Medicom RAH Spawn

I've been collecting Spawn figures for a long time.  As long as you can be, in fact.  I remember the first series hitting the pegs when I happened to be on vacation in Florida.  I scoured the stores in that foreign land of blue hairs in an attempt to find the full set, and I was thrilled with the series. Mcfarlane shook up the industry with those early lines, raising the bar for everyone.

But tonight's review is of a Spawn figure NOT made by Mcfarlane Toys.  Now there's something that's rare in itself!  This 12" clothed action figure is from Medicom, makers of high end (and even higher priced) collectibles.  He's from the Real Action Hero line, sporting one of the superhero bodies (the 306, for those keeping track) with some uniquely sculpted hands feet and head(s).

This guy isn't cheap by any definition of the word.  If you were paying attention and pre-ordered him early, you could snag him for $120 - $130.  I hear rumors that there's still a few places with him under $140, but the more common price now is $160 - $170.  And unlike some of the Medicom figures, I don't expect to see this guy end up a lot cheaper in the near future.

Packaging - ***1/2
Sometimes, Medicom goes a bit nuts with the depth of their packaging.  This is one of those cases, although it is true that the huge cape tends to require a lot more room than usual.  Still, the box is bigger than it really needs to be.

The only other negative is the same thing that's true with most Japanese sixth scale packaging - not enough background text.  But other than that, this packaging is some of the nicest they've ever done.  Of course it's completely collector friendly, without any twisties and even no tape.

The graphics are fantastic, even if the Spawn in the artwork isn't exactly the costume inside.

Sculpting - Regular Head ****; Hamburger Head ***1/2
With this type of figure, the majority of the sculpt work is in the head, hands and feet.  I'm going to also include the gauntlets on the arms and left leg as well in this section, since they are made from hard plastic and actually removable.

Both heads are a bit pin sized, but for some reason it bothers me more with the hamburger version than the masked version.  I like the detail in the masked version, with some soft wrinkling and sculpted lines between the lighter and darker colors.  This is the head I suspect most folks will end up displaying him with.

The hamburger head is nice - don't get me wrong.  It's just that the comparisons to Mcfarlane versions are inevitable, and this isn't as detailed as a Mcfarlane sculpt would be in this scale. The stitching and teeth look good, with some nice burn damage across the skull, but compared head to head with some of Mcfarlane's own work, it comes up a little short.

The feet are done in the traditional elongated and funky style of Todd.  The leg and arm gauntlets look amazing, and are made from a very hard plastic, much nicer than something you'd see in the lower end market.  These are actually removable if you pop the hands and feet off, something that's pretty easy to do.

The fisted hands seem a bit small, but it's not as bad as some other Medicom figures, like the Stormtroopers.  The open claw hands are another highlight of the sculpt, and might be the preferred version for most folks.

The only issue with the hands is that they can pop on and off a bit easily, due to the heavy weight of the gauntlets.  They're also a bit tougher to get on for the same reason, but this is a very minor nit.

The scale has the usual issues.  He does stand about 12" tall at the head, and obviously the little horns stick up further.  He also has that nice bulky torso of the comic book body.  He'll fit in okay with other figures, depending on what you consider to be an appropriate height for the character compared to others, but he's not going to tower over anyone in this scale.

Paint - ****
Yes Virginia, it is possible to have extremely clean paint ops, even with a gory figure.

Obviously, there's not a huge amount of paint detail here, but what is here is done with extreme precision.  The red and silver gauntlets, the small skulls, the masked head - all of these are extremely nice and really couldn't be better.

The hamburger head isn't quite as realistic as perhaps a Mcfarlane version.  There's more detail here, less use of wash and fuzz to blend the blood and skin.  It's a different style, but not one I'm complaining about.  It's worth noting though, because I'm sure some fans will take exception.

Worth noting is that the colors of the head matches the colors of the material on the costume extremely well in both color and finish. This includes both the black and the whiter symbol color.  That can be quite tricky, and is often one of the factors that detract from a clothed figure like this.  Not so here, and even the red vinyl cape does a reasonably good job of matching with the gauntlets.  It's not quite as close a match since the vinyl is such a soft textured material compared to the hard plastic, but it's certainly better than I had expected. 

Articulation - ****
For those that have worked with a RAH 306 figure before, the amazing articulation will be no surprise.  What was a surprise was that the cape assembly had far less interference than I anticipated.

He has all the joints you've come to expect in a high end sixth scale figure, including an excellent ball jointed neck and ball jointed chest.  There's no ugly cut joints showing under the costume, but he has all the range of movement of the usual Medicom. He hangs in poses in a very natural way, and even the cape is poseable.

In each 'section' of the cape (there are about six separate pieces of cape attached to the shoulder harness - more on that in the Outfit section) there is a long wire, allowing you to add some bend or turn to the overall flow of that section.  Now, you aren't going to get super radical with most of these, since the vinyl is heavy and will drag the wire down in some more extreme poses.  But it does allow you to give the heavy cape some personality of its own.  The only issue is that on occasion, the small wires will stick out of the material at the end, and will need to be readjusted back up inside carefully.

He also has very stiff wires running through the two top extensions on the cape.  These are thicker and stiffer than the ones in the lower sections of the cape, and can hold just about any pose you might desire.

If there's one issue with the articulation, it's the unattractive wrist joints. The peg design makes them a tad bit skinnier than the rest of the arm, but it's really only noticable on the left arm, where it's not as hidden by the gauntlet.

Accessories - ***1/2
Spawn comes with the usual clear plastic Medicom stand, which won't be necessary for basic poses, but might come in handy for more extreme comic style posing.

He also comes with the aforementioned extra set of hands and hamburger head.  The hands are done in an exaggerated claw, making them useful together or in a combined manner with the other fisted hands.

It's been too long since we had a good hamburger head version of Spawn, and this one fills the bill.  The heads are hard to swap though, so be very careful.  Mine where hard enough to get off and on that it would have been possible to damage the chest joint if I didn't hold onto the body up far enough to control it.

That's it for the accessories, and if I hadn't been so enamored with the head and hands, this category would have lost another half star on quantity.  The quality made up for it.

Outfit - ****
The base for the outfit is the soft, rubbery body suit.  This fits extremely well, and while it will still wrinkle at certain points and in certain poses, that's obviously unavoidable.  It looks great in just about in pose, and restricts the overall articulation very little.

The M symbol is imprinted on the costume perfectly, which was key to making this look amazing.  Any flubs or inconsistencies in the symbol would have ruined the overall appearance, so it's nice to see they put the quality of this at the top of their list.

Also worth noting on this body suit is the neck.  Remember all the complaints about the goofy neck line of the Spider-man and Symbiote Spider-man?  No such problems here.  The body suit flows up under the head, and the jaw line matches up with the neck much better.

The small skulls look great, but also hold the real metal chains to the body at various points.  They didn't go nuts with the chains (there's the one for the cape, one on the left bicep, and the usual short pair around the hips), and that's going to be disappointing for some.  I can live with it though, again because the chains that are here are so well done.

The part of the outfit that will draw the most attention is the cape. The base for the cape is a hard plastic 'harness' that sits on top of his shoulders.  It's formed over the shoulders, and attaches on the top and on the upper back, completely avoiding the shoulder articulation.  You can raise the arms all the way over the head easily, but it gets in the way far less than you might expect.

Off this base, the various sections of cape are attached with metal loops, sort of like curtains. The thick vinyl material should stand up to quite a bit of handling without any fears of tearing or damage, but don't go tugging on his cape any more than you need to.

The two sections farthest to the front actually wrap around and cover the harness, and add some nice flow to the overall appearance.  There are the two smaller horns on either side, and the two longer, wire encasing horns closer to his head.

The entire construction really is one Hell of a nice piece of design work, matching the 2-d style of the character well in 3 dimensions.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Okay, nobody in his right mind - or even his left - is going to give this guy to a six year old, even if there was a six year old that was into Spawn.  Most of the Spawn figures are intended for teens to adults to begin with, but this guy is clearly a high end pop culture collectible, not a toy.

The beauty of this figure though, as with many Japanese action figures, is that it hasn't forgotten it's roots.  In fact, what makes this guy so amazing is he IS an excellent toy, with all the articulation and playability that you'd expect.  The Japanese can combine the amazing look with the amazing fun - I think that's the secret to the popularity of their action figures in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

Value - **
Okay, as much as I love this figure, I have to admit it's not worth the $150 or so that it's running right now. It's close, but that's still a bit over priced.  I think that the folks that snagged this guy in the $120 - $130 range early on got a solid bargain, and can easily add that extra half star to this score.  Those of us that dragged our feet (and yes, I was one of them, but it was not because I lacked interest, but rather that I had THOUGHT I'd preordered it and hadn't) and had to pay the higher price tag will feel the pinch.

Things to Watch Out For - 
As I mentioned, the heads can be quite tough to pop on and off.  Particularly when you're pulling them off, you want to hold the body up high on the chest to avoid pulling too much on the ball joint located within.

Oh, and try not to put an eye out with one of the wires from the cape.  I'm sure you can handle it, but I don't want you coming up to me at SDCC with a patch over your eye and yelling at me because I didn't warn you.

Overall - ****
Any huge fan of Spawn really needs to pick up this figure.  If you don't, you'll regret it down the road.  Yes, it's expensive now, but a regular set of action figures costs $70 these days, and this will be the centerpiece of your Spawn display.

That's not to say there are no issues here.  There's always going to be some nits for people like me to pick, but this is still a clear four star figure, and I'm very glad I forked up the cash now, instead of paying quite a bit more down the road.  And I suspect that will be the case too, unlike some of their figures like Jack Sparrow, who was available well below retail after he started shipping. I don't think Spawn will be seeing that same fate.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt -  Regular Head ****; Hamburger Head ***1/2
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ***1/2
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value -  **
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
I recommend any of these online options:

- CornerStoreComics has him listed at $140.

- Amazing Toyz does as well at $140.

- Entertainment Earth has him at the higher price of $180, but he's definitely in stock.

Related Links -
Let's look at some other Medicom sixth scale figures, including:

- their Star Wars offerings have included the Sandtrooper, Darth Vader, the regular Stormtrooper, ROTS Vader, Jedi Luke, and Clonetrooper and Blackhole Trooper.

- I've also reviewed (or had guest reviews) of some of the other superhero figures, like Ghost Rider, Blade, comic book Wolverine, and Symbiote Spider-man.

- there's some anime properties, like the Fullmetal Alchemist Al and Edward.

- and then there's some of their other movie properties, like Jack Sparrow, Rocketeer, James Bond, Matrix Neo and Trinity, X-men 3 Wolverine, Edward Scissorhands, or Batman Begins.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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