My backlog of pre-orders at Sideshow has been slowly whittling down this year. Some actually shipped, a couple I cancelled, and a handful have been bumped back to 2023. But the Dirty Harry figure had to be one of the fastest turnarounds in all my experience with Sideshow. He was revealed and put up for pre-order in March and here he is squeaking in at the end of the year and landing in my hands by December. That’s crazy fast in the world of Sixth-Scale figure pre-orders where delays can often roll wait times into years instead of months. It’s almost enough to make me forget how absolutely insane it is that we got an officially licensed release of a Harry Callahan figure in the first place!
I could write volumes on what Clint Eastwood’s film career has meant to me over the years, but let’s stick with the one particular film related to today’s review. Released the year before I was born, Dirty Harry is an absolute classic of police drama cinema and like many of Clint Eastwood’s films, it’s become a go-to watch of mine for lazy, rainy Saturday afternoons. Hell, even though it was released only one year into the decade, it would go on to characterize the gritty 70’s cop film genre, thanks partly to a successful string of sequels, but mostly because it’s such a wonderfully watchable flick with an absolutely batshit crazy villain. It practically introduced the tough-as-nails, doesn’t-play-by-the-rulebook cop trope that was, and largely still is, appealing to a nation sick of rampant crime. Nowadays, it’s also a movie out of time. There’s throwaway dialogue here that would never fly in a world with today’s ultra-fragile sensibilities, and that’s what makes this seemingly impossible release so unbelievably welcome. I’m curious as to whether Sideshow got any flack for choosing to pursue this decidedly un-politically correct license, but it seems to have done well for them, because while the figure did not sell out in pre-order, it is already listed as Low Stock Remaining. Anyway… the shoebox-style package features some beautiful art from the film, which conveys the gritty subject matter. It’s the first release in Sideshow’s Eastwood Legacy Collection, and you do get a stylish band around the inner tray with a facsimile of his signature. Otherwise, the presentation here is everything you might expect from a Sideshow figure.
Callahan comes out of the box all ready for action, and ready to patrol the filthy streets of 1971 San Francisco. Wearing his trademark herringbone jacket, gray slacks, a white button down shirt under a burgundy sweater vest, striped tie, and black shoes, he’s the epitome of 1970’s fashion. I find that it’s a lot easier for these companies to successfully reproduce flashy superhero costumes in this scale, than it is to make convincing everyday clothes, and with that in mind, I’m extremely pleased with how the tailoring on this outfit came out. The jacket is a work of art, complete with elbow pads, buttons, a sharp interior lining, and some immaculate stitching. The trademark herringbone v-pattern in the jacket’s stitching is absolutely gorgeous. The same can be said about the impeccable tailoring found in the “twenty-nine-fifty” pants and the vest. The tie is a little stiff, but still looks great. The only thing I can nitpick is the collar takes a lot of futzing to make it sit right, and even then I think it looks just a tad too puffy. The costume also includes a dress belt, a shoulder holster for Harry’s trusty wheel gun, and a really spiffy watch on his left wrist. The jacket is removable, but I’m not messing with taking it off. A finely tailored suit may not be the most exciting thing to see on an action figure, but it sure looks great here!
The portrait is an absolute homerun. When the figure was first revealed, I remember wishing that it was Hot Toys doing it, mainly because I think they were better equipped at doing portraits, and I was a little skeptical about the figure looking as good as the solicitation shots. I’m happy to say the final product is an absolutely fabulous likeness. I think a Hot Toys portrait could have awarded a little more nuance to the paint, maybe made the eyes pop with a little more life, but I am still one hundred percent satisfied with what we got here. It would have been easy to lean into a caricature, but I feel like the sculptors swung for the stars and it paid off big time. The bulging brow, the squinted eyes, and the prominent chin all look superb. I also really dig the way Sideshow recreated Eastwood’s majestic bouffant. It’s a fabulous sculpt, which compliments the portrait perfectly. It would have been great to have had an Exclusive with an extra head with more of a sneer to it, but this one will still do just fine.
The accessories are a bit on the light side here, as Harry only comes with his gun and badge, along with a hefty selection of hands. I think the most obvious omissions here are the yellow money bag and the switchblade that he sticks into Scorpio’s leg, as both seem like they should have been included. I suppose you could argue that the outfit isn’t right for those scenes, but still. The hands are pretty standard stuff, with a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of fists, a right hand designed to hold his badge, another designed to hold his gun, and a left hand designed to cup around his right wrist to stabilize his aim when firing. To make the last hand work, you really need to take the jacket off, which is a shame because it would have been great for recreating one of his more iconic poses. There’s some padding in the figure, which can curtail the range of motion a little, and you get more of that in the shoulders of the jacket, but all in all, the joints feel good, and not at all floppy, as has sometimes been the case with Sideshow’s figures. I’ll also note how nice it is that each hand comes with its own hinged peg, so swapping out the hands is extremely quick and easy, and there’s never a worry about snapping a peg like there sometimes is with Hot Toys figures.
The badge is very nicely done, with a beautiful recreation of his ID. The wallet is meant to stay open, so he’ll be perpetually flashing the badge. I would have really liked to see a left hand for holding it, so I could pose him with his gun drawn and his badge out, but then that might have been a little out of character for Dirty Harry.
As for the gun? “My, that’s a big one!” Naturally, “this is a.44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world” and it’s an excellent sixth-scale representation of Harry’s favorite sidekick. The detail includes the checkered grip, safety lever, and the chamber even spins and can flip out. You even get a little rubbing to the blueing around the edges and where the chamber spins, showing that it’s seen its share of action. The weapon is a tad fragile, and once I got it into his hand, I doubt I’ll take it out again, since it’s the only reason that hand would ever be used. With all that having been said, I would not mind picking up a diecast version of this gun and giving Callahan an upgrade.
The last thing in the box is the thing I have the least to say about and that’s the stand. It’s perfectly serviceable with a plain black hexagonal base and an adjustable crotch-cradle in the post, but it represents the absolute bare minimum in effort on Sideshow’s part. This is an expensive figure, and the base gave Sideshow an opportunity to flex a bit and do something cool, and they just passed. I would have loved to see a shield on the front with Dirty Harry and the facsimile Eastwood signature under it, but really just any kind of personalization would have been nice.
Even with this figure in hand, it’s still hard to believe I own an officially licensed Dirty Harry figure, let alone one of this quality and released in 2022! At $275, the price on this one seems high for a figure without a lot of accessories, but I probably would have mashed the pre-order button even if that price tag topped $300. Just don’t tell Sideshow that! What makes me even more ecstatic is that this is only the first of three figures in this line so far. Blondie from The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly and The Preacher from High Plains Drifter are both up for Pre-Order now. Naturally, I’ve committed to each of those figures, and oh boy, am I hoping for a Josey Wales! Indeed, I’d much rather Josey Wales was released before The Preacher, as I just think he’s a far more iconic character and an overall better movie. But the real question is will the universe bless us with Philo Bedoe and Clyde from Any Which Way But Loose? That could be too much to hope for, but at this point, I won’t rule out anything!