Josh Randall - Wanted: Dead or Alive

   "The 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 guest author."

Tonight Jeff Parker is looking at the very cool Josh Randall sixth scale figure from Triad, which I reviewed just a little while back. Take it away, Jeff!

Now I grew up at a pretty golden time for TV viewing in the UK, though I hardly seem to find time to watch anything these days, it was a different case in my formative years!

Back in the early 70’s every Saturday morning was spent watching old re-runs of everything from Champion The Wonder Horse and the High Chaparral through to Bonanza, Davy Crocket and Casey Jones. But I have to admit I don’t remember Wanted: Dead or Alive (W:DOA) with any great clarity, I feel like I have a hazy memory… but my memory is increasingly hazy about a great many things these days, so who knows?

So even though my memories of the show are pretty misty, when Triad announced they were releasing a figure from the series, it was a no brainer that I had to have a good figure of Steve McQueen for my collection.
Years ago there were a couple of versions released by Toys McCoy, but although they are considered classics of modern 1/6th collecting, they didn’t actually look a whole lot like him, one was even meant to represent how he looked in W: DOA, so unless you are the ultimate McQueen completeist, you can now totally discount any of these, as Triad have given us one that is a whole lot sweeter!

Packaging - ***
When I reviewed Lola I pointed out that Triads philosophy seemed to be that the less they had to spend on the packaging, the more they could lavish on it’s contents. Well that mind set is carried on here, but I have to say this box still manages to evoke a feeling for the Old West without relying on clichéd trashy carnival fonts. Instead we have some simple typography printed in a semi translucent brown on a mock textured background. I say ‘mock’ textured as it’s all just printed, the colouration mimics something between a sheet of distressed leather, antique parchment and a tobacco leaf. It sets the tone well making the package look a little like it’s been branded.

It’s a nice compact 5 panel box that opens to show the fully assembled figure on the right held tight by 5 twisties, with a tray of accessories mounted on the inside flap. These are held in place with 4 push on pegs, making it a cinch to get the goodies out and replace them without damaging the package at all.

So, a simple box but effectively carried out, and it gets the contents to you in first-rate condition… well mine did anyway!

Sculpting - ***1/2
As I already said, my memories of the show are very, very hazy, but McQueen is an old school Hollywood actor, one of the all time classics, so it was only a matter of time before someone did a great 1/6th portrait of him, and this is pretty darn tootin (sorry, am I taking this Old West thing too far, dagnabbit?).

It’s not quite up there with Hot Toys or Enterbays finest, but it has to be pointed out, neither does it cost as much as the fares on offer from either of these companies

I couldn’t find any info on the box or website as to who is responsible for the head sculpt, so I contacted Triad and was told it’s the work of Shane Talbott (I highly recommend a look over his blog, definitely one to watch!). He’s done a great job of capturing McQueen’s steely gaze, and he even remembered his trade mark mole on his left cheek here. The basic shape of the head, with the well observed details on the nose, cheeks and chin make this instantly recognisable as a young McQueen, the only thing that seems off slightly is the eye area. But even here there is a bit of a paradox, as from the front they do appear to be a little too narrowed, like they’re in a semi squint (I think this is accentuated by the dark edge they’ve been given in paint apps), but in profile they look great. So it would seem this sculpt is based on reference from many different sources, but for me it really brings to mind a McQueen from a few years later when he stared as Henri Charriere in Papillon (if you haven’t seen this movie go watch it NOW!).

The lower half of the face is however absolutely spot on, as is the overall shape of the head (this is again more marked when viewed in profile). The hair is a good approximation of the style he wore, but is slightly let down by the softness of the sculpt, it’s not as bad as say Sideshow’s Aragorn or Beloq, but it’s no where near as good as Enterbay’s Bauer or Hot Toys Godfather.

And the one thing you can say is that once up on your shelf it is unquestionably Steve McQueen as Josh Randall.

Paint - ***1/2
This is another nice clean paint app from Triad, the eyes and lips are carried out very well, the outer edge of the eye might be a tad too dark, but is only noticeable from a few angles when viewed up close. The general skin tones are also very convincing with some good quality washes that subtlety enhance this sculpt, it also has a good matte finish so all the great skin textures in the sculpt aren’t lost.

The hair isn’t quite so convincing, a blonde base coat is washed over with a dark burnt umber colour, which has flooded the low lying areas. From a distance it looks OK on the shelf (and to be fair most will spend their displayed existence in their hats) and I certainly prefer this effect to some of the mondo flat paint apps we’ve seen from other companies lately. That said it’s still not quite reaching the lofty heights of the elite big hitters in 1/6th… however, it’s certainly heading in the right direction and gaining on them.
His boots, hat and trusty ‘Mares Leg’ all have some paint effects as well, most work well but the ‘wooden’ areas on the guns stock and barrel do look a little flat, apart from that, for a figure in this price range it’s all good!

Articulation - ***1/2
Josh comes on the Omega base body, which shows a great range of mobility, it is however a little tall for McQueen who actually came in at a little over 5’9“, and as this figure stands a full 12 ½ inches high that translates to 6’ 6”.

But 1/6 collectors can tie themselves in knots getting wrapped up with the height of any given character/actor against the translated height in 1/6th, and it’s totally unrealistic to expect manufacturers to tailor a revised base body for every new release, so I for one am happy enough.

I found I could get any number of very natural poses from this figure, it hangs well and has all the double knees and elbows we expect from hi-end base bodies these days. However I did also find that if you position the head at too acute an angle to the neck, then the joint can become very visible, and it’s not the most attractive of joints. But as far as actual articulation goes the only area it seems to be lacking is the shoulders, which still offer good movement but don’t have the ability to cross over, arch back or shrug, which is why I’m so looking forward to seeing how the EVO comes out.

Outfit - ***1/2
This figure actually has a very good representation of the outfit he wore on the show, but as always some bits are better than others. So kicking off with my favourite elements, his shirt and trousers. Both have working pockets and are finely tailored to fit the Omega body, and the thinness of the material coupled with the fine weave of the fabric make both items look great at this scale. A pleather belt with a working buckle holds up the jeans, and over the jeans he also wears his pleather holster, specially designed for his signature weapon the Mares Leg.

Now I did a bit of digging around and found replica holsters on sale in a number of places, but all have a second strap to hold the weapon steady when worn lashed to the thigh, whereas the one worn by the figure has only one. Now I’m not saying it’s wrong… I don’t have the spec on the screen worn belt, however I did find this pic which seems to indicate that this is pretty spot on, but it does seem to me that a large heavy weapon would tend to flap around a bit if it wasn’t held tight (no that’s not a euphemism). However, I’m willing to trust that pic of McQueen, and as this 1/6th facsimile is all constructed so well, it even has 14 real metal bullets slid into the loops that run along it’s length, it definitely deserves some kudos.

The boots are well observed too, constructed of vinyl they’re of the classic western design, pointy toed, Cuban heeled with a bit of ornate stitching up the side, but the icing on the cake of his footwear are his spurs. These are constructed of metal, with a free wheeling pronged spur, and are attached by means of small pleather straps with working buckles. It’s quite a fiddly job getting them in position and doing the buckles up, but that makes it all the more satisfying once it’s all in place.

His hat is also made of a soft vinyl; it fits well and has some great texturing to mimic a rough felt finish.

Lastly we get to his coat; this is beautifully constructed with nice small tight stitching, tiny-scaled buttons and 4 working pockets. Even the mock sheepskin on the collar and lining look great at this scale. But there is a problem with it… well at least for me there is.

Now I admit it might not jump out to most people, but it struck me when I got him out of the box that his ‘double breasted’ coat was done up more like a single breasted coat. What I mean is the double row of buttons should run down his front parallel to his face, instead the right hand row is in effect in the centre of his face. This makes the left hand row too far over to the left, meaning the angled pocket cuts between the buttons and the lower flap pocket is directly under the buttons, both these pockets should be a good few millimetres over to the left, it should look like this where you can clearly see the position of the pockets.
So, overall this is a pretty outstanding outfit for a figure at this price point, and most of the elements are damn near perfect, but the details on the coat needed just a little finer observation… then it would have been a full score.

Accessories - ***
While researching this review I came across some interesting information about his trade mark weapon… the simple fact is that a sawn off Winchester as depicted in the show couldn’t work in the real world, but audiences weren’t quite as sophisticated back then, hence they didn’t notice the fact that Josh seems to fire off round after round without the need for a reload (watch that ammo belt, it’s always full) and he also uses shells that are too big for his weapon… but hey I’m picking holes in the show, what I’m looking at here is how accurate the Triad 1/6th version of the Mares leg is, and it’s absolutely spot on, plus, lets face it, if the weapon was good enough for Zoe in Firefly… and it was, then I can live with it!

It’s the only weapon he comes with, but to be fair it was pretty much the only weapon the character used. It has a lot of nice details, the fore-barrel can slide off, the loading chamber can slide back and forth, the hammer can swing back and the cocking lever moves as well. This lever was pretty loose on mine so I cut a micro strip of acetate from some packaging then slid it between the lever and the body and super-glued it in place. This is virtually invisible, and now the lever works well, in fact it seems like its spring loaded as it snaps back into place after having been pulled away. It’s a quick easy fix if yours is loose too!

He also comes with his hat and holster, but these items kind of straddle outfit as well, which I went over above. It’s unusual these days that a figure doesn’t come with a stand, but I got him to stand just fine, so no complaints from me on that score!

Fun Factor - ***1/2
This is a very sturdy figure, and my guess is if you know a kid that has $90 to spend, and a love of the Old West, then this figure could stand up to a fair amount of play. But of course he almost certainly won’t end up in many, if any kids hands. However if you’re buying him to bring back happy memories of a more innocent time, sat in front of an old black and white TV, then he is perfect Detolf material!

Value - ***1/2
It’s not often you can get a good quality licensed figure for under $100 these days, so this is a breath of fresh air in that respect. It might have been cool to get a couple of extra hands, if the head sculpt had been just a little closer around the eyes, and if the coat had been tailored a tad more in line with the actual screen worn garment, then this would have been a full score category without a doubt.

As it is, for $80 I still think you are getting one of the best McQueen 1/6th portraits done to date, and it’s something that’s approaching a bargain. So with McQueen’s enduring popularity I can see these getting as collectable as those old Toys McCoy ones in a few years down the line… well, as long as Triad don’t flood the market with too many of them, and as this seems to be an open ended edition that might be the only danger!

Overall - ***1/2
Is this figure perfect… No!
But it’s fun, it’s dressed well, it poses well and the price is more than reasonable. So if you fancy some hot Cowboy action but you’ve already seen ‘Brokeback’ and don’t want to pierce your nipple with a sheriff’s badge, squeeze into skin-tight leather chaps, a leather waistcoat, 10-gallon hat, growing a big black moustache and hanging around some dodgy bars… this is the one for you!

Scoring Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***1/2
Overall - **** (*** at full price)

Where to Buy -
Your best bet is to get him direct from Triad, for $89.99, or saddle up for eBay and try for one of those ever elusive bargains, yee-ha…sorry!

Figures from the collection of Jeff Parker

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