Mini-Sports Picks
Wallace and Kidd

Okay, I'm not sure what to call these.  At the Sports Board at Mcfarlane, they called them their "3 inch NBA figures".  So I'm calling them mini sports picks, just to be simple.

In this first series, there are six two packs all players that have been released in the prior 5 series of regular sized figures. This set I'm reviewing tonight contains Ben Wallace and Jason Kidd.  Being a Pistons fan, it's no surprise this is the set I picked up.

These aren't new figures, but a new scale.  They've taken the larger versions, and shrunk them down another round.  If you've seen the regular scale versions of these players, you've seen these.

Each of the two packs retails for six bucks, and comes with a small base.  These are showing up at Targets, Wal-marts and Meijers by me, and I'd expect Toys R Us and other stores that carry the regular NBA line up to carry these.

Packaging - **1/2
Once again we get clamshells, and once again I'm all for it.  They've got everything a guy (or girl) could want in a sturdy package.

Unfortunately, this is one of the most uninspired inserts McToys has produced to date.

Sculpting - **1/2
There's certainly no surprise in the sculpt if you've seen their big brothers.  Still, this scale is a very interesting idea.

The sculpts are decent for the scale, although not as nice as the larger cousins.  Most McToys are sculpted at a 2-up size, twice the size of the actual figure, and then shrunk down with a pretty nifty high tech scanning doohickie.  That means that a moderate amount of detail in the two up turns in to a ton of cool detail in the 6" - 8" version.

Unfortunately, that doesn't work quite as well when they take it down even further.  Here the sculpt has a rough appearance to it, and isn't as sharp and clear as the normal scale.  There are also a few quality issues, such as Kidd's left hand, which is quite deformed.  I'm not sure if it's an issue with how the figure was removed from the mold or some other process problem, but it's pretty obvious.

Neither of the head sculpts look as much like their real life counterpart either.  Wallace is a little better than Kidd, but neither would be immediately recognizable if not for Wallace's unique 'fro.

Still, they look better than the usual 3" figure on the shelf, and I'm intrigued by the scale.  Will sports fans who are uninterested in the larger scale be drawn to these?  And can they convince collectors who already own the larger ones to plunk down some more cash for the same sculpt?  It will be an interesting experiment that I'll be watching closely.

Paint - **
They've made every attempt to keep all the paint detail in this scale, but ti was really a job that was beyond them.

There's lots of detail missing, especially on Kidd.  There's no way they could get the facial hair to look right, and somehow Kidd has gotten mighty tan since his previous figure.

Wallace is better, but there's quite a bit of slop around the stripes of his uniform and the white, and even between his skin and the white of his socks and arm bands.  The photos show the tattoos, but you'll have a tough time making them out with the naked eye.

Articulation - Bupkis
These are simply PVC's with style.  The term 'action figure' won't ever be used in the same sentence as these little buggers, but whether that matters to you or not will determine how much this counts in your overall assessment.

Accessories - **1/2
Each comes with a base, and a wire support to attach them to it.  Nothing particularly fancy, with stickers on top instead of any sort of sculpted floor.

Value - **1/2
At $3 each, these aren't bad.  Sure, they are just PVC's, and maybe a buck more than I'd like to spend on them, but overall you're not getting ripped.

Overall - **1/2
These are intriguing, if not the greatest. I'll be very interested in seeing how the collectors react to them, and how well they sell.  I have a hard time believing the buyers of the larger figures will have any interest in these, but they may be able to suck in some additional folks who didn't collect the larger figures because of either price or space.

Where to Buy - 
I picked these up at a local Target, and in my neck of the woods this set is the only one that's tough to find.  You can also find them at Wal-marts and Meijers, and most other retailers that carry the Sports Picks will probably pick them up.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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