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Hot Toys Wong Ka Kui

   

"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 continues his look at Hot Toys figures, with a rather interesting one tonight - tell us all about it, Jeff!

The new Hot Toys (HT) M-Icon figure may not be instantly recognizable to some, in fact a lot of Westerners could be forgiven for knowing little or nothing about Wong Ka Kui (WKK), even though some of his early songs were recorded in English, the majority were in Chinese so his music never made the language and indeed cultural leap over here, but in Hong Kong, China and Japan he’s little short of a legend.
You’ll find a much more in depth bio of the man on wikipedia, but in brief, he was the song writer and singer for the group ‘Beyond’ a band, who after a rather wobbly start soon found themselves to be one of the most popular and biggest selling artists in Asia. Tragically WKK died in an accident while filming a Japanese game show on June 24th 1993, so these figures have been released, and indeed are to commemorate the 15th anniversary of his death.
This is one of three versions available, there is also a ‘live’ version ‘MIS05’'.

And a memorial ‘green colour schemed’ figure of this version, (ltd ed of 40) sold only at a charity auction, ‘MIS03’ meaning it’s going to be very difficult to be a completist of the M Icon range.









Packaging: ***1/2
This box is basically the same construction as the first two M-Icon figures, James Dean and Marlon Brando, so it’s the same shoebox design that flips open sideways. This time the colour of the box is red to match the figures jacket and guitar, the front has a silver foil blocked stylised, graphic picture of WKK’s face in profile and again has the small metal badge in the top right hand corner with the HT logo. 


Inside is the printed-paper cover that you lift to show the foam sheet that protects the front of the figure. Beneath this, WKK is completely surrounded by die cut black foam. I wish all 1/6 figures could come this well protected, but I get the feeling this is considered something of a ‘showcase’ line for HT, so they made all aspects a little special.

Sculpt: ****
The last two M-Icon facial-sculpts were by Kang In Ae, this one however is by Yulli (though Kang did do the impressive hand sculpts with this figure). 

This is stunning; I received him the same time as my Appleseed, Tereus, TDK Bats and Joker, so it says something that from a face-sculpting angle this is the one that blew me away. It just looks so natural, Yulli really is turning out some amazing work at the moment and this shows her prowess off fantastically. 

Though not hugely familiar with WKK, the face looks spot on to me from all the images I’ve Googled (like this image, this image, and this image), and old video clips hosted on you tube. This just manages to look so relaxed, soft and flesh like. The hair also hangs very realistically, it’s sculpted as a separate piece but fits perfectly, and meets so snugly around the ears you’d be hard pressed to know it is separate. He comes with four hands in total. One right hand for gripping the neck of his guitar and three left hands, two are in gesturing positions and the last holds a plectrum. These are all specifically sculpted for WKK showing specific positions and all have his trademark rings sculpted as part of the hand.

Paint: ****
A sculpt this strong demands great paint apps, and thankfully it gets them. J C Hong, the HT golden boy ‘du jour’ is once more on paint control and keeps things up to his usual standards. 

Super crisp work on the eyes, with the HT patent, glossy wet coating. The skin tones are beautiful and bring this already fantastic sculpt with its fine texturing to life, his hair is pretty much just black, but still manages to look real as the matte/silk colour used lets the sculpt beneath catch the light and shadows very naturally. Virtually faultless, He also has some nice tight work on his trainers (converse hi-top style) and also his guitar. Another fantastic job!

Articulation: ****
This is on the True-Type body described here, and has the specialised neck that is sculpted into the shoulders and upper chest. A fantastic base body that allows this figure to pose very naturally with his guitar, and lets his clothing hang convincingly. None of WKK’s outfit hampers movement at all, well, I say that, his drainpipes are a little tight, but it’s still full marks from me.

Accessories - ***1/2
Wong Ka Kui comes with-
- Electric guitar (red/white) with strings
- Guitar strap
- Jewelery, including- necklace, pendant, bracelets, ear-rings etc.
- Three interchangeable right hands features his classic hand signs
- Figure stand, with Chinese script and the band name ‘Beyond’

So, a nice selection, with the stand out piece being the guitar, which shows some great detail and has super fine wires for its strings. The strap even has what I thought at first was the ‘Fender’ logo written on it as a repeat pattern, but on close inspection I saw it says ‘Ka Kui’… cute!
The jewelery is all nicely scaled and his two small bracelets are actually small metal chains. The ‘1992 Live’ figure also comes with a microphone and stand, it might have been nice to include one of these with this figure, but hey, you can’t have everything.

He also has the obligatory figure stand, as do pretty much all HT 1/6 figures, but I managed to get mine to stand fine, in fact I’ve had him posed for over a week in a walking position with only one foot flat on the ground and he stays put just fine.

Outfit - ****
Hot Toys have shown time and time again that they are not afraid to tackle complex, intricate and quite frankly what would have been considered near impossible outfits to pull off at this scale just a few years ago. So when it comes to your more straightforward ‘civi’ clothes, they simply blow the competition out of the water. WKK comes in hi-top trainers, drainpipe jeans, a long sleeved black T-shirt and a red denim jacket. The jeans and jacket have working pockets, metal rivets and scaled buttons, all are expertly tailored and though simple they fit and hang supremely well, outstanding.

Fun factor- ***
This figure is obviously gonna find a far bigger fan base in the Far East than it will in the West due to WKK’s megastar status there, I’ve even heard him described as the Chinese John Lennon, but it has to be said this is a very cool figure, regardless of whether you like his music or not.

I originally thought the M-Icon series was one I might try to ‘complete’ but the release of the charity auction ‘green’ version pretty much put paid to that. However I still wanted to get one of the three, and I was assured this one was the most iconic, so he’s the one I went for. The fact that these three newest figures in this line are the same person, and from the world of music surprised me at first, I, like many, just took the ‘M’ to stand for movies, but this opens a whole world of possibilities. 

Who’s next, more musicians and actors from the Far East (I’d love Chow Yun Fat holding the baby from Hard Boiled) or maybe more of a nod to the West with Elvis, Lennon, Hendrix, or maybe even Madonna or Jackson! 

I’ve always considered that 1/6, indeed all toy collecting is based squarely in the realms of popular culture, so perhaps this line might reflect that and show us a few more figures based on ‘real’ people!

Value: ***1/2
At present eBay seems to be the only place you’ll find this piece, and his price is anything from $129 to. $250. My score is based on getting him for around $120 to $130, if I’d paid $250 he’d only have one and a half stars at best.
But this is an excellent piece of craftsmanship, and yet again showcases why Hot Toys reign supreme at the moment.

Overall: ***3/4
It’s refreshing to get a figure that’s not packing enough heat to destroy a small continent, instead we get a figure of a recording artist who tried to highlight the inequality that many of us have become complacent about on our planet. I freely admit that before the release of this figure I knew virtually nothing about WKK, but having read up on him, he certainly seemed like a cool character. And if he managed to achieve the status of having a high end figure made of him, released by Hot Toys, in their M-Icon series ‘no less’, then perhaps he deserves a little more recognition than he gets.

Score Recap:
Packaging ***1/2
Sculpt ****
Paint ****
Articulation ****
Accessories ***
Outfit ****
Fun factor ***
Value ***
Overall ***3/4

Where to buy -
Well, Sideshow is the ‘official’ Hot Toys promoter in the US, but it seems they must have said … Wong Ka Who? As there’s no sign of this figure on their site. So, as far as I can see, eBay really is your only option right now, and you’ll find it roughly at the prices quoted above. I have a feeling this is going to turn out to be the rarest of the M-Icons released so far, due to his popularity in the Far East, so if you plan on ‘trying’ to be a completeist of this series you’d better act fast! You could also try Michaels sponsor MyAuctionLinks.com.




Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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