I recommend you go see Planet of the Apes, the 1969 original, right now - because it's full of surprises that everybody wants to spoil for you. It's great - the 5-movie series did the whole franchise thing and cheap low-budget TV spin-off to sell toys thing before Star Wars, and Dr. Zaius is sort of a weird cultural touchstone. The Simpsons had a song about him on "A Fish Called Selma," comedian Dana Gould portrays both the character and a "real actor" on his web series Hanging with Dr. Z (Dana baby, if you're reading, call me let's make a figure), and there are countless cameos and nods to the character in probably every single show you've seen with a dork Gen X writer on staff. It was on TV a lot, it was on cable, it got all the theatrical reissues and it got 8-inch Mego action figures! There are new ones out now, there were old ones in the 1970s, but it didn't get the Kenner 3 3/4-inch treatment. At the time. Super7 hired an ex-Kenner sculptor to make the figures, and let me tell you, it shows. There are some figures (The Office, Vincent Price) that look like they reused a lot of parts, cloned some pieces, and took a few shortcuts along the way - but Planet of the Apes have the weird open hands, deep detailed cuts, and generally old-school look that screams "classic." Heck, even the plastic is spot-on - Super7 molded the figures in color and the legs are completely unpainted, just like Kenner would have done.
If you're in your 40s (or 50s) and want a figure that makes you feel like you're in 1980 again, buy this. This monkey means business.
This ape sold out pretty quickly after the license expired and because I was on a "I can't start any new lines" kick, I skipped it until snagging one off eBay in 2023. Because I'm a moron - this is a tip-top figure. You can see design cues from figures like Kenner's The Emperor in how he holds his cane, plus the leathery details on his shoulders are cut quite nicely. I don't know if Kenner would have painted them - probably not! - but I'm glad Super7 did. The hands are painted with both skin and hair, and two colors on a limb were rare from Kenner, but it wasn't unheard of. (See: Boba Fett, Lando Calrissian Skiff Guard.) There's definitely a paint budget in Kenner's house style, and the only place this figure may have gone over the line was the head. Odds are Kenner would've molded it in yellow plastic, but Super7 molded it in orange and painted the skin, the hair, and the eyes. It looks great. Even though I probably would've said "oh you should paint a mouth line," it looks just great as it is. The cut in the lips looks spectacular with just the fleshy paint on it.
The sculpted detail is spot-on. Compare him to classic Kenner figures, and you'll find the various wrinkles in his coat and pants comparable. The hair looks a little shaggy, not unlike the lemon locks on Luke Skywalker, with smooth skin and those very Kennery eyes. The right hand can grip his cane, and has hair on the back of it - just like the more clawlike left han. which also has no problems holding his cane. The glove-like shoes are unpainted and have individual toes, just like the movie, and just like real sneakers would have much later. The shirt under his coat is simple and flows nicely, painted brown and has a nice flow to it. It's subtle, but it's impressive. It's worth noting his face has extremely subtle bags and wrinkles around his eyes too, and while there's not much evidence of that in the younger figures of the 1970s, by the time we got to Return of the Jedi we saw Kenner deploying them on older characters like Anakin Skywalker and the aforementioned The Emperor.
One area they departed from 1970s Kenner was a lack of a vinyl cape. I'm pretty sure Kenner would have just made the coat as a thin sheet of vinyl wrapped around his back... and I hate that. So I'm glad they just sculpted it to his body and legs, with feet that can swing forward without a fuss. While he does suffer from the squared-off butt, given the nature of making the coat right, I'm not complaining. Also his legs are slightly bent, giving him this great barely-hunched pose but also allowing him easy access to sit in your many old toy vehicles. He plops right in the MTV-7 mini-rig on my desk.
His cane isn't exactly amazing, but it's good. It looks like a cane, and it was cast in a plastic that looks a bit more translucent than I would have liked. I would have hoped they just used the orange or brown from Yoda - but it wouldn't be a Kenner-style figure unless something about it was weird.
This is one of those retro-style figures you'll pick up and it immediately feels right. You may never open it because of the Ed Repka cardback art, and I wouldn't blame you - but I couldn't help it. I had to play with it. It's one of my absolute favorites, up there with Maria [FOTD #2,454] and the other Apes I've picked up thus far. And Alien, those were good too. This one feels like the real deal, so get it if you can find it at a price that you can stomach. Check your local collectible toy shops, they may have neglected to update the price tags to be in line with current secondary market prices.
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