Colt Studio Group
The World's Most Masculine Men !!!
| Score: ||92.7 - Superior |
| Billing: ||ZCCHELP.com |
| Costs: || |
- $24.95 a month, rebilling same
The Lowdown: Colt is branded. It’s an iconic name that is probably the oldest continuously operating gay porn studio in existence. Founded by photographer and artist Jim French, working as Rip Colt, in 1967 in New York, the company later moved to L.A. and more recently headquartered in San Francisco. In 2003, Colt Studios was bought by John Rutherford, former head of Falcon, and he’s continued to expand the vision of Colt in the 21st century. The Colt umbrella covers the Colt, Buckshot, and Olympus movie lines, along with Colt merchandise. As such a recognized name, Colt has been a pervasive influence on the gay world for over four decades and the name is synonymous with high quality gay male erotica. And with over 40 years of men as well, the Colt Studio Group website can plumb the depths of the Colt archives for its members.
Thumbs Up: Last summer, Colt Studio Group hooked up with the program that mans the Next Door family of websites to overhaul the Colt online presence. October/November ’09 saw the re-launch of the site. New features include a great new look and excellent design, enhanced usability and navigation, more search features, more high-definition videos, easy streaming, more interactivity, and comprehensive preview materials. There are no major glitches. Colt presents 100% exclusive content, with an overview of gay porn spanning almost the entire era of free man-on-man sexual expression. With excellent quality and incredible men, the Colt experience is unique and unparalleled.
Thumbs Down: This site differs from many in that there are no video downloads (except trailers). If you like it enough to own it, then you buy it. Okay. Photosets have no slideshow viewing or zip file downloading. There is no model information, biographical or statistical. There is no info on the movies either. And update dates reflect only when videos are added to the site, mostly all 11/7/09 - no update schedule is listed but it appears to be weekly. A chronological sort reflecting the original dates of content would be a nice addition to enjoying the overall Colt experience. How ‘bout a blog? More interactivity may already be in the works. The model indexes have many blank images, and name lists are not complete or standardized. Subject lists do not match each other and contain inconsistencies. And unending preview material almost makes joining unnecessary.
Preview: [It's been re-done since this review] Adjoining an oiled-up shirtless hunk in aviators [oops, he's been replaced] is a promotional slide show at top, listing benefits of membership, also mirrored by a hairy leather stud in the middle of the page. "Introducing our all new website. Now with hundreds of free previews, HD viewing, and thousands of exclusive photos!" Also, hundreds of video scenes, new scenes weekly, high definition filming, and discount at the Colt store. Click Here Free Preview – keep trying till it starts – is a slickly produced coupla minutes preview vid featuring well-known Colt models and hardcore clips from their studios – Colt, Buckshot, and Olympus. Next, it’s a do-it-yourself tour, similar to its new brother sites, a series of update and ranked sections – Latest Update with trailer, Latest Updates, Highest Rated, Most Viewed, Upcoming Updates (only one), Most Popular Movies, and Most Popular Men. Down the left side are Category text links by studio and subject (including HD format), Featured Men, Coming Soon, and Highest Rated DVDs. You can either expand any section – See All whatever – or preview more via the section toplinks to continue your tour. And continue it does. There are two-minute preview vids for hundreds of scenes and dozens of movies. There are preview pages for hundreds of models, and many hundreds of photo galleries (thumbnails only). The Store link accesses their retail site, useable here if you want to buy, but not join.
Joining: Three large muscle-studs stare at you atop the join page. Their gazes are almost enough to hypnotize you into joining. Otherwise, it’s the usual simple Next Door family three-step joining process. It’s helpfully translatable to French, Spanish, Italian, and German. There’s security and system/browser compatibility info. The payment processor is referred to as "purchase billed to ZCCHELP.com" which is part of their conglomerate. There is alternative payment by check via WTS. Credit cards accepted are Mastercard, Visa, Visa Electron, Eurocard, Delta, and Carte Bleue. The MenOnTheNet.com discounted price is $24.95 a month. There’s also a three-day trial for $2.95, but expect limited access (read T&C). A cross-promotion on page 3 for Next Door Male defaults unchecked. And Canadians should read the Terms & Conditions for restrictions in Canada and Quebec.
Inside: Well, I’m easy to please – my favorite feature – for you francophones, you can translate the whole site into French, and back to English, via the Language link at top. And I also enjoy the simple pleasures of the members area top logo, refreshing the page for hot photos of different hot men. The promo and join stuff is gone; a slightly varied Latest Updates; all different Highest Rated [note: because the site and rating feature is new, many default to 5 stars]; there’s a second row of Most Popular Movies; and the leftside material is replaced [at least for now] with holiday shopping links. Otherwise it’s the same as outside. Linkaholics rejoice! There are maybe a half dozen ways of approaching the Colt content. Go directly to a specific scene, man, or movie from the home page sections – the Latest Update, 8 Latest Updates, 8 Highest Rated, 8 Most Viewed, 8 Most Popular Movies, and 4 Most Popular Men. For all DVD content, you can link here to Watch or Buy. For men, movies, and scenes, you can access their complete indexes via the See All links in each section, or navigate via the toplinks: Updates (scenes), Browse DVDs (complete movies), Men (men), and Photos (photos). The Categories sort at left is by studio – Colt, Buckshot, Olympus – thereunder by subject. There are 20 themes plus Hi-def. I think it’s a new feature, so it may read kind of oddly – Caucasian has 10 hits, Muscular only 160 out of 277 Colt scenes, Hardcore 91 (well that’s good), Anal but no Blowjob, 31 HD, 21 Pre-Condom, only 4 under Bodybuilder [?!], 2 Asians and 1 Redhead, but no African-American or Latino categories. So it needs some work. And here’s where it splits off – if you select one of the 3 studios on the Categories list, the Home, Updates, and Movies pages will index those studios. Let’s try the simple toplinks route.
The Updates page has a search ‘n sort at top, then entries defaulting from the most recent back, at 24 per page, 277 on 12 pages. Link via photo, title, Watch Scene, or Buy this DVD. The watch page – and yes, there are no downloads – has the screen-width viewer at top. Streaming options are below, with High Quality, Low Quality, and newer with Hi-Def. Next, More Options link to watch the trailer, view a screen caps gallery, or buy the DVD the scene came from. And the page keeps going. Scene Info includes date, rate, fave, length, file size, number of screenshots, number of times viewed (that’s cool), cast (names linked), and categories (linked). After you’ve watched the scene, you can link to the other scenes from the movie, all the scenes featuring the models (separate sections for each man), photosets from the movie, and….. Well, I guess that’s it, and enough. Search the updates with dropdown boxes by movie title, actor (first) name; display by scene photos or DVD covers; and sort by date, rating, most viewed, and upcoming updates (not really).
Browse DVDs – same search, display and sort. There are 60 movies, 24 per page on 3 pages. Each individual movie page is topped by DVD Info with update date, rate and fave, the trailer, then Scene Info (separate section for each scene), then link to the scene pages for viewing. Men – the model index defaults to first name alphabetical. Search/sort to a page of Featured Men (not sure what’s the criteria), Most Popular Men (which seems random), and to alphabetical segments to shorten your browse. There are 388 men at 25 per page on 16 pages. Some are blank figures. They could use a sort by the actual date of filming, as dates are just the update dates the scenes came onsite. You can jump to an actor via the dropdown box; and you can do a text search, just of the names, I guess if you’re looking for all the guys with the same first or last name – not sure what’s the point. The individual model pages have a minimal Profile and pic – no info on the men – just the date/rate/fave/views, studios (unnecessarily linked), and latest update. Next sections are links to his scenes and photosets.
Photos – a total of 765 photosets, 24 per page on 32 pages. Here’s where all the indexing categories kick in. The search at top lists 70 subject terms. It needs a redo though – lots of duplicates, plurals and singulars of the same thing, and misspellings. The search is half dysfunctional – search results are always 765, though the actual hits are only on the first page or two – please fix that. The actor list is there too. The Photos index also has an odd arrangement – only sort of alphabetical. The individual gallery pages are just the photos (as enlargeable thumbnails), nothing else. But for you porn history aficionados, this is the index to find all your favorite Colt stars of decades past, as well as current Colt/Buckshot hunks. The links page includes links to other sites in the Next Door program, but there are no actual bonus sites. But with Colt, who really needs any? The Colt Store reinforces the Colt identity as a male erotica powerhouse. Here is the merchandise you’ve known and loved for years – Colt calendars, books, cards, apparel, toys, and of course, porn-star penises. Unfortunately, all the site's Buy links just go to the store’s entry page. You hafta remember what you’re looking for and find it yourself. What, too much work for you, website people?
Tech Stuff: There’s no Colt help page, just the generic program support page, so here’s the tech need-to-know info. The only downloads on Colt are the video trailers. There are no scene downloads. Colt’s a movie studio first, and I guess they still emphasize selling their DVDs. If you watch them on the site and like them enough to want to own – you can link to buy. So, it’s Flash streaming only. The viewing screen on high setting is about 9”x7”; The HD screen, while seeming to page in at 9”x5.5” actually views at a screen-filling 12”x7.5” and my computer defaulted to that for the HD scenes. Go full screen if you want to eliminate the extraneous and see the picture only. Streaming generally starts quickly and overall has no buffering problems, and maybe rare choppiness with HD depending on your computer. HD streaming links accompany those for high and low quality for HD scenes. Obviously full screen for HD and Hi-Q settings gets great picture quality, with HD sharper. Lo-Q streams at 4.5”x3” for HD, slightly larger for non-HD, and full screen gets fuzzy.
Now remember that there are 40 years of gay porn on site. Scenes from older movies have been digitized from film or video, so if they look fuzzy, get over it. Vintage porn is still fun and erotic to watch despite the tech limitations. On the other hand, photosets derive from studio and outdoor shoots done over many years, whose quality and artistry are uniformly exquisite. Photosets have no zip downloads or slideshow viewing. The images are sharp and enlarge to a variety of large sizes. Navigate via embedded Next and Prev links or click anywhere near those. Click Close or anywhere outside the pic to exit. Save a photo by right-clicking in the middle where the links both disappear. Photosets are generally smaller, because only the best images are used, and usually thumb on one or two pages. The screen capture galleries (on the scene pages) are also various sizes, numbering and navigating the same. Not all scenes have photosets, but they probably all have screencap galleries.
Camerawork: With all their videos derived from their movies, and still photos from professional photoshoots, Colt photography and videography are at a level of the highest standards. Their photos were created as end products, for publication, and necessarily had to be excellent studio quality, with perfect men, perfect composition, perfect lighting, and perfect exposure [double meaning!]. Their movies met and meet the same standards, with camerawork of the highest caliber, great lighting both indoors and outdoors, excellent videography, framing, angles, editing, sound and music.
The Guys: ‘Guys’ just doesn’t seem like an adequate word for Colt – it’s MEN! The Men index has 388 entries – I’m assuming that’s 388 different models, though probably not jibing with the name dropdown boxes. Keep in mind a name search will get photoset results that include his and all other scenes from the relevant movies, though the scene results are accurate. Alphabetical, more or less, the men are a fascinating browse of 40 years of Colt and Buckshot studs. A chronological sort might make it interesting, in order of when the models first appeared for Colt, but as that info is so far lacking on site, it’d be a tough task. There are 88 blank men – hard to believe they couldn’t find some photo, even a screen cap of them – it should be their next project – or take volunteers. The roster runs Adam to Zoltan and spans the decades with names you'll recognize, and faces and bodies you may remember. And yes, they also span physiques, believe it or not, from twinks to bodybuilders, Buckshot boys to Legendary Bodies. There are the hottest gay porn models of the 1960’s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000’s. If you grew up as a young proto-gayboy, secretly accumulating your first porn, you’ll recall the bodies and faces of the classic Colt calendars, photosets, and magazine spreads. You’ll be like, I remember him from those hot pix in that magazine I bought a long time ago – wow. And the men look as sizzlingly hot in these pix online today as they did when you first saw them, wide-eyed and open-mouthed. One of Colt’s mottos is “Bigger is Better” – muscles they mean, not that they're lacking in the cock department. Colt has photographed and filmed some of the most amazingly beautiful bodies over the last 40 years and they continue to hand-pick the sexiest men of this generation for their new DVDs.
I’m just gonna list some of the standouts – classic stars, new stars, amazing physiques, and terrific photography. Al Parker, Alex Chandler, Antton Harri, Arpad Miklos, Billy Herrington, Brad Patton, my favorite Aussie Brian Hansen, massive Carlo Masi, porn vets Chase Hunter and Tom Chase, Chris Wide, Danny Roddick, Doug Weston, Franco Abruzzi, Frank Vickers, Glen Steers, Gordon Grant, Greg Kolb, Gus Mattox, Guy Parker, Jason Pitt, Jason Ditmar, Jimmy Pike, Joe Porcelli, the incredible John Pruitt, Josh Weston, Kane O’Farrell, Mason Wyler, Matthias Vanelli, Neal Shaw, Noel Kemp, Owen Hawk, Rick Wolfmier, Ryan Raz, yes even supertwink Sammy Case, Colt man of all time Steve Kelso, Tory Mason, Trey Casteel, Zack Randall and Zak Spears. Unfortunately, or fortunately cuz you get more men, the Men index doesn’t seem to be the same as the Photos index, and the actors dropdown box doesn’t list all the men in the photosets. The Photos index makes for more luscious browsing, with many of the iconic Colt images. Be sure not to miss the incredible images of Bill Flagstaff (aka Ken Ryker), Adam Hammer, Bob Bishop, the evolution of Boomer Swift, Franco Kier (aka Madonna’s ex, Tony Ward), Doug Perry, Ray Dragon, Big Max, Lex Baldwin, Clint Lockner, and on and on. Well, I’m gonna take a… break. Be right back. Okay, anyway, whether it’s the hardcore muscle duos and groups of the Olympus line, the younger, less beefy guys of Buckshot films (including the classics Buckleroos and Manly Heat), or the hardcore and solo muscle-men of Colt (including the MinuteMan solo series), the Colt men are always handsome, sexy, have pantingly beautiful bodies, and they shine in extraordinary still and motion photography. From the mustachioed clones of early porndom to the hairy or smooth magnificent muscles of hordes of handsome hunks, to the perfect porn-dogs of the 21st century, Colt Studios is the gold standard for hardcore and solo male erotica.
AND CHECK OUT OUR COLT GIFTS!!!
REVIEWED DECEMBER 25, 2009
So okay, it was redesigned and relaunched in 2012
and we haven't had a chance to re-review yet.