The figure I'm reviewing tonight - the Marien Corps Recon - comes in the
standard 'floppy hat' version I picked up, and a second African American
version with a helmet and goggles. Both were available at Toys R Us, but
the floppy hat version stands out nicely with the rest of the line.
These retail for around $11, depending on what retailer you buy them
from. I have the usual suggestions at the end of the review.
Packaging - ***1/2
Buyers of other Mcfarlane products aren't going to get any big surprise
here - it's clamshells. The insert has photos of the actual toys, but
some additional background info would have added some value to the casual
The clamshells are nice and sturdy, but the inserts themselves tend toward
the drab. This is due in part to the attempt to match up with a
'military' color scheme, which tends not to be too wild.
Sculpting - ****
There's no doubt that the sculpting on this series of figures is
outstanding. And while there have been some very good - even excellent -
military figures in the past, including the great stuff from Plan-B, I have to
admit that these are the finest, most realistic sculpts in any military line
Okay, let me make a slight caveat there - in any military line under
12". If you compare the weapons and packs here with something from
a high end sixth scale line from Dragon, Hot Toys or bbi, clearly it will fall
short. But in the all plastic, under 12" category, these have no
The first thing that sets it apart is the head sculpt. It really is a
tremendously realistic human sculpt, even if it is generic. It helps
that most of the hair is covered by the hat - sculpted hair always hurts
reality a tad - but Mcfarlane's sculptors have a way with this type of generic
human that no one else can quite match.
Then there is the tremendous amount of detail in the body sculpt. The
backpack has a worn, slightly crushed appearance, and the clothing has all the
right wrinkles in all the right places. Actually, the Plan-B military
figures have a very similar level of detail in the body and uniform sculpts,
but because they have greater articulation, their sculpts can't quite match
these in terms of realism.
Almost all of the details are affixed to his body, however. The
knife, pack, pouches, etc. are not coming off, at least not
intentionally. He's sculpted in a slightly hunched pose, clearly in a
He stands 6" tall in this pose, making him closer to a 7"
scale. Even then, he's a fairly chunky 7" scale, and I've included
some comparison shots with several other 6 - 7" scale figures.
Paint - ***1/2
If you're going to make plastic statues, the sculpting better be amazing, and the paint ops better be flawless. It's tough to do both well though, and keep the price point reasonable. Even Todd has trouble sometimes, but this line doesn't appear to be one of the problems.
The paint ops are excellent across the board, building on the base of realism created initially by the sculpt. All the places where things can go wrong - too much wash or dry brushing, gloppy paint on the face or hands, funky lip color, weird eyes, lack of color variety, inconsistency in tone, bleed between colors, etc. - none of these are present anywhere on this figure.
Some of the smaller details are a slightly sloppy, and clearly hand painted. But you're really going to have to inspect closely to find the problems, at least with this particular figure. I'm not sure that the black wet suit of the Navy SEAL was quite as consistent in finish and color as it needed to be, but that was just from a cursory peg glance.
One of the things that surprised me was how many different ops there are. The standard colors of the usual desert camo aren't particularly exciting - that's not their purpose. But McToys has managed to add enough variety and color here, and stay true to the real uniform, to make this an eye catching figure on the shelf.
Articulation - *1/2
These are not army men designed for posing. If that's your gig, you'll want to either go with sixth scale figures from folks like bbi or Dragon, 1/18th scale stuff from bbi, or 1/12th scale stuff from Plan-B. You have plenty of choices in that area.
But if you're looking for statues, and understand that these are designed to be statues going in, you won't be surprised by the extreme lack of articulation.
Oh, there's some. He has cut joints at the neck, wrists, biceps and thighs, but these joints are really there just to allow for easier manufacturing, and for you to find the perfect sweet spot to match the legs up with the base.
The bicep and wrist joints do allow you to remove the rifle though, and replace it with the sidearm. He can carry both guns at once, one in either hand, and there will be a weapon pack available through the Spawn Collector's Club to add additional instruments of death.
Accessories - **
There are three accessories - a desert sand base, M4A1 rifle, and a
The sculpt on the base is fairly obvious - it's the ground. There's a
plastic peg for his right foot, and there's a steel peg in the bottom of his
left foot. While I like the steel peg (no way it's going to break or go
limp), it would be better in the base than the figure. With it in the
foot, you'll always have to use the base to display the figure.
The two weapons are decent sculpts, but nothing to get too excited
about. Neither has tremendous detail, and we've seen plenty of work as
good or better with other lines. The 9mm sidearm is a good example, and
it is definitely too small for this soldier's scale.
Fun Factor - *1/2
These figures aren't for kids. Not for the usual reason that McToys figures aren't for kids (i.e. intestines spilling out over a half nekked, fully pierced chick who just happens to be an amputee serial killer in real life), but because they simply aren't any 'fun'. They are intended to be statues to sit on the shelf, and while some kids might enjoy that aspect of the Sports line, there will be fewer who feel that way about the military.
But if you're a fan of a particular branch of the service, you're going to enjoy these quite a bit, and I'd really like to see Todd take a crack at something more historical.
Value - **
At around $11, they aren't quite as good of a value as some of the stuff Mcfarlane does. Perhaps some retailers - like Meijers - will have these at $10, which is where they belong. Still, even at $11 they aren't a bad buy, and it's surprising that McToys can keep their stuff $2 - $4 lower than most other specialty market lines.
Things to Watch Out For -
You'll want to look for which variant you like better. I prefered the floppy hat regular version with this particular figure, but since most come in more than one skin color, you'll want to pay extra attention when looking through the peg.
Overall - ***1/2
I'm going to be honest - I'm not sure how well these will sell. Hardcore Mcfarlane fans will be predominately uninterested, as it's not a market they are generally into. These need to tap into the already existing military fans, who are predominately collectors of much more articulated stuff. Will Todd be able to convince them that these statues are just as cool as their toys?
It's a tough call, but I'll admit that the overall quality is up to the task. Had the sculpts, paint and accuracy not been there, these would have been a sure failure. But with this level of detail and realism, I suspect that military buffs that actually see them - and pay attention - will end up picking up at least one or two, and then perhaps find themselves sucked in for the ride.
The trick is getting to them, because they won't be coming to McToys on their own. If Mcfarlane can get the word out so that enough military collectors see these, then they'll have a chance.
There is going to be a series 1 'redeployed' line released in the fall. These will be the same basic set of figures, but with new head sculpts, paint jobs, etc. These are 'redecos', rather than just basic repaints.