Enterbay Bruce Lee

Jeff must have hit the lottery - he's back with a review of the much anticipated (and very expensive!) Enterbay Bruce Lee.  What's the 411, Jeff?

Enterbay Bruce Lee from ‘Game of Death’, ltd edition of 3500

Hi, back again spreading my love for 12” pieces of plastic, thank you to Michael for letting me share that love, especially at this time of year when a lot of you good people will be sitting by roaring log fires, sipping egg nog and wondering what that jolly fat guy is gonna bring ya; if it happens to be this figure then you’re a very lucky individual. Over the years there have been a hell of a lot of Bruce Lee (BL) figures, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Hell, a few years ago Medicom even released a ‘fashion’ range based on Lee, with no fewer than 24 outfits to choose from. Medicom also releases a much-anticipated 1/6 new BL next year. But when it comes to being ‘anticipated’, Enterbay’s first release of the renowned Korean sculptor Arnie Kim’s Bruce Lee from Game of Death (GoD) has got the 1/6 collectors buzzing.

Every now and then something new comes along that will move something up a notch from toy, to adult collectable, to art piece. This is firmly in the latter.

A brief back story: after gaining a profile on US TV and then on the back of that success cracking the Honk Kong movie circuit, BL set about making Game of Death, a film that would become one of his most iconic roles; his vision was to make a film that truly showcased his martial arts skills, particularly Jeet Kune Do. But early into production, with only 54 minutes of footage in the can (some of which has been lost) he got the call from Hollywood.
Director Robert Clouse had been given the green light to make the first big budget Kung Fu movie, it was to be called Enter the Dragon (EtD), the rest of course is history.

Bruce left production of GoD fully intending to come back and finish it after EtD had wrapped, but tragically in July 1973, just a month before EtD’s release, Lee died of a cerebral oedema. 

Though tragic, his premature death elevated him into the pantheon of icon, along with others like Monroe and Dean; and it’s testament to his talent and ability that he’s as popular today, if not more so, than he was back then. Recently there has been a lot of interest around Lee, last year (2005) would have been his 65th birthday and back in November of that year a 2-metre bronze statue was unveiled in Hong Kong, built with funds raised by fans.

So now the uninitiated know a little bit more about Lee, just what is all the fuss over this figure?

Packaging - ****
Huge and heavy. Those are the first two words that spring to mind, the next is impressive. Enterbay obviously wanted to mark out their first release as something special. Firstly, you’re met by a bright yellow outer sleeve, featuring a great traditional illustration of Lee. It’s also covered in Chinese and English text and carries a small metallic silver sticker on the back with its edition number, mine being 2967. This slips off to reveal a large black box with some gloss text on a matt background, and again carrying the edition number sticker on the back.

This black box is an ingenious design that slides open sideways to reveal what looks like the top of a wooden box bearing some text and again with its edition number, no stickers here though as it is all laser-etched into the wood. You lift this out and it becomes apparent this is the display base, made from real wood and represents the pagoda/temple that GoD is set in. Next, there’s a flat sheet of black foam with a cut-out for a plastic certificate card with signatures of the production staff (sadly these are printed, it would have been nice to have had real signatures here) and again with the edition number.

Once this sheet is out of the way you get to the figure, he lies securely cushioned in a foam cut out, just like Woody in Toy Story 2, and positioned around him are his accessories, a bamboo stick, a pair of nun-chucks with carry case, six alternate hand sculpts, a stand and alternate eyes…yes you read that right, one of this figure’s many original features is that you can swap his eye position, but more on that later.

So to sum up, this is an impressive bit of packaging, not exactly eco friendly but looks great and protects the figure and base well. It’s almost certainly the base and this box that have pushed this figure’s price-point so very high.

Sculpting - ****
Arnie Kim already has something of a cult following and at this year’s San Diego Comic Convention, Enterbay took the opportunity to show off his talents to the rest of the world (I sadly didn’t attend, but due to Michael’s great coverage and photos of the displays, I almost feel like I did, only without the sore feet and screaming credit card). 

On display were a selection of his sculpts of famous actors. Many depicted Harrison Ford as Solo, Indy and Jack Ryan but it’s no mystery that Mr Lee is the figure Arnie is most famous for. This is an astounding face sculpt, absolutely bang on, right down to the slight scar on Bruce’s right cheek: and as I mentioned above, you can even lift the hair off, which is held in place by the hair’s design and a magnet, to pop out his eyes so as to replace with the alternate set. Depending on which way up you insert them he can look straight on, left or right, it brings back fond memories of my eagle-eyed Action Man (GI Joe in the US) from my childhood.

But this is not where the sculpting ends…oh no! As any fan of BL will tell you, he is as famous for his physique as his fighting skill. This was a man who did not appear to have one ounce of fat on his entire body, and so as to do justice to the legend, Arnie has done an entire torso sculpt, which shall now be known as the BL1. Sure this means that to make Bruce look as good without his clothes as he does with, means he hasn’t gone for all the articulation we’ve become used to in high-end 1/6, but neither has he compromised and made a rigid statue.

What we have is a happy medium, still with enough articulation to get into almost any iconic pose, but also meaning you can display with his shirt off and he looks just as good. This body sculpt and the accompanying alternate hands are fantastic, quite literally some of the best I’ve seen and this category is absolutely faultless proving that at the moment Mr Kim is without peers.

Paint - ***
The paint ops have been kept pretty minimal, but excellent nonetheless. I’ve heard people talk about repaints on various online forums like onesixthwarriors and mediworld, but most seem to agree that the translucent skin tones are pretty much perfect. My only real issue, and some other people’s too, is with his eyebrows; they look fine, but lack any feathering or detailed edges and are instead just a black/grey slab. But they’re good enough for me and I certainly would never attempt a repaint myself. The hair is made from solid black plastic and has no paint whatsoever but like many figures the sculpting is so strong that all the detail comes from the light and shadows. Another small detail of note, if you are displaying sans shirt, they’ve even painted his nipples. I’m sure the colour is about right, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing a Google search for “Bruce Lee’s nipples”.

Articulation - ***
I already explained above that this figure hasn’t got the articulation of say a SST, Medicom RAH or HT 1/6 figure, but this is more than made up for by the wonderful body sculpting. Hopefully my photos will give you a fair idea of how his joints work. For some much better photo’s than mine you should check these out , I’d like to thank Gatack for this link. So when I first took him out of his box I thought the limited range would really bug me, that was, however, before I’d taken his outfit off (I also have to mention that it’s not until you take his suit off that you see he has yet another small silver panel baring his edition number, this time on his derrière) and posed him a couple of times. I have to say IMHO Arnie has got it just about right. The only area really crying out for some more articulation is his lower leg/shin, as his feet, though able to tilt from side to side can’t spin at all, meaning his feet are pretty much facing forwards at all times. But if he can keep a self-confessed articulation junkie like me happy on the whole I’d hope others can live with it too.

Accessories - ****
Bruce comes with many ‘Brucie bonuses’: a numbered certificate, six alternate hands, a blink and you’ll miss it bracelet, a pair of nun-chucks with carry bag, a bamboo rod/cane, alternate eyes, a stand and of course the wooden display base. All of these items are sculpted/constructed well and solidly. You have to insert two small finials onto the pagoda base but as far as construction goes, that’s it. 

The only accessory that could do with a little improvement is the bamboo cane, it’s kind of OK but lacks any fine detail…in fact it looks like something a fetishist might stick where the sun don’t shine…if you take my meaning, just my opinion! Mind you with a display base as nice as this one it’d be rude to give anything but four stars.

Outfit - ****
This outfit is just about as iconic as it gets for Bruce and has been copied many times in ads, videos and most notably by Tarantino as the outfit the Bride wears for her showdown in Kill Bill 1. Basically it’s just a snug fitting yellow jumpsuit with black lines down the sides and ¾ length sleeves, finished off with black socks and yellow Onitsuka Tiger trainers.

The jump suit fits like a glove and has a very well concealed zip running up the back, so well concealed that I hope Takara, Medicom and Hot Toys take note, as we all know a certain web-slinger is hitting the screen for his third outing next year and I know a lot of people are praying that these three companies battle it out like they did on Bats this year. The socks fit well, but what can you say about socks…they’re socks! 

The Tiger trainers, however, are fantastic, and like the 1/6 footwear DiD produce, are basically a small facsimile of the real thing with laces, separate soles and all. Mine have a small nick on the top of the left shoe, annoying but basically a production fault, it’ll be easily covered up with a spot of yellow paint. If you take the shoes off, for heaven’s sake don’t try and unlace them, you will NEVER do the laces up to look as good as they do box fresh, instead just slip them off, the socks make it easy as pie.

Fun Factor - ****
This has to be the daddy of 1/6 collectables at the moment, but with a price many will baulk at, I have to say I can’t blame them. This is an exceptional figure, but the RRP of $349 is an exceptional price. However, if that price doesn’t put you off, and you’ve waited for this figure patiently for what seams like the greater part of your life then you won’t be disappointed. And like the HT Alien I reviewed a week or so ago, you can’t walk past him without a quick play and making a few high-pitched ‘hhhhooooooo-hhhwwwaahhhh’ noises.

Value - **1/2
As I said the RRP on this is $349 for the US and £299 for the UK but many online traders are doing him for between $335 to $370, but bear in mind most of these are Far East based; and as this is a big weighty box, shipping won’t be cheap. I got a great deal on mine from Forbidden Planet, for which I’d like to thank Kenny Penman. They have him up for £225 but you’ll have to act quickly as supplies are limited.

Things to Watch Out For -
No problems at all with mine (apart from that damaged shoe) but handle with care. It’s sad when a SST figure’s arm comes off, it’s a small tragedy when a Medicom figure comes to pieces, so imagine how you’d feel if this guy fell apart, there would be tears.

Overall - ***1/2
How could you ever truly give a figure in this price bracket full marks, well I suppose if it was gold plated and made your breakfast for you it’d come close. But even though it doesn’t do that, it’s about as close to perfect that a 1/6 figure comes in terms of facial likeness, and that alongside a fantastic body sculpt, great accessories, a fantastic real wood display base, a supremely tailored suit, every part of the package is numbered and HIS FREAKIN’ EYES CAN BE MOVED, means as their first release, Enterbay really deserves a big pat on the back.

Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy - 
The best price I’ve found in the UK is from Forbidden Planet at £225, and as it says on the Enterbay website, Forbidden Planet is the exclusive UK distributor so it might be the only place you’ll get it. 

Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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