Xevoz Sledge Trooper

Tonight Poe Ghostal returns with a review of a line I don't cover nearly well enough - Xevoz.  These guys are getting mighty popular!  Let's see what Poe has to say about the Sledge Trooper. Oh, and he's added a new category for the start of his review - "Concept".  Take it away!

Concept - ****
A few years ago, Hasbro began releasing a series of 3" high, highly-articulated, do-it-yourself figure kits under the name Stikfas. Beginning with a simple male body (which bore the nature-special name "Alpha Male"), the series has released increasingly complex forms, including superheroes, ninjas, fantasy characters, soldiers, knights, and others. The appeal of the figures was that they could be customized into just about any character one can imagine.

While Stikfas continues to sell well, Hasbro has taken another step by using the basic Stikfas format to create Xevoz. This is essentially a commercialized version of Stikfas -- but it's only slightly more commercial, at least so far. The various forms now have names -- the fellow in this review is known as a "Sledge Trooper," and a history of his planet and race can be found on the line's website -- but one is free to build each character in whatever way one wishes, using the numerous included parts. The toys range in size; some kits are smaller and cheaper, while others feature two different figures and lots of extra parts. But the kicker is, they're all interchangeable. One is free to create whatever one wants from two, four, or however many figures one owns.

There's also some sort of game involving rolling a die, in which various parts of one Xevoz are pitted against those of another, and the winner loses said part until there's nothing left. The idea of the game is to encourage part swapping between figures, I suspect, which I heartily endorse -- Xevoz is a great blend between action figures and the kind of creative toys you usually find in those "educational" toy stores. In fact, I wish the website didn't have those silly biographies -- let the kids come up with their own characters and backgrounds.

Hasbro is giving Xevoz a big push, including a contest for fan-made Xevox movies. Given the ingenuity and creativity going into this line, I think they deserve a hearty welcome from the figure community.

Packaging - **
While the packaging looks pretty slick, this is not a line MOC collectors are going to be big on -- at least, not if they want to display the packages. The figures come unassembled, so there's not much to see other than an artistic rendering of the completed figure. There is some nice comic-style art on the back of the package.

Sculpting - ***
The Xevoz line is a bit more detailed than Stikfas, but it's still relatively simplistic. The whole line has something of an Art Deco feel to it. This form doesn't work as well with the "human" figures, but it's perfect for robots (cyborgs?) like the Sledge Trooper. The only real sculpting comes in with the "brain" and "hand" parts, which look fairly cartoony. But I think the sculpting style is appropriate to the form.

Articulation - ****
Like Stikfas, every joint is essentially a ball joint. This figure is completely posable.

Accessories - ****
Technically, everything, I suppose, can be considered an accessory. With over 30 parts, there are a lot of options for mixing and matching here. There are two different heads; I prefer to cylindrical one, primarily because it makes the figure look eerily similar to a comic character (see above) I drew years ago (I make no claims to artistic greatness). There's a gun arm, a veined hand, a chainsaw, a claw -- everything a cyborg needs.

Play Factor - ****
Xevoz incorporates the fun of action figures, Legos, and games all into one. There's the posability and massive articulation for the collector who loves to display his figures. There's the mix-and-match feature for the more artistically-inclined kids. And then there's the game, for those kids who prefer to bash toys against one another (instead of creating extremely complex, weeks-long plotlines, which was the way I play[ed] with my toys...).

Value - **1/2
For some reason, Hasbro has put a fairly high SRP on these toys. The Sledge Trooper, who is a "Master Modifier Battle Kit," sells for about $12. There are smaller sets -- known as "Battle Booster Kits" -- that sell for $9. That's still pricey, even considering the amount of stuff you get with the figure. If the Sledge Trooper were $8 and the booster kits $5, I'd give them four stars.

Overall - ***1/2
Xevoz loses half a point for being just a bit too expensive to encourage a collect-'em-all mentality. Still, this is an innovative toy line and a great figure, and I hope Hasbro can bring costs down a bit to give a broader appeal.

Where to Buy - 
So far, I've only seen Xevoz at Toys 'R Us and some local comic shops. It's possible Hasbro is holding back before unleashing Xevoz in larger numbers (perish the thought, but perhaps there's some sort of cartoon in the works).

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Xevoz are also available now at Target, and our sponsor, Southern Island, has them in stock for just $8 for the smaller sets, and $13 for the larger ones like the Sledge Trooper.  That's a great price for a small retailer!

Figures from the collection of Poe Ghostal.

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