3 3/4 Inch Scale
When The Rocketeer hit theaters in 1991, Disney put a ton of merchandising behind it. There was literally every kind of movie tie-in you could think of, from birthday party hats to paddle balls. Everything except one major tie-in… The only thing that was left out was action figures. Had Rocketeer turned into a hit, instead of a misunderstood gem, one imagines that a toy line would have been inevitable, perhaps as part of a cartoon. Instead, it’s taken over 20 years for us to get a “traditional” action figure of the Rocketeer.
But even that is a bit of a misnomer, as the Rocketeer is the first figure in Funko’s ReAction toy line. ReAction is a line of “retro” styled figures, in the format of vintage Kenner Star Wars figures. Okay, technically the Super 7 Alien figures came first, but those were created before Funko came on board and were based off decades old sculpts. Rocketeer is the first newly sculpted ReAction figure and he’s got a lot of hype and a lot to live up to.
So with all that pressure, does the Rocketeer manage to deliver? The answer is no, mostly it doesn’t. But does that mean this figure is worth skipping? Read on to find out why this may still be worth your time.
If there’s one thing done right on this figure, it’s the packaging. I’m not a big fan of packages, but this card is fantastic. It’s very simplistic, but at the same time it uses the art deco Rocketeer movie poster art. While I doubt that this would have been used had this actually been released in 1991, it still feels right for some reason.
The front is absolutely beautiful and I was tempted to leave this on the card. If you’re a MOC collector, you’re going to like this figure. Unfortunately there is one weak spot, the actual figure isn’t fastened in at all. This means that the Rocketeer bounces around freely. This is true to form for the old school style, but frankly it’s one area of authenticity that probably should have been overlooked in favor of something more beneficial.
The back of the card is supremely bland, but as someone who owns a lot of oddball Rocketeer merchandise, this fits in with that theme pretty well. While some folks wanted a “checklist” of other ReAction figures, the truth is each of these licenses are their own line, so there’s no other figures in the Rocketeer line currently. Hopefully that’ll change with strong sales, but we’ll see.
The sculpt on this figure is pretty weak and the paint work is even worse. I hesitate to say that the sculpt is terrible, because clearly some detail is there. I suspect the sculpt is so-so but made to look worse by globs of paint. But we’ll get into that in a minute.
Let’s first talk about the one area that paint can’t be to blame. The head sculpt. For some ridiculous reason, Funko decided to make this figure with a removable helmet. Kenner would have never done this and it’s not “retro” at all, but it’s a brave choice none the less. What’s not brave is the fact that this head sculpt looks virtually nothing like Billy Campbell. I’ve heard people call it a “soft likeness” but that’s sort of like saying a blind person has better vision than a rock. It’s true, but not really indicative of anything.
Oddly, I think the head sculpt might look better if it was compacted. Campbell had a very short face, but this figure has a very long, stretched head. I suspect the helmet might have fit better too, had the head been fatter. Kenner figures tended to not have necks, but all the ReAction guys have a long neck, which further throws off the sculpt a bit. I suppose you could say this works as a generic Cliff Secord, but truth be told, even as a kid I wouldn’t have cared much if it looked right or not. My Shadow figures didn’t look anything like Alec Baldwin either, but it didn’t bother me.
Frankly, while having the option of a removable helmet is novel, nobody is going to display him that way. Rocketeer is all about the helmet. Funko has done a decent job of sculpting the helmet, but the paint job isn’t doing it any favors. It looks unnecessarily big and the whole thing has been painted, whereas if it was cast in a nice gold color it might look better.
The fin tends to be a bit warped and this seems to be across the board on all these figures. It’s pretty minor though, and hardly the biggest issue. One thing I will note about the helmet, is that while it is BIG, it doesn’t look too awful in person. I know it looks bad in photos, but it’s one of those things that’s different in hand.
All of these things together make for a decent little sculpt, but the paint really hurts it. The paint not only is gloppy, but its that really cheap paint that easily scratches off and scuffs. The Rocketeer comes out of the package with tons of scuffs already on him. The paint isn’t comparable at all to vintage toy paint. The cheap paint is a real negative.
Because this is a retro figure, you get the big 5 in articulation. He’s articulated with swivels at the shoulders, legs and head. My figure has some nasty gaps at the seams from moving his arms. Quality control is not a strong suit of this toy.
For what it’s trying to achieve, it works just fine. I don’t necessarily believe every figure needs to be super articulated. This is definitely not the definitive Rocketeer by any means, but it’s fun.
Another annoying aspect of my figures is that the right leg rubs against the crotch/torso when I bend it up. The paint has already rubbed off this area. I can’t tell if this is a defect in mine or the entire run. Either way, it’s not a HUGE issue, but it’s another QC problem.
The Rocketeer is missing his gun, though Disney may have had a hand in that. Either way, it’s not a huge omission, since you can find similar guns elsewhere in this scale. He does come with the removable rocket pack and helmet, though.
The Rocket pack is removable and stays on tight. While the helmet doesn’t really fit. If you wrap some tissue paper around Cliff’s head the helmet fits better, but it still sits a bit high. I think I may cut off the top portion of his head to make it a perfect fit.
The rocket pack is wonderful though. The paint seems to be better on this for some reason and the detailing is sharp. Clearly they spent most their time getting this part of the figure right. It has sculpted and painted gum on there as well as lot of rivets and such.
So even though I’ve largely been ripping into this figure during the course of the review, here’s the rub… This guy runs at $10. Years ago that was expensive, but in today’s market it’s relatively cheap for a licensed figure like this. Certainly there are better values out there, but Funko is offering one the cheapest toys available right now of popular nerd and pop culture properties. That means, that despite all the flaws here, you can have a Rocketeer figure for about the price of a fast food meal. This is where Funko wins, because ReAction is such an affordable line that I don’t feel like I’ve been ripped off even with the issues.
Despite all my critiques of this figure, it’s a fun, relatively cheap toy of a property that desperately needs actions figures. In that sense, I can definitely recommend this figure. As long as you don’t go into this figure expecting it to be anything more than a very cheap desk toy, you’ll be satisfied to have a Rocketeer to fly around. If you’re looking for a truly awesome Rocketeer to fill that void you’ve had for 20 years… This isn’t it.