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Walking Dead TV Series 1
Rick and Daryl

Walking Dead television show action figures series 1 by McFarlane Toys


The seventh episode of the second season of my current favorite show, The Walking Dead, provided us arguably the most dramatic and emotionally moving 10 minutes of television I've ever seen. It's rare to get a show this compelling, and if you aren't watching I highly recommend you start.

The show is based on an extremely successful comic book series, and when McFarlane Toys picked up the license to produce action figures, they made sure it included both the comic book versions and the television versions of our favorite zombie apocalypse survivors.

Their first series was based on the comics, with two humans and two zombies. They've just started shipping the first series based on the show, and are following the same mix - two humans (Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon) and two zombies. I picked up all four, but decided to split this one up into the opposing factions.

There's also a black and white version of this Rick figure, which is a trick they employed with the first comic wave too. However, black and white comic art makes a black and white figure somewhat sensible - since the television show isn't in black and white I'm not sure why you'd want this Rick that way.

These have been hitting Toys R Us since just before New Year's Day, and should run you around $15 - $18 each, depending on the retailer and location.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Walking Dead television show action figures series 1 by McFarlane Toys
Walking Dead television show action figures series 1 by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead television show action figures series 1 by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead television show action figures series 1 by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead television show action figures series 1 by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead television show action figures series 1 by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead television show action figures series 1 by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead television show action figures series 1 by McFarlane Toys
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Walking Dead television show action figures series 1 by McFarlane Toys

Packaging - ***
I like the graphics quite a bit, and the inclusion of useful text and photos on the back of the package is much appreciated. But there's a huge amount of waste with these - nothing is in the bubble behind the large logo on either figure - which offsets some of the positive.

Sculpting - Rick *1/2; Daryl *
This is one of those rare situations where the normal humans are far uglier than the rotting zombies.

I suppose that if you look at these after dark through a dirty window, and then squint *just* right, you'll see a resemblance to the actors who play Daryl and Rick on the show. But if it weren't for key details, like Daryl's facial hair or Rick's uniform, I seriously doubt you could pick out who they were supposed to be.

These aren't super small figures, either, so scale really isn't an excuse. At around 5", they aren't as big as something like Marvel Select or even DCUC, but they aren't Star Wars small either, and the work we are currently seeing Hasbro do in that scale blows these away.

And then we come to the mess below the neck. Both figures are sculpted for one specific pose, and then articulation - a bunch of it - was cut in whether it was useful or not. I suppose McFarlane is tired of people complaining that his figures aren't articulated, but creating a figure that can only work well in one pose and then adding unnecessary and ugly articulation isn't the way to solve that problem.

Daryl is the better (or worse, depending on your point of view) example of this. His torso has been sculpted so that his right shoulder is hiked up, and his right arm looks stumpy and short. It works perfectly with the crossbow, allowing him to hold it in both arms in an aiming stance. Unfortunately, it looks pretty awful with just about any other pose.

If the plan was to create a figure that could only really look good in one pose, then that's when you sculpt the figure in that pose with limited articulation. At least then you get a decent looking statue. Instead, they added in truly ugly articulation at Daryl's shoulders and elbows, ruining the look of the figure and adding nothing of value for other poses.

Don't even get me started on Daryl's legs - I have no idea how the multiple joints are supposed to do anything useful, and I had trouble even getting them in any one pose without gaping or misalignment.

Rick isn't quite as bad, although again his arms, body and hands are all best suited for a single pose. He gets lucky though, since the arms and hands can be adapted to several other poses with the other weapons, and he doesn't have the extreme pose in his shoulders and torso that Daryl does.

As I said, these are about 5" each, and do fit in with the comic based figures in terms of scale. The weapons are also in scale, making them useful with other lines in this same size. The only problem is that there aren't many other lines in this particular scale these days.

Paint - *
This is truly terrible paint work, even by mass market standards. You might hate something like Jakks POTC4 figures, and with reason, but even they have better paint ops than these.

Daryl gets the shorter end of the stick again, with his eyes falling out onto his face, gloppy skin on the arms, and extra painted bangs that aren't even part of the hair sculpt.

The uneven, gloppy skin is a problem for Rick too, but at least his pupils are on the eyeballs, not the lids. His hair line is awful, with skin tone running well into the sculpted hair, and almost no real detail work on his clothing.

It seems like both the living and dead are painted in a similar way with this series - throw the paint in the general direction and let's see what sticks. With the undead, it's a technique that actually works pretty well, but with the living characters it ends up cheap and sloppy.

Articulation - *1/2
I've already discussed how poorly the articulation and sculpt work together. Many of the joints are utterly useless, especially in the legs, and many are outright ugly. These huge pegs and clunky discs are the best they could do?

There is plenty of joints though, including a ball jointed neck. On both figures, this is easily the best joint. There's enough tilt action to add some personality.

There is also pin and disc ball shoulders, pin elbows, cut biceps, pin wrists, pin knees, cut thighs, and possibly cut ankles, although the sculpted pant cuffs restrict them to almost zero mobility. Daryl has T hips, and Rick has V hips. There's a cut waist on Rick, and I'm betting there's one on Daryl too, but mine is stuck solid.

Maybe McFarlane is trying to make a point. Perhaps he's tanking this line just to prove that articulated figures are uglier than static statues...and doing it by combining the worst of both on purpose. That would imply a crazy person though, and I'm more inclined to think these figures are just a result of a poor decisions and low cash.

Accessories - ***1/2
The one bright shining star in this dark night of disappointment is the accessories. Both figures come with a nice assortment that make sense in the context of the show, and look decent.

Daryl has a knife that can actually fit in the small scabbard on his belt, a pick ax, a fireman's ax, his trademark crossbow, and a set of dead squirrels to carry around his shoulders.

With the extreme pose that his sculpt has been designed for, the only weapon he can really use well is the crossbow. He does look good holding it though, and you can throw the squirrel carcasses in there for an extra touch.

Rick comes with two hand guns - his large S&W, and a smaller semi-automatic. Neither fits particularly well in his holster, but the smaller gun works a bit better. Either can be used in the main pose, since they both fit in the right hand just fine.

He also has a shotgun, and because he doesn't have the extreme tilt to his shoulder that Daryl has, this gun can be held in some decent poses as well. To round out his zombie killing tools he has a baseball bat and a grenade.

His final accessory is a walkie-talkie, which is perfect for this character, but which he can't hold and can't fit on his belt, making it cute but useless.

Fun Factor - **
While you can pose these and play around with them, most of the fun is sucked out by the feeling of getting ripped off at this price.

Value - *1/2
When the first wave of comic figures hit Toys R Us, they were an eye popping $20. The value has actually improved, but not much. It became pretty obvious pretty quickly that the price point was way off, and the SRP dropped to $18, while the actual in store price is often $15, depending on the location.

Still, we're talking about some truly awful figures, done in a 5" scale. Fifteen bucks a pop for this level of quality is simply ridiculous.

Things to Watch Out For -
Scorn and laughter from any Walking Dead fan you show these to. Oh, and the funky thigh joints on my Daryl feel stuck, and very likely to rip with too much pressure.

Overall - Rick *1/2; Daryl *
I've seen interviews where Todd discussed their work on the Walking Dead figures, and most of his excitement and conversation seemed to revolve around the zombies. Maybe that's why the living have gotten beat so hard by the ugly stick. I have to admit that I really do like the little zombies, and will be covering the two from this series sometime next week. Trust me, they'll score much better than Rick and Daryl.

These figures are the perfect storm of nerd disappointment. The sculpt and paint work is awful, the articulation is both ugly and useless, and the one redeeming feature - the assortment of accessories - has almost no real value since the figures can't work with most of them.

There's so many decisions that went into making these figures a failure. Had they gone with a larger 6 - 7" scale, they would have fit in with past releases of their own and NECA's, including other zombies and zombie fighters. A larger scale would have also made the price point a lot more acceptable.

Or they could have gone with a 4" scale, creating these to fit in with the many other 4" lines out there. The humans might have still had trouble selling, but I bet people would have snatched up the zombies to go with Hellboy and some of the other horror themed figures in that size. And with a smaller scale, people would have been more forgiving with the weak paint and fuzzy likenesses.

They also tried to combine pre-posed extreme sculpts with a bunch of articulation, and only managed to highlight the worst aspects of both.

If you've gotten the impression that I'm disappointed, you've picked up on my subtle hints. These will be the last two living characters I buy from either the comic or television series. I may pick up a few more of the zombies if they remain well done, but at $15 a pop, these guys are just too expensive for such poor quality.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Rick *1/2; Daryl *
Paint - *
Articulation - *1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - **
Value - *1/2
Overall - Daryl *; Rick *1/2

Where to Buy -
I found these at the local Toys R Us, but online options include these site sponsors:

- Fanboy Collectibles has the set of four at under $15 each - $56. That's more like it, but you have to want the full set or have someone you can sell the unwanted figures to.

- Super Power Collectibles has the singles for just under $17 each.

- Entertainment Earth has the single comic based figures for just $15, with a cool two pack of these zombies coming soon for $35. They also have the pre-orders up for the singles and set of wave 1 of the tv based figures.

- Big Bad Toy Store has the comic series or tv series 1 for $55 each, as well as the comic zombie two pack for $34.

- or you can search ebay.

Related Links -
I covered the first wave of comic based figures in the fall, as well as the first and second bust from NECA.

Discussion:
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Walking Dead television show action figures series 1 by McFarlane Toys


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

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