Assault Inflatable Raft
There's a new company getting into the sixth
scale market - Action Toy Gear. They are a new startup specializing in
accessories and vehicles for 12" figures. Their first entry is
the Combat Assault Raft, based on the rafts used by Special Forces.
The raft measures about 27" long and
14" wide. The literature says it will hold 6 - 8 figures, but 8
is pretty crowded. It will hold 6 nicely, and I bet it would float
easily under that weight as well.
The raft comes with 4 paddles, a repair
'kit', a nylon carrying bag, and a hand held working spotlight. The
suggested retail will be $29.99, but it's not yet on the market. Think
of this review as a 'preview' review!
Bob the fisherman will be helping out with
this review - say 'hi' Bob! His buddy Rob the para-military type, will
also be helping out.
Packaging - N/A
I can't say much at this point about the packaging, since it's not ready
yet. I received mine in a small white box marked 'market sample',
but I've been told that it will be packaged in a window box.
Accessories - ***1/2
The nylon carrying case is the first thing I saw. The quality and
construction are extremely good, with great stitching, a high quality
sixth scale zipper, and four rope loops on the exterior so that it can be
carried or hung in a variety of ways.
The hand held spotlight,
intended to aid in those night raids, works almost too good! It's
extremely bright for it's size, and I had spots in front of my eyes for
awhile after foolishly staring at it as I turned it on the first
time. I was quite surprised at how well the light worked, and the
batteries are replaceable, of course. It's also set up as a key chain, if
you wanted to carry it with you.
The four paddles are basic,
but accurate as far as I know. Nothing fancy here, as form follows
function. They are well made, and will hold up to play.
The last accessory is the
advertised repair kit, which is pretty much just a small sheet of sticky
vinyl. If you get a puncture, cut it to size and apply.
Quality - ****
The quality of both the accessories and the raft itself is extremely good.
All the seams were very straight and sturdy on mine, with no sign of any
weak areas or likely spots to break down.
Around the top of the raft
are 17 hard plastic D-rings. Most of these are threaded with a long
nylon rope, obviously used in real life for handling the raft and tying it
off. A couple in back are open for your creative purposes.
There are also five hand
holds around the outside, designed for figures to carry the raft
inflated. All the D-rings and handles are attached in the same
manner as the seams - they appear to be heat sealed rather than
glued. It is very unlikely that these will come loose.
There are also eleven vinyl
'loops' around the top, three at the back and four on either side.
I'm not sure of the purpose for these - perhaps for the paddles, or
perhaps for other equipment. They are also seamed, and not glued.
The inflation valve is in a
relatively inconspicous spot in the inside back. It was pretty easy
to fill with lung power, and I'd recommend that to avoid overfilling.
I left the raft inflated for
a couple days, and noticed no loss of air. Obviously, that's a great
sign for display purposes.
Play/display Value - ****
After checking it all out on land, Bob and Rob decided to take the
raft for some aqua maneuvers. While they had different ideas of what
that really meant, they both got a lot out of it!
I had no trouble setting the
figures up in the raft, and getting them to stay stable. Bob is even
sitting on his folding chair, while Rob is on his knees at the back of the
I'm sure that four to
five figures would work work perfectly in this raft, although above that
might cause some flotation problems. I don't think that's an issue
though, because four or five figures would look the best.
This is a big raft, and you
really can't appreciate that fact until you see one in person. It
floated great in the bathtub, and is very stable. While most adult
collectors will probably be displaying it on dry land, kids could get a
tremendous amount of play with it in the tub or better yet, the pool.
Value - ***
The only real fault here is the price - at $30, it is a little
steep. I'd like to see this at around $20-$25, but I also realize
that Action Toy Gear is a new, small company, and their costs are going to
be much higher than a Hasbro or even a bbi. Therefore I'm cutting
them some slack on the price, and giving them a better mark than Hasbro
might get for the same product.
Overall - ***1/2
If you're looking to set up a Special Forces display, this is an excellent
addition. Considering the cool figures coming out right now from
Dragon and bbi that also fit this theme, the timing is certainly right.
After seeing this raft, I
hope we see more from Action Toy Gear. This is a great first effort
for a small company, and makes a great display piece AND a great
toy. Now I just have to figure out if I can get it to fit back into
the nylon bag...
Where to Buy -
Right now that's pretty limited. They are going to start working
with various retailers once the packaging is finished, but you can
pre-order directly from them at a temporary web site - http://home.ix.netcom.com/~actiontoygear/index.html.
A much better and detailed web site is being constructed at
actiontoygear.com, but it's not yet ready for prime time.
You can order by email
directly from the company right now. The email address is email@example.com.
As I mentioned earlier, retail is $30 plus $4 for shipping.
Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford