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12" Thing and Mr. Fantastic

 

Jeremy, aka Disappearing One, checks in with a review of the 12" rotocast versions of Mr. Fantastic and the Thing.  Take it away!

As the release date of the Fantastic Four movie creeps ever closer, more and more Toybiz FF merchandise is finding it's way onto the shelves. In addition to the usual 6 inch action figures, there's Thing hands, Thing feet, Human Torch dress-up sets, Mr. Fantastic grabbing arms, a giant 26 inch Thing figure, and of course, the ones that make me want to go on a murderous rampage in the Walmart toy aisle, the obligatory Bump & Go motorcycles.

But there's one area of FF toys in particular that has gotten my attention. the 12 inch rotocast figures. When the first two, the Human Torch and the Invisible Woman first starting hitting shelves about a month ago, I was instantly smitten. Now the next two, the Thing and Mr. Fantastic are out. Am I as crazy about them as I was the previous two? Read on!








Packaging - **
I'm afraid I didn't bother to get a picture of either of them before I opened them. but then again, I didn't know that I'd be doing a review like this at the time. Take a gander at Michael's review of the Torch and Invisible Woman if you need to see a pic. The Thing and Mr. Fantastic's packaging is more of the same. It doesn't look bad, but these open-faced boxes are about a simple as toy packaging. The only thing more utilitarian would be to stick them in paper sacks.

Sculpting - Thing ***; Mr. Fantastic **
Obviously one of the most import features on the Thing is his rough, rocky texture. They've done this very well on the Thing. He appears convincingly rough and rocky. His stance is a little awkward with his right foot in front and his left foot in back, up on it's toes as if he's taking a step forward. more on that in the articulation section. Overall, he's detailed and looks very nice.

I have to admit that I'm not terribly familiar with Ioan Gruffudd, the actor playing Mr. Fantastic in the movie. Based on the pictures I've seen of him, the likeness here is close. but perhaps just a tad off. In all of the pictures I've seen of him as Mr. Fantastic his hair looks a bit bigger while the figure has a more slicked-back look. The body sculpt is also decent, but not particularly exciting. They've given him permanently stretched arms with giant hands, which is understandable, since otherwise he'd just be some dork in a blue suit. The extra-long arms do tend to make me think of a monkey. I like monkeys. 

Paint - Thing ***; Mr. Fantastic **
The Thing's head, torso, arms, and hands are cast in orange plastic. In order to make him look nice and rocky they've done some shading in a rusty reddish color on many of the cracks and crevices of the sculpt and dry brushed a beige color on many of the high points and edges. This is a great example of sculpt and paint coming together to get the right look. From the waist down the paint is fairly simple, although there is a bit of shading on the blue areas of his costume to bring out the musculature of his legs. The little 4's on his boots are nice and clean with no real signs of sloppiness.

My only real complaint about the Thing's paint is the shading used on his face. They've used it pretty heavily around his eyes, which I imagine was done to make his eyes appear deep set and to make his eye appear to "pop", but at best it gives the impression that he just pulled an all-nighter. at worst, he kind of looks like he's on crack. This would've worked better had it not been applied so heavily. 

The paint on Mr. Fantastic is adequate but nothing to write home about. This is due largely to the somewhat plain design. My Mr. Fantastic has a slightly weird looking left eye, where it appears that not enough of the eye got white paint. It's all fairly neat and clean on his suit, although there is a bit of noticeable sloppiness around the neckline. His suit is darker blue than the rest of the team. I have no idea if this is intentional or not, but it is pretty noticeable when you stand him with the rest of the team. I guess we'll have to wait until the movie comes out to find out if his dark costume color is accurate or not.

Articulation - Thing **; Mr. Fantastic ***

The Thing has a ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, wrist swivels, hinge wrists, mid-torso, waist, v-hips, mid-thigh swivels, and swivels at the top of his boots.

From the waist up, it all works pretty well. You're not going to be able to fold him up like a pretzel, but hey, he's the Thing, not a ballerina. He can easily be put into cool punching and other action poses, and the ball-jointed neck makes it easy to get the "attitude" you're looking for. The mid-torso joint really doesn't do much but that can be forgiven. From the waist down he's pretty much stuck in that stance due to the sculpt.. But that articulation is very necessary due to the fact that he doesn't stand very well in the intended pose. You'll have to adjust his legs ever so slightly to get him to stay upright.

Mr. Fantastic has a ball-jointed neck, ball-jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, double elbows, forearm swivels, hinge wrists, v-crotch hips, mid-thigh swivels, double knees, swivels at the top of his boots, and hinge ankles.

Articulation is one area where Mr. Fantastic has the Thing beat. Stop giggling. There really aren't too many poses he can't get into, although a waist joint would've really put him over the top. I'm sure some would prefer ball-joints at the hips as opposed to the v-crotch , but I think ball-joints would've made the figure pretty unstable. Sometimes getting his arms to stay in the pose you want can be difficult as the weight of those extra long arms tends to pull them down. They can also make it difficult to keep him standing on his own.

Accessories - Bupkis
They come with zero, zilch, nada, which was expected. Rotocast figures have a tendency to be pretty bare-bones in this area which I assume is to keep the cost down. The Thing can get away without any extras just being his cool orange rocky self, but Mr. Fantastic would really benefit from coming with an extra item or two. I think a set of interchangeable normal arms would've been swell.

Action Feature- Thing N/A; Mr. Fantastic ***
I'm not sure that this would technically be considered an action feature, but Mr. Fantastic's neck stretches. Pull on his head and his neck extends from inside his torso. It's very simple, but it's appropriate for the character and it works well. It sure beats having a big lever or something sticking out of his back.

Fun Factor - ***
I think a kid would probably have a pretty good time with these. I know I would have, especially the Thing, although he probably would've ended up as a monster to fight He-man or something.

Value - ****
They're 12 inch scale figures that sell for under ten dollars. It's a no-brainer when you realize that 12 inch figures generally tend to run from about twenty dollars up to. well, the sky's pretty much the limit. Especially when you get into the area of uber-rare imports and stuff.

Things to Watch Out For - 
These are quite sturdy and certainly won't break without a good bit of effort, but as I've mentioned already, they can be a bit tipsy. I recommend displaying them somewhere where they're not above or in the general vicinity of something they could break or damage if they decide to go shelf diving. Those big monkey arms on Mr. Fantastic will ensure that if he falls, he's taking any figures near him along for the ride.

Overall - Thing ***; Mr. Fantastic **1/2
Right now the Thing is tied with Invisible Woman as my favorite of the set. He's a really great looking figure that's a lot of fun to play around with. Despite some problems getting him to stand, I find myself really liking this figure.

It may sound to some that I've been a little hard on poor Reed. It's not that he's a bad figure. In comparison to the other figures in the line, which consist of a figure of a cool-looking monstery rock guy, a figure of guy on fire, and a figure depicting Jessica Alba's booty, he just seems to come up a little short in the overall coolness factor. When the whole team is assembled I definitely find him to be the least interesting figure of the four. In my eyes he's there to complete the set and that's about it.

If you've read my posts on the various toy message boards concerning my thoughts on Toybiz, then you'd know I'm generally not a fan, but I have to admit that they're really onto something nice with their rotocast figures. I was impressed way back when they did the rotocast movie Hulk figures and that continues with their Fantastic Four figures (for the most part). Hopefully these will sell well enough for them to continue with them in their other lines.

SCORE RECAP:
Packaging - **
Sculpt - Thing ***; Mr. Fantastic **
Paint - Thing ***; Mr. Fantastic **
Articulation - Thing **; Mr. Fantastic ***
Accessories - Bupkis
Action Feature - Thing N/A; Mr. Fantastic ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ****
Overall - Thing ***; Mr. Fantastic **1/2



Figure from the collection of Disappearing One.

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