Art Figures : NAVE SEAL TEAM VI - Review

The ‘NAVE SEAL TEAM VI’ is yet another ‘cult classic’ release from Art Figures, this time portraying one of the lead characters ‘John Mason’ (played by Sean Connery), from the 1996 film ‘The Rock’.  As with the usual diversion Art Figures take from any copyright issues, the name does not accurately reflect the subject matter and those movie aficionados will instantly recognise not only the character, but ironically the fact that he isn’t a Navy Seal, but in fact British SAS; a misconception you see in the film when he is wrongly addressed by Ed Harris’s character.

When this figure was originally announced back in January of this year, there was a mixed reception on the forums with some asking why Art Figures choose such an outdated character as their next figure.  What is obvious when you look at all of Art Figures releases is that their choice is to release characters that can be described as ‘cult classics’, not necessarily those that are portrayed in recent cinematic releases, with the exception of their Jason Statham ‘Expendables’ figures, their most recent to date.  For me personally, I have a shelf (or now in fact several) that are dedicated to purely ‘film icons’ or characters, so this Sean Connery figure will take pride of place on that shelf, and I welcome more of their work.

So, now that we’ve discussed a little about the background behind the figure, let’s look at what he comes with.  Due to Art Figures releases being predominantly based around movie characters, the included accessories are often a little lighter than you might expect with a military figure, however they’re still usually in excess of what you’d get with a Hot Toys offering.  This particular figure is one of the better equipped incorporating:

  • Authentic Head Sculpt
  • Body
  • Black T-Shirt
  • Combat Uniform
  • Omega EOD Vest
  • White Underpants
  • MP5 Magazine Pouch
  • Debris bag
  • Omega Holster
  • Balaclava Mask
  • Tactical Gloves
  • XM177 Rifle w/ Magazine x 7
  • Tactical Weapon light
  • M9 Pistol w/ Surefire Tactical Light & Magazine x 2
  • MP5 Submachine Gun w/ Magazine x 3
  • Gerber BMF Tactical Knife
  • Knife Sheath
  • Combat Boots
  • Belt
  • Gun Sling x 2

The box is what we’ve come to expect from Art Figures, and is consistent with the previous two releases we reviewed, that being the foam lined ‘shoe box’ format with beautiful artwork and illustrations on both the outside, and inside panels.  The front cover takes direct inspiration from the film, in particular the scene in which the ‘thermite-plasma’ missiles are fired upon the island, depicted by the plumes of flame that appears behind John Mason.  Upon opening the box, as with their other releases, you presented with the main figure, snuggly positioned in the middle of the box in deep-set foam lining, surrounded by the various accessories in their adjacent cut-outs.

Taking the figure out of the box, you can instantly appreciate the effort that has gone into getting the head sculpt right, and my personal opinion is that of the Sean Connery sculpts available out there at the moment, this is by far the best depiction we’ve seen yet, the previous best being that of a company called ‘Roadshow’.

The figure is based on their standard action figure body which has been used across all of their releases, with the notable improvement on the shoulder joints in the last ‘Expendables’ figure to address some previously raised quality control concern.  If you’re not familiar with the Art Figures body, it really is a great choice for kit bashing, but be warned it is larger than say that of a Soldier Story figure.  Height is comparable to that of a BBI G3.5 or Dragon Neo 2 build, which I initially thought might present some problems with the depiction of Sean Connery, but it transpires that he is actually 6ft 2inches tall, and measuring in at 31cm with the boots on, that scales down to 1/6th nicely.

In terms of uniform the figure is provided with a black ‘boiler suit’, underneath with he wears a black t-shirt and white boxer shorts.  It’s always a nice little touch of Art Figures to include items such as underwear and socks, something that you’re not necessarily going to see once all the kit is on, but nice to know they’re there.  I had some initial concerns regarding the loose fitting of the black overalls that they’d be simply too baggy, however once fully kitted out everything hangs nicely and quite realistically too.

In term of the equipment provided with this release, I can see many of these items being popular on the secondary market as loose items for kit-bashing, certainly the boots, vest and weaponry which are among some of the finer examples of this type available; so let us have a closer look at it all.

The Omega vest supplied with the figure, I can see being a hugely sought after loose item.  Not many of these vests have been produced in 1/6th format in such high quality as this one.  Usually it is disappointing to find such inaccuracies as oversized zippers or poorly sized and position Velcro, but not such in this piece.  It has a very sturdy feel to it and the machining quality is of a very high standard.  Micro zippers are located on the front, and inside function zipped pockets also, nice touch!  The vest, as per the 1:1 vest is laced on the sides, and fully adjustable for just the right fit.  A total of 6 magazine pockets, which at a push will hold 2 magazines each, however you’re provided with the right number with the figure, 7 in total (one in the rifle).  The shoulder straps are not adjustable on this release, but they do lift up and held in place by Velcro, albeit purely for show.  All of the other usual niceties that we’d expect to see are present including eyelet drainage holes at the base of the pockets, belt loops towards the bottom of the vest and ‘molle’ style wide gauge loops and drag handle on the rear.


The boots are what I refer to as a ‘hybrid’ pair, that being a cross between plastic moulded boots, yet with laces.  They make a very good alternative to boots made with textiles, and often have a better shape, especially around the toe area.  These ones are no exception and are lightly weathered, as are other parts of the figure such as belt buckles etc..  Certainly a better offering that some of Hot Toys plastic boots for certain, and as with the majority of parts from this figure, I predict will be well sought after as a loose item.

The balaclava supplied serves a dual purpose, first we see it rolled up and worn as a hat when Mason and Goodspeed are boarding the helicopter ready for deployment, then later on we see Mason pull this down over his face to protect him whilst rolling though the ‘fire pit’.  The material used on Art Figures 1/6th version is a stretchy fabric which represents a nomex mask quite nicely.  I made some minor modifications to ensure a better fit and not so bunched up on the top of the head, and that was to turn the mask inside-out and remove some of the additional material at the seams, thus flattening the overall profile when worn.  My personal preference is to display the figure with the balaclava in the ‘hat’ format; after all we want to be able to see the excellent sculpt details so there is little point in covering it up!

It is usual with Art Figures to include ‘bendy hands’ with their bodies, and they are personal favourite from the various brands available as loose items when kit-bashing.  To this end, they often include fabric gloves to fit on the aforementioned hands, and this release is no exception.  My only criticism, and this applies to fabric based gloves in general, is the loose fit.  To accomplish actually putting them on, some slack has to be available in the fabric, and although Art Figures use a stretchy fabric to allow a snug fit, it is common to find excess material.  That is no direct criticism of Art Figures, this is commonplace among most ‘fabric’ material gloves.  It does some re-arranging to achieve a perfect look, and as you can see from the photos, there is nothing to indicate a loose fit after some careful re-fitting.

The overalls or ‘boiler suit’ as I refer to it, as mentioned earlier, are a little on the loose fitting side.  Now whilst they look ok on this figure, be warned that they may simply be too baggy should you try them on a figure of smaller proportions, that being a Soldier Story body for example.  The overalls themselves are plain and functional, with two pockets on the chest, two on the thighs, a semi-elasticated waist and adjustable Velcro cuffs.  A micro zipper down the front allows for the easy removal and there is enough length in the leg to flare the tops into the boots as you can see in the pictures.

With two main weapons, a pistol side-arm and a rather menacing looking knife, this figure certainly does pack a punch in the weapons department.  The magazine count is fairly high too with a total of 7 magazines for the XM177, 3 for the MP5 and 2 for the M9, after all what is the point of all those pockets if you’ve nothing to put in them!

The XM177 was something I was initially excited about, and it is a true and faithful replica of what we see in the film, however, the film got it wrong, and therefore Art Figures also got it wrong.  What we see in the film are various mixes of civilian based AR-15 variants with A1 and A2 upper receivers, the dead give-away being the long and slightly more narrow muzzle break as opposed to the shorter and wider one you’d find on a real XM177.  That aside however, this 1/6th version is a nice piece and although it lacks any moving parts aside from the sliding stock and removable magazine, the moulding lines are crisp and the details very sharp.  The metallic weathering effect is very realistic and adds depth.  Provided with the rifle is a under-barrel mounted tactical flashlight and pressure pad, which has a peel off revealing an adhesive layer to mount on the rifle receiver.  Please note the tape you see on the fore-grip I added to keep the excess cable length tidy.

The MP5-A5 with tactical light fore-grip is another nice piece and something that are fairly rare these days in the 1/6th world of this quality.  Dragon were the most notable source with Hot Toys also producing a few, but as per usual the prices of the latter are in excess when searching the likes of eBay.  This version, again has no real moving parts other than the sliding stock and removable magazine, however the detailing is high and the weathered finish is superb.  Worth mentioning also that both guns are provided with weapon slings also.

The M9 is a fairly signature weapon for Art Figures, this being the 3rd example I’ve seen from their last three figures.  This particular model, like their others is very high in detail, with a nice metallic weathered finish, and has a working slide, moving hammer and removable magazine.  This model also incorporates a surefire tactical light on the underside, that is not removable (please note, it may be, but I didn’t want to force it).

And lastly in terms of weapons there is the fairly lethal looking combat knife that we see Mason using to grimly dispatch of a Marine via a throwing shot to the neck.  This comes snuggly fitted in a sheath that attaches to the belt and ties around the thigh to keep in place.

The final pieces are the Omega thigh holster, MP5 magazine pouch and dump bag that attach to the duty belt, once threaded through the belt loops on the tactical vest.  You will notice that the buckle on the belt and thigh straps for the holster are slightly weathered and short of a light overall dusting required on the figure, it stands pretty much perfect and complete.

Deviating only slightly from the ‘as is’ figure provided, I made the following small modifications to achieve a better look:

  • After first turning the balaclava inside-out, I carefully trimmed excess material away from the seams for a more streamlined, less ‘bunched up’ look.
  • I relaxed the laces on the side of the vest to allow greater movement and a better fitting of the vest.
  • The boot laces were tied and cut to length with any excess lace being discarded.
  • The foam padding piece in the dump bag was removed and replaced for a thinner piece as it appeared
  • A piece of tape was wrapped around the XM177 fore-grip to secure the length of cable from the pressure pad to the tactical light.

In conclusion, whilst some may have thought this was a slightly bemusing topic of choice for Art Figures to cover, I thoroughly welcomed it on the announcement.  For me this offers the perfect combination of ‘movie icon’ figure, along with that military or tactical look; and believe me I have a particular fondness towards figures clad in black tactical gears.  For those of you who have seen the original promotional shots, there is a teaser in that one of the characters facing away from Mason looks very much like it may be the next character to be released, Goodspeed.  I for one hope that they do complete the line-up, as it would look particularly good standing next to this one on my shelf!

Then of course we have the price.  Retailing at £84.99 in the UK, well under the £100 mark this represents excellent value for money at a time when most boxed figures of this quality are £110 and beyond.  This makes it extremely affordable as is, or purely for parts, and better still if you really are not a Sean Connery fan, simply swap out the head and now you’ve got your ‘Seal’.

I would yet again like to extend a special thanks to Art Figures for providing this figure for review – keep up the good work guys!


 

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