Medicom Fullmetal Alchemst
Edward Elric

Fullmetal Alchemist (FMA from now on) is a tremendously popular manga and anime story line. Both the Japanese and American audiences have been enthralled with the story of the land of Amestris and the alchemist brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric.

Southern Island has partnered with Medicom to distribute their sixth scale Real Action Heroes figures based on this license. I'll be looking at the Edward figure tonight, with a review of the Al coming soon.

These are now in stock at SI, and Edward runs $115, while Al is $125. Not cheap by any means, but these are Medicom figures. Do they live up to the hype? Let's see!

Packaging - ***
I'm not usually ga-ga over Medicom packaging. While it's always collector friendly (i.e. able to be opened and resealed with absolutely no damage), it's rarely the most attractive.

This time around though, I really like the exterior artwork and colors. The metallic design gives it a very pseudo industrial feel, with just a touch of fantasy. It's a great design for this particular license.

Sculpting - ****
On the occasions I've had issues with the Medicom sculpts, it's generally their work with real people. They're work tends to always end up a tad 'anime' in style and design, which doesn't do a lot for me with a character like Jack Sparrow or Luke Skywalker.

But this IS an anime character, and I'm not at all surprised how well they've captured him. From the style of hair (right down to the loose strand in front) to the proportions of head to body to hands to feet, everything is dead on.

The head sculpt is what you'll notice first of course, and the work here is excellent. The hair is long and braided in back, and about the right length and style. The single wild strand up front is a tad thick, but that's to keep it reasonable in strength and stability.  It's the one spot that's a bit off from the artwork, but I can forgive them this one. 

This is a figure that has some of it's most impressive sculpting where you aren't even going to see it.  That is, unless you take the time to look.

Fans know that Edward lost his left leg in an attempt to resurrect his mother, and his brother Alphonse lost his body. In an attempt to save his brother, he bound his brother's soul to a full set of armor, but forfeited his own right arm in the process.

The figure is completely faithful to the storyline, and Edward has a cybernetic right arm and left leg under all those clothes. The clothes are reasonably removable, especially the shirts and coat, so you can check out the cool sculpted arm and leg.  I also found that by redressing him, I was able to correct some minor issues I had with the costume out of the box. More on that later in the Outfit section.

I was really surprised to see the amount of detail here, especially in the wiring in the armpit. Considering that most folks will never display him nekkid, it's a testament to Medicom's faithfulness to the license.

There's plenty of extra hands, both gloved and bare. Of course, the bare right hands are cybernetic. The hands are designed for a wide variety of poses. Again, the proportions are very good.

This is the RAH 220 body, which means he's much shorter than a standard 12" figure.  In fact, he stands just 9" tall, not including that extra wild hair.  Ed is supposed to be around 5' tall in the show and book, which makes him about an inch too short here.  But Medicom only has so many bodies to choose from, and making him a hair short is better than making him 12" tall and being much too big.

Paint - ****
The paint ops are extremely clean, especially in the face and mechanical limbs.

The eyes are bright and clean, with no slop whatsoever. The thin mouth is highlighted with a light paint application, and even the hair is given a second darker tone toward the ends.  This is done gradually, and the transition is fairly smooth and clean.

The metallic leg and arm are done in a nice steel color, with additional brass or bronze colored fittings, like the elbow.  Small wires are painted blue or red, and there's even some tissue damage and scarring added to the flesh at the point where the two come together.  That's some amazing and well done attention to detail!

The watch face appears to be a printed sticker, but it lines up perfectly and looks great.  The pewter aging effect used on the watch (with a darker wash to fill in the details) adds a nice realism to it.

Articulation - ***1/2
The Medicom bodies have all the articulation you expect, plus they tend to 'hang' in a very natural way.  This isn't quite as true of the 220 body, but I had no trouble finding plenty of cool poses for Ed.

The neck is a double ball joint, one at the top and one at the bottom where it attaches to the torso.  The long pony tail in back restricts much backward movement though, making the joint less useful that you'd first expect.  Still, he can tilt and swivel great, and look downward with ease.

The ball jointed shoulders and hips work great, with an excellent range of movement.  The shoulders also have the additional pivot within the chest, allowing the arms to move much further across the body.  There's cut biceps and thighs, double jointed elbows and knees, a chest and waist joint, and pin wrists.  Medicom's also have some of the coolest ankle joints ever made.  They're not real useful on this figure because of the rubber boots, but they're still pretty damn cool.  Oh, and let's not forget that half foot pin joint, although you won't be able to use it much here either.

But with all this articulation, and a pair of big boots on his feet, I did find it more difficult to balance Edward than expected.  Keeping him standing in even basic stances was a bit tricky, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

My other issue with the articulation relates to the swappable hands.  While there's a good assortment, I found that they came off a tad too easily, and with just basic posing they kept falling off.  That gets frustrating pretty quick.  This was more of an issue for the gloved hands, where the small, added 'cuff' on the post shortened the amount that was inside the arm.

Accessories - ***1/2
I mentioned the variety of hands before, but I was quite surprised to see just how many were included. He comes wearing two fisted, gloved hands, but there's also a bare fisted pair, gloved open clutching pair, a bare open clutching pair, bare knife hand pair, and a gloved knife hand pair. That's a total of 12 hands!

Although some of the hands pop on and off a little too easily, the posts are nice and sturdy so breakage is unlikely with just basic caution.

He also has two attachments for his metallic arm. One is the basic piece of armor his arm would have under normal circumstances, and the second is this same piece extended as a weapon. Both pieces have a small peg on the interior that pops into a hole on his forearm to make them stay in place. I had a little trouble getting them lined up, but once they are connected they stay there.

Finally, there's the trademark Medicom display stand. It's clear plastic, so that it remains as unobtrusive as possible. You won't have to use it though if you prefer not to, as the figure stands well on his own in most positions.

Although there's a ton of hands, there's also a hefty price tag here.  The accessory count is certainly above average, but not out of the realm of reasonable for a figure in this price range.

Outfit - ****
While the robotic arm and leg are pretty damn cool, it's the outfit that really makes this figure.  As is usual for Medicom, all the materials used are top quality, and the tailoring and construction are fantastic.

Let's start with the red coat/cloak.  It's made from soft, thin material that hangs great and looks terrific.  There's a very thin wire through not only the hood (and yes, there's a hood), but all the way around the front and along the bottom seam.  This allows you to pose the coat itself - notice how it appears that the bottom of the coat is blowing out in the photo to the left? Yep, that's the wire in action.  This wire also comes in hand just getting the coat to lay flat and smooth along his chest and legs in a normal stance.  The back of the cloak has the emblem printed in black, although the hood tends to cover it up.  The long pony tail and tall strand of hair makes using the hood pretty much impossible though.

Next is his overshirt, done in a traditional Japanese style with white trim.  The silver clasp at the neck is actually plastic in front with a metal clip in back, and this clip is inserted into a loop at the other side of the neck line.  Out of box, I had some issues with the edges of the shirt not lying evenly, but redressing him took care of that problem.  Check out the photo to the left to see the result.

Under this shirt is a sleeveless T, with thin velcro up the back to hold it in place.  I'm usually not a fan of velcro, since it tends to be much to thick and bulky, but the stuff Medicom is using is much thinner than normal.

The pants are made from a pleather, thin enough to look good in this scale. They do tend to stick out a bit in the butt, where the material clumps a bit, but the belt helps offset that.  The pants are tailored long, so that they wrinkle up at the top of the boots.

Speaking of the boots, they're a soft rubber with a very well done sculpt, right down to the treads on the soles.  The feet the small feet well, and the untied, open top look works well with the long pants.

Finally, there's the belt.  The belt is also a soft rubber, but has a metal hook in back that attaches to a hole on the other side.  The belt fits tightly, and with the metal hook, you have little fear of damaging it when removing and reattaching.

I'm counting the attached watch as part of the outfit, not an accessory, since it's not removable from the belt.  It's connected with a real metal chain and loop, but the watch itself is plastic.  It has an engraved lid which opens, and fits nicely in his left front pocket.  Both front pockets on the pants are real pockets, by the way.

Oops - I almost forgot his boxers!  Yep, he's a boxers kind of guy.  Under the boxers, the pelvis and thighs are painted black.  Not sure why.

Fun Factor - ***
Most kids are never going to get their hands on this figure, and if they did, they'll probably tear up a few things. Most notable would be the pocket watch, which isn't going to take a lot of rough handling.

But at this price tag, you know this figure isn't designed as a toy for kids, but as a pop culture collectible for fans that want something that looks fantastic on the shelf. And in that area, the figure succeeds extremely well.

Value - **
This little guy is going to cost you some serious bones. If you're a Medicom collector, you've become accustomed to paying $100 - $150 for most of their licensed products, and these guys aren't any different. But with some of the better figures - including the Marvel line - coming in closer to $100, paying that extra 15% might be more than some can justify.

Things to Watch Out For - 
There's nothing here that the regular collector of these type of figure will be surprised by, but you will want to take some care. The clasp that holds the collar closed is easy to damage with clumsy hands, and the cool wire in the coat is relatively thin. Don't try twisting it at extreme angles, but with reasonable handling and posing it should be fine.

Overall - ***1/2
This is a very beautiful figure, with great articulation and a fantastic outfit. There's a ton of extra hands, and the proportions are excellent.

My only complaints are around the hands coming off a tad too easy, and some slightly restricted articulation in a couple places. At this price point, people really do expect perfection, and while the figure is close it's not quite four star.

Still, my complaints are pretty damn minor, and this guy looks great on the shelf. If you're a fan of the show, it's unlikely you're going to find a better Edward than this.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ****
Value -  **
Fun Factor - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Southern Island is the place to be. You can pick up Edward for $115, or Al for $125. Southern Island is the exclusive distributor of these figures in the U.S.  Since these (Edward) are generally getting listed on ebay for $120 - $130, SI's price is cheaper than the current going rate.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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