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Review of Carl Grimes & Mud Walker
Walking Dead action figures

McFarlane Toys
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

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Carl & Mud Walker Walking Dead figures by McFarlane Toys

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Introduction

Series 7 of the McFarlane Walking Dead figures has been shipping for awhile, and includes only one new living human - Gareth.  There's the obligatory Walker of course, called the Mud Walker, and I'll be checking him out tonight along with one of the re-done characters, Carl. The final character in the wave is a new Michonne, done in season 4 attire.

Carl is also a season 4 version, designed to go hand in hand with Michonne in the display.  The Mud Walker plays a pivotal but short role in the show, biting a little girl by a lake and moving the overall plot forward in a major way for key characters.

Both of these figures are shipping now, or showing up on retail shelves near you at stores like Target or Toys R Us. I haven't seen them at Walgreens yet, but I have heard that they have started to receive their next exclusive in the series (another Rick), and that some Targets are getting in the exclusive Herschel as well. You can expect to pay around $15 for the figures, although at some stores you'll save a few bucks.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Carl & Mud Walker Walking Dead figures by McFarlane Toys

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Packaging - ***1/2
Season 4 ended with the Terminus storyline, and with this wave so heavily focused on the final episodes of the season, it makes sense that the package features the Terminus location so prominently.

It's also attractive, and shows off the rest of the series on the back. The cards aren't wasteful or overly large, and they are even somewhat collector friendly, although the effort you'll need to put in to cut the tape on the three sides to get the tray out is probably not worth it.

Carl & Mud Walker Walking Dead figures by McFarlane Toys

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Sculpting - ***1/2
This is not our first Carl in the series, but this is not just some simple repaint, either. Carl has grown up on the show, and by season 4 was becoming more and more independent. This version is taller, with longer hair, and obviously a completely different outfit. I think they've done a nice job with the portrait, and really done well with the hard to capture greasy long hair that he's been sporting the last couple seasons. It's even got that hat-head look going on, and looks good with or without the hat in place.

The body sculpt is up-sized for this older version of Carl, and he stands just shy of 4 1/2" tall. The clothing sculpt looks good, with tiny details like the stitching on the shirt or the small buttons included.

The thing I like best here is his two different shoes. During the episode where he gets the pudding (an accessory here, and the key episode for both this Carl and this Michonne design), he lost one of his shoes to a Walker. He almost lost more than that, but the one shoe is enough.  He then wears mismatched shoes for quite awhile, as you can see in this photo. They've matched that look with the figure, and while you'd think that would be a no-brainer, you'd be surprised how often figure makers can overlook a detail like that.

This Mud Walker is another great zombie variation. The sculpted mud covers much of his body, and he has a much more rotted head than most they've produced. It appears they've used a slightly translucent material for much of the mud and slime, making it look far more realistic than attempting a similar effect with just paint.

The Walker pops apart at the waist, allowing you to pose the upper body on the base as though he is stuck in the ground.  While they could have cheaped out with the lower half of the body, they actually went the extra mile and added in sculpted removable guts. The lower half of the coat is also removable, allowing you to use the lower body in other ways within a diorama of the dead.

You do have to use the stand to get the Walker to pose upright, and the posts are on his feet, instead of the base. Even if the extreme leg pose could be used without the base, this placement of the posts makes that impossible.  Carl's hands work well with the accessories, and the Walker's hands are sculpted in appropriately threatening ways.

Carl & Mud Walker Walking Dead figures by McFarlane Toys

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Paint - Carl ***; Mud Walker ****
The paint work on both figures is excellent, but the slimy, muddy wet look they've achieved with the Mud Walker really stands out.

I dinged Carl a bit here, but that's not to say that the work on the face, hair and clothing isn't top notch. The dirty effects on the cloths work well, avoiding any over the top appearance. The hair has a slightly wet, greasy look, adding to the effect created by the sculpt, and the eyes, lips and eyebrows are all clean and even.  The eyebrows might be a little too clean in macro shots, but in person they look just fine.

I'm dinging mine because of the post in his left shoulder. The right shoulder has a post that's colored to match the shirt, and the hips, knees and elbows are all correct as well. The one in the left shoulder either missed the paint operation, or was rubbed clean after, and really stands out like a sore thumb. I'm hoping this is a one off issue, and if you are careful picking yours out on the shelf you should be able to avoid it. Ah, the dangers of ordering online...

I've mentioned how good the mud looks on the walker, and that's due in large part to the paint work. It emotes slime, if slime were an emotion. I also like the color, which can pass for red clay...or blood and gore. This gives you another dimension with this Walker on the shelf.

Carl & Mud Walker Walking Dead figures by McFarlane Toys

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Articulation - ***
When McFarlane first started this line, the articulation was horrendous. They've really made big strides in improving in this area, and continue to improve where possible.

Carl has a good number of joints, and all of them work well. He isn't gong to get into an extreme poses, mostly due to the two different shoes (they make getting him to stand surprisingly tricky), but the neck, ball shoulders, elbows, and wrists, hinge hips, pin knees and ankles, all work well together. They are also sturdy, with little fear of breakage. The wrists can look wonky on these figures, but the longer sleeves on Carl's shirt helps avoid this shortcoming.

The Walker has plenty of joints as well, but most are much more restricted due to the design. The neck has a surprisingly good range of movement, but the arms (shoulders, wrists, elbows) are merely cut joints. The cut waist is where he pops apart, and the legs have knee and hip articulation that's largely restricted by the overall sculpt. While you can use him in a standing pose with the base, it's more likely that you'll go with the half body in the mud look, and the arm and neck articulation are sufficient to work nicely with that scenario.

Carl & Mud Walker Walking Dead figures by McFarlane Toys

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Accessories - ***1/2
Carl has his removable hat, along with his opened can of pudding and a flashlight. There's no spoon...bummer. There's also no knife, even though one was originally solicited with the figure.  To finish things up and maintain the Terminus connection, they have included the candlestick. Either the flashlight or candlestick fits easily in his hand, and he can hold the large pudding tin as well if you get creative.

You may want to outfit Carl with a weapon - I suggest picking up a series 5 Tyreese, who has a handgun with silencer that will work great for Carl.

The Mud Walker comes with the small base that can be used either in full body mode, or in half body mode. The upper body can attach to the base - sort of - at the waist if you line things up just right. There's also a separate mud covered sign with the ironic warning that is straight from the scene in question, and this can be used to hide either the waist or foot attachment area on the base, depending on which look you go for.

Carl & Mud Walker Walking Dead figures by McFarlane Toys

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
While there's always some issue here or some nit there, these are still really fun action figures. The early walkers had some pretty silly 'action features', but they've gotten much smarter with that over time. Later releases, like this Mud Walker or the Bungee Walker, still include an action feature of sorts, but they are less intrusive and actually work with either play or display.

Value - **1/2
Early waves were closer to $18 pretty much every where - most stores now sell them for around $15, and you can find some places, like Walgreens, that's down around $12.  At $15, I'm willing to say these are an average value on today's market, and if you can snag them for $12, you can add another half star to this score.

Carl & Mud Walker Walking Dead figures by McFarlane Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
Several of Carl's joints were painted shut, and freeing them up can be a nerve wracking. Nothing broke on mine, and the pegs seem sturdy, but be sure you take some care, and you can always try the freezer trick if they seem particularly difficult.

And don't forget to watch the paint on the posts in Carl's joints - you don't want to end up with one like mine.

Overall - ***1/2
Two more great figures to add to that ever growing Walking Dead display.  While some variations on a character can be pretty redundant, this Carl is practically a whole new person - growing up can do that to you. And another walker? Who can turn down another walker, particularly one oozing up out of the muck?

I suspect I'll skip reviewing Michonne and Gareth, but series 8 isn't too far off, which includes four all new characters, and there's a couple special sets scheduled for the coming months as well. It should be a very good year for the line!

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - Carl ***; Mud Walker ****
Articulation - ***
Accessories - **1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Carl & Mud Walker Walking Dead figures by McFarlane Toys

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has the set of 4 at just $53.

- Entertainment Earth has the set for $55, or the singles for $15.

- has the singles for $15.

- has the singles for $18.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
The last of this line I looked at was the Bungee Walker and Abraham. Before that, we had Carol and Herschel, and I covered the series 5 Tyreese and charred walker here, as well as Glenn and Maggie.  The previous series' included Carl and SWAT walker, the Governor and AndreaMerle and Michonne, the RV and Well walkers, Shane and the Bicycle Girl, Walking Dead figures series 1, the two humans in series 2, as well as the first series of comic based figures.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Carl & Mud Walker Walking Dead figures by McFarlane Toys

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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