Michael Jackson - Bad
following is a guest review. The review
and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford
or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the
|I checked out the Bad version
of Michael Jackson awhile back, but I
didn't swap him into his white shirt - Jeff Parker has stepped up to
add some great photos in both outfits, and give his take on this
terrific figure. Take it away, Jeff!
Selling over 110 million copies, Michael Jackson’s 1982 album
Thriller remains the biggest selling long player of all time, and is
testament to his enduring popularity.
But after the dust
settled from its string of hit singles, Jackson realised he needed to
keep the momentum going, however after fitting in The Jacksons
‘Victory’ album and tour it still took nearly 5 years for the follow up
LP Bad to hit the shops in 1987. Even though it was mostly
by the critics it was destined to be forever in the shadow of Thriller,
it also served as the last of the trio of albums Quincy Jones was to
produce for him, and though Jackson went on to sell even more copies of
his 1991 album Dangerous, many (myself included) think some of the
magic was lost from his sound when he and Quincy parted ways.
Jackson was global mega-star of the highest order and he continues to
unite and divide people as much in death as he did in life. When Hot
Toys first officially announced that the much coveted mantle of ‘DX03’
had been awarded to him in his BAD outfit there was a passionate
response, and not all of it for the positive.
But for those that
were worried the Thriller figure might be a swan song to the MJ license
it came as statement of intent from Hot Toys, that not only were they
not finished, but they had big plans for the whole line. I guess the
biggest challenge for hot Toys was which one of his iconic looks and
outfits to go for. I personally would still love to see a version of
him from the ‘Off The Wall’ era, before his megastar status had the
life and face changing effect on him that it sadly did.
many others the look he sported on the sleeve of his 1987 album BAD
was one that was fondly remembered and was indeed one of his most
iconic to a whole younger generation. The fact it was such an over the
top outfit, in terms of detail and complexity, made it a perfect choice
for Hot Toys to show off their 1/6th tailoring talents once again.
already reviewed the first ‘Billie
Jean’ MJ figure that Hot Toys put
out back in May of 2009, but less than a month after it was released,
with a huge series of shows planned in London and in the midst of much
controversy he tragically died.
|It came as a
shock to pretty much
everyone, whether a fan or not, as he was an icon that a whole
generation had grown up with. And what ever one thought of the way he
physically looked, it was still hard to believe he was 50 years old,
maybe his love of J.M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ had actually paid off…
unless like Wilde’s ‘Dorian Gray’ there was a painting in the loft of
his Neverland Ranch that still looked
So here we are with the DX03, I’ve had some time to live with him
now, and the more I’ve posed it and the longer I have had him on
display the more I have come to enjoy it, but I was pretty impressed by
the Thriller version, so could this steal his thunder… shamone!
As you would expect, the DX line of packaging is the best Hot Toys has
to offer, the graphics are always down played and subtle, but the
quality of the construction and materials used is always top of the
range. Once again this was designed by Dixon Chan and Monster Jnr, and
they seem to have hit on a winning formula for this line as it has
changed little since the first in the series.
Hence this follows the same layout as the first two DX figures of the Joker and Bats. The outside is a
dark metallic charcoal grey over printed onto a silver metallic stock
with an image of MJ in the main outfit and the MJ logo. It opens from
the side panel which is held closed by magnets, the inner box and the
edges are a bright fire-engine red and once opened we are met by a prop
vinyl single covered by a foam disk and laying on a foam backdrop in a
die-cut card overlay. This lifts out to show the fully dressed (in the
BAD outfit) figure, lying securely in a foam cut tray, this layer
in-turn lifts out to show his extra accessories, stand and instructions.
And of course being fully encased in foam everything should be in A1
perfecto condition, even if ‘heaven forbid’ it was to get a few knocks
in transit. And the nature of the cut foam means no twisties were
needed so you can replace him for storage and all is as good as new! I
fail to see how anyone could give the DX line anything other than full
marks for packaging, as the box is so much more than just a pack to
transport the figure, it’s part of the whole experience… outstanding!
Sculpting - ****
I’ve been a fan of Lee So Young’s work since she gave us her fantastic
work on Wesley Snipes as Blade
I was also hugely impressed by her work on Abigail Whistler from the
third Blade movie, Trinity as well, but she has pulled a real ace from
her sleeve in the work she is showcasing here for the King of Pop.
It goes without saying and is already well documented that Jackson’s
face changed as much as his musical style did over the years, and here
we have him at just about the pinnacle of his career between 1987/88
when he was still just 29 years old. And this captures his likeness
near perfectly, as you can see by looking over these reference shots here.
So we get the chiseled jaw line with trademark cleft chin with a
concentrated expression, an expression that works very well with the
PERS feature. As I said above Lee So Young also did the
Abigail Whistler sculpt, and like her this figure had what Hot Toys are
calling stereographic hair. This means in essence that the layers
overlap with slight gaps dotted within the surface so you can see
through to the lower layers beneath, it gives a very convincing feeling
of depth and suits this hair style remarkably well.
Jackson’s hair was quite ‘deliberately’ messy, as you can see in the
picture I linked to above, it had lots of straggly bits hanging over
his fringe and more that radiated over the back to hang down the back
and onto his shoulders, but the right hand side was plastered down
close to his head as you can just about see here
and the sculpting by Lee mimics this complex, and it has to be said
quite unusual style most convincingly.
We also get a great selection of nine hands to help capture some of the
key dance moves that MJ struck in the BAD video. So we get a pair of
fists, a pair of relaxed/cupped, a pair with splayed fingers, a
pointing right, a gesturing left and lastly a gripping left. All are
sculpted well in their leather half gloves with the bindings between
the fingers, and each of the left hands has seven individual metal
spiked studs on their backs. So a great selection that includes more
than came with the Billie Jean figure, but as for the Thriller figure,
it doesn’t quite ‘Beat it’… sorry. However the inclusion of those metal
studs does earn extra Brownie points!
No complaints here, but as this is the DX line, the very zenith Hot
Toys achievements, one imagines that JC Hong wouldn’t let this pass as
any less than exceptional. And of course being a DX figure it also
comes equipped with the PERS feature, meaning that by removing the back
of the hair/head (which is held in place by magnets) you can use the
small joy-stick to position the eyes looking in any direction you
choose. I found this function to be the smoothest of the three DX
figures released so far, which says to me it’s a function that is being
tweaked and improved with each new release. I’ve always loved the work
that JC does on the paint for figures eyes, no one, and I mean no one
else does it quite like him. So when I first got the DX Joker a little
part of me was saddened to lose that great work. But the PERS eyes are
pretty darned spectacular; they’re actually small glass eyes with a
semi opaque white part and a translucent glass iris. They have to be
seen in hand to truly appreciate just how life like they are, there are
even microscopic little thread veins within the white area.
The fact that this is based on Michael as he appeared in a promotional
video means he was undoubtedly, and in fact quite obviously wearing
quite a bit of make-up, but the paint here is so deftly handled that
they have managed to make the gentle graduations around the eyes just
as subtle as the real thing, giving emphasis to the PERS eye feature
without being over bearing at all. The rest of the work on the skin
tones is warm and lifelike, letting features like the eyebrows and lips
stand out to just the right degree, and the gentle mottling and
texturing of the skin can stand up to the closest of scrutiny.
The work also continues on the hands, all are wearing fingerless glove
like coverings with straps running between the fingers. The buckles and
straps are picked out, and all the right hands have small metal studs
attached to the back, be warned and be careful when swapping these over
as they can be sharp… very sharp!
Basically this is another outstanding paint app, and certainly up there
with the best work that Hot Toys have ever given us, if I were a poncey
critic I might call it a ‘tour de force’…oh hang on I am, so I will.
Amazing and a veritable tour de force!
This outfit was just made for Hot Toys to do in 1/6th; it has
everything they need to showcase their tailoring abilities and talents.
This was credited to Namgung Mijin (who was also responsible for the
amazing Ezio outfit from Assassins Creed) and she has done a stunning
job in translating his complex one-off bespoke stage costume into this
tiny facsimile for the figure. To get this outfit to look right and to
proper scale it necessitated finding some very fine weaved fabrics, the
black shirt in particular has some super fine detailing on the leather
straps with their tiny silver buckles that bind the arms, and the seams
on the collar with its contrasting materials and tiny silver buttons is
exquisitely carried out.
If I had to find any fault with this outfit, it would only be that’s
its so well observed and then executed that it makes it potentially
prone to damage unless you take great care when swapping over the
shirts… and that would lead me onto the other problem… the numerous
belts. All are highly detailed with buckles and metal chain loops and
to fit the alternate shirts you have to remove the widest of the belts,
in fact I removed a second one as well, of course this is all doable,
but if you are happy with the Bad outfit (and lets face it, it’s the
stronger of the two looks) then I guess all but the most hardcore will
keep him as he is packed, and I have to admit I did sweat a little when
removing the belts for fear of damaging them, but with care it all
worked out fine.
I would imagine that knowing how crazy the prices have gone for the
first Billie Jean version that many hard core MJ fans may have
purchased a second figure, so then you can do a clean change over once
and then just keep it that way… I wish I had!
The full outfit consists of pointy black shoes with three silver
buckles and a silver engraved ‘western style’ heel guard, these are
worn over a pair of black sock tops. Next up are the trousers, and
these really are a small work of art. They are tailored tightly to the
body and are awash with fine details, the shins each have six straps
with more ornate silver buckles and a further two slide buckles on the
shin and thighs. The left leg also has a broad red blood stripe from
the hip to the knee and on each hip is an ‘implied’ zip pocket, these
are non-functioning but look pretty convincing for the scale.
Next up are the four belts there are two black ones with metal loops
and ornate studs, a broader black one with what appear to be large
police badges on it and a long brown one that loops around the waist
twice, this has circular studs on it. I already described the black
shirt he comes wearing above, and over this he wears the black cropped
jacket, this is fully lined with a silky black paisley material and is
again covered in faux zips complete with multiple straps and buckles,
including five working ones that run up the front of the garment to
hold it shut. On the lower arms he has the sculpted gauntlets. To swap
over hands you need to pull the chosen hand off then just slip off the
outer plastic gauntlet and the inner leather one as well. Take the peg
out of the hand then slip it back inside the leather sheath and replace
it all in order with the desired hand. It’s a fiddly procedure but
worth the time and effort as once done there is no visible gap between
the gloved hand and the gauntlet part.
That’s pretty much it for the BAD outfit.
Now for the ‘Dirty Diana’ extra outfit. This can be worn in two ways,
it starts out with the outer shirt tucked-in in the video,
but soon ends up free flowing amidst the wind machines and dry ice…
perhaps some brave souls out there might even rip the T-shirt to the
navel, but not me!
To fit the shirts I only removed the wide belt and the black one with
sun like studs on it, I then just used a paper clip to poke the other
shirts under the belts and then raised the other belts up to his chest
so I could tuck the white T shirt in convincingly. Again this is a job
that needs to be approached with patience and just a little good finger
dexterity, but with a little futzing the second outfit can look very
good indeed… just not quite as good as the BAD one!
So to sum up, everything you get in the outfit is very well thought
through to give the most realistic and convincing final look, but be
prepared to fiddle a little to get it looking it’s very best, but I
came away from this very, very impressed, me thinks Namgung Mijin may
be a lady to watch!
MJ comes on the new
slim-line version of the True-Type which I covered in my recent TT
low-down here it’s
a variation on the classic TT body that I gave a complete breakdown on here.
So you get every joint we have come to expect from hi-end 1/6th
figures. But I am still keeping him just short of the full score, and
the reason is not because the base body is at all bad… sorry I mean BAD
(you know it), but more because when it’s swathed in the highly
detailed and snug tailored outfit it does hamper some of the more
extreme poses. This is made all the more noticeable by the fact I got
some great poses from the Billie Jean version who wasn’t hampered by
his outfit at all. I do feel the ankles are worthy of special note as
the ones on mine were nice and firm but had a velvety motion and could
achieve good wide open leg poses and extreme
a feature that is essential for some of Michael’s ‘bullet time’ dance
moves. Proving once again just how reliable the TT is even after all
Ahhhh, we were doing so well, but sadly he does seem a little light in
the accessories department. The reason is we were so right royally
spoilt with the Joker who was in effect a 2 in 1 figure and of course
Bats had that extra sonar head and ‘all those fabulous toys!’
To be fair I have kind of scratched my head a little trying to work out
what else he could have actually had. Maybe the white arm brace
to get the ‘Black and White’ look, this could have been achieved by
mixing and matching with the Billie Jean figure, or a mic stand
wouldn’t have gone amiss either. Perhaps even an extra outfit, head
sculpt and guitar to make a Steve Stevens
figure, actually… nah, please forget I said that! (I’m serious, forget
The most obvious thing that would have added a lot of value here would
have been an extra MJ head sculpt, without PERS but with a more extreme
expression, something like this
or even this.
But it’s all a moot point now, because-
A- We now have him in hand (and have done for some time)
B- He sold out faster than anyone expected, proving people were more
than happy with the accessories they got!
So what do we actually get, There are the extra seven hands that I
described above, then we get the extra white T-shirt and the extra
white long sleeved button through shirt (with rolled up sleeves) for
the Dirty Diana video look, both these extra garments are well tailored
and have clean seams and well pressed edges, the outer shirt also has
tiny glued on buttons.
Lastly we get the light up figure stand. This is very similar to the
ones received with the Dark Knight figures but while they had the
sculpted industrial flooring with the TDK logo, here we get a sculpted
finish that is more like well worn stone paving. But the plinth it
stands within is of the same design. The funny thing is the earlier
ones were constructed this way to mimic the actual plinths the TDK
costumes were displayed on, like here,
so I would have thought a new design might have been in order. However
it works well for consistency (I’m sure some people will be purely
collecting the DX series so they can achieve a full numerical line) and
it does look great when displayed and lit up. You will need to unscrew
the cover on the bottom of the stand and insert 3 AAA batteries to make
it function, one thing I would like to see Hot Toys attempt is a mains
wire and plug/adaptor as lets face it the light up feature is cool, but
you’ll get through a hellovalot of batteries!
So, a nice selection, but when ‘inevitably’ compared to the DX01
& 02 you do feel a little let down that there isn’t a second
head variation. Still an outstanding selection, but not quite DX
If you were shrewd and fast then you may have pre-ordered this guy for
as little as $160 (plus shipping) but it’s a whole lot more likely that
it will have cost you in the region of $170 to $180, and there are
still a few to be had for these prices on eBay, but the cost is
creeping higher and higher with many already asking for well over $200.
As such the original and suggested RRP of $199.99 that Sideshow were
asking for him does seem quite steep, and if I were judging strictly on
that price he may have come out a whole star lower in terms of value.
But I’m basing my score on the more realistic $175 which he was readily
available for, and in point of fact still is with a little searching.
So with that price in mind I’m pretty well impressed. Yeah, I’d perhaps
liked to have got a few more accessories included, but the sculpt,
tailoring, paint and even the packaging still make these DX figures
feel like a rather special gift to yourself. And the whole package and
the way it is put together adds up to very pleasant retail experience.
I defy anyone to throw this particular box in the trash!
Factor - ****
Like any given figure, the degree of desirability and actual ’fun’ you
get from it will depend highly on just how ‘into’ the source material
you are. I’d consider myself more a casual fan of Jackson’s work, and I
certainly preferred his artistic output from his earlier career. But I
am still someone who grew up with him as a constant, and it has to be
said iconic figure in the background of my formative years. So I’m
happy with this version of MJ, for me it’s still not quite as iconic as
the red Thriller suit, but I can see any of his varied eccentric
outfits having an eclectic appeal. And lets face it, there are loads,
to choose from, with some being more classic
Hot Toys also recently used a teaser image on their FB page to hint at
future releases here
and some eagle eyed fans noticed the middle image was used on MJ’s
T-shirt for Beat
it… so it looks like that figure may be along presently as
I like every aspect of this figure, and yes I know I said he was a
little light in the accessories department, but to be fair the classic
BAD album sleeve costume is all I would pose him in anyway. So looking
at the whole package and basing my score on getting the set for $175,
then this still feels like a full score figure. And since mine has been
displayed in my dining room he has drawn more attention and comments
from young and old than even the T800 (well, I admit that most men of a
certain age are more drawn towards Arnie, but the facts are the facts!).
here’s to the next Michael Jackson figure, who ever he might be!
Breaking news, now beat
Where to buy
Sideshow did have him for $199.99 but he has now sold out.
Bad Toy store still has him listed for $189.99 but I’d act
with a degree of urgency, as this figure is getting thinner on the
ground by the day.
you can try
eBay where prices are all over the place, ranging from
between $175 right up to $ 285.
And the whole world has to answer right now just to tell you once
again, who’s bad… I’ll tell you who’s bad, the creeps trying to get
nearly $300 already!
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.