THE ROCKETEER (2015)
The Rocketeer was a comic book mini-series created by Dave Stevens in the 80s, a movie directed by Joe Johnston in the 90s, and a comic book again in the late 2000s. There’s not a lot of Rocketeer material out there but I grew very attached to the character anyway. He had such a great costume that I always wanted a toy of him when I was a kid but sadly none existed.
It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I finally found a Rocketeer figure; though it was more like a dog toy than an action figure. The hollow rubber toy with the red jacket was pretty underwhelming but I couldn’t pass it up because I thought it might be the only Rocketeer toy to ever get made. For years I displayed that clunker proudly on my shelf.
I was floored a few years later when I saw the Rocketeer doll made by Medicom. 12″ inch dolls of that quality are common place now but a few years back that thing blew my mind. I admired it every Wednesday on my weekly visits to Strange Adventures but I could never pull the trigger on the $200+ price tag. Thankfully my girlfriend at the time came through and got it for me as a Christmas gift. I was so pleased with it that I was certain I would never need another Rocketeer figure again because the quality of the Medicom figure would never be beat.
Several years have passed and I was right about no one making a Rocketeer figure superior to the Medicom product but I was wrong about never needing another Rocketeer. Damn you Funko.
I had never heard of Funko until a couple years ago. According to Wikipedia they were founded in 1998 and started out making low-tech, nostalgia-themed toys like Bobble Heads. The company was sold in 2005 and since then the owner has acquired a crazy amount of property licenses from comics, TV, movies, and music.
I took notice of them when they started releasing POP! vinyl figurines. They were cute and fun and tempting to collect but I wrote them off as just another cutesy flash in the pan like Mighty Muggs. But the line kept expanding and expanding and eventually I gave in. I probably have about 20 POP! figures now; one of them is the Rocketeer.
Last year Funko launched a new line of figures called ReAction. The line began with Funko releasing a set of 80s-style action figures with 5 points of articulation based on the movie ALIEN. Apparently the figures made it to the prototype stage when the movie first came out but they never got released. Most likely because the film was R-rated and most kids weren’t allowed to see it. Alien fans knew about the failed toy line though and always wanted it to see the light of day. Funko delivered and I assume to great success because the ReAction line quickly expanded beyond ALIEN into properties like Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction, and JAWS. I now have 14 ReAction figures and I plan to buy more. One of the ReAction figures in my collection is the Rocketeer.
Lets take an inventory. I now had a rubber bath toy Rocketeer, a super detailed 12″ collector’s piece Rocketeer, a cutesy vinyl Rocketeer, and a 3 3/4″ retro Rocketeer. Surely that must have been enough Rocketeers, right?
Wrong. Funko has now sold me their third variation of the Rocketeer. This one is part of their brand new Legacy Collection; a highly-detailed line of 6″ figures. A good portion of my toy collection is made up of 6″ figures (Masters of the Universe Classics, DC Direct, Marvel Legends, Star Wars Black, etc.) so I simply could not pass up a chance to own a compatible Rocketeer. In truth, this is the figure I wished for when I was a kid. As great as the Medicom doll is its not the kind of thing I ever really played with in my youth. Had I owned it in the 1980s I probaly would’ve been too scared to touch it lest I break it so it would have sat on my shelf like a priceless heirloom as it does today. But if I owned this Legacy Collection figure back then I’m certain I would’ve been running up and down the stairs and across the back yard with a soaring Rocketeer at the end of my outstreched arm.
The sculpt on this figure is great. The pants and jacket are rife with folds and wrinkles, the boots have laces, and the jet pack is covered in vents, rivets and a wad of bubble gum. The paint work is well done and movie accurate. A wash of darker paint on the clothes gives them an extra level of realism. I was super stoked that the ReAction Rocketeer had a removable helmet as it was the first to have that feature. This figure doesn’t have a removable helmet but it comes with 2 heads so you can display him either way. I would’ve preferred a removable helmet but I’ll accept swappable heads if it allows for more realistic proportions ( though I had a hell of a time swapping them).
I do have a few complaints. The head sculpt is alright but I wish it looked like actor Billy Campbell. The paint work on the eyes makes him look either tired or crazy. The backpack isn’t removable (at least I don’t think it is) which is also alright but a removable one would have been better. And lastly the luger pistol he comes with doesn’t fit in his hand very well; it keeps falling out.
None of these issues are deal breakers though so if you’re a Rocketeer fan you really should get this figure…even if you already have four Rocketeer figures. 9 out of 10.