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.
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!
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.
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
Value - ***
to Watch Out For -
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.
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.
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
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!
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