop culture collectibles company.

Like I said, Hot Toys is catching up on the head sculpts, and they have excellent costumes and accessories.  They also have a superb body, and they are starting to pick up more mainstream licenses.  They're price point falls in the middle between Medicom and Sideshow, but without someone like Sideshow to help them distribute in the U.S., they'll have trouble growing in the Western market.

Medicom lacks in the head sculpt department, and their best work is monsters or masked characters.  However, they have just as good of accessories and costumes as Hot Toys (better generally than Sideshow), and an excellent body as well.  Unfortunately, the scale on their bodies can be a bit funky at times, but the articulation is still great, and they hang very naturally.  But they are dealing with a much higher price tag than even Hot Toys, and convincing collectors to spend that kind of money when there isn't as much of a discernable difference between them and Hot Toys is a tough one.

So what's going to happen?  Well, no one knows of course - at least not anyone that can say - but I'm happy to make a prediction of what I think and/or would like to see happen.  We already know that Sideshow is moving more and more away from the sixth scale market, focusing on statues, busts and Premium Format figures instead.  It seems likely that they'll turn to either Hot Toys or Medicom - which ever one is more amiable to the idea - and propose a merger or acquisition.  I can easily see them buying up one of them to get the Asian distribution, the superior body, and turning over the production of all the sixth scale lines to them.

At first glance, it would seem Hot Toys would be the most likely candidate for such a deal.  Scale is similar, as is the general company philosophy.  However, Medicom already has the Star Wars license internationally, so there would clearly be a synergy there as well.  But if I were a bettin' man, I'd say that we'll see some sort of merger between Sideshow and Hot Toys before the end of 2008.

So where would that leave Medicom?  Well, tonight's review covers one of the most anticipated figures they've done this year - Boba Fett.  And this figure is a perfect example of the issue they must overcome if they expect to grow.  He's a fantastic figure, but can you convince enough people to spend $150 or more on it?  Let's see!

Packaging - ***1/2
As usual, Medicom delivers a collector friendly package, but one that's short on text and graphics  It's fairly basic, but it still doesn't compete with the quality of packaging we see from companies the competition.  Then again, if you just toss the package five minutes after he hits the door, it's probably moot.

I will say that this is a VERY collector friendly set up.  There's one piece of tape to cut on the box flap, and that's it.  There's not even any tape holding the plastic trays together, and certainly no twistie ties!

Sculpting - ***1/2
I'm fairly happy with the sculpt here.  Now, I'm usually one to remind people that helmets on REAL people always look too big.  You can't possibly have a human head inside a helmet and not have it look larger than just the head on the body.  But even I have to admit that this head is a bit too big.

The suit should give the body enough bulk that the helmet doesn't look nearly as large as this does.  Oh, it should be a little big for the body, but this one is about 20% too large.

The armor is well done, and fits nice and snug.  The sculpting on the gauntlets, knees, and backpack looks fairly screen accurate.  I have no doubt that capital letter serious fans are going to find additional issues with the sculpt, but the average person will be extremely impressed.

And just so you know, the helmet is not designed to be removable (although the whole head pops off and on pretty easy if you want to swap in a custom Boba head), and neither is the backpack.  However, if you pop the head off you can easily remove the whole backpack/neck armor.

Paint - ****
Again, the seriously retentive fans are likely to find scratches that aren't quite exact, or spots that don't match the source material.

For me - a huge fan of the design but not quite as critical when it comes to the exact layout of the scratches and damage - this is an excellent piece of work. The armor is a little darker than the helmet and gauntlets, which is actually accurate as far as I can recall, but the difference is slightly greater than stills show.

However, I think that's a pretty minor nit.  When it comes to purely paint work, we haven't seen many Fett's better than this one.

Articulation - ****
Medicom has one of the very best bodies in the industry.  Hot Toys is gaining huge ground on them, and even Sideshow has made major improvements in recent figures like Asajj, but Medicom bodies still have the most natural hang and pose of any out today.

Boba is no exception.  When I first pulled him out of the box, I wasn't so sure.  I had some trouble getting good poses out of the legs, which were stiff and clunky.  But the more I played around with him, the better and better I liked it.

You can get some really realistic poses out of him.  The joints are smooth and tight, he stands great on his own, and you can easily distribute the weight in a very natural way.  I wonder if that's part of the trick - to get a body that flows and hangs naturally, you have to mimic not just the body proportions in terms of scale, but in weight as well.  In other words, should companies look to model the weight ratios of the body parts - torsos, heads, limbs - to more realistic proportions to get a more natural distribution of weight and a better center of gravity?  It's certainly something to ponder.

Scale is still the same issue it's been for the entire run of SW figures from Medicom. If you have their Vader or Troopers or Luke, Boba will fit in nicely.  But if you want him to fit in with Sideshow Star Wars figures, he's going to come up a bit short.  Literally.

This body is also on the thin side, which doesn't cause much of an issue except for the knees.  Because the knee pads are so tight, it pulls in the pants close to the legs, making their skinny nature all the more apparent.

Accessories - ****
Medicom figures usually don't come with too many accessories.  Boba is a big departure from that though, and it's certainly a welcome thing.

There's an extra set of hands, sculpted to hold things.  The right hand can hold either gun, and the right hand has the usual 'kung fu grip' pose to hold the tools or other items.

Speaking of the tools, all four are present in the cuffs of his pants.  The sculpts and paint are terrific, as you'd expect, and scale is quite good as well.

There's also his two weapons, the rifle and pistol.  The pistol fits nicely in the cloth holster on his belt, and he can hold the rifle in plenty of great poses.

Finally, there's the usual clear display stand.  These work great, and I much prefer the clear color to the black we get from companies like Sideshow.  Still, you might not want to pay too much attention to what I think when it comes to display stands, because I don't use them unless absolutely necessary.

There is one more pseudo accessory.  The rocket is removable from the top of his backpack, so it's technically an accessory.  I think most people will leave it in place, but it's still nice to have the option.

Outfit - ***1/2
The outfit consists of more than just the armor of course.  There's also the cloth under suit, including pockets.

The armor looks great, as I mentioned earlier, but the tight fitting body suit is almost as good.  There's a few issues though that need to be pointed out.

The boots cause the overall body to tilt back further than I'd like, creating some posing issues where there should be none.  You'll get around it, but it didn't need to be an issue at all.

The large pockets are held closed with very tiny pieces of velcro.  That's a good idea, but unfortunately, it doesn't work so well in reality.  The pockets don't stay closed, and you'll find it a tad annoying when you're posing him.

The range finder is articulated of course, so you can place it in any position.  It's also a tight joint, so that it doesn't merely fall down fully at a slight touch.

Now the biggest issue - the lack of weathering.  This is going to be a major issue for some folks, but I had expected it not to be a problem for me.  You see, weathering, especially at this scale, is such a tough thing to pull off realistically that I normally prefer them NOT to try it, rather than to try it and blow it.  The risk is just too great.

However, once I had this guy in my hands, I realized just how REALLY clean this outfit it is.  We're talking really, really clean.  Like, right off the rack at Galactic Bounty Hunter Uniforms R Us.  Even a wash or two would improve the situation.  This one is even too clean for me, and that's tough to do.

Perhaps it's the visual confusion that it causes.  You see, the armor IS weathered and beat up.  And yet none of the clothing is.  The Sideshow PF did have some dirt and softness to the uniform, so it wasn't as big of an issue.  The cape on his shoulder did have damage.  But here, all the cloth is absolutely perfect, while the armor is very beat up.  That might be causing me my issue, and you may find it's not as big of a deal.

One other thing worth mentioning is the clear hose on his right gauntlet.  Unlike the PF Fett, I'm not having any worries about kinking, but the hose is fairly short.  You'll find that it pops out of the sleeve in many arm positions, but if you turn the gauntlet appropriately, it's still usually long enough to stay in place.  Just barely, but that's good enough.

Fun Factor - ***
If Donald Trump is reading this (and I know you are, The Donald!) and wants to spend mad money on a grand kid for Christmas, he could do worse than picking up one of these guys. Normal play though could be rough on the knee pads and range finder.

Of course, if you're a geek looking to have fun with his 'collectibles', then you'll be in nerd heaven.  Hey, I know about what I speak.

Value - **
Hey, I love him and all, but $150 is an awful lot of cash, especially considering the kind of quality we're getting from Hot Toys in the $100 - $120 range.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Most of the outfit and accessories are pretty sturdy.  I would take some care putting the rifle in his tight right hand.  It's sculpted to hold it very realistically, but that means getting it in place can be a little tough.  And since the hand is a very hard rubber, it is possible to scratch or break the gun.

The bigger issue to watch out for is the small silver 'spikes' on the knee pads.  One of mine is already cracked and will eventually break and need to be glued.  They are very thin, and very easy to snap off.

Overall - ***1/2
If you're looking for a figure to impress you're Star Wars friends, then this is it.

I'm betting some folks will be disappointed that I didn't give this guy the full four stars.  I have to admit, it was really close.  Had it come down to simply the sculpt, paint, outfit and accessories, it could have swung that other half star.

But it was the price tag that kept him down just enough.  Check out the kind of quality we're getting from Hot Toys these days, often $30 or so less than this.  Fett isn't a terrible value - he's a HELL of a figure.  But I can't quite give him the full score considering his price combined with the handful of minor issues.

That doesn't mean I'm not pleased I picked him up.  As a huge fan of the character design, this is easily my favorite of the 12" Fetts so far.  He's just not quite as perfect as I was hoping for at this price tag.

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

Where to Buy -
Online options include:

- as I mentioned, Sideshow is distributing for them, but they've been sold out on this one for awhile.  You can still get on the wait list though, and he's $150.

- CornerStoreComics has him listed at $140.

- For the UK readers, Forbidden Planet has him at 125 GBP.

Related Links -
I've done a ton of Fett reviews:

- if you'd like another opinion on this guy, I had a guest review last week.

- My favorite Fett in my collection is the one from Marmit, reviewed here by DanB.

- a close second is the Kotobukiya version, that I reviewed here.

- here's a guest review of the VOTC version.

- if you're looking for something bigger but still VOTC, here's a guest review of the 12" version

- I reviewed the Karkoon version of Boba as well, and if you're looking for something silly and cute, why not pick up the Palm Talker Fett?  And of course, there's the Unleashed version.

- another one of the best Fett's produced is the 300th Edition.

- and let's not forget the Titanium edition, with the first removable mask.

- and finally, here's a guest review of the Medicom VCD Fett.

If you'd like to see more of Medicom's Star Wars figures:

- their offerings have included the Sandtrooper, Darth Vader, the regular Stormtrooper, ROTS Vader, Jedi Luke, and Clonetrooper and Blackhole Trooper.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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