Real Heroes

For those that love the 9" format of clothed action figures, made popular with Famous Covers, there's a new line in town - Real Heroes.  These are coming out of Re:Play , which I believe is owned by Playmates, although I could be wrong.

There are four heroes in the first series - Police Officer, Firefighter, Shuttle Pilot and SWAT Commander.  Each figure comes with a variety of accessories, and is electronic, speaking quite a large number of lines.  The unique catch here is that the voice box can easily be removed from the figure - it comes packaged separately on the bubble - and you can swap it around with the other boxes of other figures.  Each voice box is based on a mission, and I suspect we'll see other new Police Officers with other police mission voice boxes for example, giving this line some unique growth potential.

I've found all four figures already, although I think they may ship in separate boxes since I found them in two separate trips.  They retail for ten bucks at Toys R Us, where they are an exclusive.

Packaging - **1/2
Nothing special on the packaging front.  The figures are bubbled to a card, but you can play with the voice box inside the package.

Lots of red, white and blue, so this is obviously in response to 9/11, but the back of the package shows the vitals of each figure, includes instructions on putting in the voice box, and other information.

Sculpting - ***
It's hard to say how many head sculpts there actually are, although I saw four - three Caucasian and one African American. Since all four figures come in both Caucasian and AA versions, there could be up to 8 head sculpts, although I doubt there are that many.

The head sculpts aren't too complicated, but they look decent.  This is actually good news for customizers, as these could be used as base heads for a variety of characters.

At the bottom of the review is a picture of the four figures with three other common 9" figures - Red Skull from the Famous Covers line, Superman Blue from the DC 9" Heroes line, and Captain Kirk from the Playmates Star Trek line.  You can see that the head sculpts are all very similar in size, although the heights of the figures are slightly different.

Uniform - ***
The uniforms are very nice for this price range.  The material and stitching is all high quality, and the closure of choice is velcro for the most part.

The officer comes with the shirt and pants, boots, gun belt and hat.  The hat seems a bit small to me, but I suspect if it was any bigger it would look out of place.  His belt is a bit big as well, but comes with a holster for the gun, and a space to put the radio.

His uniform fits tightly, although they are easy enough to take off and put back on.  The badge on the front of his shirt is made of plastic, rather than just a print.

The fire fighter uniform is even nicer, and looks very much like the standard urban uniform.  It's black with the reflective stripes, although they aren't really 'reflective'.

The fire fighter doesn't have a belt, but his helmet is nicer and includes a chin strap. Actually, his helmet is the only really great one of the bunch - they seemed to have trouble with the headgear.

The Shuttle Astronaut has a one piece orange jumpsuit.  His suit also fits very well, although his helmet seems a bit wide on his head and body.  The visor lowers and raises, and there are cutouts on either side to allow you to reach the voice buttons on the shoulders.

The SWAT Commander has the most spartan outfit, and easily the worst headgear of the bunch.  He has this funky helmet, too small for his head, with an obtrusive chin strap.  The black uniform fits well, but there's no belt this time.  Oddly though, he's the only one to have plastic snaps at his sleeves.

The best part about the uniforms are the details though.  Lots of pockets on all the clothes, with good velcro closures that aren't excessively thick and obvious.

You'd expect more re-use here than there is.  All four uniforms are completely unique, even the SWAT and Police Officer.  The boots are all very well done, with a good sculpt and made from soft material.  The Astronaut and the SWAT officer have the same boot sculpt, but the boots on the police officer and fire fighter are unique.

The only other re-use is in the walkie-talkies that three of the four figures carry.  Speaking of the walkie-talkies... 

Accessories - ***1/2
Both figures come with several accessories, and there's an extra touch on several of them.

The fire fighter only has two - his axe and his radio.  He's a little light in this department, and I think one or two more would have been good, especially considering how many cool accessories are possible.

The officer is much better outfitted, the best of the bunch, with a handgun, night stick, flashlight and radio.  As I said earlier, both the handgun and radio can be carried in the belt/holster.

The Astronaut has really been ripped off, considering how many cool accessories there could be.  he only gets some sort of air tank to carry.  At least I'm hoping it's an air tank.  Considering the placement of the hose, there are other possibilities.

The SWAT Commander has an automatic rifle, walkie-talkie, and some goggles.  The goggles don't work to well with the already dopey looking hat.

So what's the extra feature?  These accessories get an extra half star because several - the radios and the guns to be exact - have small posts attached to them.  There is a small hole in both palms so that the accessories can be placed in the hands and not fall out easily.  The posts fit in the holes smoothly, and the pose of the accessory using the post is great.  Nice touch!

Articulation - ***1/2
These figures aren't quite as articulated as the current industry standard 12" figure, but they are an improvement on both the Famous Covers body, and the DC 9" body.  It appears they've learned from both.

The neck has a psuedo ball joint, allowing the head to look up and down, at least in a limited way.  The chest is heroic without being over done, with a ball jointed waist.  Ball joints are also at the shoulders and hips, with cut joints at the biceps, jointed ankles, knees, elbows and wrists, and the jointed hands similar to DC 9" figures.

While 12" figures are more articulated, the level of articulation here is very good, and better than any other current 9" body.  Construction is also very solid, and these bodies will give customizers another option in the 9" format.

Referring to the last picture again, you can see that these guys are slightly taller than the DC 9" figures due to the boots, but are almost identical in height to the FC's.

While these bodies look a lot like the DC bodies in some respects, they aren't the same.  They are just based on a similar design.

Paint - **1/2
The paint ops aren't bad, although there isn't a lot of detail here.  The face work is pretty good, but the hair lines are a little sloppy on a couple.

There's not much detail on the accessories, but the paint work is fine, and there is a pretty spiffy tattoo on the bodies right shoulder, showing the Real Heroes badge.

Talking Feature - ****
Perhaps the coolest thing about these figures is the talking feature.  Each character comes with a green 'pack' that holds the voice chip.  This pack fits easily in the figures back, with no need for any tools.  It's an excellent design, and the voices are clear and loud.

Once the pack is inside the figure, you can press one of two buttons on either side of the neck to hear the voices.  Pressing the left button gives you the lines of the character himself.  Pressing the right button gives the lines spoken by the Command Center, giving you the other side of the conversation.  Press both at the same time and you get some cool special effects sounds appropriate to the mission.

The pack fits perfectly into the figures, and I had no trouble getting the buttons to line up perfectly.  This is a very well designed idea, and it works great not just in theory but in practice as well.

Value - ***
For ten bucks, you get a well articulated 9" figure, with well done clothes, a handful of cool accessories, and a very neat talking feature.  This is a very good value, even though there's no licensing costs involved.  I wish we could get these 9" bodies for other licenses, and I'm tempted to see how the DC Hero outfits would look on these characters.

Another comparison for value is the 12" 21st Century Cop that retails for ten bucks.  No talking feature, fewer accessories, and the same price.  Since I consider the ten dollar carded 21st Century figures a pretty good deal, these certainly are.

Overall - ***
It's always nice to be pleasantly surprised by something you hadn't even heard anything about in advance.  It happens so rarely, but this is one of those unique times.  I picked up all four of these, and I'll be watching for any others to add to my 9" collection.

Where to Buy - 
These are a TRU exclusive. You should be able to find them in the same aisle as the 21st Century and G.I. Joe sixth scale figures.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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