"Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" is without a doubt one of the most memorable episodes of The Twilight Zone. This fifth season episode (#123) has a lot going for it to make it stand out in the minds of fans: It's based on a short story by horror and sci-fi legend Richard Matheson, it was directed by Richard Donner, it starred a pre-Kirk William Shatner, and it was remade with John Lithgow in the starring role for a segment of 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie. It also is a darn fine episode of the show. In their new Twilight Zone action figure line, Bif Bang Pow! has released two characters from this episode: The monstrous Gremlin and, the subject of today's review, Bob Wilson. While the standard figures in this line are done in a black and white paint scheme, Bif Bang Pow! released a limited run of 456 figures as SDCC as a "Now in Color" exclusive. Since I'm planning on displaying these along with other retro-inspired lines, I opted for the color variants. Ready for a look at poor Bob Wilson? Then join me after the break...
The easiest part of writing these retro-inspired toy reviews is covering the articulation, as it is almost always the same: Swivel hips, swivel shoulders, and a swivel neck. Bob can sit in his seat, stand up in the aisle, turn his neck to look out the window at the wing of the plane, and raise his arm to aim his included pistol accessory. He feels really sturdy and solid.
There's one thing about this figure I really don't like however, and that's the paintwork. It is very messy with lots of slop and paint bleed. On the surface I like how Bif Bang Pow! handled the color variants, as they look much like I imagine these characters would look in color. Bob Wilson's black tie, belt, and shoes are nice and shiny while his suit is a tasteful charcoal gray. Unfortunately, the borders between differing paint applications are a mess. It isn't as bad as the Sheldon Cooper SDCC exclusive figure they released (Michael Crawford reviewed it here) but it still is bad. His collar has weird bleeding, his hair is missing in places, and his white dress shirt has an odd, bubbly texture to it. I'd be happier with simpler paintwork on these figures if it meant less problems.
I'm really hoping that The Twilight Zone toyline has some long legs, as there are plenty of characters I'd love to see. It's a great concept for a collectible toyline because even though there isn't much of a play pattern here, building a roster of iconic characters and creatures should make for a nice display. If it weren't for the sloppy paintwork, I'd have few complaints with this figure, but as it is I'm not completely sold on him. This really seems to be a problem with recent Big Bang Pow! products and hopefully it is one they can soon rectify. As it stands, I'm giving Bob Wilson a Good. There are better retro based figures out there and better figures in this line. Despite being based on William Shatner, the greatest living thespian and musical genius, this figure loses some of its luster when removed from its blister card. Display him alongside the Gremlin, however, and you'll have a pretty cool, memorable little scene going on.
The flight of Mr. Robert Wilson has ended now, a flight not only from point A to point B, but also from the fear of recurring mental breakdown. Mr. Wilson has that fear no longer... though, for the moment, he is, as he has said, alone in this assurance. Happily, his conviction will not remain isolated too much longer, for happily, tangible manifestation is very often left as evidence of trespass, even from so intangible a quarter as the Twilight Zone.