21st Century Fireman
I've been kind of hard on 21st Century these past few months. I've
felt the quality of the sculpts has decreased, the quantity and quality of
the accessories dropped, and therefore the value just hasn't been there.
happy to say that's changed - at least for this figure. The new
Fireman figure is one of the newer 'non-military' figures, and is a
definite improvement over the Police Helicopter or Fire Helicopter
Pilots. These are showing up at Toys R Us right now for $29.99.
Packaging - ***
Nice packaging, as is usually the case with 21st Century. It's not
quite as nice as Dragon yet, because you still have to destroy the
packaging. But the graphics are great, and it gives an excellent
view of the figure and accessories for the MIB collector.
Accessories - ****
Wow! They've given us a great set of accessories with this figure -
not too few, not too many. The air tank and mask fit the figure
fairly well (although it can be a little tricky keeping the mask on just
right), and the crowbar, excellent chain saw, pike and axe all look
perfect. Also included are a radio and helmet.
The detailing on
the accessories is extremely good, and everything fits together
well. The mask hose fits to the regulator, the radio fits in the
pocket, and the belts work smoothly. There was a little glue slopped on
the face mask, but that's a minor and fixable quibble.
Sculpting - ***1/2
This is one of the few African American sculpts from any company other
than Hasbro, and they've done a very nice job. It's an understated
sculpt, not trying to be too 'ethnic' but yet looking much more realistic
than many of their more recent work.
Paint - ***
The paint work on the plastic pieces is bright and realistic. This
guy really will add some pizzazz to the brown/gray/black displays
currently on your shelf. I did have to check through several figures
to get a helmet that had a really consistent paint work with no damage, so
be a little careful.
Articulation - ***1/2
This is the latest version of 21st Century's body. It has plenty of
points - neck, ball shoulders, double jointed elbows, cut joint biceps,
wrists, waist, chest, ball hips, double jointed knees, and ankles.
With that many points of articulation, there aren't too many poses you
won't be able to put this guy in.
I'm not thrilled by the new ball shoulders and hips though. The
figure looks good dressed, but the shoulders in particular remind me of
the old Exclusive Premiere style. It seems to limit the motion quite
a bit, and I'd prefer the original ball joints.
Value - ***
Most of the more recent figures from 21st Century have been weak, and
really not worth the $29.99 they charge at good old Toys R Us. But
this is definitely an exception - sure, it would be a perfect value at
$20-$25, but even at $30 it's great deal.
Uniform - ****
This is one of the finest quality uniforms I've ever seen produced in this
kind of price range. Even in the higher ranges that Dragon or
Medicom charges, you'll rarely see this kind of quality.
The heavy material is perfect for this type of uniform, and the
stitching and pocket work is excellent. The reflective strips are
well done, and the metal snaps and loops used for the jacket closures are
absolutely fantastic. It's rare to see that quality of metal clips,
especially in the correct scale.
The rubber boots are also perfect, and the softer rubber material
matches the reality of real boots perfectly in this situation. The
only possible improvement I could see would have been including a t-shirt
under the jacket.
If this uniform ever comes out carded, it will be well worth picking up
a few more to round out your fire house.
Overall - ***1/2
It's been several months since a one of the figures from 21st Century
moved me. Sure, I've picked up a couple, but for the most part these
have been impulse purchases I've regretted. Not this time - this
figure is one of the finest they've ever put out, and I can't recommend it
enough. I have a few minor problems - I'm not thrilled with the
shoulder articulation - but between the great head sculpt, excellent
accessories, and truly amazing uniform, this is one you really need to add
to your 1/6th collection.
Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford