Mcfarlane Military Series 5
Coast Guard Gunner, Marine RCT,
Army Special Forces Operator

Mcfarlane continues with their Military line, now on its fifth full wave of figures.  Tonight I'm covering the Coast Guard Deck Gunner, the Marine RCT and the Army Special Forces Operator.  There's a fourth figure in the wave, an Air Force Para Rescue figure.

This series has just started hitting online stores, as well as Toys R Us.  You can expect retail to be around $11 for these, or a little more depending on the actual retailer.

As usual, there are more than one head sculpt on these.  The Army SFO has the masked white face reviewed here, along with an unmasked AA face.  The Coast Guard Gunner has the yelling moustache face, reviewed here, along with a clean shaven Asian face with less of a yell going on.  And the Marine RCT comes in a darker skin tone as well (Hispanic perhaps?) but I haven't seen any great photos of it yet to be sure.

Mcfarlane has a series based on World War II also planned, and they look to be as terrific in quality and detail as these modern versions have been.

Packaging - ***
Mcfarlane continues to stick with the clamshells, which is just fine by me.  Along with providing some nice graphics of both the specific figure in the package and the rest of the line, there's also the addition of some decent character specific text on the back.  That kind of personalization isn't always present on Mcfarlane packages, but it's always nice to see.

Sculpting - Army SF ***1/2;  Marine RCT ***; CG Gunner **1/2
At first glance, all three of these sport the usual amazingly realistic detail that we've come to expect in any Mcfarlane line up.  The difference come in scores when you start getting down to the more specific aspects of each.

My favorite of the three on the shelf is the Army Special Forces Operator.  Now mind you, he has the least unique pose, since the 'sneaking up on you' walk has been done several times already.  He also has the least intricate base, with just a small grassy section of the ground.

But the small detail work really shines here, especially on the outfit and gun.  The gun is removable, although it's a fair amount of effort (and more effort than taking the gun off the Marine RCT), and his pistol is actually a completely separate item as well.  It can be removed from the holster, although if you're not careful enough (and I was not), you'll break the holster strap that holds it in.

The Marine RCT has a much more dynamic pose, but there's something off about it for me. He's kicking in a door, and the door itself (and corresponding base) are well done with lots of realistic damage.  In fact, this door would work great as a base for lots of figures.

But the body pose doesn't really work for me.  His standing leg is absolutely straight, with no bend in his knee at all, and it's directly below his torso, so that his center of gravity is straight down that leg to the floor.  That means he isn't leaning any of his body into the kick, and in fact, if the door offers much resistance it will push him over backwards.  While they may have sculpted it this way to make it more stable on the base (although with steel foot pegs, you'd think it would be pretty stable anyway), the whole pose looks very unnatural and ineffective.  And yea, I'm not thrilled about the yelling expression either.

The Coast Guard Gunner looks better apart than together.  It's not that the basic quality of the sculpt is bad - it's not.  There's some great detail work, especially on the gun and base.  But once I started putting him together, I realized that he didn't conform to the usually rigorous engineering standards that you'd expect.  The gun, when placed on the post, doesn't reach the gunner's hands, at least not when his feet are in the post holes.  You can see from the side photo how I had to bend the pole to get it to fit, and that's not a good situation for the long term.

They did make the handles on the gun removable (they slide upward) so that you can place it in his hands easier, but once you start snapping it all together, you may find you have the same issues I did.  Even the two legs for the gun don't quite match up correctly, especially when the pole is at an angle to fit the hands.

And again with the yelling - what is it with these military guys yelling while they're in the heat of battle?  It's a little too bad 1950's military movie for me.

If you're wondering, these are all 6" scaled figures, and fit in pretty well with other 6" scaled lines.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint work on all three figures is excellent, with very little slop and clean cuts.  The colors are generally consistent in coverage and tone, there's just the right use of washing and dry brushing, and there is no gloppiness to the skin paint.

Some of the face work ends up being rather mass market, without the variance in finish to give the eyes or mouth much realism.  But the paint work is certainly above average for the price point, and I wasn't disappointed by any aspect.

Articulation - *
If you've bought these before, you know that you're getting barely articulated plastic statues, so there should be no real surprise.

All three supposedly have cut necks, but with the heavy outfits and helmets, I couldn't get a smidge of movement out of them.  It doesn't help that the joints were painted tight on these figures more often than in some past releases.

The Marine RCT has cut joints at each shoulder, to allow you to get the gun in just the right position. Cut wrists would have been a big help too, but the cut shoulders is all we get.

The Coast Guard Gunner has cut elbows and cut wrists, along with the supposed neck joint.  Again, these are only there to allow you to get the gun into his hands - there's no other pose than the basic one.

The cut wrists also show up on the Army SF Operative, but those are the only joints other than the supposed neck.  Again, there's one pose for these figures, and the very limited articulation is only there to make it easier for you to find that sweet spot.

Accessories - ***
Obviously, all three come with bases.  The Marine RCT is the most complex I supposed, although the Gunner's has more moving parts.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, his base doesn't all fit together quite as well as it should.  The other two don't have that issue.

The rifles on the Marine RCT and Army SFO are both removable, although it's much easier o the Marine than the Army figure.  The hand gun on the Army SFO is technically an accessory as well, since it's a separately sculpted removable object.

Fun Factor - *1/2
These aren't really intended as toys for kids to play with, but rather for military fans to display.  They do what they are intended to do well, but don't buy them expecting your 7 year old to get a big kick out of them.

Value - **1/2
These are about average in value considering that they are an unlicensed product.  The extra money seems to be going to the bases.

Things to Watch Out For - 
I managed to break the holster strap trying to remove the handgun on the Army Special Forces Operative, and I suspect that the rifle straps on him and the Marine RCT could be easily broken as well.

When it comes to the Coast Guard Gunner, take your time trying to get the pieces to fit together.  You may have more luck than I did, but if you don't, you don't want to force anything.

Overall - Army SF Operator ***1/2; Marine RCT ***; Coast Guard Gunner **1/2
If I were scoring these merely on the quality of the sculpt and paint, with no concern for the design or engineering, they would have all been ***1/2 stars.

And for the Army SFO, that's the bottom line.  There are no aesthetic issues for me on this figure, as I like both his design and engineering.

But for the Marine RCT, the design gets in my way.  He looks awkward from several angles, and loses reality points in the sculpted stance and pose.

The pose and design is fine for the Coast Guard Gunner, but here's where we get to the engineering.  The figure simply didn't fit together properly with the base and gun, and that really ends up hurting his score.  If yours does go together just fine, he's worthy of another half star to a star in his final overall.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt -  Army SF ***1/2;  Marine RCT ***; CG Gunner **1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - *
Fun Factor - *1/2
Value -  **1/2
Overall - Army SFO ***1/2; Marine RCT ***; Coast Guard Gunner **1/2

Where to Buy -
If you're looking for an in town source, try Toys R Us.  Online options include these sponsors:

- Amazing Toyz has them in stock at $11 each.

- Clark Toys has them for $13 - $15, depending on the character.  They also have wave 6 up for pre-order as well as the new WWII figures.

- Dark Shadow still has Harry only at $42.

- Alter Ego carries them for $42.50.

- CornerStoreComics has the regular three at $43 each.

- Andrew's Toyz has them at $50 each.

Related Links -
I previously reviewd the Marine Recon figure, and the 12" version of the Paratrooper.  I had a guest review of series 4 as well.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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