Michael Jackson - Bad
Hot Toys

   "The 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 guest author."

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 lauded 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.

Michael 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.

But for 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.

I 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 like this!
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!

Packaging - ****
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!

Paint - ****
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!

Outfit - ****
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!

Articulation - ***3/4
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 pointing, 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 these years!

Accessories - ***
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 in now!)

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 outstanding!

Value - ***1/4
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!

Fun 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, and loads and loads and loads and loads and loads and loads to choose from, with some being more classic than others.  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 well!

Overall- ****
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!).

So here’s to the next Michael Jackson figure, who ever he might be!
Breaking news, now beat it ;)

Where to buy
Sideshow did have him for $199.99 but he has now sold out.

Big 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.

Alternatively 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.

This page copyright 2000 - 2010, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour