Lt. Jim Gordon - The Dark Knight Rises
Hot Toys

   "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."

Jeff is checking out the most recent Hot Toys Batman release - Lt. Jim Gordon! Tell us all about him, Jeff...

"Did Batman save you daddy?"
 "Actually, this time I saved him!”

Not many people get to say that.

It’s that time of year again when eBay is all a flutter with toy collectors desperately trying to track down the years crop of convention exclusives. And for 1/6th aficionados, and perhaps fans Hot Toys in particular it has been a good years in that department. Sadly we didn’t get the usual member of the Lost Predators clan, but to make up for it we got killer figures from Captain America: The First Avenger, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and… most importantly, for me at least The Dark Knight.

Convention exclusives tend to be characters, or versions of characters that though important to the true fans of the source material, aren’t perhaps quite as essential as some of the other key players would be. However, the scarcity of them does without fail leave some punters disgruntled to the point of throwing their dolly out of the pram… pun intended.

Of the three choices this year I can see that the figure of Angelica is likely to break a few hearts, but hopefully not too many. The rescue version of Cap A will also leave a slightly wider swathe of folks weeping into their beers, but the one that will have some folks spitting feathers and writing disgruntled emails to Hot Toys customer services department is the much wanted and long time waited for figure of Jim Gordon. Primarily this is because he ‘IS’ a key player in the whole Bat Man universe, but it’s also because he’s portrayed by one of the coolest mofo’s on the planet… Mr Gary Oldman.

Over the course of the Nolan trilogy of stories he made the character his own, and even though his screen time wasn’t huge, it was important. And it was just one of the ensemble performances that grounded the movie so convincingly into a world we could actually believe in and care about. Something many super hero movies (even the good ones) fail to do.

I do have to admit that I would have preferred Jim to have come in his civvies ‘detective/commissioner’ outfit, but right now I’d take any version offered. And perhaps this is a tester to see just how popular the figure turns out to be… if it does well we might just get a TDKR version as well!

But enough pontificating, lets get on with the show, and if like me you have waited what seems like an eternity for Hot Toys to finally do this figure then you can breathe a sigh of relief, because now at last, as Jim Gordon said in TDK-
“We got you, you son of a bitch!”

Packaging - ***3/4
Ahhh, the convention exclusive! From the Silly Thing Iron Man through to the 10th Anniversary figures, Hot Toys have always spared no expense in making their products look good… even before you take them out of the box!

This year’s crop is no exception. All three have an outer slipcase with a hessian/rough weave fabric texture over which an image of the character is printed in full colour. The spine has a metal sail ring ‘riveted’ within it, through which an icon printed on the inner box is visible. In this case it’s the GCPD badge.

Slip the inner box out and you find a printed tray with a die cut card overlay and an acetate window. This also features a rather groovy die cut on the bottom tab that folds in onto the plastic trays inside. Now that’s the kind of subtle detail that screams “look at how cool I am”, and it works. The inner plastic trays are the usual vac formed plastic design and the figure lays held secure, sandwiched between them.

All in all a top class piece of packaging, both in terms of graphic design, but also in the quality of materials used. In short I can find little or nothing to fault, I guess a black foam surround instead of plastic trays is a nice luxury, but in all fairness the trays do the job just fine! So, the only reason I am keeping this shy of the full mark is because I need to reserve the premiere award for when HT really, fully knock the ball clean out of the park. And at the price this guy demands we deserve the very best!

Sculpting - ****
A figure of this character has been craved for so long that there have been quite a few head sculpts and even a few full bootleg figures produced, and to their credit many have been nothing short of excellent! However, THIS is the official real deal!

Gary Oldman has a good face, by that I mean as an actor he has a face that is a perfect tool for his trade. He can switch between characters, roles and genres with ease. And the fact he has decided to appear in a movie generally means you are going to see a pretty good film. OK, there was Lost in Space, I’ll give you that, but even then, along with Jeff Bridges performance and Heather Grahams outfits, not everything was completely ‘lost’!

So the fact he has a good face with strong features must have been quite a gift to K.A.Kim who has managed to capture a striking portrait. As is usual with the majority of Hot Toys figures there is not any extreme emotion conveyed in the sculpt, instead we have a relatively neutral expression, but one that is still effective in a great many poses. Being a more mature thespian it also gives the sculptor more scope for the fine details in the fine lines and wrinkles that make up an actors face, but also offers the chance to try and capture something of the character they are trying to convey. And the stoic fixed expression, eyes straight forward and lips pursed in concentration exhibits Oldman’s portrayal of Jim Gordon very well.

Just look over the photos, the detail work on the hair and even the neck… yes the neck, it’s not often I’ll remark on how well someone’s neck is done, but this really is a mini masterpiece!

He also comes with a great selection of hands that Hot Toys describe as-
- One pair of relaxed hands
- One left ‘pump action’ gripping hand
- One right gun firing hand
- One left hand for putting on waist
- One right hand for shaking hands
- Two gloved fists (one is slightly open to grip a knife)
- One left gloved ‘pump action’ gripping hand
- One right gloved gun-firing hand

All are well sculpted, swapped over relatively easy (though I freely admit I always keep a pair of small angled needle nosed pliers handy when I’m doing my photos) and are finished off well with a matching paint job.

I hope my pics go some way to conveying how cool this portrait is, but whatever my photographic ability lacks, it is made up by Lukazou’s stunning photo review over on OSW here … enjoy!

Paint - ****
The paint is basically faultless, I still find myself wondering how they consistently put out paint apps like this, but put them out they do! I admit that some other companies are catching up with the quality, and some on occasion even match it. But for sheer consistency from a company that is putting a lot of units in the market place, the quality in their paint apps just seems to get better and better rather than suffering because of the increase.

Having written a lot of reviews for Hot Toys figures over the years I know I must get repetitive, but what can you do? Yet again we get master-class in how to do it right. The flesh on both the face and hands is closely matched, and exhibits well applied warm skin tones. Smooth and even where needed then also showing gentle graduations and mottling when required in other areas. The hair, moustache and eyebrows are all delicately applied, as are the eyes with their wet glossy finish. I know I’ve said all that before, and I know I shall soon say it all again. It’s basically as perfect as I think it is possible to get at a mass manufactured scale at this time. If you know differently then let me know!

Articulation - ***3/4
I’ve covered every version of the True-Type and described them ad nauseum, so if you need to know anything about them that you don’t already know. Or if you are by chance new to the site or just discovering Hot Toys for the first time we have comprehensive breakdowns here and here. I will add, that as mentioned above we have rigid boots on this figure, so be aware the ankle articulation is limited. I did however get the figure to stand just fine in a good many poses without the need of the stand.

May I just say that if you have just stumbled upon this site because you are considering getting into collecting 1/6th figures, be warned. You are about to enter into a whole new world of pain. One that can be very rewarding, but also one that can turn you into an obsessive anally retentive pauper… heed my words, and enjoy!

Accessories - ***1/2
Jim doesn’t come stuffed to the gills, but he certainly has everything he needs for the scenes around which this figure is based.

His full check list comprises of-
- Black assault helmet
- Goggles
- Safety shooting glasses
- Regular spectacles
- Benelli M1 Shotgun
- Smith & Wesson 5904 pistol with holster
- Two nylon ’disposable’ hand restraints
- Police radio ‘walkie-talkie’ + carry pouch
- Black oval figure stand with Lt. Jim Gordon nameplate and movie logo

So as you can see he is far from lacking, but considering the eye-watering price, you couldn’t consider it overly generous either.

Both the guns have articulated elements, with the pistol being able to cock and the magazine being removable, whilst the shotgun has a sliding pump action and a side panel that can be slid back to expose the shell within. It also looks like the clip with the shells in might be removable, but I didn’t want to force it in case it isn’t. The police radio is well detailed and fits snugly into the rear belt mounted pouch designed to hold it, it features a coiled wire leading to the handset that attaches to left hand chest of the flak vest. He also comes with a helmet and goggles, but when I offered it up, it seemed like it might be slightly too tight a fit to sit convincingly on the head because of the hair sculpt. I guess if you wanted to blast the head with a hair dryer for a few minutes you could probably soften it enough to force it on. But to be honest I don’t plan on displaying the figure with it on, so I thought better of potentially rubbing some of the hair paint off. It is however a cool bonus for anyone with more money than sense who might be buying multiples just to build an extra Gotham SWAT team member. If that is you, I kind of pity yet envy you at the same time! And lets face it you could also bash an extra Jim Gordon in his civvies or just flog the head sculpt on eBay for an obscene amount of money to finance your addiction. Maybe you’re not so crazy after all!

Both the shooting specs and the regular glasses have small pegs at the ends of the arms that slot into tiny holes hidden within the hairline next to the ears. I found they slotted in just fine and stayed in place well, but do remember to take care when moving the figure around, as a stray movement and the gentle sound of crunching underfoot would be disastrous! The two nylon hand restraints need to be threaded through the strap just below the handset for the radio and closed into a loop. It will then take a few seconds of futzing to get them to lay right against the figures chest, but once fiddled with they look good.

Lastly we get the ubiquitous black oval figure stand, about which there is very little to say other than it’s black, it’s oval and it has a crotch hammock wire.

That’s it in the accessories department, and had this figure not been so expensive I would be quite happy with the selection. As it is, and before you jump down my throat, I know it’s not scene accurate to this figure, but I would have loved some of the clown gang masks sealed up in evidence bags as a nice little bonus to the fans… or better still, the Bat-signal… what? I can wish!

So my final score is not quite full, and this reflects the quantity in relation to the unit price, rather than any lack of quality.

Outfit - ***3/4
I have written in the past on how some outfits are harder to reproduce at 1/6th scale than others. For example the humble mans business suit remains one of the hardest to pull off convincingly. The biggest problem is always the thickness of fabric and the way it falls and creases at this diminutive scale. In much the same way that special effects guys can NEVER get water to look right when using small-scaled models (even when Cameron’s Titanic sank it looked like a scene from a Gerry Anderson puppet show in a few key shots). Likewise fabric just will not play ball at 1/6th. They can get close approximations, and one has to look at these things with realistic expectations (something that is occasionally lacking in some collectors). That’s not to say we shouldn’t push for these companies to constantly strive for better… but… well, you get my drift.

However, after that long-winded intro, what I was trying to say is we have almost no such problems here. The reason being that the figure is dressed in his SWAT fatigues, which are basically a black military style outfit, and one thing we know Hot Toys can do well is modern military. It’s where they started off, and even though they don’t visit the genre often enough anymore its still an area they can truly shine in, and here they display just how much of a walk in the park this type of outfit is for them.

The full wardrobe consists of-
- Dark blue turtle neck GCPD undershirt
- Dark blue long sleeved police shirt
- Black SWAT flak jacket
- Dark blue combat trousers
- Black above the ankle assault boots
- Black webbing utility belt with bag attached
- Black kneepads
- Black helmet
- Goggles
- Safety shooting glasses
- Spectacles

Some of these items belong in two camps, but if they are worn on the body I am including them in his attire here, however if they can also be considered an extra bonus item I will list them in the accessories below.

Needless to say the actual fabric items are all well tailored to the figure, the pants have working pockets and belt loops and the shirt is well detailed too with flapped breast pockets and an embroidered GCPD patch on the left arm. Regardless of the detail on the body of the shirt it will remain largely unseen because of the flak vest worn over it. DON’T try and undo the zipper here, it is removable, but you need to release the Velcro tabs at his sides and lift it off over the head should you choose to do so.

The boots are made of rigid plastic, so some ankle articulation is lost here, but the crisp detailing on the tooling manages to make up for any slight shortcomings in this department. All in all this is a great looking outfit, relatively simple by some of Hot Toys standards, but that is in no way to undermine the quality and fine detailing achieved.

Value - ***
Being an exclusive, and therefore (we hope) made in a much smaller edition size, that limited supply is reflected in the prices. This particular figure was available from Sideshow for $224.99, yep, you read that right, and what’s more he sold out pretty darned quickly. So, how does one decide on value? It seems increasingly that one mans extortionate is another mans affordable. I sincerely believe that even those that gladly shelled out the full price must have had at least a twang of “what the freaking hell am I doing… if my wife/partner/significant other finds out, they will justifiably murder me”, but buy it they did, and it sold out super fast… so it obviously is worth the price to a great many people… and as sick as we are, I salute you!

Fun Factor - ***1/2
To your average kid there is no way that this figure is as exciting as a figure of the Bat Man, but luckily we are not here to talk to average kids… they can go down to their local Toys R Us and gorge on the mass produced playground fodder. Instead we have an item for the 1/6th connoisseur, with a quality befitting our loftier and more discerning sensibilities. Of course we wont be laying on our collective bellies in the dirt of the backyard making gun noises and getting this guy to fight it out with our Joker DX figures… or will we.

I guess if you were to keep the tiny spectacles indoors this would be up to the job of a little considerate play, but that is far from its raison d’etre.

No, this will be displayed alongside many a collectors now extensive collection of characters from the Nolan trilogy, in a many a Detolf cabinet scattered all over this planet, from London to Tokyo and indeed Shanghai to Istanbul with a good many North American destinations thrown in for good measure. And as such it will be bringing a lot more joy than perhaps it should to a great many people who should know better!

Overall- *** 1/2
I guess it should have come through in my words that I really love this figure (in a non weird or kinky fashion). The portrait by K.A.Kim is masterful, as is JC Hong’s paint app. The outfit is supremely well tailored and he has all the accessories he needs to be kitted out convincingly for the key scene that this is based on. However, with a RRP of $225 this is a very expensive figure, no two ways about it. I always try to take every aspect of a figures score into consideration to some degree, and after consideration I arrive at my final score. But there is also an indefinable quality that comes from the gut, or the heart if you are more romantically inclined. And even though this is expensive it is also bloody cool. When you have been collecting figures for a long time it is easy to become cynical about the motivations behind why some figures ever get made, but with a character like this, you get a feeling that even though it will (and has) sold very well. There was also something of a small leap of faith in the fact Hot Toys wanted to reward the collectors that had supported the line for so long with something that they had asked… nay begged for, and reward them by giving a secondary character the true love and attention to detail that it deserved. Now do Alfred as well forchrisake!

So, I have taken the price into consideration… but as a fan of the source material I also feel so relieved that I finally have a figure of Gordon to stand alongside Bats, the Joker, the Scarecrow, Harvey Dent and the rest of the crew, that I find myself almost dismissing it. Of course this will vary from one collector to the next, but the fact it is becoming more rare to find than Mitt Romney’s full accredited financial accounts, leads me to believe you might just agree with me!

Where to Buy -
This was available on the Sideshow website for the full RRP of $224.99, but sold out in the blink of a flickering sonar eye. It is still available on the elusive promise of a back order (and not having an official edition number there is a chance that Hot Toys may well produce more to meet demand) but it’s probably fair to say that it wont be available for less than the full RRP, and will in point of fact be demanding far more on the grey markets.

To prove that point I looked it up on that den of iniquity that is eBay, where I found it demanding BIN prices of between 310 right up to $425… it makes the RRP of $225 seem like quite the deal!

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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