Tron SDCC 2010 Comic-Con Exclusive

Iron Man 2 Cosbaby action figure by Hot Toys

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Guy Klender checks in tonight with a look at another of the SDCC exclusives - Tron!  Take it away, Guy!

In the summer of 1982 I walked to the garage, took my fathers chalk line from the toolbox and carefully marked out squares on the driveway.   The blue lines of the chalk shown bright against the black of the fresh asphalt, and there, laid out in front of me was my very own TRON grid.   I put my glow-in-dark Flynn into his yellow light cycle, pulled the ripcord, and raced him down the gridŽ.  In my mind, he and I were escaping the Recognizers and Sark.  I was immersed in the world of TRON. I had all the toys, though there were few, and as often as I could I rode my bike to the arcade to plunk quarters into the TRON video game, always hoping to get past level 5.

Twenty-seven years later I am back on the grid.  Not on my parents’ driveway, but in the rows and aisles of San Diego Comic-Con, and there, in aisle 37, row 1, the Recognizer once again casts a looming shadow over me. As I walk under the towering black and orange menace I gaze at walls of new TRON toys.  Not just four figures with glow-in-dark paint and a few light cycles, but figures and vehicles that light up and race up walls, figures with illuminated faces that talk, and data discs that emanate blue light and sounds.  We have entered a new age of computers and a new age in toys.

Welcome program…to Comic-TRON.

150,000 people descended upon the San Diego Convention Center for the annual International Comic Con and the streets were filled with the images and sounds of TRON.  Banners hung from every street lamp with images of speeding light cycles, new heroes and heroines, and Jeff Bridges as Flynn.

Wednesday night, as a member of the press, I was able to get into the exhibit hall early, but not before a massive line had formed behind the light cycle at the TRON booth and in minutes all 100 allotted vintage figures had been sold.  The door had been open only… 3 minutes.  I stood and watched the thousands rush over only to hear, “Sorry we are sold out for the night”.    With only 1500 being made this exclusive was going to be harder to get than I had thought.

Thursday morning the line for Hall H wrapped around and around and around, like a ride at Disneyland--something about that seemed fitting. The 6,000 of us that were lucky enough to get into the room donned 3D glass, cheered and stomped as our voices were recorded for inclusion in the film, and left breathless at what we had seen.  I was 11 again, with desire to live in the world of TRON, to race light cycles and hurl electric Frisbees around.   When the presentation was over I sprinted to the TRON booth, but alas the 350 for the day were long gone.  As my want for the vintage figure grew, my desire for the new figures grew even more. We looked like children gazing into a department store Christmas window display, crowded around and looking in at the glowing delights.  It took forever just to get close to the window to peek in, as I believe all 149,999 other people were in front of me at the booth.  TRON fever was in full force and when the masses were told the toys would not be out until October you watched as their smiles drifted downward, not wanting to wait to have all these cool toys.  I knew how they felt as I made a mental list of how many flying data discs I would be buying so I could have TRON disc wars with all my friends, now in their 30’s, a disc battle we could not have until now.

Friday morning, when the doors opened, within minutes the line stretched down to the end of the hallway to get to the booth and security had to request over and over to come back in 30 minutes when the line died down.  The line never did “die down”.  What did was the number of figures and vehicles left for the day, and when I got back to the line that number was zero.

I was prepared for Saturday, and was there 3 hours before the place opened.  At 6:00 a.m., lines snaked in every direction around the building and over the grass.  I’m sure most of these people are here in line to see the new Harry Potter thing I assured myself, but as I asked what each line was for the answer was always…”TRON figures”.   Damn.  I was 3 hours early and still wasn’t going to get one.

Sunday:  My last chance.  It is still dark out but I’m one of the first 25 people outside the exhibitor’s hall.  When the clock strikes 9:00 am, and they let us into the hall, I’m off.  My hours of speed walking on the treadmill pay off, as I zip down the aisles, in and out of hordes of people and around trashcans and other obstacles, careful not to be caught “running”.  Here I am.  I’m in line.  I have a number. I have my cash in my hand and my face glows as I near the counter and ask for, “one of each please.”

Here now programs…the review of the San Diego Comic Con TRON exclusive.
Tron SDCC Exclusive figure by Spinmaster
Tron SDCC Exclusive figure by Spinmaster
Tron SDCC Exclusive figure by Spinmaster

Tron SDCC Exclusive figure by Spinmaster
Tron SDCC Exclusive figure by Spinmaster
Tron SDCC Exclusive figure by Spinmaster
Tron SDCC Exclusive figure by Spinmaster
Tron SDCC Exclusive figure by Spinmaster

Packaging - ****
This was one of the reasons everyone wanted one so badly.  He came inside a replica of the TRON arcade cabinet of the 1980’s.  The shape of the box almost identical to the game I put so many quarters in. Graphics of TRON and of Sark and “TRON Vintage Figure” are on the side.  The front has light cycles, recognizers, tanks, 1 and 2 player buttons, coin slots, 25-cent markings and even the little lock on the front, so the guy at the end of the night could come and collect all those quarters.  A hole in the front with “TRY ME” allows you to activate the light up feature and see in through the window.  What really blew me away was the joystick, the crystal blue plastic with the tiny red trigger and the TRON logo, it is fantastic attention to detail that sets this apart.  They could have easily not done the joystick, or made it a graphic printed on paper but instead they sculpted this tiny thing and made it perfect and it pops out at you immediately.  The front clear plastic allows you to see the figure inside but also hold some secret messages.  LIMITED EDITION 1500, CREDITS 1, and HIGH SCORE 82,079 FLN.  That last one if Flynn’s name of course but also the release date of the original film.  There is a series of numbers as well as the Pi sign on the front and I believe that may be a clue to something else as well.

Packaging 2.0 - ***
The cabinet opens and TRON is inside a black tube.  The button that lights it up on the front is an identity disc from the film.  It is not molded in color but rather black but it is neat they even did his disc for the button, when a flat round circle would have worked fine.  The tube, a black plastic cylinder with a smoked black plastic curved front hold the figure. The smoked plastic can be taken off the front, and I prefer him this way as the light is even brighter but if the room you display him in is bright this allows you to still see the light up feature, but if you keep him inside the arcade cabinet I would take it off so he is still protected from dust but glows bright when you look in the window.

Sculpting - ***
All the little lines and squares and circle of the film suit are cut in, and when the light hits the blue paint he comes to life.  The facial sculpt may or may not be Bruce Boxleitner it is really based more on the movie poster and the iconic scene where TRON is able to communicate with Alan, his user.  He is posed with his hands reaching up to grab his descending data disc, his feet wide on the circled platform, a power pose if ever there was one.

Paint - ***
There are gradations of gray all over his suit, they are subtle but really make him come to life.  The blue electric lines are all perfectly clean with no slop and in something so small I would have thought there might have been some.  The face is pasty fleshes tone, the eyes and features almost grayscale and at first you are not sure if it is right but when you watch the film again you see that gray dead color on the characters that throws you off when seeing the figure.

Articulation - Bupkis
This is really more a statue or light if figurine than action figure but damn he is cool, to think that they are making one for the new movie that light up and move and speak.

Accessories - Bupkis
Unless you consider the arcade cabinet package an accessory he does not come with any.  However in this pose and for what he is I did not expect any either.

Fun Factor - **1/2
The score is three full stars if you had the excitement of getting it at the Comic Con and being part of all the madness and excitement over TRON there.  You will hit the light up feature over and over when you first get him, you will jiggle the joystick, and when your friends come over you will, “just have to show you this thing”.  For a statue that you really don’t play with, he is a lot of fond and brings back lots of wonderful memories.

Things to Watch Out For -
He is packed tightly inside the cabinet box so gp slow when opening it up to remove him. Also I would not jerk the joystick around too much as just like the original game joysticks there is nothing worse than when they break and you can’t get a good game let alone high score out of them. 

Overall - ***1/2
While not so much an action figure as it is a statue, a number of factors contribute to the TRON vintage figure's overall high score.  It's superb, detailed packaging in which the figure is sure to be displayed is as much a part of the figure itself as the sculpt and painting.  Nostalgia here figures a great deal into the cool factor and collectibility of this piece, as evidenced by the thousands who stood in line at the SDCC TRON booth hoping to score one of these limited babies, and acquisition was tightly controlled.  The light-up feature is a major factor in the overall score as well and at such a reasonable price point for a highly coveted, detailed representation of such an iconic early 80's film, it earns it's solid overall 3.5 stars.

Where to Buy -
EBay maybe.  I did not see too many of these popping up the way most of the SDCC exclusives do.  I believe it’s because if you were lucky enough to get one of them, you wanted it badly and not simply for resale value on the black market of toys. 

Tron SDCC Exclusive figure by Spinmaster

Tron SDCC Exclusive figure by Spinmaster

This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Guy Klender.

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