No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die!”
― Auric Goldfinger
Bond fans rejoice, Big Chief Studios has secured the microfiche!
Sorry, sorry, no…they’ve secured the rights from the Ian Flemming estate to produce sixth-scale collectibles from the vast treasure trove of films in the James Bond series. Which is so much better than the microfiche (as far as you know).
Big Chief, based in the UK, has started the line with three figures from the third installment in the Bond films, 1964’s Goldfinger. This is the installment you can thank for all the amazing (and sometimes gloriously ridiculous – *cough* crocodile submarine) gadgets and technology seen in the films that have followed ever since.
I reviewed Sean Connery’s James Bond previously and this time I’ll be focusing my sights on his cold-fingered nemesis, Auric Goldfinger as portrayed by German actor Gert Fröbe. Fun fact: Mr. Fröbe spoke little English and spoke his lines phonetically. His voice was dubbed by actor Michael Collins.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
• Gert Fröbe as Goldfinger figure in authentically styled suit
• Ten interchangeable hands
• Display base with illuminated name plaque
• Riding cap and gloves
• Golden .38 Revolver
• Snooker Cue
• Delta 9 Gas Canister
• Mint Julep Drink
• Recovered German Gold Bullion Bar, second Bullion Bar
• Printed Display Backdrop
SCULPT – 8/10
Like Bond and OddJob in this series, Goldfinger is sculpted by Inigo Gil. It’s another great likeness, especially for such a challenging character. It’s also a challenge paint-wise, with the older, blotchy skin and thin, receding red hair of its full-size counterpart. That being the case, the paint here is adequately done, if not a total knock-out.
As with Bond, I think the eyes should be better and the skin lacks some depth. Whereas on the Bond sculpt, the “speckling” for skin complexion was a bit too much, this one is more evenly done and less heavy-handed. Although in places it may be a little subtle – some age spots around the temples and forehead are visible on Mr. Fröbe in the film. They did a good job with the odd makeup/tan that he had in many scenes though, which stopped short of his hairline and under his brow. Overall, it’s a very good likeness from almost every angle.
CLOTHING/ACCESSORIES – 9/10
Accuracy is not an issue with the clothing in this series and BCS has taken pains to match the materials and styling very well throughout. The colors, textures, and patterns of the jacket, vest and riding pants are spot-on. The tailoring is accurate as well if a bit “heavy” in places. This was more of an issue with the Bond outfit, which was based on a very light-weight suit than it is here where the life-size materials would have been a bit heavier. Shoes are molded and sock-top “wraps’ are included. I do hope BCS will focus on the getting the construction of the clothing a bit less bulky going forward; thinner lining, possibly smaller stitching, and different closure options as examples. The plastic snaps on the vest, which add to the aforementioned bulk, are not a favorite of mine – both asthetically and longevity-wise – and I hope they explore some other options for closure.
The shirt collars seem to need slightly more material to allow them to sit over the tie and lie flat on the shirt and fit under the jackets/vests but with some futzing look better than they do out of the box. The riding cap, which along with the molded riding gloves prop are exclusive to the “first edition”, is a tight fit, but really looks good – something that can’t be said about every sixth-scale hat/cap that I’ve encountered, so well-done there.
BCS does give you some extra buttons and I had a couple fall off that I had to glue back on (always a daunting task). Maybe some stronger glue for these in the future.
Also as with Bond, BCS has done a nice job of including some cool accessories for a character that didn’t have much in the way of props. Auric comes with his own mint julip drink so you can recreate the famous porch scene from the movie and, as with OddJob and Bond, gold bullion bars. The wristwatch looks ok. It’s plastic, so it doesn’t have the gloss/shine of a real gold watch obviously but that’s to be expected. I also reglued the face on this as it slid off a bit. Keep in mind I pose these figures constantly while shooting them so your mileage may vary on things falling off!
My favorite props are the golden .38 revolver and the snooker cue. Goldfingers’ “evil genius” turn really came when he was holding that cue and explaining his plan around the miniature diorama of Fort Knox hidden in the floor. It makes for some fun poses.
He also includes a gas canister – as used by the now un-PC named Pussy Galore. I don’t recall that he ever held one in the film though. All three figures include a backdrop scene on the reverse side of the art insert as well. Goldfinger’s is the screen with the overhead view of Ft. Knox (I used it as the backdrop for the main image above). All of the figures in this line include a base with a battery-operated light-up nameplate.
The hands, which I’ll talk about in articulation as well, are nicely made and there are plenty of options.
ARTICULATION – 8/10
Although you likely won’t be displaying Goldfinger in super dynamic poses (I mean maybe, if that’s your thing), the double jointed knees and elbows would allow you to. The joints seem nice and tight and don’t feel as if they will loosen anytime soon. He is very well balanced and the ankle joints are solid/tight which helps in that department.
The figure is outfitted with a fat suit which limits some waist movement – so good luck with those “shoelace tying” poses! I didn’t reduce points for the limitations of the fatsuit as it’s an expected limitation and again, the character doesn’t require a dynamic range of poses.
I said it in the Bond review, but I really like the hands they’ve produced. They have some nice detail to them (including cuticles on the nails) and the material used has a nice look and sheen of real skin to it. They are super easy to swap out and pose to grip all the accessories and, to a point, can conform to grip accessories they weren’t even shaped to hold.
PRICE POINT – 8/10
At $249 US, the Goldfinger line is at the above-average price point. I’m sure the license didn’t come cheaply and BCS is based in the UK, not HK which I’m sure contributes to the price as well. There are plenty of accessories and the light-up stand so all-in-all the price is in the ballpark if a bit on the high side.
These “companion” pieces are definitely geared toward the Bond fan and not the casual collector who might want a Bond or three representin’ on the shelf. For those fans, I think the price is worth it to have these iconic characters – likely never to be made again (at least for some time) – in their collections. Fix some of the clothing nits above and more depth and detail on the sculpt paint and it could be a ten in this category.
OVERALL DESIGN – 8/10
As a whole, this is a nice figure and a worthy piece for any Bond fan. The sculpt is great, the paint app, mostly good. The attention to the clothing design details is high, although BCS should make it a point to pay more attention to the construction of their carefully researched designs and materials to bring this line up to another level as it continues.
The accessories are well thought out if simple, compared to your typical superhero/pop-culture figure with guns, swords etc., but…it’s all just molded plastic in the end and they provide nice options for posing.
Boxes are the bain of a lot of collectors’ existence, but if you enjoy the art of the packaging, these are very nicely designed (and useful if you consider the included backdrop).