MSE in Collaboration with Easy & Simple Chris Kyle - Deluxe Version ( ES-10001D )
Base body and head-sculpt:
What follows is a review of the upcoming Chris Kyle sixth scale figure from Easy & Simple and MSE ( Mission Specific Equipment ). Of all of the sixth scale figure reviews that I have composed over the past five years I would say that this one is the most important.
Either through the news or various other forms of media, we have all become familiar with the name Chris Kyle. We have learned of his heroism, and his devotion to his country, family, and fellow man. To say that Chris Kyle embodied all of the characteristics of strength and honor that make our country great, would be an understatement. Chris Kyle has had a lasting effect on many of us, and his legacy is one of honor and service. God bless you CPO Kyle.
A brief look at his military history:
CPO ( Chief Petty Officer ), Christopher Scott "Chris" Kyle, was a United States Navy SEAL ( SEAL Team 3 ). He became known as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, with over 160 kills ( officially confirmed by the Department of Defense ).
Chris Kyle served four tours in the Iraq War and was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat. In addition, he received two Silver Star Medals, five Bronze Star Medals, one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, as well as numerous other unit and personal awards.
Making the figure:
Enter the folks at E&S and MSE ( Easy and Simple and Mission Specific Equipment ). It was their desire to make a figure based on a real person that honored that individual the best they knew how, through sixth scale, and they decided upon a person of distinction in selecting Chris Kyle.
The process of bringing this figure to fruition was long and arduous - as many sixth scale figure build ups are. But this time out it was vital to get it right - to give all due diligence to the minutia of detail that would embody the final form. Both Chris and his family deserve the very best.
The team of folks involved included the family of Chris Kyle; Taya Kyle, you are a saint, and we thank you and your family for your tireless dedication to this project - salt of the earth folks and of good cheer, God bless you all. One of the authors of American Sniper ( Jim DeFelice), was involved as well, advising and helping out wherever possible in matters such as the kit and weapons that Chris used. In addition the folks at MSE and E&S were invaluable in making this figure possible. Big thanks to them as well; J. Brian Sullivan, Jennifer Sullivan, J. Michael Sullivan, Brian Lowy, Evan Gowins, and Sai Kit Chen.
Please take time to visit www.chriskylefrogfoundation.org and www.chriskylefrog.com as well as http://americasmightywarriors.org founded by Debbie Lee - Marc Lee's mother. Marc Lee was in Chris Kyle's Platoon, and was the first SEAL KIA in Iraq. You can learn more about him ( as well as other members of the Platoon ), in the premiere episode of History Channel's new series, Live to Tell www.history.com/shows/live-to-tell In this premiere episode there is some good information and some outstanding interviews with folks who served with Chris Kyle - as well as pics of Chris and Marc, and other members of the platoon.
Head-sculpt and base body:
This section includes the following:
- E&S 1.0 body
- Chris Kyle head-sculpt
Let me start off by saying Hot Toys has become the hands down paradigm for accuracy and detail in sixth scale head-sculpts. I start off by saying this because I think that with the E&S/MSE Chris Kyle sculpt we can now add both E&S and MSE to the Hot Toys pantheon.
Seeing the Chris Kyle sculpt in the online pics in no way did the final version justice. The in-hand sculpt is superb. The likeness, the paint, the skin tone, all of the little marks and measures that make one think realism are here in spades. This is one of the best sixth scale likenesses I have ever seen ( if not the VERY best ). Hats off to the sculptors as well as the folks who applied the the skin tones and paint effects.
In my estimation this is more of a historical commemoration than one of the usual sixth scale figures that I review, and for that reason I have chosen not to appoint any scores to the various categories herein. I will instead talk about the merits of each part in each section. However, were I to score the sculpt that I received with the set, I would give it a five out of five stars.
Onto the base body...
It is always a treat to see a new sixth scale base body hit the market. It is one of those I can't wait to see what they came up with kind of things. And over the years, I suppose that it is safe to say that we have seen just about every kind of joint and connection and pin/post imaginable.
So when I finally got my hand on the E&S 1.0 I was eager to see where, and in what way(s), they reinvented the wheel ( in this case 12" body ).
Many of the joints and connection remind me of a hybrid of the Hot Toys True Type and the ACE MK Man base body. Notwithstanding, there are some notable areas where E&S has made it's own mark.
We see added areas of articulation in both the neck and in the hips. In the neck with a double ball joint ( top and bottom - or top and base ), and in the hips with a downward tilting aspect to ball joint to which the leg connects to the hips. Both areas of added articulation amount to enough extra play to archive a wider ( more lifelike ) range of motion.
I also like the sculpt of the deltoids and biceps - they look more lifelike, and have enough added bulk to properly fill out a shirt sleeve. This is also aided by the padded undershirt that comes with the figure ( to be explored in the uniform elements section ). A nice feature of the added bulking is that it does not impede articulation. The triple axis joints in the elbows and shoulder are well aligned with the overall contour of the upper and lower arm sections. So everything fits well together and works in concert to achieve dynamic and lifelike poses.
Note: In some earlier versions ( ZERT Jameson Deathridge ), the leg joints seemed to be loose at the point where the legs inserts into the hip cradle as well as in the torso joints, this made for some difficulty in achieving a pose. With the base body that is included with the Chis Kyle figure, there have been improvements made, and the legs are notably stiffer at the hip/leg intersection. This allows the base body to stand upright and allows for a more dynamic range of motion without worry of figure toppling. It is nice to see a sixth scale company take the constructive criticism of its customers and make the necessary improvements to allow for a more polished product.
This section includes the following:
- NSW custom DCU Jacket
- DCU pants
- Tan long sleeved tactical shirt
- MECHANIX 3.0 molded gloved hands x 3
- WILEY X WX Echo sunglasses
- MERREL high top Outland boots
- GALCO leather Gunfighter belt
I will begin with the DCU's. Both the pants and shirt are well crafted with the tiniest stitches you will see this side of an elite plastic surgeon's office. The detailing is stunning, the cut and fit spot on, and the coloration very good. I often wonder what a newbie to the sixth scale world would make of the detail found therein. This yet another area where sixth scale construction goes from simple cut and sew tailoring to a work of art.
We also have a tactical long sleeved undershirt that includes padding along the seam separating the sleeves from the main body of the shirt. This padding helps to give the base body a more natural filled out look.
The belt ( fully functional ), the sunglasses, the boots and the gloves are expertly rendered, and when it comes to all but the boots and gloved hands, the entire uniform set would serve you well if you were suddenly “shrink rayed” to 12 inches tall and were in need of military clothing. In other words, they function exactly as the real thing and the attention to even the most minute detail shows with this uniform set.
With particular emphasis on the molded boots and gloved hands - which are very nicely sculpted and painted - I would like to refer back to a discussion on the merits of molded boots ( and gloves ) versus cloth boots ( and gloves ).
I should say that I am a big fan of sixth scale molded boots and gloves – despite their commonness, I really like them, and have discussed my own personal feelings when it comes to cloth versus molded boots. I will get into more detail on the merits of Cloth Boots vs Molded boots in a later post, but in short, making a molded pair of boots allows for more detail to be expressed that would be lacking in a pair of mixed media or cloth boots.
Gear (softline elements):
This section includes the following:
- PACA body armor
- MLCS-RRV vest harness
- MLCS double pistol magazine pouch
- MLCS PRC148 radio pouch
- MLCS M60 100-round ammunition pouch
- MLCS utility pouch
- MLCS 5.56 triple magazine pouch
- 3C SEAL Team 3 ( Charlie Platoon ) ball cap
- KELTY MAP 3500 backpack
- VS-17 panel
For me, the stand out pieces in the set are the Eagle Industries MLCS RRV ( Rhodesian Recon Vest ), the PACA body armor ( with “Punisher-like” stencil detail front and back – I say “Punisher-like” due to MSE creating their own version of the skull, separate from the actual, trademarked Punisher logo ), the Kelty Map 3500 3-day assault pack, and the 3C SEAL Team 3 ( Charlie Platoon ) ball cap. All are amazingly well-crafted and detailed down to the nth degree. Again, these are pieces that you could actually use if you suddenly found yourself shrink rayed to a foot tall. Micro "0" scale zippers, micro scale Velcro, micro scale snaps ( plastic ), and more micro stitches than you would find in Beverly Hills after a plastic surgery convention.
An important note: The admin flap on the RRV can be unsnapped and folded down just like on the real thing. This will allow for the Punisher-like skull stencil on PACA body armor to be seen.
This same detail and attention to craft and finish can be seen in each of the MLCS pouches that come with the set. I am still happy that we see micro scale working Fastex buckles as well - there was a time not to far back in the sixth scale world when manufacturers would have settled for one piece molds as opposed to actual functioning buckles, as well as huge goofy looking zippers that would be the size of a man's forearm were they real size.
I was also happy to see a sixth scale OD Green x High Vis Orange x High Vis Pink VS17/GVX Panel Signal Marker. A great detail and a first in a modern military sixth scale figure set ( excluding Vietnam era releases ), as well as something that CPO Kyle mentions using in his book American Sniper, another superb attention to detail with this sixth scale rendition.
Well done on the softline elements.
Gear ( hardline elements ):
This section includes the following:
- MICH200 helmet
- WILCOX NVG mount and shroud
- AN/PVS-15 NVG
- Desert tan ballistic goggles
- 12CQC folding knife
- PRC-148 radio
- NSW INVISIO headset M3
- Satellite phone
- Laser range finder
- MK-18 smoke grenades x 2
- MK141 flash grenades x 2
- M-67 fragmentation grenades x 2
- VIP strobe
- Cyalume ChemLight Chemical Light Sticks x 4
- G-SHOCK watch
- D-ring carabiner
The pieces that make up the hardline elements are so numerous, that it gives us non-military yet another level of respect for those who deploy to keep our Nation safe. To be responsible for, and to have a high acumen for the use of so much gear speaks to excellent training that our fighting men and women receive. And it is yet another example of why ours in the best trained, best equipped most highly motivated military fighting force in the world.
The stand out pieces in the set ( in my opinion ), are the Satellite Phone and the range finder. Perhaps it is because of what they represent - a link to home, and a set of bionic eyes with which to get a bead on the enemy. Both are well detailed with clean mold lines and crisp detail. And both are new additions to the sixth scale world. Very nice work with these details.
The Wilcox NVG mount and shroud, and the G-SHOCK watch are stand out pieces. I especially like the imprinted ( pad stamped ), verbiage detailing - which is also found on the sat phone, the range finder, and the M67 fragmentation grenades. Other pieces have the verbiage detailing represented with printed decals that have crisp and clean borders. These go a long way in adding realistic detail - so small in some instances, that you may need a magnifying glass to fully appreciate them. The CQC folder is also a sight to behold - with fully functional open and closing as well as functional retention clip - take care not over stress the clip as it is very thin. These little details go such a long way to making this stuff more than just action figure paraphernalia - here we see miniaturism as art - the detail being a captivating feature that draws us in and makes us wonder just how in the heck they did that.
This section includes the following:
- MK18 MOD 0 5.56 rifle
- M-68 AIMPOINT w/WILCOX mount
- LMT rear sight
- KAC QD suppressor
- Tactical foregrip
- M962 tactical weapon mount light
- 5.56 30-round magazine x 4
- Tactical sling
- MK13 MOD0 .300 WIN MAG sniper rifle
- NIGHTFORCE NXS 5.5-22x56MM rifle scope
- HARRIS 6"-9" swivel bipod
- K ARMAMENT MK11 MOD0 suppressor
- Turner leather weapon sling
- .300 WINMAG wrist mount cartridge holder w/ 5 brass rounds
- P220 .45 pistol Hogue grip
- SERPA standard retention hip mount holster
With the weapon elements we have three stand out pieces: The MK18 Mod0, the Win Mag ( SOCOM MK13MOD 0 ) and the Sig Sauer P220 with Hogue grip. Each of these is a work of sixth scale art ( not to overstress the term ). The detailing is a thing to behold, and the fit and construction of each is a testament to the craftsmanship involved.
The breakdown on the MK18 is very similar to that of it's full scale equivalent, and if you look very closely, you will see the Colt cartouche logoing stamped into the bolt release side of the receiver. Amazing.
The Win Mag has the right level of detail without making it flimsy or fragile ( although one should exercise due caution when handing or adding rail accessories to both the the NKK18 as well as the Win Mag ). Every detail of this rifle was taken from the real deal, the actual rifle used by Chris Kyle.
The SIG P220 with the Hogue grip is also a nice piece - details galore, and crisp clean lines. This is the first time we have seen a Sig pistol with after market parts, the Hogue after market grips, which again, were used on Chris Kyle's actual service pistol.
The two rifles come with an accurate assortment of weapon hop ups. From the glass to slings - everything looks ( and fits ), well. The weathering is extremely realistic and almost mirrors the weathering and paint jobs done to the actual weapons. The weathering is not over the top, or sloppily done with wood stain like we see with other weathered parts in the sixth scale industry. Instead, the weathering is just enough, not overdone, gives the weapons a gritty feel and is very realistic.
Of note: the supplied 5.56 NATO 30-round magazines that come with the set all have the Punisher-like stencil logo on the them.
Also, on my sample, the small metal ring that the Turner leather sling would attach to on the Harris bipod was not present. I fixed this by attaching the buckle at the end of the sling to the front support link on the bipod with a small piece of black thread. Worked like a charm. The other end of the sling attaches to a pin hole connector on the underside of the Win Mag buttstock. It was a tad bit loose fitting, so I secured it with a drop of Crazy glue. Easy fix, no sweat. All other weapon attachments went on with just the right amount of friction to stay put without having to be forced into place - E&S and MSE are the only companies who seem to have gotten this right - almost every other sixth scale companies weapon RIS rail attachments need to be tuned with a needle file to get them to fit - or they are too loose right out of the box. But E&S and MSE have a much better track record when it comes to fit.
Coming from a background in sixth scale that includes the design of a few boxes, I am a fan of good box presentation. This is an area where the advertising meets the arts and vice versa. Jennifer Sullivan & Evan Gowins did a very good job with this box. The look is respectful without being somber, the inside of the box is fit and function at it's best. As a bonus, you can very easily remove and replace the individual components into their respective foam cut outs. This is always a nice feature in a high end collectible figure box. The stencil design, while simple, maintains a theme across all MSE & E&S products and is very cleanly done.
The best parts ( in my opinion ) are the little details that pay homage to the man and his family. The yellow ribbon that adorns the box - the corner framed certificate, and the verbiage and art all speak volumes for the love and respect that Chris Kyle deserves.
Of note: there is a VERY special "Easter egg" featured with the certificate. To reveal this, you must carefully remove the certificate for the corner brackets which frame it. Under the certificate, printed on the inside flap of the box, is a really great picture of Chris with a great big smile on his face from his family's personal photo albums. His family wanted this to be part of the box art - and I for one am grateful that they did as it gives the figure that much more personality, and shows us a glimpse of Chris Kyle the father, brother, son and husband. Well done to all involved.
Well, here we are. I hope that those who have read this review, in whole or in part, have gotten as much out of reading it as I did in composing it. It was a great honor to be a very small part of getting the word out about the figure. It is my heartfelt wish that it does the man and his family justice. Love to you all and God's blessings.
Best regards, Michael A. Skram IIGallery