Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

The Long And Winding Return Of Captain Action

The PopCulteer
February 21, 2020

This week we are bringing you a detailed review and deep dive into the newest incarnation of one of my favorite action figures, Captain Action. That him to the right.

I’ve written of the good Captain many times here in PopCult, going back to our first month of covering pop culture way back in 2005. Over the years we have seen revivals of the original 12″ Captain Action, as well as his return in comic books, new forms of pop culture figures, other scales of action figures, and even Art Baltazar’s Captain Action Cat.

Joe and Ed at Captain Action Enterprises have more cool stuff up their sleeve for our hero, but they have to keep it close to their vests for the time being…with one exception.

This latest version of Captain Action comes to us courtesy of ZICA Toys, of Kentucky, who are known for several high-quality collectible figures of Buck Rogers and The Six Million Dollar Man, many in the popular MEGO-size and style.

There is quite a saga of how this project, which was funded through Kickstarter, took over four years to make it from the idea stage to my front porch, where it landed yesterday afternoon.

First, though, I have a genuine scoop, courtesy of Joe Ahearn, from Captain Action Enterprises, who licensed their character to ZICA for this project. Despite the ordeal that ZICA endured bringing this project to us (I’ll get to that later on, I promise), they are eager to proceed with a second series of figures that, if there is enough demand, will include Captain Action’s sidekick, Action Boy; his fellow agent, Lady Action; his arch-nemesis, Dr. Evil; and his distinctive mode of transportation, The Silver Streak.

Check out the image below, and click to see it larger.

 

In order for this to happen, it would help if the current run of figures sells out quickly. You can order the figures in series one directly from ZICA, or from Big Bad Toy Store. As I write this, Big Bad Toy Store is already sold out of four of the figures, and they’re still on pre-order (folks like me who kicked in on the Kickstarter campaign get theirs first).

It also wouldn’t hurt to let ZICA Toys know how much you’d like to see this line continue. You can leave comments on their Facebook page if you want to help the cause.

Of course, you’re probably wondering if the figures themselves are any good.

Yes. They are excellent. These may be the best figures I’ve seen in the 4″ scale. I counted 16 points of articulation. The sculpts are as impressive as some high-end 1/6 scale figures that I’ve seen. The joints are tight and hold a pose. The figures are balanced well, but also have tiny magnets in their feet, so you can use them with metal bases for even more action poses.

For the purpose of this review, I only cracked open one figure (so far). I chose the Stealth Captain Action, who has a gray variant of Captain Action’s original blue uniform.

I should point out here, that to get this line off the ground, the first series (of eight figures) all use the same basic body, only with different colors and chest emblems. This works better than you might think. It allowed them to focus on designing one high-quality body, with a variety of head sculpts. As you can see in the image I posted earlier, the second series will feature at least three new body designs.

I will also point out that this line went through a few changes while in the pipeline. Originally it was going to be called “Adventure People” and for this line, ZICA was going to revive the defunct REMCO name to put on the package. For reasons that don’t really affect the end product, REMCO was not used, and the name of the line was changed to “Comic Adventure Heroes.”

If you go way back to where I recommended the Kickstarter Campaign, you’ll see the different names. I’m not sure what happened to the collector-friendly packaging, but considering what ZICA had to go through to get these toys made, it’s a small sacrifice for the collector.

These are high-end 4″ figures, aimed at collectors aged 15 and up. They do have tiny pieces that would be a choking hazard to kids, so don’t mistake these for the toys you find at stores and keep them away from the mouths or other orifices of pets or small children.

Each figure comes with an alternate head (except for the Strike Force Trooper and Captain Evil’s Henchman) and several sets of alternately-posed hands.

 

Each figure also comes with a collection of weapons. Captain Action (In three different color schemes) comes with his lightning sword, raygun and space rifle. Captain Evil and his Henchman have the same weapons with different paint schemes, while Action Jackson, Jet Jungle and the Strike Force Trooper have the space rifle, but a more standard pistol and knife. Captain Action and Captain Evil also come with a removable Captain’s cap.

 

 

There are other nice details along the way: Action Jackson’s alternate head is clean-shaven. Jet Jungle’s alternate head has white hair instead of blond.

As with the sculpting and design, the paint jobs on these figures are fantastic.

 

 

If you collect 4″ action figures, then you will want in on these. The line combines three legendary action figures of yore (Captain Action, Action Jackson and Jet Jungle), with new enemies and…I’m not sure if the Strike Force Trooper is a good guy or bad guy, but he looks cool, and that’s all that counts.

What we have here is a series of great action figures that will scratch that itch among 4″ figure collectors. ZICA has also revived the Sectaurs line, and these figures are compatible with those. They are also compatible with the new 4″ figures in the JazWares Fortnite line, so you can create all sorts of wild scenarios with these guys.

Like I said, if you want to get in on the (Captain) action, check out ZICA or Big Bad Toy Store.

 

 

This has been a long process. It’s actually not the longest I’ve experienced for a Kickstarter project, but it has been over four years since I kicked in my money. Craig Owen, the owner of ZICA Toys, has gone way above and beyond to see this project to fruition.

The first factory he hired in China turned out to be totally incompetent, making promises and failing to deliver. He switched to a new factory, and a year after the original delivery date, decided to throw in the towel, cancel the project, refund everyone’s money and take a huge personal loss.

 

After being assured by the factory that they could indeed produce the figures at the quality Craig wanted, he reinstated the project and kept plugging along.

More than a year after that, he moved the project to a new factory. Lesser men would have thrown in the towel, and I really have to give Craig credit for sticking with this. He has been completely honest and transparent with his backers throughout this entire harrowing project.

 

 

The new factory had to fix a lot of the work that the previous factories had messed up, but they finally got everything going smoothly, and the figures hit the US just last week. And now the 4″ Captain Action and friends are in my hands, and I have to say, it was worth the wait. I’m really glad I ordered the entire set to add to my collection. I know some collectors of the original Captain Action are purists who despise any Captain Action figure that isn’t in their favorite scale, but they have to understand that it’s projects like this and earlier figures in other scales and formats that keep the Captain Action name alive, and make a future revival of the 1/6 scale line possible.

 

 

That’s this week’s PopCulteer. Check back for fresh content every day, and all our regular features, plus bonus coverage of Toy Fair starting this weekend.

6 Comments

  1. BRIAN KEITHY

    I WANT THEM ALL

  2. Thomas Wheeler

    Speaking as a longtime fan of Captain Action, not to mention figures in this scale (just ask any of my Real American Hero G.I. Joes), I have to say I am EXTREMELY impressed by what I see here. I wish I could have afforded to be part of the Kickstarter program, and I am delighted that ZICA was able to bring this project to fruition. I sincerely hope they’re able to continue.

  3. George Dunham

    I just ordered the first eight figures. I want the silver streak and lady action!! When are they coming.

    • rudy panucci

      We don’t know exactly yet, but the folks at Captain Action Enterprises and the folks at ZICA really want to make it happen. I have a feeling we’ll get an announcement soon.

  4. Ronald wassel

    Truly awesome figures, I’ve been a captain action fan/collector for more years than I care to remember and these figures are some of the best ever.

  5. Robert Rodden

    Love these; can’t get the Blue Captain Action any longer, but I do have the Purple, and will keep trying for all the rest.

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