Special Forces - WWII

Perhaps one of the best kept secrets is Plan-B Toys.  Back in the day, there was a company called Resaurus, that specialized in video game figures, and spread into a few other areas as well.  When folded, various employees were thrown to the wind, landing in all kinds of fertile ground.  Some went on to work for Palisades, and some went off to form their own company - Plan-B.

One of the internally produced lines that Resaurus had developed was their Special Forces figures.  These 6 inch scale action figures (they are actually about 6 1/4" tall) featured lots of articulation, cool accessories, and a 'real hero' attitude.  When the boys of Plan-B left Resaurus, they took Special Forces with them.

Since then, they've improved on the product, and released several more series.  The latest is the World War II set, including three Americans and three Germans, loosely themed around the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

The series includes figures representing the 82nd Airborne, 101st Airborne, 101st Airborne officer from Operation Market Garden, the Panzergrenadier, an NCO from the Das Reich Division, and an MG42 Machinegunner.

Packaging - ***
The packaging looks great, and should hold up well to wear.  The majority of the cardback is covered by bubble, and the interior and back graphics are solid but not over imposing.  A listing of the accessories would be nice, but not necessary since most are clearly visible in the bubble.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The sculpting is solid work all around - heads, hands and bodies.  All the hands are sculpted to hold the various accessories, with an emphasis on the guns, the heads are all done with a unique look (and can be removed and swapped with others), and the bodies are sculpted with texture to give the impression of cloth and wrinkles.

That texture is probably the only thing I'd like to see a little more variety in.  It's a style of sculpting that carries across every figure - some basic hatch marking to imply cloth.  It works fine, but gets a tad repetitive with this many figures in the same display.

One of the coolest aspect to the head sculpts is the ease of swapping.  The heads all have a very serious, earnest appearance, with the Germans and Americans given traditional features.  If you have other figures in other series, such as the SWAT or Firefighters, you can swap out heads to create some rather interesting looks.

Paint - ***1/2
The various paint ops are all clean and consistent, although they are necessarily drab in color.  The best work is around the faces, where the eyes, dirt, hair and face paint are all done with great care.

Although the color choices are drab, that doesn't mean there isn't variety.  From the dirty white of the Panzergrenadier to the unique camo of the 82nd Airborne, there's enough variety here to keep each figure an individual in the larger group.

Articulation - ****
The articulation on these figures is top notch.  Not quite 'super poseable' by the standards set by Marvel Legends, but certainly poseable enough for your average collector or kid.

There's neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps, pin elbows, cut wrists, ball jointed hips, cut thighs, pin knees and pin ankles.

The joints are nice and tight, but none of them were stuck.  There was no risk of breaking them right out of the package, but nobody was impersonating the Scarecrow either.

They held poses easily, especially those involving the weapons.  The only pose that would have been nice is if the MG42 gunner could lay down with his weapon, but the neck joints don't allow for forward and backward head motion.  That's the price you pay for the swap ability.

Accessories - ***1/2
Every figure has a ton of accessories, any where from 10 to 12 (if you count their helmets as accessories). 

The NCO from the Das Reich Division has the fewest accessories, because his hat is part of his head sculpt.  The rest of the figures have removable helmets, although some are a little tougher to remove than others.

The figures all have side arms that can be removed from their holsters, some form of rifle or machine gun, various ammo packs, pouches, knives, shovels, grenades, canteens and other assorted goodies.  There's a fair amount of reuse across the line, but none of it is inappropriate.

All of the pouches, canteens, and bags can be attached to their belts (or to other accessories) with small pegs and holes.  This works very well, although a few of the figures have more accessories than you'll be able to fit on the belt.  Not that that's a bad thing!

Fun Factor - ***1/2
If you're looking for some cool WWII toys for your kids, look no further.  Similar to the smaller scale figures from 21st Century and bbi only, well, bigger, with a ton of great articulation.  I love my 12" G.I. Joes as a kid, and these would have been right there with them.

These will also work great for adults who haven't quite grown up yet, looking for war figures in this scale for dioramas.  It's a nice compromise between the space engulfing sixth scale, and the itsy bitsy 1:18th scale.

If war isn't a gig you want your kids playing, then check out Plan-B's other lines, like the Emergency series with firefighters and police officers.

Value - ***
The lack of current retailers for this line makes it tough for them to get the price down to the level you'd expect.  They are great figures, with nice sculpting, excellent articulation, and tons of accessories, but no license to force up the cost. If these were on the pegs at Wal-mart, you could assume they'd be around $8, but with the limited availability, the $10 - $12 price tag isn't surprising.

Overall - ***1/2
I'm very impressed by the overall quality and style of these figures.  I'll be very interested in seeing what Plan-B does this year with the licenses they've picked up, and if they can carry over the style and imagination that's evident here.

Plan-B was kind enough to send me a full set of these to give away - all still sealed in their packages.  So I'll have a giveaway coming up for April that will include the full set of six figures, MOC, for one lucky winner.  Watch for it next week!

Where to Buy - 
There aren't a ton of options to pick these up, so tell your local comic shop you're interested.  They can order through Diamond for you if they don't carry them.  The only bricks and mortar retailer that I know of to carry them is Gamestop.  There are a handful of on-line options, but the best is easy:

- Plan-B Toys themselves just opened an on-line store at their site, and you can pick up just about any of their figures, including all the WWII stuff, for $10 each.




Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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