The Godfather - Enterbay

   "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 alternative to the Hot Toys Godfather - the Enterbay version!  Lots of folks will be interested in seeing how this guy stacks up - tell us all about it, Jeff!

This year has been a phenomenal one for 1/6th collectors (yet again!), with the big hitters bringing out ever more impressive figures one after the other. But since the announcement that both Enterbay and Hot Toys would be making figures of ‘The Don’, collectors have been on tenterhooks to see just how impressive the end results would be.

If you read some of the online banter between the collectors on any of the many forums, it was plain to see that a lot people had chosen their colours and strapped them to the mast, it all became very heated, as if two tribes had indeed gone to war!

But it looked to me like we collectors were in a win-win situation, as when it comes to giving us kick-ass human head sculpts with paint apps to die for, then the two companies who were about to deliver the Don, have pretty much proved themselves to be at the very apex of this particular game right now. As a Godfather fan you could not lose, in fact it looked like you just had plump for one or the other, sign on the dotted line and wait for it to be delivered.

But the year marched on… in February I remember thinking the Hot Toys, Iron Man MK3 would take some beating, but of course it was bettered by the MK2 (well, in my opinion). Then we had the amazing Jack Bauer released by Enterbay, with its incredible head sculpt and quite phenomenal paint apps. It was soon followed up in June by the HT Godfather figure, meaning they got the drop on Enterbay by nearly two full months of this release. So, would it be a case of ‘the early bird catches the worm’ for Hot Toys, or ‘who laughs last laughs longest’ for Enterbay or even ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, for us all? Hell no, can there ever be such a thing as too much choice?

So here at last is Enterbay's take on Brando as the patriarch of the Corleone family, a character that is so deeply entrenched in cinematic folklore that he just had to be done right, and done well, and I’m pleased to say, that in my opinion at least, he’s been executed beautifully, and has that classic Enterbay look and feel!

Packaging - ****
Enterbay have already proved that they really know how to make a nice box. From their first release of Bruce Lee in Game of Death, right through to their last, which was Bruce again, but this time as Kato from the Green Hornet, all of their packaging is a master class in overstatement…but in a good way!

It’s one of those things that you hear people say from time to time, and working in design I hear it a lot, ‘You can’t re-invent the wheel’, but I disagree, you can re-invent anything, and a good designer will always do it better. Of course there are constraints laid down, and sadly we all have to comply with the laws of physics. But the thing that impresses me with a lot of Enterbay's packaging design is that it doesn’t follow any preset pattern, and once again with the Godfather, Vito comes in his own unique container.
First a silk finished outer sleeve meets you, this has a photo from the movie above the Godfather logo, and the back has a photo-shopped image of the figure along side the care instructions and the Enterbay holographic sticker. This sleeve slides off to reveal a matte black box; the top section frames a golden rectangle with the Godfather logo and character name. The top and bottom sections don’t butt-up completely and in effect expose a golden band, but once you lift the lid off you will see that this is the edge of the inner box. The standard of the board used throughout the package is all first class, giving a very sturdy construction and high quality feel.

Inside the box the figure and his accessories lay swaddled in die cut foam, I have to admit I like this approach! Enterbay have been using it since day one, and Hot Toys utilise it on their M-Icon range, but although I like it, I do wonder how much it adds to the price of each unit… if it’s not too much, and its not too damaging to our environment then it’s the way to go, but I have a feeling that the vac formed trays used by virtually every other manufacturer might help in keeping their prices a little lower.

But… and it’s a big but, this isn’t what Enterbay is about, I’ve said in my reviews for them in the past that part on Enterbay’s mission statement to themselves, seems to be about maintaining a level of extravagance and the whole ‘retail’ experience, but also about ‘lifestyle’, and when you look at this package from that angle, it certainly gets the message across that this is a luxury item… and we all deserve a little luxury in our life now and again!

Sculpting - ****
If you’re lucky enough to have either the Enterbay Jack Bauer or Pres Palmer figure in your collection, then you will already be familiar with the work of master sculptor YJ Park. He has an uncanny touch for giving his work a spookily life like appearance, and he’s managed it again here. It’s one of those strange occurrences that both Enterbay and Hot Toys decided to produce this figure at the same time, and although competition is generally a good thing, it also creates a situation where comparisons will be drawn, and both the artists involved here deserve for their work to be viewed on it’s own merits, so that is the course I was going to try and take in this review… and I’m glad to say it will actually be pretty easy, as although these two figures inhabit the same space within popular culture… they are actually two very different figures once you hold them in your hand.

YJ Park has created yet another breathtaking sculpt, and I defy anyone to not see Brando as Vito here, it just captures the character so well. Here he wears a solemn, even contemplative expression with a lot of sadness coming through in the eyes. Those eyes are beautifully carried out, they are super glassy and glossy and are constructed as separate pieces that are inserted within the head, where they peer out of two eye shaped holes giving them a very realistic final appearance. The overall shape of the head is very good, working especially well in profile, but that’s not to belittle how great this looks when viewed straight on as well. 

The slight droop of the lip, the weight of the jowls and that distinctive bridge of his nose are all observed beautifully, as is the superfine detailed work on the ears that blends seamlessly into the hair, and the detail on his hair has to be viewed up close to be appreciated. It’s fair to say that YJ Park has created another mini masterpiece here, and it’s one any fan of the movie would love on their shelf. 

I do wonder if the width of the head could do with slimming down slightly, as the jowls seem to remove some definition from the shape of his chin, and it’s a shame that the Don couldn’t utilise the moving eye technique made famous by their Bruce Lee figures, but as he required a much more subtle hair line I guess that wasn’t a realistic option.
He also comes with three hands, two in relaxed positions plus an extra gesturing/pointing right hand, the detail on all of these is solid, with the left hand also having his wedding band sculpted on the appropriate finger. So, even though I have a very slight misgiving that the jowls are ever so slightly too heavy, this is still a hugely impressive sculpt deserving of a full score, without a doubt!

Paint - *** 8/10
The paint work here is virtually faultless, and indeed the skin tones are quite simply jaw dropping, the only area that lets it down, and keeps it a whisker away from perfection is his hair. I will even go out on a limb and say the paint app on the face is slightly superior to earlier Hot Toys one, though having seen the special limited figure, in the tiny edition of twenty that they produced for the Taiwan charity auction, it does look like if you are among the very lucky, and indeed generous winners of one of them, then they did manage an even better job there. 

But, when it comes to mass produced factory apps, then on this occasion Enterbay do nudge ahead by a nose, as the observation of the details coupled with the execution of the gentle flesh tones, showing the aged skin, subtle shading and delicate application of the liver spots is just fantastic. The mouth is also a master class in how to paint lips, and where the opening disappears into the mouth proper is incredibly convincing. It’s a model case of a sculpt and the paint apps working perfectly together, and as YJ Park is responsible for the art direction on this, he was obviously determined to get it just right. But sadly the hair just doesn’t quite live up to the lofty standards of the skin tones. What should be gently greying sideburns end up far too pale, in fact they look snowy white at the leading edge. It’s a shame, as the work on the eyebrows and thin moustache are just fantastic and you can actually see individual hairs picked out, as are the aged effects on his hands with their slight mottling and veins, even the fingernails are gently painted in. 

So, in many ways this is deserving of a full score, and had those greying areas of the hair been carried out with just a little more subtlety then it would have got it, so I’m shaving off just a tiny whisker to reflect this!

Articulation - ***1/2
I think I’m right in believing that this is the first outing for the RM-2 body, and I have to say I was finding it difficult to work out quite what was different from the RM-1, but then it occurred to me… ankles!

Yes the RM-2 now uses the same ankle joint as the BL3.5, if you have either Jack Bauer or Mr Bean you will be aware that their ankles had a joint that could be manipulated to either point or tilt where as this new joint can do both at the same time. It’s kind of ironic that this ability is now there for an old duffer like the Don, while poor Jack has to make do with his slightly more limited range… I think I can sense a few body swaps going on in the future.

So we have the new swivelling universal joint at the ankle, double knees, swivelling and rotating ball joints at the hip, some limited movement at the waist and a similar amount at the mid torso. The shoulders can lift out from the body to just over 90 degrees and can spin a full 180 whilst the elbows can also bend to just over 90 degrees and also have the ability to freely turn by 180. The wrists have a great range and follow the same design as most hi-end 1/6th bodies. The neck is fixed where it joins the shoulders but offers a good degree of pose-ability where it joins the head. It can look down well and tilt from side to side, but can’t look up. It still suffers a little from the Enterbay ‘wobbly’ head syndrome, but as I’ve said before a little Blu-Tack packed around the post and it’s easily rectified.

The only real problem I encountered was that the fat suit the figure is fitted with makes it difficult to keep him in a good sitting position, as the thighs tend to push back against the padding, but rest assured, with perseverance and futzing you can get some very good poses, both standing and seated.

So to sum, for an old fella in his twilight years this body is more than adequate, and it hangs really well for natural poses.

Outfit - ***1/2
For both Pres Palmer and Mr Bean, Enterbay used their unique way of tailoring a 1/6th suit, meaning the lapels were cut and stitched to lay flat, but for this dinner suit they have gone down the more traditional route.

I have to say I’m glad, as it  makes for a pretty convincing suit, it all seems to be made of two types of synthetic fabric, both have a silky finish, but the one used for the lining and the lapels on both the vest and jacket catches the light in a more satin like way. The fit is good to the body, but because of the fat suit it does give the illusion of making him look a little more narrow shouldered than perhaps he should be, but this is emphasised more in some poses than others. The trousers are quite high waited (as old men and Simon Cowell seem to favour) and they have a leather belt with a working metal buckle threaded through the belt loops. His dress shirt has a button panel up the front with tiny black buttons glued on to it, this is held shut by three press studs that stop well shy of the collar, this means the collar is held closed by the bow tie. When mine arrived the wing of the left collar of the shirt was trapped between the head and neck, so I completely stripped him down and ironed the collar flat again, after doing this to both wings, it now looks much better. The bow tie is again made of the silky material and is stitched to a simple black elastic strap. I advise taking your time and futzing for a while here, it’s worth it as after much tooing and frowing I did eventually find a position that looked symmetrical and pretty convincing. Lastly he as a pair of black socks and shiny black patent dress shoes. These appear to be the same as Kato’s, but are still perfect for this character, the soles are even painted a duller dark grey to give the appearance of sole grade leather.

So, all in all the suit fits great, the thinness of the fabrics used works very well at this scale but because of its silky nature it does require quite a bit of futzing and tweaking, but with patience it can look fantastic.

Accessories - ****
Enterbay were always facing an uphill struggle in this category… why? Well, if you own the Hot Toys version, you’ll know. But to their merit Enterbay stuck to their guns and delivered what they originally set out to, and they have delivered it well.

The biggest and most impressive accessory is his chair. Enterbay’s scaling is slightly more diminutive than Hot Toys, but this is still a cool item, it has quite a bit of heft, as the stand and adjuster are made of die-cast metal, this then attaches to the base of the seat. The chair part itself is made of two types of material, the wooden frame part is a hard solid plastic, maybe ABS, but all the cushioned bits on the arm-rests, seat and back are made of a softer rubberier material which has a slight amount of ‘give’ if you compress it. The paint apps on the chair are very impressive with a well-applied dark wood colour on the frame with some of the carved and inlaid areas subtly high-lighted in a copper colour.
The padded areas are all in a warm tan leather tone, and again have very impressive paint apps to mimic the streaks of the grain and a darker patina towards the edges, just in the way antique leather furniture discolours with constant use. Even the back of the chair has grain details with rich browns and reds making it look very mahogany like.

He also comes with a small delicate rose for his button hole, a tiny wrist watch with a black strap, silver case and white face, then there’s the extra hand I described above, a metal ‘certificate of authenticity’ which is golden in colour with die-cast wording, and lastly the figure stand. This is the same as the one Kato came with, known as the RM FS200, it is completely constructed of metal, has a very sturdy feel and even has an opening hinge to give it a bigger surface area when doing a leaping or mid air action pose… not something you’ll need for Vito, but it’s a cool addition anyway.

Ahh, I did just say lastly for the stand, but what I should have said was penultimately, as although the stand is the last thing that can actually be used by the figure, there is actually another ‘bonus’ item.

A bit like the opera glasses that came with Kato, but much posher, you get a ‘Mont Blanc’ style roller-ball pen, its black lacquered with gold accents, which are engraved with both the Godfather and Enterbay logos. It’s a nice addition, but I have to admit I would have rather had something more pertaining to the character… or perhaps a few $’s knocked off the price. But they do say never look a gift horse in the mouth, and at the end of the day Enterbay announced it was to be one of the features with the figure when they first unveiled the prototype… but it still seems a little strange.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
OK, even if little Luigi does want a 12” replica of Grandpa Vito, it doesn’t bear thinking about how much Lira $170 would translate to, but you’d need a whole line of zero’s ( actually I did the conversion, it would be about L 225,000.00, I know they have the boring Euro now in Italy, but indulge me for comedy value!).

So, it goes without saying this is not a play thing. This is a small ‘objet d’art’ to stand on your shelf, or in your Detolf and admire!

But this is also a figure made for 1/6th lovers by 1/6th lovers. So expect to unpack him and futz for a while… however once you have futzed and got that pose you want, this does look pretty damn exceptional.

Value - ***1/2
Enterbay figures are always the hi-end of hi-end. Reassuringly expensive (as a leading Belgium bière likes to market itself in the UK!). But it has to be said, for a relatively small company to be delivering a figure of this quality, (even for this price) is pretty cool, and certainly deserves a certain amount of kudos.

In this day and age, many quality 12” figures cost $150 as standard. So to be getting a well made chair alongside your, amazingly sculpted, phenomenally painted and elegantly dressed figure on a solid vinyl body… and lets not go forgetting that pen… well, it certainly makes you feel like you got something approaching value for money, especially when you take all the factors into account!

Overall - ****
The price is pretty high, the head sculpt is ‘nearly’ perfect and the outfit will need a little futzing (but in all honesty what 1/6th fabric dressed figure doesn’t need a tweak here and there), however this is still a pretty groundbreaking figure.

Sadly, a lot of collectors will want reviewers to come down on one side or the other when looking at the Enterbay and Hot Toys figures, and pass their judgement like the hand of god, praising one whilst condemning the other!

But in my opinion that would do a great disservice not only to both companies, but also to all of the artists involved in bringing these figures to full 1/6th life!

Both companies have distinctive house styles, of which these are good examples, and I for one would genuinely hate to choose, if god forbid I had that choice’ to make… luckily I don’t.

Yes, there are strong points on each, but to mix and match would dilute how they were designed to be exhibited, and I do like my figures box fresh… a little futzing is fine, but no major mods. And I’m glad to say neither of these need any major mods. As long as you don’t mind messing and futzing with your figures.
So this just has to be a full score figure. It is a small work of art, and takes us up another rung of the ladder to making the rest of the world recognise 1/6th figures are a worthwhile collectable and don’t just have to be super heroes and space monsters… not that I have any problem with Super heroes and space monsters, but diversity is the spice of life!

Scoring Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***8/10
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
You can still get him direct from Enterbay for $170 or go to the official US importer Yes Anime. Alternatively try one of Michael’s sponsors (remember to link from the homepage!).

Urban Collector - $169.99

Big Bad Toy Store - $179.99.

Alter Ego Comics - $179.99

If in the UK you can try out (tell Wai Man that Wookster sent you!) where he’s available for £ 129.99 or lastly you can always hit eBay, maybe you can make a trader an offer he can’t refuse!

Figures from the collection of Jeff Parker

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