Serenity Malcolm Reynolds mini-bust

I've been lamenting the lack of good Firefly/Serenity collectibles for the last couple years, but it seems that has changed a bit.  Oh, we aren't getting a flood by any stretch of the imagination, but there's at least a trickle.

The latest item is the Malcolm Reynolds mini-bust.  Razor's Edge Collectibles partnered up with Diamond Select Toys and Gentle Giant Studios to get this bust produced, with the hopes that if it does well, they can follow it up with additional characters.

The production run on this guy is 1000 busts, which I feel a lot better calling a limited edition than 7000 Jawas.  He's priced at $50, a hair more than the usual bust, but not too out of line considering the run size and the resources that Razor's Edge had to pony up.

Packaging - **1/2
The box lacks a window, but does provide actual photos of the bust, so you'll have at least a general idea of what you're getting.  It also keeps the bust extremely safe in a well designed foam insert.

As is the case with DST busts, this guy comes with a nice, large full color Certificate of Authenticity.  This is a limited edition of 1000, which is at least somewhat 'limited'.

Sculpting - ***
There must be something about Nathan Fillion that makes him tough to sculpt, because no one has managed to pull it off quite right yet.  This is actually the closest we've gotten, but there's still a few issues.

Gentle Giant did the work, and regular readers know how I feel about GG's lack of consistency.  This time that captured the nose, mouth and chin perfectly, but lost something in the eyes and forehead.  The forehead seems to wide, with the eyes placed too far apart.  The paint is causing some issues too, particularly the eyebrows, but the shape of the head is still a bit too far off to call this perfect.

The hair sculpt is good, as is the pistol.  In fact, the pistol is the high point, with a terrifically detailed sculpt for this scale.

The coat and shirt lack texture, which isn't much of a surprise for a GG bust.  Some folks might think the right arm is too long, but I think the proportions are actually pretty good, considering that his hand should drop well below his waist when it's at his side.  However, the arm has a weird outward bend to it, sort of like he's aiming around a corner.  In fact, this weird bend is probably my single biggest issue with the sculpt, but is more of a design issue.

Paint - **1/2
The paint work isn't bad, just very basic.  It probably reflects the budget that they were working on here, with fewer details and more even, single colors.

The skin tone is good, although there's a few issues around the color where the cut line is a bit uneven.  The tone is a bit too even though, lacking much detail.  There are some small details added to the uniform, like the buckles, but they are minimal.  The end of the sleeves are done in a glossier finish, giving them a distinct look from the rest of the jacket.

The eyes are even and fairly clean, but I would have liked some gloss here to give them a bit more life.  The hair line is neat, and the color of the hair is consistent and fairly appropriate given the medium.

My two biggest paint issues are around the wash on the jacket, which is a bit too heavy for my tastes, and the slightly cockeyed eyebrows.  Maybe they were trying for a particular expression, but it didn't work.

The best part of the paint work is the gun, much like the sculpt.  The paint application here is quite realistic, with a nice metal weathering.  Unfortunately, the cut line between the hand and the stock isn't quite perfect, but the gun itself is extremely well done.

Design - ***
The pose is dynamic without being overdone, which is always a plus for me.  I like the flow of the jacket and the placement of the right hand in a very traditional dueling stance, and there's no worries of the bust falling over easily.

I've already complained about the weird bend in the right arm, and the wonky eyebrows take away some of the seriousness that the expression requires.  But the design itself wasn't bad, and isn't a major flaw for the overall appearance.

Value - **1/2
Most mini-busts these days are in the $45 range, but they are also done in edition sizes of three, four or even more times as large.  The $50 price tag seems more in line with this edition size, and with the smaller size of the retailer that put this together.  When someone goes out on a limb like this to try to get the fans something they want, you have to give them credit.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not a thing - the bust is quite sturdy, with very few easily damaged areas.  Unless of course, you drop it on the ground.

Overall - ***
I waffled around a bit on this final overall score.  There's more to an overall score than the some of the parts of course - there's that emotional feel much like art.  I almost docked this bust another half star, largely due to the weird eyebrows that I think hurt the look of the sculpt, and the crooked right arm.  This IS the best Mal sculpt we've gotten so far, but it's still not up there with the best work from Gentle Giant on other lines.  I provided a lot of head shots, to give you an opportunity to see him from a variety of angles to make up your own mind.

If you're a huge fan of the show/movie, then I think you should pick this guy up.  Odds are pretty good that you'll feel I'm being to hard on the bust, and if you're not a fan, you'll think I'm being too soft. Such is the life of a critic.

If this bust does well, the odds that we'll see others increases, and I would like to add a Jayne, Kaylee or Inara to the display.  If they can manage to keep the edition sizes down and yet not raise the price, doing more busts just might be a real possibility.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - ***
Paint - **1/2
Design - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
This guy is an exclusive to Razor's Edge Collectibles right now.  After that, ebay will be your best bet.  They are limiting him to 2 per household right now, so I'm assuming sales are pretty brisk.

- Related Links -
Other Serenity or Firefly goodies include my recent review of the stunt pistol, the action figure from a couple years ago, and the PVC's.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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