I had never heard of Damtoys until a few months ago when I was perusing loose 1/6 figure parts on an online retailer’s site. Their name kept popping up as I rummaged through pages of random, realistic military clothing and weapons. I didn’t buy anything, but I remember thinking, “Man, this stuff looks really good… the people behind this know what their doing.”
Skip ahead to some random blog post I happened upon showcasing this figure that looked a HECK of a lot like the brit movie tough guy, Jason Statham, only crazy exaggerated and equally as awesome. The promo shots looked fantastic and this.. “Spade J” looked every bit as BA as his celebrity twin. As a 3S character artist, I’ve always been drawn to exaggerated, hard edged, sculpted features on characters in cartoons and on action figures.
There was that name again, “Damtoys”. I thought back to the military stuff of theirs I had looked through a few months back and googled their name to see if there were any other figures in this “Gangsters Kingdom” series. Nope. Just lots of highly realistic military figures.. and Spade all by his lonesome. I admit I was a little nervous preordering him since I’d never dealt with this company before and as cool as lone wolf sounds, it can look a little odd on the shelf in a reasonably organized collection. Sure, the promo’s looked slick.. but that’s marketing for you and expected. Plus there’s been a few toy lines in the past who’s QC and final execution of the figure was less than stellar.
I decided to take a chance on him anyway and dusted off my credit card. Now, a mere four months later, Spade J is here. Lets see how he did.
This is some nice packaging. The box is a fairly heavy corrugate and the printed graphics are rich in color and crisp. Small touches like the silk pull to release the inner box is nice. Damtoys also included a single, little poker card with Spade’s likeness on it. Not sure of it’s usefulness, but it’s a cool garnish.
On the back is an illustration of some slicked hair, fat fellah who looks like he’s about to get an extra air flow option in his neck area, compliments our friend, Spade. The inclusion of that was enough to make me really hope they flesh out the Gangsters Kingdom world with more exaggerated and interesting characters.
Spade comes with no shortage of accessories. Two pistols with removable and extra clips, a silencer, a switchblade, a real metal necklace/chain, driving cap, ankle holster, a (amaze’n!) should bag, and if you want to count it, a sweet leather jacket. He also comes with an extra “rude” hand.. making that all familiar gesture anyone who’s driven in LA, Atlanta or anywhere in Jersey traffic will immediately recognize.
As I unwrapped Spade from his stylish box prison, I was immediately impressed. First thing you see is Spade’s ugly mug, dapper leather jacket and croc-skin boots. I couldn’t help myself from smiling, leaning over to my wife (who sat nearby uninterested in my proceedings) and saying, “Just.. LOOK.. at this guy!”
She glanced over and feigned a half-hearted, “Cool.” and went immediately back to pinterest.
Hmph. I would not let her dismissive response damage my enthusiasm. I quickly popped the next layer of packaging out of the way and started to dig out his many accessories. The first thing I grabbed was Spade’s shoulder bag. Now when I showed that to my wife she actually paused.. took it out of my hand and said, “Wow, this is really nice looking.. really well done.. look at the faux leather accents!”
Or something to that degree. In any case, I was now speaking her language. I let her play with the shoulder bag while I messed around with Spade’s two hand guns.
It’s pretty darn cool that you can actually chamber a round (no bullets of course) and take the clips in and out. The smaller, ankle pistol has a silencer that sticks into the barrel of it, giving it some much needed size.
The leather jacket Spade sports is one of the nicest looking coat accessories I’ve seen on an action figure. It fits perfectly on him with working zippers and pockets. There’s a logo/brand on the back of it to let you know Spade’s a bad-ass.
The driver cap was one of the things I was most excited about with this figure. That may sound silly, but I’ve been wearing them since I was a kid as my dad always wore them. I think I’ve had more driving caps than baseball caps growing up. All the promo pics of the hat show that, for ONCE, someone got the fit right. I’ve seen other action figures that come with these hats and they look ridiculous..and just scream “DOLL! YOU”RE PLAYING WITH A DOLL!”
Well, the final result for Spade is a little bit of a mixed bag. The hat doesn’t seem to fit quite as nice as it did from the promo’s, but with a little finagling, you can get it looking pretty respectable.
I almost lost the switchblade immediately after opening the box. It’s TINY… minuscule. It “looks” cool enough, but it doesn’t fold up or anything which is a little surprising given the action you get out of the pistols.
Back to Spade J’s sculpt. I love the face sculpt.. yes, it’s basically an exaggerated Jason Statham but it works amazingly well here and looks great. Not only is the sculpt great, the paint and detail work on it is very realistic.. tiny moles and freckles as well as a copious amount of man-stubble round out an already quality sculpt. The hands continue that quality with their bulky, blocky form and realistic flesh tone.
Spade’s boots are croc-skin because.. what else would this guy be caught dead in? They work great here and are pretty remarkable at keeping him balanced in all sorts of poses. I will warn you though, don’t try and pop the feet off as there is no friendly little pop in-and-out peg in there like you may be accustom to with other figures. It’s meant to stay on and does not like to go back to it’s home if you remove it. I learned this from experience, dude.
To get his jacket off, you have to remove the hands. On some figures this isn’t that big of a deal as the pegs are short and stout enough to handle a bit of pressure. Dam Toy’s wrist pegs are long thin things that I fear would snap if even the slightest ill-advised pressure was given. I managed to get them off and back on again without anything snapping.. just know that if you choose to follow suit, take it easy and slow.
So with his jacket off, Spade looks a little.. wonky. His neck is a mile long and his body looks oddly malnourished compared to the rest of his tough exterior. Pulling the t-shirt neckline up some, helps hide the awkward appearance a bit.. but he’s miles better looking with the jacket on.
So what happens with the shirt off? Yikes! OK, so the tattoo details are pretty cool to see.. but the skin tone of the body is way off from the more tanned tone of his face (which, I guess isn’t entirely unrealistic if you never go outside with your shirt off). Also, that malnourished look is even more apparent here. The biggest issue I have with the shirtless look, is the design of the body. I’ve never seen a 1/6 body like this. The shoulder joints are basically giant rotating pegs. The good side of that is they allow for quite a good bit of unrestricted movement. The bad is that it makes him look pretty bad with all that exposed goings-on. It’s like lifting the curtain and seeing all the gears working on the “It’s a Small World” ride.. loses all it’s magic.
OK, everything back on! After seeing what lies beneath, I have no reason to ever remove Spade’s shirt and jacket again. He looks too great with them on and way too weird without. Plus those wrist joints are NOT to be trusted and you have no spare ones to fall back on if you misstep. I’ll let you you use your best judgement.
So all geared up, Spade is perfect right? Well.. no. Sadly, the weapons he comes with are all pint sized. The larger of the two pistols almost works with his scale as a small gun.. but the other just looks silly in his hands. Like he’s holding a child’s water gun. The switchblade, adorned with tiny blood flecks isn’t made for Spade at all. Literally, his hands cannot hold it. I “tricked” the camera for some of these photos by having it lay in his hand (thanks gravity) and angling the shot to hide the gap. It’s like they had some extra loose tiny knives laying around at the factory and thought they’d toss them in. It’s a little odd since the art on the back of the box would suggest that the blade is pretty significant weapon to Spade.
The same feeling that “this must have been an afterthought” goes for the ankle holster as well. I challenge you get the ankle holster on, shove the pistol in there and pull his pant leg down over it. Oh, it can be done with a lot of effort.. but the result isn’t graceful or in anyway “concealed”. It basically adds massive bulk to the side of his leg. Either the pant legs are too tight or his legs are too big for it to fit naturally. It’s a massive pain to pull off and when you do you realize, “Man, they really didn’t think this part through did they?”
The last thing of concern is the hat. I love the way it looks and honestly think Spade looks best with it covering his dome. The problem is that some people have reported that the stain used to color the hat will eventually stain his head if left on. What? Why is that a thing? People have recommended making a paper/cloth sleeve or liner to put inside of the hat so this doesn’t happen. Honestly, that’s just something we shouldn’t have to worry about.
In the end, I shoved all the extra stuff I’ll never use, the small gun, ankle holster, switchblade, and sadly.. the driver’s cap.. into Spade’s shoulder bag. He’s standing on my shelf in a neutral pose, bag slung over his shoulder and pistol in his hand. I tend to keep my figures in neutral poses more for sustained balance than anything else. That being said, Spade poses up very well and is a fun figure to play around with. Thanks to his wonky looking, but very forgiving shoulder joints it’s easy to pull all sorts of bad-assery out of him even with just the one gun and his steely gaze. He’s very cool that way.
THE FINAL WORD
Spade looks fantastic and his articulation is just as good as just about any other 1/6 figure I’ve experienced. His build feels pretty solid, though his wrist pegs did appear delicate. The bag and jacket he comes with are some of them most nicely crafted accessories I’ve seen on a figure. The head-sculpt is spot-on and flawless.. and the cheeky extra hand adds a bit of edgy comedy to the character.
While he doesn’t look so amazing showing off his tats, you’re likely to never display him that way so I consider the tattoo elements as sort of a throw-away extra… they’re there if you want them, but no harm done if you don’t.
My single, but fairly significant complaint with Spade is something I can extend to ALL the toys I buy/collect:
When a toy comes with accessories, I expect that toy to be able to USE them without altering the toy or accessory in any way. Otherwise it’s just snake oil.
If I was you, I’d toss the unusable bits in his shoulder bag or leave them in the box and find him a nice quality toy assault rifle, knife and hand gun on the secondary market. That’s what I’m going to do. He’s just too cool of a figure to leave with mediocre equipment!
Whether you have or are looking to purchase Spade J, I think you’ll be getting a pretty good value for what you’re getting, even with some of the accessories lacking luster. When I bought him, I got him for under $100 shipped, that’s an incredibly reasonable price any way you slice it. The unique, dramatic head-sculpt and core character elements are exciting and really stand out. I, for one, am really looking forward to seeing what Damtoys does next in Gangsters Kingdom
- A fantastic head-sculpt just oozes character (even if that character is Jason Statham)
- The leather jacket and shoulder bag is so well sewn and detailed it had my wife gasping
- Great articulation throughout
- A ton of extra accessories
- Overall he’s a very fun figure that looks great on display
- The small pistol is just silly small
- The ankle holster is basically worthless
- The switchblade IS useless
- Dude, keep your shirt on