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First Blood Rambo - M65 Jacket version

While back I reviewed an older Hot Toys figure, their John Rambo from First Blood.  He wasn't perfect, but I was relatively happy.  Lots of folks wanted to know why I hadn't bought either of the other Rambos released by HT, based on films 2 and 3.  The answer to that was quite simple - those movies blew chunks like Britney on New Year's Eve.

But the original film was more than just a classic.  It was a great action movie.  No wonder Stallone, who has had some issues with getting a decent movie out in the last decade, is returning to his roots to find success.  From the trailer, I have high hopes for next year's Rambo 4...but only time will tell.

Until then, we still have the original to enjoy.  Hot Toys has just released a second Rambo based on First Blood, and this time he comes in truly his canon look, wearing the M65 jacket and carrying the bedroll.

This figure has been shipping for a month or so internationally, but just started coming out of Sideshow in the last week (where I had ordered mine).  Jeff Parker did a recent guest review, but I wanted to throw my two cents in as well.  Expect to pay around $75 for him, depending on the retailer.







Packaging - ***
The box is relatively collector friendly, although I have no idea why Hot Toys continues to use not one or two but FIVE twisty ties to hold him in the plastic tray.  Considering that there are two, count them TWO, plastic lids on the tray to hold him in place, plus an outer sleeve over the main box, it's unlikely that the figure is going to get loose.

Speaking of that outer sleeve, what's the purpose exactly?  Since a fifth panel box is under there already, I'm not sure why it's included.  It's pretty and all, but cut my price by fifty cents and lose the sleeve.

Sculpting - ****
I had an issue or two with the original FB Rambo sculpt, but this one is a huge improvement.  I think it's the best Rambo Hot Toys has done so far, with the classic Stallone eyes captured extremely well.

He even looks good in profile, which is often a problem for sixth scale likenesses.  The long hair is nicely detailed, and the expression is world weary without being extreme.

The hand sculpts are a smidge dull, coming across more generic and G.I. Joe-like than I'd like.  They also don't do a terrific job holding the accessoris (aka the knife), but they're adequate.

The size of the head, hands and boots are all proportionally accurate, and this adds to the realistic appearance in photos.

In fact, this Rambo is SO good, that I'll be selling off the original version on Ebay.  I really only need one John Rambo, and this one is the definitive version.

Paint - ***1/2
Some aspects of this paint job are outstanding, and he was *this* close to getting four stars here as well.

The beard stubble is particularly well done.  This is worth noting because it's an aspect that is so difficult to capture, and other companies have failed on numerous occasions.  Here, it actually looks like he hasn't shaved in a few days, rather than looking like he has dirt smudged across his face.

The head and face also have a matte finish, a big improvement over the glossy look we saw with early Hot Toys figures.

My biggest issue here is the hair line.  The skin tone rides up on the hair, especially along the sides, making it clear that it's paint.  This was enough for me to pull him down that half star from perfection.

Some folks may also have an issue with the skin tone itself, which is quite dark.   Both the face and hands are much darker than the base body too, which makes the dark color all that more obvious.  It wasn't a huge issue to me - he's going to sport a pretty serious tan, living outside and all - but it's worth noting.

Articulation - ***1/2
Most folks would give this body the full four stars, and I almost did as well.  But the legs just didn't give me as much of a natural look as some past Hot Toys figures.  Interestingly enough, I felt the same way about the first First Blood Rambo.

The ball jointed neck works great though (Sideshow take note that he can look down), as do the majority of the rest of the joints.  Hot Toys has very little to correct with this latest body, and Sideshow could do a lot worse than to go with their model.

Accessories - ***
There's not a ton here, but what is here is of the best quality.

The Lile knife and pleather scabbard are the same ones we got with the original HT Rambo.  They look just as good here, and the materials are high quality stuff.  I pulled out a few hairs over the effort of getting the scabbard on his belt, but once it was there it looked good.

I mentioned earlier that the knife doesn't fit particularly well in either hand, but that's not the fault of the knife but the hand sculpts.

There's also his sleeping bag, which has a very high quality zipper and even a hooded section.  The straps work well, and you can pose him wearing it in a number of ways.  Or he can roll it out and take a little nap on the shelf.

The last accessory is the black display stand, which is nice to get but not particularly necessary.

Outfit - ***1/2
In person, I have to admit that I wasn't quite as impressed with the outfit as I had expected.

The boot sculpt is excellent, but it looks like the two boots are identical - I couldn't tell his left from his right. It's only noticeable on close examination, but small details like that is what takes a figure to the next level.  With a company like Hot Toys, a had expected the boots to be differentiated a bit better.

The jeans fit great, have real pockets in back, and even metal rivets!  The belt fits well with a good buckle, and again, I was surprised to actually find a metal end on the belt!

The red turtleneck has full sleeves, even though you'll probably always have him in the jacket.  I wish the neck of the shirt came up a bit further, but it's a minor quibble.

Finally, there's the jacket.  The M65 is the centerpiece of this outfit, and is what really makes the figure so definitive.  In person, it was a bit bigger than I had expected.  In the box, the ties at the waist are tightly tied together, but you'll have to untie them to get the scabbard on the belt.  Once I did, getting them retied in a good way was beyond my clumsy fingers.  Or at least it was if I wanted to not lose my patience entirely.

The zipper on the jacket is also too big.  The zipper at the collar and the zipper on the sleeping bag are both in scale, so I don't know why they went with the oversized zipper on the jacket, but it's as bad as the one we saw on the Medicom Ghost Rider jacket. Thankfully, it's usually hidden by the jacket flap.  

My last complaint about the jacket is the large collar.  He really should have the collar up (although the photos of the figure on the box have it down), but it's tall enough to reach his nose.  Futz with it a bit and you can get it looking reasonable, but it's one of those issues of trying to get a heavy piece of clothing to look right in this scale.

Other than that, the jacket is amazing.  The real pockets, the American flag, the additional interior pull string around the mid-torso (which could be used by an enterprising guy like John as a garret), the small snap over the zipper...every other detail is great.

Fun Factor - ***
Small kids could put their eye out - or more importantly, your eye out - with the included knife.  And I'm not sure you want them dragging a $75 figure through the sand, or tossing it off the top of the monkey bars.  However, if you were so inclined, they'd have a ball doing it.

Value - **1/2
Sideshow's prices have risen to $65, making this figure a 'getting what you pay for' value at $70 - $75.  There's some re-use here with the accessories, and other than the jacket, the outfit isn't particularly complex, but there's enough quality in the materials and workmanship to be worth the slightly higher cost.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Take your time when working with the belt and when working with the drawstrings.  They're tiny, but with a little effort you can get everything in place.

The drawstring around the bottom of the jacket is quite stiff, and once it's untied it tends to stick out in funky ways, but if you work at it over time you should be able to get it to hang a bit more naturally.

Overall - ***1/2
Jeff loved this figure a little bit more than I did, but I think I'm getting pickier these days.  There are some aspects of this guy that are outstanding, but there are just enough issues holding him back from that perfect four star score.  Still, I highly recommend him for the Rambo fans, and if you can only get one of the Hot Toys versions, this is the one to snag.

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

Where to Buy -
Sideshow is importing these for Hot Toys, but other sponsors have them as well:

- Dark Shadow Collectibles has him at $72.

- Amazing Toyz has him in stock for $72.

- Alter Ego Comics has him for $72.

- Or you can check out the Ebay action by using MyAuctionLinks.com to help you find him.

- Related Links -
Jeff Parker covered this same figure in a guest review, and I covered the other First Blood version earlier.  Finally, I had a guest review of the Rambo II Hot Toys figure as well.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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