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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Rick Grimes, Michonne
Walking Dead Action Figures

McFarlane Toys
Date Published: 2016-08-12
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 2.5 out of 4

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Walking Dead Rick Grimes, Michonne action figures by McFarlane Toys

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Introduction

Once upon a time, McFarlane Toys was the ultimate leader in the collectible toy market, dominating others in terms of shelf space and licenses, not to mention the heart and souls of the fans. The market owes Todd and his company a tremendous amount when it comes to developing the sort of high end action figures we have today.

The days of their dominance are long past, however.  The number of licenses they work with are far fewer, but they still do a great job with SportsPicks, and their Halo line is much beloved.  For the last few years they've been producing 5" scale Walking Dead action figures, a line that I've been picking up regularly. Things started out a little dicey, but they improved with time.

After 9 waves and a variety of exclusives and special sets, interest was apparently waning. One has to assume that was the case, since McFarlane decided to start over but in a larger 7" scale this time.  The first wave, or at least the first two figures in the first wave, are hitting stores now - Rick Grimes and Michonne.  Considering the importance of this pair of characters, releasing them first certainly makes sense. The 'brand' for this series is the Color Tops - no, I have no idea why. They are color coded by wave though, and this first wave is Red. Each figure in the wave is numbered X out of 8, and we know that Daryl and Abraham are coming soon, as are the Fear the Walking Dead characters of Travis and Madison. That leaves two more still to be announced.

I've seen these at Toys R Us and Target already, and they run around $18 - $20 depending on the retailer. You can also find them online of course, and I have some suggestions of sponsors with them at the end of the review. Just check the Where to Buy section, thanks!

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Walking Dead Rick Grimes action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Packaging - ***1/2
These come in boxes with plastic peg hangers, similar to a lot of the current 1/12 scale collectors figures out there, like Star Wars Black. That means they are easy to store for the MIBers, and are fairly collector friendly. Both figures did have one twisty tie, which regular readers know I despise. The graphics are good, and the overall theme of the colors for each wave may be quite useful when looking for new releases on the peg.

Something that might actually mean something but might not - as part of the Color Tops logo, there are five colors starting with red. Does that mean they have five waves of eight figures each already planned?

Walking Dead Michonne action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Sculpting - Rick **; Michonne ***1/2
Unfortunately, this pair may give us some insight into the upcoming issues with the series overall.

The larger size is intended to give them a chance to do even better looking figures. In the case of Michonne, that's not far off.  I really like the likeness, and the detailing on the hair, sword, and clothing is all top notch.  Since the articulation is almost non-existent (more on that later), the selected pose is critical, and I really like the stance and attitude they went with for her.

They've also used textures to their advantage, giving each piece of clothing its own look, and contrasting them to the smooth skin and rough hair. Her physical proportions are very good, with properly sized and shaped limbs, and the sword blade sturdy enough to not wilt over time.

Then there's Rick, a hot mess of a figure if there ever was one. From the neck down, there's more of that attention to detail. The cloth textures, folds, and wrinkles look great, and the detail work on the various packs and extras on his belt is excellent. The pose is a reasonable choice - he does spend most of his time shooting something or someone - but there's a couple weird attributes. First, the right knee is doing a bizarre inward bend. You have to be looking at him from the right angle to notice - check out the photo with He-man and Batman to see it clearly - but once you do you can't un-see it. Second, while this figure is definitely designed for him to be holding the gun out from his body, the right shoulder is sculpted to look better (with cleaner lines) with the arm down.  Not sure why that was done, but it's a bit annoying.

Then there's that face. The paint ops are getting in the way of seeing how good (or bad) the actual sculpt is, and from certain angles I can find Rick in there. But from other angles it looks nothing like him, and the jawline, facial shape, and lips are all throwing it off.  This is one of those cosplayer sculpts, less accurate and more 'in the ball park' at best.

Rick's overall appearance is also hurt by how they handled the neck, but I'll get into that in greater detail as part of the Articulation section. He stands slightly taller than Michonne, just under 7", and with the base he's about 7 1/2" tall.

Walking Dead Michonne action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Paint - Rick **; Michonne ***
Let's start with the better figure again - Michonne. They've done a really nice job with the highlighting of her hair, and smaller details, like the sword handle or her bandanna, look terrific. She has about the right amount of dirt, blood, and wear on the clothing as well.

She does have one issue, but it depends quite a bit on the angle of view.  Her eyes don't *quite* line up. She is looking off to her right, which can be a tricky thing to pull off.  If you look at her straight on, as in the photo above, the left eye appears placed too far to the right, while the right eye seems a bit more centered. However, if you look at her from slightly to her right, where her gaze is directed, you will see they line up much, much better. Check the very first photo at the top of the review to see what I mean.  They still aren't quite perfect, but it's much better than it looks from certain angles.

Again, Rick is worse. The garish lips are the worst aspect, but the beard is part beard, part dirt, and it all just runs together. The eyebrows are simple lines, and slightly uneven. The sweat, dirt, and blood on the clothing is good, but smaller details, like the belt buckle, are sloppy and uneven. This is one of those situations where there might actually be a reasonable Rick Grimes sculpt hiding in there, but the overall poor paint work makes it almost impossible to properly judge.

Walking Dead Rick Grimes action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Articulation - *1/2
There's not much here, and these are really just statues.  While they have a few joints, you aren't supposed to actually use them.

Let's change things up and start with Rick, who will be forever known going forward as 'goiter Rick'. Remember the Seinfield episode where each of them volunteered to help an elderly person, and Elaine got the woman with the huge goiter? Yea, that's this Rick.  He's definitely Goiter Rick (tm).

The reason is the weird sculpt/joint situation at his neck.  He has a cut joint there, and the head can turn pretty easily. But when you turn it at all, even slightly, the sculpted lower neck sticks out oddly. The cut joint isn't down on the neck, below the curve of the throat, but right at the bottom of the chin.  That means any angle on the head allows the top of the curved throat to be visible. Even slight adjustments look odd - check out the photo with He-Man and Batman to see an example - but I've included a shot with his head turned fairly far to the left to highlight the issue. Hey everybody, it's Goiter Rick!

Rick also has cut shoulders, cut elbows, cut waist, cut thighs, and cut ankles. These allow you to find the proper center of gravity to maintain a stance, but adjust them too much, and like the neck, things can look odd, seams on the clothing won't line up, and the overall appearance can suffer.

The same is true with Michonne. She has the cut neck, but thanks to the long hair and specific pose, you won't be turning the head much. It does allow you to get the strap of the sheath under her hair and on the shoulder properly, however. The shoulders are cut joints, as is the waist and thighs. No elbows or ankles for her, and while the wrists look like they might be cut joints, I couldn't get them to turn.

Michonne's articulation is even less useful than Rick's, if that's possible. She's intended for one stance and one stance only, and any changes to the legs or arms will cause things to not line up properly. It might be necessary however, particularly in the legs, to keep her standing without the base.

Walking Dead Michonne action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Accessories - **1/2
Both figures come with one actual accessory, and a small display base.

Rick has his revolver, which can fit in the holster or in his hand. Obviously, the hand is the way to go since it is sculpted specifically for it, but it's nice to see it can actual fit in the holster as well.

Michonne has the sheath for her sword, which fits over her shoulder and head to rest on her back. To put this on, you have to remove the sword from at least the left hand (you can actually take the sword out of both hands if you prefer) and then you can work the strap into place.

I'm not counting the sword, although it can come free, because without it the pose looks utterly ridiculous.

The two black bases are identical with the Walking Dead logo on the front (I'm assuming Travis and Madison will have the Fear logo instead), and no character personalization. They do have a foot peg, and both feet on these characters have holes to accommodate pegs as well.

Walking Dead Rick Grimes action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Fun Factor - *1/2
These aren't designed to be 'fun', but rather treated like Nerd Hummels. Put them on the shelf, enjoy looking at them.  It's a little fun, but being able to pose and re-pose them can make a world of difference.

Walking Dead Michonne action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Value - ***
While these figures have their issues, price isn't one of them. Considering that most 6" action figure lines cost around $20 these days, getting larger and more detailed (sometimes) figures for the same price is always a positive.

Walking Dead Rick Grimes action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
When you're picking them off the peg, I'd go for the best paint ops you can find. Otherwise you should be good to go.

Overall - Rick **; Michonne ***
I accept that these are no longer 'action' figures.  They are now very much like the statues in this same scale that we are getting from Dark Horse for the Game of Thrones license. Those figures have no articulation at all while these have a few joints, but they are meaningless and moot.

Assuming you understand and can accept that these are statues (which will not be easy, considering how well articulated the later waves of the 5" figures were), you can pay less attention to the Articulation, Accessories, and Fun Factor scores, and focus on the Sculpt and Paint. Clearly the idea here is to produce higher quality figures at a reasonable price.  With Michonne, they get pretty close. Slightly better paint would have gotten them that extra half star overall, and would be a good indication that they CAN do this right.  With Rick, they aren't even close.  They have to get the likeness on point, and the poor paint job (those lips!) just adds to the woes.

McFarlane started out really rough with the 5" line as well, and within a few waves they had a much better product.  Let's hope we see that change happen here, but in a more revolutionary time frame rather than an evolutionary one.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - Rick **; Michonne ***1/2
Paint - Rick **; Michonne ***
Articulation - *1/2
Accessories - **1/2
Fun Factor - **
Value - ***
Overall - Rick **; Michonne ***

Walking Dead Rick Grimes action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has them for $18 each.

- Entertainment Earth has them at $18 as well.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
McFarlane has produced quite a few figures in the 5" scale for Walking Dead, including Carl and the Mud Walker, the Bungee Walker and Abraham, Carol and Herschel, the series 5 Tyreese and charred walker, as well as Glenn and Maggie.  The previous series included Carl and SWAT walker, the Governor and AndreaMerle and Michonne, the RV and Well walkers, Shane and the Bicycle Girl, Walking Dead figures series 1, the two humans in series 2, as well as the first series of comic based figures.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Walking Dead Rick Grimes, Michonne action figures by McFarlane Toys

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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