Breathtaking. That was literally the first word that came out of my mouth (after I got my breath of course) when I received this figure in the mail. In an earlier review of Zica Toy’s Buck Rogers I was stumbling over myself because of my amazement due to the quality of the figure. Tiger Man took that amazement to a whole new level. And that was before I even took him out of the box. From the boatload of accessories to the extreme detail in almost every aspect of this figure I can’t help but simply say “Wow!” To the astute reader you will notice that I’ve used the term “almost” a couple of times now. Being an objective reviewer I had no choice even though it pains me so. What exactly put a blemish on this otherwise perfect piece of 8 inch Zica goodness? Keep reading and I’ll tell ya.
Point #1. What it is.
Point #2. Where it came from.
This fellow came directly from the maker himself Craig Owen.
Point #3. The Good.
Where to begin? From the top I suppose. Considering some aspects of this figure are identical to the Buck Rogers figure may I refer you to the review I did of Buck a little while back. The main common points are the packaging (exactly the same with the exception of the name), the most incredible 8-inch body EVER, and the extra sets of hands. Everything else is unique to this remarkably unique Tiger man.
The head: The sculpt of this guy is a dead on likeness to the actor that portrayed this baddy all those many moons ago. And while a bald guy is a bald the actual detail here is very impressive. The paint applications of course really push this element completely over the top. Looking at the 360o pic you’ll see that some serious thought and care went into this process. I honestly can’t think of any figure in any scale that has such a precise and intricate paint application. Again, super impressive.
The Necklace: This has to be one of the neatest accessories I’ve ever seen. Where other companies may have opted for a molded, one-piece plastic accessory Zica has went to a whole new level. Each one of the teeth and beads that make up the necklace are actually separate pieces strung on a piece of golden thread. I did notice that the string seemed a bit too long and left the necklace to dangle a bit too far down. This however is a non-issue to me since I simply wrapped it around the head a couple of times and synched it up higher on his neckline. There is no way I was going to attempt to retie the knot to adjust the size. I’m far to scared the little pieces would scatter because of my less than nimble fingers.
The Weapons:A gun AND a sword?!?!? And not only that but also a holster and sheath that are not only cool looking but also function perfectly. The gun and holster look incredible, but when you add in the fact that you can snap the holding strap on or off to remove the gun is simply fanboy heaven. The strapped style of the holster is also very impressive. While I do not know much about toy molding I can only imagine how difficult it would be to make such netting in plastic / rubber form. And it’s all held in proper place on Tiger Man’s hip with a silver rope that I myself would never untie for fear of not being able to refasten it properly.
But wait it gets better!
The sword is so cool Ben Kenobi would hold it in higher esteem than a light saber. This elegant weapon and it’s decretive sheath are simply amazing. I know I’m using that adjective to death but I can’t help it. The woven, red sash that holds the sword in place on Tiger Man’s back adds a level of perceived value to this toy that sends it into the stratosphere. It’s very hard for me to believe that you can get all of this for only $29.99. Amazing. Oh I almost forgot the tassels. While I wouldn’t want them on my shoes I love ‘em on this sash. Really adds an elegance that you don’t see in this scale.
The Costume: Again detail is the big word here. The silk-screened tiger stripping of the trunks and vest are another nice touch. Now factor in the gold insignia that adorn the vests trim and you’ve got yourself some serious extravagance going on. Also the studs on the upper bicep band really make this small but necessary accessory pop. Again Velcro is used to bind this piece. And be I remiss in not mentioning the leather armband on the right forearm and the silver belt that has a very detailed buckle, which is actually a buckle. No snap, it actually has the little notch piece so it can be easily taken off or on.
The Boots and Knee pads: These are a bit of a sticking point for me and what adds to the use of the word ‘almost’. Again the detail is great but the functionality is a bit lacking. With the gold knee pads they are loose and thus slip and slide around the leg. The boots are very cool looking and screen accurate but with them being made of fabric with plastic soles stitched on they leave a bit to be desired when it comes to posing.
Point #4. The Bad.
To coin the slogan from the old Nike commercials, “It’s gotta be the shoes”. This is the only negative I can see. For the life of me I could not get the feet to go all the way into the boot. I pulled, pushed and tugged and it simply wasn’t happening. The problem of course is that with out the feet properly positioned standing him up is almost impossible. Osing however can still happen but it is a bit tricky.
Point #5. Why I like it.
The level of detail in this figure goes above and beyond anything I’ve ever seen in an 8 or 12-inch standard action figure. Sure there are some really high end 12-inchers out there from other companies but in those cases your looking at spending well over a hundred bucks. Again I can’t stress enough the value that this figure is considering the details and accessories. The Zica body alone is well worth an Andrew Jackson by itself.
Point #6. Why you should or shouldn’t get one.
Why you should: For the 8 inch action figure collector, to not have one would simply be wrong on a moral level. Even if you don’t like the show, the character or folks with tattoos on their face you must have this guy in your collection. I assure you this addition will be something that friends who don’t “get” your collecting hobby will have to say. “Whoa.”
Why you shouldn’t: The only negative I’ve got is the boot issue. But that’s seriously not nearly enough reason for me to say not get one. I’m sure that had I had a little more time I could have worked the issue out but again tie is not on my side at the moment. And considering this guy looks so good in the package anyway (and with most collectors will remain that way) the issue is really minor in my opinion.
Zica Toys has truly raised the bar they’ve set themselves so high with Tiger Man I really don’t know how they’re going to top it. The only thing that I can see even coming close will be the release of the Zica female body but that’s still a ways away. But until then Tiger Man will hold the Number 1 position on my quality list followed closely by their Buck Rogers and then rounded out by the FX Exclusive Greatest American Hero ‘Ralph’. I can’t stress the importance of all of you reading this to go order your Tiger Man and Buck Rogers now from either Zica directly (www.zicatoys.com ) or their new distributing partner Castaway toys (www.castawaytoys.com). Actually I’ve got a better suggestion, order one set from each of them so you can keep one set in the box and the others free on your desk or shelf. Now, Go Play! – Jim 04/06/11
Jim Bumgardner is a 20 year veteran of the broadcast industry and currently serves as the news director for television station TKO 8 in Harrison, Arkansas. Jim is the father of two the husband of one and firm believer in the power of toys for both the mind, body and soul. You can contact Jim via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.jimsmegos.com
All images and products are the sole copyrighted property of it’s respective owners. Specialty photographs and graphic work used for this article were done by Jim at the TKO 8 Studios located at 500 N. Main St in Harrison, Arkansas. “Little Jim” was created by Dawn O’Connell of Little Buddies Action Figures. Learn more about getting your own Little Buddy at www.littlebuddiesactionfigures.com