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Terminator: Salvation
T-700, T-600, T-R.I.P. 6" figures

Terminator T-600 action figure by Playmates

Playmates Toys hasn't made action figures for a new license in a number of years (although they've been cranking out the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with extreme prejudice), so it was somewhat surprising that two of the largest licenses of 2009 went their way.

I started this week off with a review of the 3 3/4" scale Star Trek figures, and tonight I'm switching to the other license - Terminator: Salvation. Coming in May just two weeks after Trek, it won't just be Connor versus the Terminators...it'll be Connor versus Kirk.

In preparation for the new flick, I re-watched the classic original movie last week. It's shocking to see how far CGI effects have come in 20 years - when the baked, nekkid Terminator comes walking out of the flames, it's almost as herky jerky as the claymation films of the sixties. And yes, as reader Gabe properly points out, that was still stop motion work and not CGI. In the new film, it's going to be almost impossible to tell the real people from the fake Terminators, just like it is for the Resistance.

Playmates is hitting this license fast and hard too, with figures in 10", 6" and 3 3/4" scales all at stores now. This first wave of 6" figures includes six figures, and I'm reviewing the T-600, T-700, and T-R.I.P. (Terminator - Resistance Infiltrator Prototype) tonight. The other three in the first set are the T-1 (a more insect-like robot), John Connor, and Marcus.

These run about ten bucks at most retailers, and you can find them at stores like Target and Toys R Us. I will be covering both the 10" scale and the 3 3/4" scale before the movie hits, if you are interested in those as well.
Terminator T-R.I.P. action figure from Playmates
Terminator T.600 action figure from Playmates
Terminator T-600 action figure from Playmates
Terminator T.R.I.P. action figure from Playmates
Terminator T-700 action figure from Playmates
Terminator T-600 action figure from Playmates
Terminator T.R.I.P. action figure from Playmates
Terminator action figures from Playmates
Terminator T-700 action figure from Playmates
Terminator T-R.I.P. action figure from Playmates
Terminator T-R.I.P. action figure from Playmates
Terminator T-700 action figure from Playmates
Terminator action figures from Playmates

BTW, today is April 15th, the day that income tax filing is due for most Americans. I don't know if it's ironic or simply fitting that I'm reviewing Terminator figures on that day - you be the judge.

Packaging - ***
The cardbacks are attractive, but a bit cartoony, much like the overall series. While the cardbacks are all consistent, there is some good personalized text added to the front of the bubble for each character. Like some other current cardback/bubble packages, you can get the inside tray out without completely ripping the bubble off the backer, but you'll have to take extra care with this wide, slightly short style. You can slit the tape on either side in back, cut across the bottom, and flip up the bubble, carefully pulling out the tray.

Sculpting - T-R.I.P., T-700 **1/2; T-600 **
We've had a fair share of T-800 Endoskeletons in the 6 - 7" scale over the years from multiple companies, so there's plenty to compare these to in terms of quality.

The T-600 is the most disappointing in this category. He comes wearing the half human, half metal head, and this one is the lesser of the two in terms of sculpt and paint. It's very cartoony, and in fact the entire figure looks more like something that would fit right in with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line. Look at that mouth and lips and tell me he doesn't scream 'Saturday morning cartoon'. The sculpted clothing looks very chunky and blocky, much like a dollar store toy.

His robotic parts look much better, and swapping on the extra completely clean head improves things quite a bit, but he's still not a figure you're likely to display with any of your other Terminator action figures. He's quite large too, standing 7 1/4 inches tall.

The T-700 and the T-R.I.P. fair a bit better, but their sculpts are still much softer than some of the work we've seen from NECA and McFarlane in the past. The heads are especially disappointing, with almost non-existent teeth, and deformed jaws from the production process.

The T-R.I.P. has some battle damage (see the bullet mark on the chest?), but the two figures are almost identical in this category. The next category is where the T-700 takes a step up from his cousin. There is one aspect of the sculpt though that makes the T-700 preferable for me - the open mouth. It looks like they tried to go with a closed mouth on the T-R.I.P. (although it's hard to tell if it's on purpose or a manufacturing issue), and my tastes run more to the gapping mouth on the T-700.

Both figures stand 6 inches tall, making them a little shorter than the previous 7" scale versions. That's going to be an unfortunate issue, since I really want this T-700 to stand next to the previous Endoskeletons on the shelf. Even if you were considering putting these with other 6" scale figures (like DCUC), they are a bit too thin and short to really look right. I've included a shot at the end with a DCUC Flash to give you some idea.

The T-700 would have managed another half star here if not for one issue. This is more of a quality issue than a pure technical sculpt issue, and you can avoid it if you pay extra attention when picking out your figure. My T-700 has his feet swapped! Yep, the left is right, the right is left. It's not like you can't easily tell either, since the toes are clearly defined. It's a bigger issue than pure aesthetics too - the feet are sculpted to keep him standing with the limited articulation. However, put them on the wrong legs, and they don't work in that regard. AAARGH!

An interesting aspect of all four of these heads is the inclusion of a clear window of plastic in the top of the head, connected to the eyes. This is a very old Kenner trick used to make the eyes appear to light up. I positioned a light to show off this feature in the close ups, and as you can see it works pretty good. I didn't do any additional photoshop work to any of the eyes - it's just a bright light above their head.

However, the final shot in the review (with the bluish lighting) does have a small cheat. It's a composite of two photos, one with a light directly on the head causing the eyes to light up, and one without it. Since the top of the head was more visible at that angle, I used the composite to give the best overall appearance, but the eyes were light in the same way.

Paint - T-700 ***; T-R.I.P., T-600 *1/2
Here's the one category where the T-700 takes a solid lead over his cousin the T-R.I.P. While neither of them sport much in the way of paint details, the T-700 has a cool feature that makes him the pick of the litter.

They've given his metallic structure a textured appearance, all in a darker gray. Although there are some very minor sculpt differences between the two on the head and torso, I don't *think* this texturing is part of the sculpt itself, but rather the paint. I could very well be wrong, but I'm not going to carve mine up to see - in either case, this feature gives him an edge.

The T-R.I.P. is the more traditional, smooth silver. They've used a wash to bring out some of the detail, but the silver does look a bit gloppy and thick in some areas, making the slightly soft sculpt even softer.

Then there's the old school T-600. The paint work on the clothing does nothing to reduce it's cartoonish, silly look, and the wash they've used is over done and heavy handed, especially around the collar. The skin tone of the half human head is silly looking, but like the sculpt, the all endo head is much better.

He has one huge, glaring, can't ignore it paint issue though, above and beyond any sort of quality concern. His pant legs, or what's left of them, are a brown color...but the crotch of his pants from the belt down is the same color as his shirt. Huh? Those brown legs sticking out of the gray pelvis just looks goofy.

Articulation - T-600 **1/2;  T-R.I.P., T-700 **
The T-600 actually gets to best his descendants in this category, but it's the only one.

Since he has swappable heads, there's a cut neck joint. Since Terminators tend to be pretty stiff necked guys, especially the early models, I can live with that.

He also has pin/post style ball jointed shoulders, pin/post elbows (so the arm can turn as well) and single pin knees, cut wrists, a cut waist, and pin/post hips. The waist is more of an action feature sort of thing, snapping back in place when you turn him. While he really also needs a cut joint on his legs, the articulation isn't too bad.

Neither of his next generation have as much articulation. There's no usable neck joint at all, and no jaw joint. It looks like they might have intended for a cut joint at the neck, but the pistons are so tight and short, that movement is pretty much impossible. 

The shoulders allow the arms to move forward and out (with the wires on the back of the shoulder attached on a post so they can turn and not impeded the arm movement), but there's no cut shoulder like on the old NECA version.

There's also no cut wrists, and the pin elbows and knees appear to only allow forward and backward movement. It looks like the elbows SHOULD be able to turn inward and outward too, but since I couldn't get any of the four elbows to do that, I held off twisting too hard. You might want to try the freezer trick, or maybe some hot water to see if you can free them up.

The pin hips just allow forward and backward movement, and the leg finished off with cut ankles. You can get the endos to stand on their own pretty well, assuming of course that you don't have one with swapped feet.

The waist can also turn, and the pistons on either side move freely to allow it. However, he can't stay turned to one side or the other, because these same pistons want to pull him back to center.

The big disappointment here is the lack of any neck articulation, and no cut wrists. Just those two additions would have done a lot to help this score, but owners of the NECA Endo know that a lot more articulation is possible.

Accessories - ***
Like the smaller Trek figures, it's the accessories which help save the figures. Not quite as much this time, but they are still pretty well done.

Every one comes with a movie trading card, and their card is specific to them. The cards are nice, similar to any other glossy, heavy stock trading card, but you know I'm not a huge fan of paper extras.

Each character comes with two additional weapon related accessories. The T-R.I.P. has a small gun, as well as a hunk of pipe (eerily reminiscent of the hunk used by Reese on the T-800 Endo); the T-700 has two guns, one a hand gun and one a larger two handed laser rifle; and the T-600 comes with a Gatling style laser rifle, with a removable backpack and ammo clip. The clip threads through the gun, but can be easily removed, both from his back and the gun.

The sculpts on all the weapons are pretty decent for this scale, although the paint doesn't really do much to help support that work. There's a pretty heavy handed wash on all the guns except for the T-600 cannon, which tends to cheapen their look a bit.

The T-600 cannon has a clip to attach it to his arm, and the hand sculpts on the other two all work pretty well with the weapons. The limited articulation makes it tough for them to do a two handed pose, but perhaps if you use some hot water on those elbows, you'll have better luck than I did.

As I've already mentioned several times, the T-600 also comes with a second head that's full on endo. This is probably going to be the head you pop on and leave on.

Fun Factor - ***
Okay, these figures have some issues, but the reality is that they could have plenty of play potential. As goofy as the T-600 is, he's got enough usable articulation to battle other figures and stand well on his own, and the two Endoskeletons are still based on one of the coolest robot designs ever. Kids don't have to be familiar with the movie to see the potential in these basic character designs.

Value - **
I wasn't too surprised by the ten buck price tag, since that seems to be the going rate for mass market 6" figures these days. However, compared to some of the other figures on the market, these are lower quality at the same price.

Things To Watch Out For
Don't make the mistake I did and pick out a T-700 with backwards feet - you'll seriously regret it. Hopefully mine was a fluke, and this wasn't an issue that lasted for any sort of appreciable time period during manufacture.

Overall - T-700 **1/2; T-R.I.P., T-600 **
If I had gotten a T-700 with proper feet, he might have pulled another half star. Of these three, he's my favorite by far, with a better head sculpt than the T-R.I.P., and that cool textured paint job.

However, both Endoskeletons are hurt by a rather soft sculpt and mediocre articulation. If we didn't already have Endos with better working joint systems in a similar scale, we might not know better - but we do.

The T-600 is just too cartoony to fit in with these or any other Terminators. The same is true of the Marcus figure in this series, although the T-1 looked like it had potential.

The bottom line - the T-700 is worth picking up if you can find something to display him with. Skip the other two unless you're a completist, and give that T-1 a glance on the pegs. And please, avoid Marcus and Connor at all costs!

There's also something worth noting on the positive side for both the Terminator AND Trek lines from Playmates. At least they know how to give us a great character selection right out of the gate - if Hasbro were doing this Terminator series, we'd get 4 versions of John Connor, and 1 each of the three Terminators. And can you imagine the Trek line up if Mattel were handling it? That first wave of ten figures would have included 4 Kirks, 3 Spocks, 1 McCoy, 1 Nero, and 1 Uhura with a chase version thrown in for good measure.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - T-R.I.P., T-700 **1/2; T-600 **
Paint - T-700 ***; T-R.I.P., T-600 **
Articulation - T-600 **1/2;  T-R.I.P., T-700 **
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ???
Overall - T-700 **1/2; T-R.I.P., T-600 **

Where to Buy -
These are popping up at mass retailers right now, including Target, Toys R Us and others. Some sponsors are also carrying them:

- CornerStoreComics has the set of 6 for $55.

- Urban Collector has a case of 12 for $115.

- For the UK fans, Forbidden Planet sells them individually for about 9 GBP each.

- if you'd rather have the older 7" NECA version, Showpiece Collectibles still has some available for $15.

Related Links -
I haven't covered any of the other new stuff yet, although I will be covering a lot over the next couple weeks. Til then, check out the older stuff:

- start with the nicest Terminator toy produced (so far), the Endoskeleton from Hot Toys. I say so far, because they are also producing several sixth scale figures for the new movie.

- also in the 12" range is the Sarah Connor sixth scale figure from Sideshow.

- then there's the guest review of the Hot Toys Kyle Reese, T-1000, the Kotobukiya TX, the Aoshima T-800 skeleton, Mcfarlane 12" Terminator 3, and the Hot Toys T-800.

- NECA also did a smaller version of the Endoskeleton with their Cult Classics, and McFarlane included one with the fifth series of Movie Maniacs. McFarlane also did figures based on T-3.

- and for the fans of smaller figures, there's the T2 mini-figures

Discussion:
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Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 2.9

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Terminator T-700 action figure from Playmates



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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