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Captain Action and Dr. Evile
Cast-A-Way Toys

Captain Action reproduction action figures from Cast-A-Way Toys

We all have our fond memories of childhood toys, and most action figure collectors will be able to tell you in great detail and with extreme prejudice, just what action figures of their youth turned them into the crazed pack rats they are today.

For me, there were three lines that would define my future preferences. First, there was the original action figure, the one that started it all, the 12" G.I. Joe. I liked the tons of outfits and accessories, but the bodies tended to break for me. That led me to my personal favorite, Marx's Best of the West. These were much more like modern action figures, with solid sculpted clothed bodies, but a ton of accessories.

In between those two fell the third line - Captain Action. The concept was simple enough - create a base figure that could then were the guise of various other characters. The good Captain could dress up as Batman, Superman, Spider-man, the Green Hornet, and many others. His first year on the market proved quite successful for Ideal. However, the second year they decided to go in another direction. Rather than hype up the use of the costumes, they tried to turn CA into a hero in his own right, adding a sidekick, a vehicle, a lair, and a villain of his own...Dr. Evil.

Alas, this new strategy didn't work out so well, and just a couple years after the original introduction, Captain Action was dead.  The line remains to this day one of the most sought after from the 60's, however.
Captain Action reproduction action figures from Cast-A-Way Toys

Captain Action reproduction action figures from Cast-A-Way Toys
Dr. Evil Captain Action reproduction action figures from Cast-A-Way Toys
Dr. Evil Captain Action reproduction action figures from Cast-A-Way Toys
Captain Action reproduction action figures from Cast-A-Way Toys
Dr. Evil Captain Action reproduction action figures from Cast-A-Way Toys
Dr. Evil Captain Action reproduction action figures from Cast-A-Way Toys
Dr. Evil Captain Action reproduction action figures from Cast-A-Way Toys
Dr. Evil Captain Action reproduction action figures from Cast-A-Way Toys
Captain Action reproduction action figures from Cast-A-Way Toys

About ten years ago, Playing Mantis reissued some of the original outfits, and the three main figures of CA, Dr. Evil and Action Boy. It didn't take off, and the line ended in less than two years.

But now there's some new kids on the block, and they're taking a different approach to CA and the dastardly doctor. Cast-A-Way Toys is working in a smaller Mego-esque scale, and their first releases are these two characters.  They'll be following this up with The Phantom and his foe Achmed.

The ones I'm reviewing are called 'early bird specials'. For a slightly higher price ($25 instead of the usual $20) you get some additional accessories, as well as a special COA that donates them as early bird figures.

In the review you'll see photos of the original 60's Captain and Doctor. These are not the Playing Mantis repros, but my original from when I was a kid. Yes, they are faded, worn and beat to death...but they were mine. Talk about your nostalgia value!

Packaging - ****
This is two reviews in a row where I have full four star scores for packages, and neither was from Sideshow or Hot Toys! That's quite unique.

Cast-A-Way has taken the old school look of the original Mego packaging, combined it with the sturdy clamshell concept, and threw in a heavy dose of collector friendly to produce one of the nicest bubble type packaging I've ever seen.

The clamshell opens in back, without any damage whatsoever. The figure and accessories are packed in plastic bags that likewise can be opened without tearing or ripping anything. There's a sticker on the accessory bag that you'll need to take some care with, but you should be able to free the figure and all his parts without decimating any of the package.  You can return the figure later for sale or storage, no mess, no fuss.

There's also a Certificate of Authenticity included, as well as a Captain Action collectible card.

Sculpting - ***
If you don't like the original toys, you can pretty much stop reading now. These are not intended to be something that would compete with the Bakugan on the shelf, or rival a Hot Toys sixth scale collector's figure. These are a nostalgia item, pure and simple, and they should look as much like the old figures as possible. And the old figures looked pretty damn goofy.

The good Captain always had this look on his face like he just found Dr. Evil and Action Boy in a compromising situation. He had these weird eyebrows and odd smirk that made it appear as though he was in a constant state of amused surprise. In the shot of the new CA figure's head I've included a smaller inset photo of the original head sculpt.

The sculpt is very close to the original one, but is softer. They've used a thinner material which is rotocast, and this doesn't hold the sculpt details as well as the original. The skin tone isn't painted, and has that slightly translucent look to it of this softer material.

Dr. Evile has the same issue - a sculpt that comes very close to matching the original, but which again lacks detail and is a bit soft. The exposed brain was his coolest feature, but here it's a bit tough to tell that's what it is. His expression is also a bit less intimidating, with the mouth lacking the slight grin and the eyes less well defined. Again, I included a shot of the original head as an inset to the new one.

Remember, these aren't sixth scale reproductions, but are done more in line with the Mego scale, coming in at just under 8 inches each. This smaller size will create some differences in the exactness of the sculpt as well.

Paint - **1/2
I'm assuming my Cap and Doc were painted with some tasty lead based paints, which could explain alot. These new versions have very few paint ops - hair, eyebrows and eyes for the captain, with the eyes and exposed brain (and lips) making up most of Evile's details.

CA has the same goofy eyebrows and misplaced pupils of his grandfather, but this time the eyebrows are even a bit higher on his head, making him even more surprised than before.

Dr. Evile doesn't have quite the same definition in his paint work as the original, especially in that beautiful big brain of his. He was a pretty gruesome toy for the period, but some of that is lost here because of the the lack of detail in the paint work.

Articulation - ***
These use an improved version of a Mego style body. There's quite a bit of mobility, and there's something awfully familiar about this body too - don't those hands look like something you'd see on Robot Chicken? Hmmm...

They have only a cut joint for a neck, but this allows the swappable heads to work pretty well in this scale. There are ball joints at the shoulders, waist and hips, with pin joints at the elbows, knees and ankles, and pin/post joints for the wrists. To finish up, there's a cut bicep joint.

This allows some good posing, and is certainly a huge improvement over the old Mego body.

Just a note about the originals - they had great articulation. As I was playing around with my old ones, it surprised my how good those bodies worked, right down to the ball jointed neck.

Outfit - CA ***, Evile **1/2
The standard CA outfit wasn't his best (my favorite was his Batman outfit of course), but that's the one you HAVE to have. They've done a solid job reproducing it, even though the materials of today are very different from what was used back then.

The hat is just about dead on perfect, from sculpt to paint. It fits on his head well too, even though it's a harder plastic then the original.

The body suit looks great, and goes on and off easy enough. The original was a nylon type material, which meant it was easy to snag and run.  This new outfit won't have that issue, and the attached CA logo (paper of course) seems quite sturdy. It seems to me that the original was sort of a metal foil, actually. I recall that from when I ripped it off his suit 40 years ago...

The new boots are a soft rubber, complete with painted insignia. I don't recall the original boots having the sculpted lightening bolt actually painted, although perhaps by now all the originals have just worn clean. The original boots were a hard plastic, prone to cracking and tough to swap. These new boots are an improvement, although the sculpt is slightly different.

Dr. Evile has his Nehru outfit, culled from the finest of hippie fashion. The exterior is a bright blue, a bit brighter than the original me thinks, but you can't go by what mine looks like, as it's completely faded out to a blue gray by now. I like the bright color of the new version, and the jacket even has the nicely sewn interior lining. There's a few loose threads here and there, but generally the sewing is solid.

His outfit is quite tight though, and hugs both his chest and hips a bit too much. The look should be more pajama-like, not quite so form fitting. This tightness makes it bunch up at the shoulders, hips and waist in ways that don't look quite as good as it should.

We finish off the bad guy with his sandals. These fit his feet pretty well, but aren't much like the originals. If you happen to find yourself a pair of the originals, note that they are worth quite a bit today - most kids lost them right away.  I have no idea how I managed to keep mine, since his medallion was not so lucky.

Accessories - regular ***; early bird ***1/2
These are the 'early bird' editions, so there are additional accessories not available with the regular releases.

Let's start with the basic accessories that both versions come with. Captain Action has his rubbery belt, his bolt sword, and his ray gun. The gun and sword are very close approximations of the originals, but the belt is a bit different, lacking the slot to slip the sword into it.

Dr. Evile has his trademark medallion, but this is very different than the original. The original had thin plastic 'rays' coming out from the center jewel. I remember them distinctly, because they snapped off about 30 seconds after you opened the box.  The new medallion has none of these easy to break edges, and is simply round.

He also has his ray gun, another close repro of the original, and one of his masks. Obviously, with a mug this ugly, you need a mask, and the doc came with several. In my photo comparing the old and new, my old version is holding the most common, Caucasian mask. The new repro comes with what looks like the Asian version, which is one of the rarer ones from the old days. His mask fits over his head, and looks just as ridiculous on him as the original did.

The 'early bird' specials came with a couple extra accessories. This is a nice touch to convince folks to buy early, and I suggest that if you're interested in their future releases (like the Phantom) you get in for the extra goodies.

Here, you get two additional heads.  The CA version has a bit of the five o'clock shadow, as well as much better paint work on the eyes. Yea, he doesn't look just like the original, but some folks will certainly prefer this updated version.

The Dr. Evile extra head has a more detailed paint job as well, especially on the brain. This shows off the sculpt much, much better.

Dr. Evile also has two medallions, one with the original colored jewel, and one with a red jewel. These both come on real metal chains.

Captain Action has an extra belt, done in silver and gold, as well as an extra sword, with a gold handle rather than blue. These add a little color and variety to the original designs.

Fun Factor - ***
I don't see too many kids rushing to get their hands on these, but if you consider the 'fun' that nostalgic old collectors will get, it ups the score.

Value - ***
The early birds were $25 with the extra accessories, but the normal versions are only $20 direct from the company.  That's quite a solid value, considering the cost of many smaller action figures at mass market retailers are $15 a pop now.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Zippo!

Overall - Dr. Evile **1/2; CA ***
If you think the original figures are ridiculous, you're going to think these are. And they aren't for you. These figures are for nostalgic old farts who pine for simpler days when toys were a bit less 'realistic'.

It's also great for someone with a Mego collection to be able to add these to their display. How cool would it be to get a repro 12" hard head of fuzzy head Joe in this scale as well?

Cast A Way Toys is going with the Phantom next, which is a pulp character that's been requested for many years.  I hope we see them tackle other pulp heroes in this same vein, like Zorro, Flash Gordon, and the Shadow.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ***
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - ***
Outfit - Cap ***; Dr. Evile **1/2
Accessories - regular ***; early bird ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall - regular Dr. Evile **1/2; early bird Evile ***; both CA ***

Where to Buy -
Your best bet is right from Cast-A-Way Toys, through their store. While the early bird versions of these two are no longer available, you can pick them up for the new Phantom and Achmed figures.  You can also join the 'Cast-A-Way Club', which gets you some extra goodies as well. You can also search ebay using the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.

Related Links -
Be sure to check out Cast-A-Way Toys website!

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!


Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score, averaged over the two figures and converted to a five star system for comparison: 3.4

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Captain Action Dr. Evil reproduction action figures from Cast-A-Way Toys



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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