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Action Figure Zone-Toy Fair 2002
part two

by Rudy Panucci

SIDESHOW TOY SPECTACULAR

That headline can serve as a description of this edition of Action Figure Zone, but it's also a simple, true statement. If there was one stand-out performer at last week's International Toy Fair in New York City, it had to be Sideshow Toy. They unveiled an incredible line-up of beautifully-crafted 12" action figures from a staggering array of different genres, all of them sporting amazing detail and museum-quality sculpting.

Continuing our look at Toy Fair 2002, today's column is dedicated entirely to Sideshow Toy. We'll take a quick look at their history, check out all the goodies that they have in store for us in the coming year, and then I'll share my reviews of their most recent offerings. Sideshow also has a great line of collectible busts, but we'll save those for a "bust-centric" edition of Action Figure Zone sometime in the coming weeks.
You can check out some more great photos of the 2002 Sideshow Toy lineup from John, Brian, Barry, and Charlotte right here.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

A little history, before we dig into the goodies: Sideshow Toy entered the action figure scene in 1993, and quickly made a name for themselves with their ultra-high quality sculpting, particularly on 8" action figures based on Bruce Lee and The Universal Monsters. A couple of years ago, they decided to enter the 12" figure market, and their first release, a terrific rendition of Boris Karloff as Frankenstein, thrilled collectors.

Last year, Sideshow announced that, while they intended to continue with a line of 12" figures, they would be leaving the mass market, and would sell their 12" figures though specialty shops and online retailers. Many observers, myself included, thought that this was a bad move. My personal take was that without the mass market to support them, Sideshow would find themselves in a situation like that of the revived Captain Action, where they'd find themselves at the mercy of Diamond Comic Distributors and face certain doom.

I have never been more happy to have been completely wrong in my life. Sideshow Toy had a sound business plan in place and had already built up a strong alternative distribution system. Rather than being hurt by the loss of the mass market, they've been freed from the demands of it. They don't have to make everything child-safe for a three-year-old, or conform their packaging to the whims of the toy buyers for the big retailers. Where other toymakers have withered, Sideshow Toy has thrived, and as collectors, we're the beneficiaries.

In 2002, Sideshow Toy will present us with an exciting diverse line of very high quality action figures that raise the bar in terms of how detailed and accurate an action figure can be. From photographic-perfect renditions of TV and Movie stars to a diverse and remarkable series of historical action figure lines, Sideshow Toy is a company to watch.
Sideshow Toy is going to sell a lot of shelves this year. Not just action figures. People are going to have to go out and buy new shelves on which to display those figures.

SIDESHOW DOES MOVIES AND TV

BOND, SIDESHOW TOY'S JAMES BOND

I told you about this license a few months ago, but at Toy Fair, Sideshow unveiled some of the early prototypes of what this line will look like. In 2002, Sideshow Toy will be participating in the celebration of 40 years of 007. The
Sideshow Toy team will create a broad line of 12" collectible figures in the likeness of all five actors who have played James

Bond, key villains and some of the famous "Bond Girls". The 12" figures will be created with a focus on character likeness, tailored clothing, authentic looking weapons, and will be packaged in special 40th anniversary collector boxes.

The first set of two figures, featuring Sean Connery as James Bond and Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No, will ship in August. This set will have a suggested retail price of $80, which isn't bad considering the level of detail in the sculpting and accessories for the two figures. The production run is yet to be determined.

Sean Connery as Agent 007-James Bond comes dressed in an elegant tuxedo with satin trim. Ready for action with his Walther PPK and Baretta hand-guns. Complete with 1/6 scale liquor bottle, glass and martini shaker. Perfect for his 'Shaken, not stirred' martinis.

Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No comes dressed in his signature white suit and shoes, has mechanical black hands and clear plastic radiation suit.

The likenesses are sculpted by Mat Falls, who previously did the Spinal Tap figures from Sideshow. These can be pre-ordered now at http://www.sideshowtoy.com.

MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL

Last year Sideshow Toy released its first series of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This year, Sideshow will continue the line by releasing a brand new edition of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail's" the Five Knights, this September.
In addition to five new versions of the Knights, Sideshow Toy will release multiple figures including: John Cleese as Tim the Enchanter; Eric Idle as The Dead Collector; Michael Palin as Dennis the Peasant ("He's repressing me! I'm being repressed!"); Terry Jones as Dennis's Mother; Eric Idle as Roger the Shrubber; Terry
Gilliam as The Bridge Keeper; Terry Jones as Prince Herbert; and Michael Palin as King of Swamp Castle. These are in addition to Terry Gilliam as Patsy (shipping any day now) and The Black Knight, which will be out in the late Spring.
All figures will be released as limited editions worldwide. The Holy Grail Knights will retail for $30 each, while
single figure releases will retail for $40. As with the first series of Monty Python Figures, you can expect the added bonus of packaging that's almost as entertaining as the figure inside. You'll want to go over these boxes with a magnifying glass to get all the Pythonisms.

ARMY OF DARKNESS

Army of Darkness is the third installment of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead Series. In Army of Darkness, Bruce Campbell is at his best, split in two. Ash and Evil Ash do battle, pitting Campbell against himself. Sideshow Toy presents Ash and Evil Ash from their final battle scene. Each 12" figure is crafted in the uncanny likeness of Bruce Campbell and contains over 24 points of articulation. Both figures feature authentic costumes worn during the final battle scene. Of course, Ash wouldn't be complete without his shotgun and removable/interchangeable mechanical hand and chainsaw; "groovy". These highly anticipated dolls are due out Spring 2002 and will retail for $40 each.

PLATOON

Few films have so accurately depicted the harsh realities of the Vietnam conflict as Oliver Stone's Platoon. Seen through the eyes of young Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), this Oscar-winning film encapsulates all of the uncertainty and fear of the war in Vietnam. The squad not only combats impossible terrain, withering heat and the Viet Cong but battle the most insidious enemy of all, themselves.

This Spring, Sideshow Toy will release three 12" figures from this epic tale: Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), gung-ho
fanatic Sergeant Barnes (Tom Berenger) and the humane, yet combat seasoned, Sergeant Elias (Willem Dafoe). The figures will be released with a suggested retail price of $40 each.

The likenesses are dead-on, and these figures will have a built-in audience among military figure collectors. Hobbyists specializing in the Vietnam War era will be blown away by the detail on these figures. No other figures with this level of detail have ever been created for this ere before.

THE TWILIGHT ZONE AND THE OUTER LIMITS

"Suspended in time and space for a moment, your introduction to Miss Janet Tyler…" were the words Rod Serling's words to his audience at the beginning of Episode 42 entitled, The Eye of the Beholder (November 11, 1960).

The Twilight Zone ran for five seasons (1959-1964) providing its audience with over 150 eerie tales of sheer brilliance. This May, Sideshow Toy is proud to present 12" figures of the Doctor (William D. Gordon) and Nurse (Janet Tyler) from the famed episode, "The Eye of the Beholder". Each figure includes authentic costumes from the episode, a variety of accessories, a display base with the show's logo, episode, and original airdate printed upon it.
Look for these memorable figures this Summer.
Sideshow Toy delves even further into the mysterious and unknown with The Outer Limits Collection. "There is nothing wrong with your television set…" echoed through neighborhoods from September 16, 1963 until its sudden cancellation on January 16, 1965. Featured in Series 1 of The Outer Limits Collection is the Interrogator (John Anderson) from arguably one of the series' best written shows, Nightmare (December 2, 1963). Joining the Ebonite Interrogator in Series 1 is Gwyllm (David McCallum) from the episode The "Sixth Finger" (October 14, 1963). Gwyllm's physical evolution was the most elaborate prosthetic make-up job ever devised for The Outer Limits. Both characters will be presented as highly detailed 12" figures by Sideshow Toy continuing the shows extraordinary legacy. Series 1 is due out spring 2002 and will retail for $30 - $40 each.

The Outer Limits returns in time for summer (July 2002) with the Series 2 release of Ikar (Robert Webber) and the Alien Soldier (Mike Lane) from the episode "Keeper of the Purple Twilight" (December 5, 1964). The entire Outer Limits Collection is a limited edition run with only 5,000 pieces per 12" figure.

GET SMART AND HOGAN'S HEROES

Get Smart joins Sideshow Toy's classic TV collection this summer (August 2002) with the highly anticipated release of Maxwell Smart (Don Adams). The loveable and hilarious Maxwell Smart will be joined by his counterparts Agent 99 (Barbara Feldon) and The Chief (Edward Platt). The show's classic high jinx first aired on September 18, 1965 and Maxwell Smart immediately became TV's favorite spy. Sideshow Toy is proud to present the three zany characters as 12" highly detailed figures in a limited edition 7,500 piece run. Each figure contains authentic costumes, a variety of accessories, and a display base with the show logo printed upon it.

Colonel Robert Hogan (Bob Crane) leads the band of allied prisoners as they mastermind allied attacks from a German prisoner of war camp in Hogan's Heroes. Sideshow Toy presents the Hogan's Heroes Series with three limited edition 12" figures. Colonel Robert Hogan (Crane), Colonel Wilhelm Klink (Werner Klemperer), and Sergeant Hans Schultz (John Banner). A limited run of 10,000 pieces per figure will be available in June, 2002. Each figure includes authentic costumes from the show, a variety of accessories, and a display base with the show logo and name upon it. Look for these to sell very quickly, as the show not only has a strong following, but there's also a strong market for 1/6 scale WWII figures and uniforms. This series is sure to be a huge hit!

SIDESHOW TOY'S HOMEGROWN ACTION FIGURES

Not content to simply mine Hollywood for source material, Sideshow has turned their attention towards history itself as an inspiration for several exciting new lines of 12" action figures. Wisely, they've decided not to dive into the already-saturated post WWII Military field, and are, instead, bringing us some truly amazing figures from other periods of history. Aside from being a very wise business move, on a gut level, it's just much more interesting seeing action figures from under-exploited eras than it is to see the same old stuff rehashed over and over. After kicking off three lines of "period" action figures last year, Sideshow has upped the ante by extending those lines and adding two more terribly intriguing series of figures to the mix. Sideshow will continue to push into untouched territory with two new lines: LIVE BY THE SWORD and FIFE AND DRUM: Sons of Liberty. Each figure ranges in price from $30 - 40.

BROTHERHOOD OF ARMS

Brotherhood of Arms is a 12" figure collection representing the soldiers of America's Civil War. This year, Sideshow will be expanding Brotherhood of Arms to cover subjects from the Artillery and Cavalry as well as officers, personalities, and accessory sets. From the rifles and equipment used to the uniforms they wore, all figures will accurately represent their era. A 1/6 scale Civil War Cannon has also garnered praise from collectors.
These are some truly amazing action figures, and they've already caught on outside of the traditional action figure hobby with many ACW re-enactors readily snapping them up. Below, you'll find my review of the first four figures in this outstanding series.

SIX GUN LEGENDS

Six Gun Legends is a similar line focusing on the larger than life American heroes of the Old West. The series ranges from epic gunfighters Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid to Gen. G.A. Custer and Crazy Horse, key figures in the American Indian wars. Each figure comes with clothing and accessories to fully round out each historical profile. Detail and accuracy are the hallmarks of this historical line.
Below, you'll find my reviews of the first two offerings from this series, Billy the Kid and Wyatt Earp. After a long draught for fans of the Old West, these figures are like manna from Heaven.

BAYONETS AND BARBWIRE

A terrific series based on "The Great War", World War One, this series of action figures (whose name I have mangled mercilessly in previous columns-sorry guys!) gets a new twist this year, as Peter Jackson, director of the mega-hit "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring", lends his expertise to Sideshow's already impressive line up of toy creators.

The Bayonets and Barbwire series captures the soldiers caught up in the hell that became known as 'The Great War'. These 12" figures will produce subjects from the numerous Allied and Central power nations involved throughout 1914-1918. All are designed to bring the full scope of the Great War clearly into the collector's focus.
Many additions have been planned for a line that is hailed by collectors who appreciate high-end, historically accurate figures. The design pillars of the "Bayonets and Barbwire" line are the knowledge and passion of a dedicated team of Sideshow military enthusiasts united in their love of historical research and the subsequent achievement of product accuracy.
The exciting addition to this year's W.W.I line is the newly formed collaboration between Sideshow Toy and acclaimed film director Peter Jackson. Jackson is a passionate "Great War" historian and collector and has one of the largest personal collections of uniforms and artifacts from the First World War. His extensive collection contains original uniforms, historical documents, small arms and machine guns and even a collection of British and German fighter planes.
To quote from the Sideshow Toy press release: " It is with great pleasure that Sideshow announces a collaborative venture with Peter on future "Bayonets and Barbwire" product by establishing, "The Peter Jackson Collection," a brand that will add accuracy and vision to military figure collecting."

The first two figures from the Bayonets and Barbwire series are reviewed below.

LIVE BY THE SWORD

Sideshow's first new historical line that they announced at Toy Fair was the "Live by the Sword" series, an umbrella project covering the eras of history when 'cold steel' ruled the day. Subjects will range from the Barbarian warriors that took on the legions of Rome to the 'knights' that crossed swords on the battlefields of Europe and Asia. Each a carefully researched and recreated miniature representation of history.

Much of the weapons and armor are actually fabricated by experienced blacksmith/ model builders uniquely familiar with the subjects at hand. Sideshow's first two figure offerings are a Viking warrior from the 9th Century and an English Knight from the early 14th Century. Each comes fully armed and protected with appropriate armor and weapons to properly complete each 12" figure. As with their other military themed lines each will come in a 'collector' friendly box with blister insert, and a Historical biography of the product.

FIFE AND DRUM

The Fife and Drum collection is the second new series that Sideshow Toy is launching this year. Throughout history from the time of the thirty year wars that raged in Europe to the colonial battles of Queen Victoria of England men have marched to the Fife and Drum. This series is much broader in focus than Sideshow's previous product offerings and will represent these different eras through appropriate sub-headings.

"The Sons of Liberty" will cover the American Revolution. The first two figures from this line are the British 64th Regt. of Foot and the American Delaware Regt. Again, quoting Sideshow's official release: "The American Revolution was the opening act of this countries history and the subjects we have chosen fought at one of its most crucial battles at Monmouth, New Jersey on June 28th, 1778. Our design staff also includes a revolutionary war scholar who will support the accuracy of this new series."

It look's like everything Sideshow will release this year will be a winner! This is going to be a very expensive year for collectors of high-quality action figures. In addition to all the above ultra-detailed line, Sideshow will be releasing "Art S. Buck" artist's models that won't just be a replacement for those wooden artist's dummies, they'll also be great raw material for customizers. As with all of Sideshow's products, you can order them direct, from Sideshow's website: http://www.sideshowtoy.com.

Sideshow Toy has demonstrated an uncanny ability to stay one step ahead of what the figure-buying public wants. The talent and skill shown in their products is matched by the cleverness of their management team in deciding what figures to produce. With the wide variety and major appeal of most of their offerings this year, it looks like Sideshow Toy will dominate the specialty collector's market by the end of the year. Rather than crank out more WWII rehashes, they put their own spin on the genre by giving us Hogan's Heroes. Instead of rush-releasing twenty "Enduring Freedom" figures that all blur together, they're giving us distinct, striking portraits of unique warriors of different eras. And as if that weren't enough, they're bringing 12" James Bond figures to a hobby that's been begging for them for years. Last year, I had my doubts about Sideshow Toy. This year, I have no doubt that 2002 will be the year they conquer the specialty market for 12" figures.


THE SPECIAL REVIEW SECTION

Since I'm only reviewing Sideshow Toy products in this Action Figure Zone, I'm going to take a slightly different approach. I have some minor quibbles and complaints about their figures (hey, it's my job) and I'll address those first, before diving in with the detailed reviews. First off, I have to say that my complaints are minor. I have yet to see a Sideshow figure that merits less than an "A" grade. But there are a few areas where they could make some improvements.

The first area they could improve is with their basic figure. They've already addressed some problems with joints being a bit loose, and all the figures that I'm reviewing below are very tight and posable. However, they've made a decision that I find a tad irritating. Their figures are 12" tall. Exactly 12" tall. That makes them a good half-inch taller than the average 1/6 scale action figure. When you're working in 1/6 scale, you're playing in GI Joe's ballpark, and while it's okay to have a few figures taller than the average Joe, it's time that Sideshow mixed things up a bit.

Now that Sideshow is experiencing such great success with their various figure lines, maybe they could come up with a shorter, stockier figure to use in some sets. If they design the body right, they can mix and match it with their existing body and wind up with several different heights. At the very least, they could shorten the legs a bit. These guys tower over most other 1/6 scale figures, and with Sideshow releasing carded uniform sets for the BROTHERHOOD OF ARMS and BAYONETS AND BARBWIRE series, they'll have to take the height differences into account, or risk limiting their sales to folks who have extra Sideshow figures on hand.

The second complaint is one that isn't mine, but enough people have commented on it in online forums that I feel the need to address it. Some people have said that they feel Sideshow's figures are "oversculpted". That's sort of like going to a restaurant and complaining that your dinner is "too flavorful", but I can see their point to a certain extent. Sideshow's headsculpts are very detailed, and they feature an extensive paint scheme that may not be ideal for harsh lighting. The figures are painted in the manner that a master customizer would when building a diorama. The problem is that some folks just want to pose the figure standing on a shelf-under a fluorescent light. In that case, some of the figures look a bit like they're wearing theatrical makeup. It's not a big problem, but perhaps if Sideshow decides to release some basic figures for use with their uniform sets, they might go with a more neutral headsculpt and tone down the paint scheme.

In my opinion, I like the headsculpts just fine. They have great personalities and character, and match up very well with the eras that they're supposed to represent.
And with that out of the way, here's my reviews.

BROTHERHOOD OF ARMS
Series One
2nd U.S. 'Berdan' Sharpshooter
This member of the Union forces is decked out in a distinctive green uniform and comes with a generous amount of equipment which includes an M1955 Bayonet Scabbard; M1859 Sharps Socket Bayonet; M1855 Cap Pouch; M1855 Cartridge Box with Sling; M1855 Canteen; M1851 Haversack; Pressian Pattern Knapsack with Blanket Roll; Tin Cup; and M1859 Sharps Rifle with Double Set Triggers.
His uniform consists of a Forage Cap; Green Federal Pattern Trousers; Brogans; M1858 Green Frock Coat; and a Leather Waist Belt with Federal Issue US Belt Plate.
The tailoring on the outfit is exceptional. You rarely see such quality stitching on 1/6 scale clothing. Sideshow has done a great job here. The sculpting on the accessories is equally impressive. It doesn't get much better than this.
The headsculpt on this figure is one that's caused some online griping, and it isn't really justified. The sculpt itself, by Mat Falls, is great, but some folks have complained that by having the figure gaze to one side, that the figure is limited in the number of poses that he looks right in. I think it's a fair trade-off to get a head with such an expressive face, but I can see the point if somebody wants two of these for a diorama. If you have three or four identical guys all looking the same way it might seem like somebody broke wind or something. But it's a great sculpt that looks very real.
The history panel on the inside of the fifth panel on the box is very informative, and can add a great deal to your enjoyment of this figure. At a time when other companies seem to be loath to put any descriptive text or diagrams on or in their packaging it's refreshing that Sideshow took the time to give us a nice little history lesson and also include photos to show how the equipment should look, front and back, when assembled.
Grade: A

C.S. 57th Virginia Infantry
This representative of one of the distinguished participants in the Battle of Gettysburg is a very sharp figure with a great bearded headsculpt, again the work of Mat Falls, and is a striking addition to any ACW display.
The impeccably tailored uniform consists of a 1st Pattern Richmond Depot Shell Jacket; Jean Cloth Trousers, Brogans; Civilian Shirt; Slouch Hat; and a Leather Waist Belt with Square Front Buckle.
His gear includes a Richmond Socket Bayonet; Richmond Arsenal Bayonet Scabbard; M1855 Cap Pouch; Richmond Pattern Cartridge Box with Sling; 1861 Richmond Armory Rifle; M1858 Canteen; M1851 Haversack; Tin Cup and Bedroll.

Another three-dimensional history lesson, this Confederate Soldier is a striking example of what can be accomplished in this hobby. There are customizers who would labor for weeks to get a figure to look as good as this one does right out of the box. A real winner.
Grade: A-plus

Series Two
U.S. 2nd Wisconsin Infantry "Iron Brigade"
I gotta say it. This guy looks like Conan O'Brien's former sidekick, Andy Richter. That's not a bad thing, he's got a great headsculpt. The likeness, probably unintentional, is uncanny. The guy even has the contempt-filled sneer than Richter would use whenever he hated the guest on the show. He's even the right scale height for Richter, in case anyone's working on a "Conan when his show was still funny" diorama. .

In addition to that happy surprise, this is another killer figure. It's scary how Sideshow was able to hit the ground running with these historical action figures. Most companies would have made a major misstep or at least a minor faux pas with their early efforts in a new field. But the only complaints I have about this set, and this is after searching hard for flaws, is that the hat could be made of a more pliable plastic, and there are no sculpting credits on the package so that I can pretend to know what I'm talking about.

The outfit: rock-hard Hardee Hat with Blue Infantry Cords and Infantry Horn Emblem; M1858 Frock Coat; Sky Blue Trousers; Brogans; Canvas Gaiters; and a Leather Waist Belt with Federal Issue U.S. Belt Plate. His gear consists of a Double Bag Knapsack and Gum Blanket Roll; Bayonet Scabbard and Frog; Socket Bayonet; M1855 Cap Pouch; M1855 Cartridge Box with Sling; M1855 Canteen; M1851 Haversack; Federal Issue Cup; and Austrian Lorenz Rifle Musket.

This is one handsome ACW action figure. Maybe in hindsight, this would have been a better choice to kick off the BROTHERHOOD OF ARMS series on the Union side, since he's got the familiar blue uniform, rather than the green of the Berdan Sharpshooter. Once again, the package includes a brief informative history of this soldier and his role in famous battles like Antietam. Educational and way-cool, you can't beat that.
Grade: A-plus

C.S. 1st Texas Infantry
A classic greycoat, this is yet another terrific entry in the BROTHERHOOD OF ARMS series. I'm really starting to repeat myself here. He has a great headsculpt, albeit a little more contemporary-looking than the others in this series, and the detail work is just amazing.
Here's what you get: His outfit is made up of a Forage Cap with Texas Regiment Lettering; Texas Pattern Frock Coat; Captured Federal Sky Blue Trousers; Leather Waist Belt with Texas Star Buckle; and Brogans. His gear: M1842 Musket Socket Bayonet; M1842 Socket Bayonet Scabbard and Frog; M1842 Musket; M1855 Cap Pouch; Richmond Pattern Cartridge Box with Sling; M1858 Canteen; M1851 Haversack; Square Pack Knapsack; and Tin Cup.
I'm running out of superlatives here, and I've still got four more reviews to write. I wish they'd do something bad so I could liven up these reviews.
Grade: A

BAYONETS AND BARBWIRE

6th/7th Battalion Black Watch, 51st (Highland) Division
Aaargh! More excellence! This is the last time I do all my reviews on one company. Okay, what we have here is a wonderful new line of figures devoted to the woefully under-exploited First World War. Yet again, Sideshow moves into an area where hardly anyone was making deluxe action figures, and they've made it their own.

Sporting another expressive Mat Falls sculpt, this figure is one of the legendary "Black Watch" Highlanders who fought WWI in modest knee-length skirts. Okay, it's a kilt, and this is one cool figure. The headsculpt is screamingly British, and could pass for Basil Fawlty if you squint.
He comes outfitted with a Uniform Blouse; Black Watch Tartan Kilt and Cover; Ammo Boots with Puttees; P'08 Shoulder Braces; P'08 Left/Right Cartridge Pouches; and a Helmet with Cover. His gear includes a P'08 Haversack; Water Bottle; P'08 Bayonet Frog; Enfield Bayonet; Entrenching Tool with Handle and Carry; Small Box Respirator and Bag; and a No. 1 MK III Enfield Rifle.
This yet another great figure set, complete with the history lesson on the fifth panel box. Lot's of folks have been wanting a Black Watch figure, and now they can get one. But don't wait too long to snag this guy, they're going to go fast.
Grade: A-plus

6th Sturmpioneer Battalion :Stosstruppen", 12th Division
Allow me to translate the above: This is a German WWI guy. Again, a very nice set.

His uniform and equipment list is as follows: "Stahihelm" Camouflage Helmet; M1915 Blouse; Stone Grey Trousers with Leather Knee Patches; Puttees and Ankle Boots; M1887 Haversack; M1907 Water Bottle; Ersatz Bayonet and Scabbard; Pioneer Shovel and Carrier; Assault Pack with M1910 Mess Tin; Stick Grenades; Gas Mask; Gas Can; and MP-18 Bergmann Sub-Machine gun with Snail Drum Magazine. That's a pretty generous amount of gear included there.

As for the figure, he's got another fine Mat Falls headsculpt, but he appears a bit taken aback, and some collectors might find that less than attractive. However, you can always slap the Gas Mask on him if you don't like the face. There is one problem with this set-the helmet doesn't fit him very well. Since a lot of folks will prefer this figure with the full gas mask/helmet combo on (they just look so scary that way) that can be a pretty serious flaw.

Aside from that, this is still a pretty great figure, and some dioramists might be extra interested in customizing him for early WWII use.
Grade: B-plus

SIX GUN LEGENDS

Wyatt Earp
Venturing into the Wild American West, Sideshow brings us the noted Gunfighter, U.S.Marshall, and Dime Novelist, Wyatt Earp. A dead-on sculpt of this widely photographed Lawman tops off a figure that comes outfitted in a black hat, frock coat, trousers; white shirt and vest; cartridge belt and 'Slim Jim' holster and boots. He also has an assortment of weapons that includes a Colt 7.5" Single-Action Army Revolver; 'Confiscated' Smith and Wesson 1873 'Scofield' Revolver; and a 10-gauge Double-Barrelled 'Coach Gun'. He also has a second gun hand, so that you can pose him with either a revolver or shotgun in his hands.

At this point, I should mention that the wrist joints on most Sideshow figures feature an ingenious version of a universal joint, which allows for a fuller range of motion than I've seen on any other figure. A great implication of a joint system that's been around for years in the engineering world.

What we have here is a great rendition of one of the most famous Wild West Lawmen. A great job, again filling a vastly underserved niche in the 1/6 scale hobby.
Grade: A

Billy The Kid
Hey, if you have a good guy, you gotta have a bad guy, and they didn't come much badder than Billy the Kid. Sideshow's portrait sculpture is amazingly evocative of the existing photographs of William H. Bonney. The outfit is equally impressive, with his "Well-worn" slouch hat; vest; trousers; bib-front Fireman's shirt; sweater; cartridge belt; and Riding Boots. The Kid also comes with a small "Slim Jim" holster; Colt Lightning Revolver; Range Knife and Sheath; and 73' Winchester Carbine. As with Wyatt Earp, Billy comes with an extra hand so you can switch to the proper grip for the revolver or carbine. He also comes with a warrant telling him to leave town.

This is a figure where the height issue really works against Sideshow. Despite the great sculpt and the really-detail outfit, Billy is just way too tall. Billy the Kid should not be eye-to-eye with Wyatt Earp, and he surely shouldn't be looking down at Johnny West. This is where Sideshow really needs a shorter body, when they're doing figures of people who, historically, are vertically-challenged. It took away from R. Lee Ermey and it hurts with Billy the Kid, too.
They really have to work that out before they do Napoleon. The height issue and the rigidness of the slouch hat make this the lowest graded figure out of this batch of Sideshow Toy action figures, but with any luck, they'll fix the minor hat problem before the second set of SIX GUN LEGENDS. The height issue will be a non-factor with General Custer and Crazy Horse. Billy is still a great figure, but he could have been better.
Grade: B-plus


That's all for this edition of Action Figure Zone. Next up we're going to look at all the new figures from Mattel and Toy Biz, including an impressive line up of 12" Marvel Comics Superheroes!

later, Rudy