The latest series of Spawn - 22, to be exact
- is now hitting the shelves. This set of figures is called 'The
Viking Years', and consists of Bloodaxe, Skullsplitter (reviewed
here), Valkerie (the required chick), Bluetooth, Beserker the Troll, and
Very similar to the Samurai Wars series
(19), these figures will fit very well on the shelf together. There's
a deluxe figure of Bloodaxe mounted on his horse, Thunderhoof, that hasn't
been released yet.
These are going for the usual ten bucks or
so at major retailers, although the smaller ones may be at $13. That's
what I paid for Skullsplitter at a local Software Etc.
Toys has developed aback story here - Eric (Bloodaxe)
and Jorvak (Skullsplitter) don't like each other. Why? Well, a
woman of course! Seems one stole a lady from the other, yadda, yadda,
yadda, and now they battle through eternity.
Packaging - ***1/2
The clamshell packages are really growing on me. The inserts have a
ton of color, and when you open it up you can see great images of Tortured
Souls 2, along with several other lines.
It's definitely able to
withstand lots of shelf wear as well, and you won't have to worry if you
have to pack it away for the time being due to a shortage of shelf room at
home. Of course, it's not particularly collector friendly, but it
works well for those that like to keep their figures MOMC.
Sculpting - ****
Once again, the sculpts on this entire line, and Skullsplitter in
particular, are amazing. The level of detail and attention is still
well above any other company in this scale.
Not every Spawn series is a winner, and I was less than
impressed by things like Nitro Riders and Interlink. Still, when
McToys comes back to complex character designs with lots of detail, they
have a winner every time.
Paint - ****
No complaints here, at least on this Skullsplitter, and on the rest of the
wave I saw on the shelf. All the ops were very clean, and with the
level of detail required that's a real plus.
I'm not sure I like the black/silver wash on this arm as
much as the previous Samurai Wars color scheme, but it's not because it's
Articulation - ***1/2
There's lots of comparison between Samurai Spawn and Skullsplitter when it
comes to articulation. They both have the same very cool double ball
jointed shoulders, with tons of other joints to go around.
Skullsplitter has a ball jointed neck, the aforementioned
shoulders, cut elbows, cut wrists, ball jointed waist and hips, knees and
ankles. There's very few poses you won't be able to put him in, and
the only flaw I found is that his cape tends to get in the way of some of
the more outlandish poses. Having it removable would have helped this
My only complaint with the articulation overall is that it
wasn't as well hidden as Samurai Spawn. The shoulder pad on the left
shoulder tends to ride very high, and in many positions the double ball
jointed should was completely exposed. But that's a fairly small
quibble with so well articulated a figure.
Quality - ***
Here's a special category just for McToys. This continues to be an
issue for them, and I popped the shoulder pad off Skullsplitter accidentally
within about 3 minutes of having him out of the package. Nothing a
little glue can't fix, but I prefer when my toys stay together a little
The joints were all tight, and I was particularly pleased
with the sturdy posts used for the swappable hands. You aren't likely
to have much trouble with them, and they are thick enough not to break
Accessories - ***1/2
There's three - an extra set of hands, a shield and his sword.
The sword is excellent, made from a nice sturdy plastic, unlikely to get
the drooping disease. It's an excellent sculpt, although overall I
like Samurai Spawn's weapon a little more.
The shield is extremely well sculpted, and fits nicely in the standard
left hand, although in certain positions he had a tendency to drop it.
There's a matching motif with his armor, so that he is not just a Viking,
but a stylish Viking.
I've mentioned before that I'm not big on extra hands, but these two are
at least unique sculpts. One also appears to be designed especially
for firing a crossbow...
Value - ***
I'll assume you pick these up for $10, which is a reasonable price.
I'd prefer $8, which I think is far more in line, but considering the
quality of the sculpt and the level these are above the competition, I'll
cut them some slack.
However, paying $13 or more is over the top, and you can take off a half
star or so if you get stuck like I did.
Overall - ***1/2
The only thing stopping this from being a four star figure was the inflated
price and the slight problems with the shoulder pad. Actually, from
what I saw of the wave, the entire series is quite well done, and is
certainly worth a hard look. I suspect Skullsplitter and perhaps
Bloodaxe will be in the running for best male figure of the year in the
People's Choice awards.
Where to Buy -
I picked up Skullsplitter at Software Etc, but only because I couldn't
wait until they hit regular retail. I'm hoping EB will have them for
$10, and I'll be buying several others at that price. On-line:
- a reader pointed out a new store to me: Toynk.
They have pretty good prices on things, with the set of six Spawn 22 figures
at $56, plus $5 shipping. With tax, that's less than the $10 each
you'll be paying at your local store. I have never ordered from them
Boutique on-line has them for $10 each, but they still show as a
pre-order. (MROTW Affiliate)
Sniper has the case for $103, but you can also buy individual figures
for $10 each, plus shipping. They still show as a pre-order, but I'm
betting they have them in or will very soon.
Earth has the case
of twelve figures for $115 plus shipping, but you'll have to figure out what
to do with your extras. (MROTW affiliate)
Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.