Hot Toys Prison Break


"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 Parker stops by tonight with a terrific guest review of the new Prison Break figures from Hot Toys - take it way, Jeff! 

Hot Toys have been hitting us with a lot of great quality movie-licensed merchandise in the last couple of years, but these are their first big US TV licensed products, could they be the first of many? 

We all know there are people clamoring for 1/6 figures from Lost, Heroes, Stargate and many others. And whoís to say that when we finally get the Star Wars TV series, if the license might not be given out as a separate entity from the movie ones! Doubtful I guess, but donít put anything past Wiley Uncle George and his money-making machine?

Prison Break certainly has a hard-core audience; some might even say it has a cult following. It follows the trials, quite literally and tribulations of brothers Lincoln Burrows (LB) and Michael Scofield (MS), Michael gets himself deliberately incarcerated in Fox River State Penitentiary to try to free his wrongly accused brother who himself is imprisoned for his part in a murder, that could be part of a political cover-upÖconfused, you will be. After escaping with six other convicts and on the trail of a hidden $5 million, they attempt to stay one step ahead while being tailed by both FBI Special Agent Alexander Mahone and Captain Brad Bellick.

The first release comprises of the brothers Lincoln and Michael, theyíre soon to be followed by special edition street-wear versions. After that, who knows, there are certainly many characters to choose from. 

Packaging - ***
As this isnít part of the Movie Masterpiece Series we donít get the metallic slip-on sleeve. What we get is the now standard five-panel flap fronted box. Each box bears a large picture of the character actor on the front along with the PB logo, all other photos are of the figures, but what figures, these likenesses are virtually spot on, but more on that later.

Inside they lay in a black vac-formed tray with five twisties each, having recently got the HT, Pirates of the Caribbean (POTC) Jack and Sao who were packed pretty much the same way. Their stands are housed under the legs and their extra clothing is next to them, they are then covered in a formed transparent lid to help hold everything in place and then a flat-fronted transparent cover that forms the window when in the box.

Sculpting - ****
Iíve heard a lot of folks saying they think this is the best sculpting theyíve seen, and it has to be said in my opinion itís certainly up there with the strongest. 

Hot Toys seem to have managed to capture a great likeness on both actors and theyíve given them a similar, stern ďdonít screw with meĒ expression, but lets face it, if you were banged up inside one of the USís toughest penitentiaries youíre not gonna be wearing a grin 24/7. 

These are again by Yulli, like the POTC figures, and the sculpting on both is exceptional, and though the LB sculpt, based on actor Dominic Purcell, seems to jump out at you the most, I think the MS is slightly ahead purely because the actor itís based on, Wentworth Miller, has more subtle features but theyíve been captured perfectly. There really isnít much in it though, and Iím sure many people who get these will disagree, but whichever your favourite is I think theyíre both top mark jobs. Both come with one set of relaxed hands, all sculpted well, and as they have no real accessories to hold I guess thatís all youíre going to need.

Paint - ****
In both their POTC release and this, Hot Toys have made a rod for their own backs and placed the bar a few notches higher for the competition. There are a lot of great customisers out there, and I dare say some might be able to improve a little on these, but considering these are factory-applied mass-produced figures based again on J.C.Hongs application itís pretty darn good. I know a lot of fans were hoping Michael would come with his tattoos, but even HT has to draw the line somewhere as theyíre amazingly complex but Iím sure thatís the one area some customisers will be working on as we speak. Youíll also find the hairlines arenít quite as harshly defined as on the prototypes, but this works well on the production run especially on LB where the softer line on the hair and beard/stubble looks more convincing.

Medicom have never produced (to my knowledge) anything approaching this quality in paint apps and even Sideshow toys, who know how to pull off a great paint job (occasionally) are left standing by these. But to be fair both those companies offer different things.

Medicomís aesthetic has always been more clean cut and minimal and SST have a lower price-point but that donít stop these being any less impressive.

Articulation - **** 
Iíve been over this bodyís joints so many times in the last couple of years Iím sure most of you will know what to expect, itís called the Truetype and can be seen here - It stands, poses and hangs very well, and due to the lack of any restrictive clothing these figures can utilise that body to its fullest. Definitely one of the best bodies out there and used to great effect on these two here.

Accessories - **
This is the only let-down area, Iím sure something character-specific could have been dreamt up for them to hold, but alas not even a bible, $100 bill or a soap gun! 
They are packed with their extra jackets along side them, so Iím giving two stars. The jackets are amazingly well tailored and Lincolnís has working buttons, Michaelís is zip fronted, but he comes with a beanie hat as well.

All the extra clothing items really are 4-star quality, but are they accessories? 
I guess you could say they are as they donít come wearing them in the box, butÖ well, you know what I mean.

You also get the standard HT stand bearing the character name and show logo.

Outfit - ****
Now getting onto the outfits proper, these are two relatively simple outfits, but my god Hot Toys have done them well. 
Licoln comes in molded boots, socks, a long-sleeve white T-shirt and a pair of prison overalls, these are tailored fantastically and all the pockets and even all the buttons work. The same goes for his jacket mentioned above, itís a heavy denim kind of material with a cord collar, patch pockets and working buttons.

Michael has boots, socks, dark blue trousers, grey long-sleeve T-shirt, short-sleeve blue shirt with again working buttons. His extra garments are a dark blue zip-fronted blouson and beanie hat. If I had to level any real criticism, it would be that all the garments look fresh from the hanger, so you might want to rough them up a bit and add some grime, but thatís up to you.

As cool as these figures are I think some kit-bashers will be buying just to get hold of these amazingly well-made outfits.

Fun Factor - ***
I think these have surprised a lot of people, and though PB is a cool show, I bet most of its fans never saw this coming. It is however very popular in the Far East, especially Hong KongÖ and we all know where HT is based.

These will also work magnificently as a calling card for the company when they approach any future TV licences. But if you know any kids who did want to re-enact the brothersí adventures these are certainly robust enough to stand up to a ton of play.

Value - ***
These are showing up considerably cheaper than the movie figures; Iíve seen a few on eBay for between $80 to $100, with some sellers offering them as a pair for $150. SST has them for $89 on pre-order. 

So Iíd say if youíre into the show, or just want some great outfits for kit-bashing youíre actually getting a great quality figure for that price, even without any accessories apart from a standÖ unless of course you count the jacketsÖbut Iíve been there.

So to sum up, they are a very strong release in my opinion, and had they come with some alternate hands and perhaps a couple of accessories weíd have been looking at four stars.

Overall - ***1/2
Two very nice figures that kind of came out of leftfield for me, great for fans of the show, great for kitbashers and great for people who just love seeing the diversity that 1/6 collecting is taking. The facial sculpts on these two are exceptional. I know getting a spot on actorsí likeness isnít always the greatest concern for some figures, especially if the particular actor concerned has an inflated idea of what the dollar value of his/her likeness is, that may have to be paid above and beyond the licence for the character, but HT have proved here, and also with the POTC and Rocky figures, that when they are allowed, we can expect great things. So the only thing keeping them from a perfect score is the price, which seems pretty fair on the whole were it not for the absence of any prop accessories.

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

Where to Buy -
I pretty much listed most places above, SST have them for $89.99 each, but Michaelís sponsor, Alter Ego comics have them for $76.49 and the exclusive MS for $80.99 

- If youíre UK based have all four on pre-order for £79.99 each.

Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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