Just When You Thought it Was Safe to go Back in the Water…They Call Me Bruce!
February 20, 2011

Those of you who know me know that I have a burning passion for the film "Jaws". Until recently, there has been only a few notable collectibles available of the beast known simply as “Bruce”, and all of them have left me wanting in some fashion or another. There’s the McFarlane Movie Maniacs box set, which is impressive for what it is, and the shark is actually pretty on-model, but the scale is way out of whack, and you only get 1/3 of the title character. There’s also the Sideshow Jaws maquette, which clocks in at 27” long and almost 25 pounds. Unfortunately, it’s not very on-model or accurate to any of the film used props, as it’s designed to look primarily like the original schematic drawings. Sideshow’s efforts represent A shark, not THE shark. Not the shark that killed Chrissie Watkins, and certainly not the shark that ate the little Kintner boy.  It’s been pretty slim pickings….until now…..

 

 

Recently I have the pleasure of writing over at AFHub.com about the art and genius of Mike V. Schultz, who is legendary for his ability to sculpt the great white shark. Mike has turned his considerable talent towards creating the ultimate Jaws-inspired collectible, the “Bruce NTT”. NTT Stands for “Nose to Tail”. Seeing the prototype images, I knew I had to have one. After getting extremely lucky (I got the last slot on the wait list, and all 75 pieces are sold and accounted for), I began to spend more and more time on their websites,
www.sharkcityozark.com and www.createforum.com/operationorca. Please check them out and give my article about Mr. Schultz and his amazing drive & talents for additional info.

Today I’m here to talk about the beast itself. Bruce clocks in at 37” long, a full 10” longer than Sideshow’s offering, with almost twice the girth. What’s more impressive is the overall quality of the piece. The sculpt was recreated mathematically from existing and newly-discovered behind-the-scenes photos, and even Joe Alves (the man who built the 3 mechanical sharks used in the 1975 film) personal seal of approval. Meant to replicate the right-sided platform shark, it doesn’t get any more accurate than this. Additionally, the paint is spot on, down to the rips and tears in the urethane skin that can be seen throughout the film. I’ll talk more about the paint process in a bit. For now, let’s take a closer look at the goods:

The Base

There are actually three different bases available. I went with the 360 open crate look, as it gives the viewer the best open access look at Bruce. There are so many little Easter eggs to locate on the hand-crafted wooden structure; you’ll be looking at it for hours. There are tools used to repair the prop in between takes, extra teeth (they had to replace these often as they broke during filming), scaled down copies of the film’s storyboards and mechanical shark schematics, sun-bleached barrels, bailing wire, even splashes of water and blood. The supports come padded so as not to damage your precious “miracle of evolution.”

 

 

Bruce

The shark itself is a joy to behold. For those who have waited 35 years for a replica like this, it’s like an answered prayer. This is the last Jaws collectible I’ll ever want or need. Due to this maquette’s extreme size, it’s very difficult to photograph. Pictures do not do it justice, as in person it has a weight and a presence that must be seen to be properly understood. Every detail represents an “imperfect realism” that helps bring this beast to life. The actual props used were pretty haggard, and got worse throughout the duration of the filming. Watch any of the “Making of..” documentaries, and you’ll know what I mean. I’ve shown the shark alongside a DCUC Aquaman, so that you can get a sense of the sheer size of the thing. If you add one of these bad boys to your collection, you’re gonna need a bigger display.

 

 

The last component to this story is the man behind the company “Shark City Ozark”, Mike V. Schultz. I must say, it has been the utmost pleasure dealing with the fine folks at SCO. Mike takes his sharks very seriously, and he wants you to be fully satisfied with your purchase. I got to fill out a four page form, selecting various options that allowed Mike to create a one-of-a-kind work of art, exactly as I remembered the famous shark. You get to choose your favorite look (bloody, lots of gore, skin tone, etc.) down to how droopy you want the fins. This is a level of service you simply cannot find with larger companies that crank out your expensive statue in China. Each of SCO’s creations are made right here, by hand, in the good ol’ US of A. It’s a commitment to old world craftsmanship that has become all too lost in our society, let alone when it comes to toys and collectibles. When’s the last time you bought or ordered an action figure that had mismatched limbs or simply broke? I thought so, me too.

There’s even more coming down the pipe form this little American Gem. They recently announced a 1-foot NTT, with the right side open and all of the mechanics inside faithfully recreated, as well as a few other surprises. I’ll be posting their press releases for everyone to see, but be sure to check them out for more pics & info. This isn’t a case where I received this item as a free review sample; I’m a paying customer who happens to be 100% satisfied with my purchase. That’s a statement I don’t get to make much these days. That image of Mike painting Bruce? That’s a work in progress pic of mine that they graciously emailed me during the production process. How cool is that? Each set includes the shark, base, 2 barrels, certificate of authenticity, and replica tooth, cast from one of the actual props.  I can’t wait to see what Shark City Ozark has up their sleeve, I get the feeling this is only the beginning!

 

 

 

 

Steve "Captain Collector" Ceragioli
A veteran member of the toy journalism community for well over a decade, Steve "Captain Collector" Ceragioli has written for sites like AFT, AF Hub, and Action Figure Insider. Steve moonlights a a professional model & prototype painter in his spare time, which unfortunately he has very little of! Steve collects many of today's toy lines, and he has a massive vintage & modern toy collection.
Read other articles by Steve "Captain Collector" Ceragioli.

 

 

 

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