12" Lara Croft

One of the million summer block busters this summer is Tomb Raider, starring that lovely video game vixen, Lara Croft.  The movie will star the lovely but truly bizarre Angelina Jolie in the title role, and it proves to have the type of marketing blitz we've come to expect from summer blockbusters.

Of course there had to be action figures, but Toy Biz had already produced some earlier for the game.  They didn't get the movie license though - that honor has gone to Playmates.

There are a series of 6" 'action' figures (I'm using the term as loosely as possible here), along with a deluxe set.  There are also two 12" versions, and I'm reviewing one of those: the 'motorcylce gear' Lara Croft.

This figure is available at most retail stores, but seems to be hitting Toys R Us first, where she can be had for the price of $27.99.  Ah, but is she worth those kind of bucks?

Packaging - **1/2
Not bad as figures go these days, but certainly nothing exceptional.  The graphics are nice, and the construction is pretty solid.  The best aspect is the listing on the back of the complete run of figures, which I always consider a major bonus to a package.

Articulation - Bupkis
I'd give this figure negative points if I could.  A 12" action figure with THREE points of articulation?  What was Playmates thinking?

She has cut joints at the neck and shoulders - that's it.  So what you have is a hunk of plastic statue that can look to the side and raise her arms.  If I was buying a cheap Asian knockoff, I'd expect that.  A 12" figure from a reputable company based on a big movie?  I don't think so.

Sculpt - ***
They've done a decent job of capturing Angelina, but not an exceptional one.  The lips and nose are pretty good, but something about the face is too pretty, too soft.

The body is a wonderful sculpt, and is in a great pose.  Unfortunately, that's the only pose.  But she can stand well on her own, and I love the tilt of her hips.

The hands are sculpted to hold her weapons, something you don't see much these days.  The ponytail is also part of the mold, and here is a case where I'd prefer rooted hair.  When the hair style is loose, I don't like rooted hair because over time it becomes wild.  But with a tight fit and a pony tail, I think rooted hair, a la Hoth Leia, looks great.

Paint - **1/2
The face paint is decent, not going overboard on the makeup, and not being sloppy on the eyes.  It seems plain somehow though, more Barbie like than action figure.  Perhaps it's the blankness of the expression that causes that effect.

Outfit - ***
Easily the best part of this figure.  The outfit consists of the jacket, pants, and tank top.  While the tank top is just what you'd expect, both the pants and jacket are fantastic.

One of the drawbacks however, is that the jacket is sewn into the holster.  Okay, it's not exactly sewn in, but thick threads are used at certain key points to hold it in place.  Yes, you can remove it by cutting the threads, but that shouldn't have been necessary.

Oh, and then there are the boots, molded on.  I have no idea why that is, and it hurts the figure even more for using it for kit bashing.

Accessories - *
Nothing to get yourself in a lather over here.  The pistols are large, clunky and unrealistic.  They do fit in the hands, but that's more a function of the sculpt on the hands than anything special on the guns.

The rifle is similar in it's lack of design.  The holster that the handguns fit into is completely worthless in practice.  The guns fit as long as she stands perfectly still - and since her articulation is so poor, that's not a problem.  And while the belt buckle *looks* like diecast metal, it's just plastic.

Value - Bupkis
After spending $30 on other 1/6th scale figures like the F-15 Pilot or even $25 on the Sideshow stuff, I can't possibly imagine spending almost $30 on this thing.  Yes, the head sculpt is decent, and the pants and jacket great - but I wouldn't spend $30 on a two piece outfit, which is essentially all you're getting here.

Overall - *1/2
I hope the movie isn't as bad as this figure - she's simply terrible.  Why am I being so rough?  Because it's completely unacceptable for a company to produce a 12" figure with this pathetic of articulation, and with this ridiculous price tag.  If this figure were half this price, I'd see some kit bashing possibilities.  But even that's amoot point at this cost - you'll have to buy another body, new boots, and new weapons, since all you'll be able to salvage is the clothes and perhaps the head sculpt.  Even that's in question considering the neck post.  Do yourself a favor - wait for the deep clearance on this girl.

Where to Buy - 
If you do ignore my advice, then there are several places you can pick these up.  First, Toys R Us is getting in plenty right now, and they aren't moving too quickly since the film isn't out yet.  In the on-line world, you have several possibilities, but I couldn't find anyone with them currently in stock:

- has them for the same $27.99, plus shipping, which makes sense since that's Toys R Us website.  Unfortunately, the web site is reporting out of stock right now.   (MROTW Affiliate)
- Entertainment Earth has them as a set of two (with the combat gear version) for $55 plus shipping, but is also reporting out of stock. (MROTW Affiliate)
- Action Figure Express has the two pack like Entertainment Earth, also for $55. That doesn't include shipping, and like everyone else tonight they say they are out of stock.  (MROTW affiliate).

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour