Twisted Land of Oz Lion
I reviewed the Mcfarlane Twisted Land of Oz
Lion a little while back. Just after my review hit, I received his
guest review from Kevin Apgar, but since I had been a bit tough on the whole
line, I thought I'd post it to give the bigger fans of the series a chance
to jump in. Ball's in your court, Kevin!
I have been dying in anticipation of this new line from McToys for months now. Finally, it’s here and we can all revel in the bloody glory that is The Twisted Land of Oz. Yes, Todd McFarlane and associates have decided to tackle one of the most beloved
children's’ books and movies in history – L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz.” But, being
McToys, you should know not to expect the normal, cuddly little characters that we grew up with. Nope. That’s why this is the “Twisted” Land of Oz. And that’s understating things a bit.
Overall, the line consists of the Lion (do note the lack of the word “Cowardly” accompanying his name as he certainly warrants the drop of the descriptor), the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman (not “Woodsman” with an “s”), the Wizard, Toto, and Dorothy. Plus, if you sign up for a free membership at
www.spawn.com, you will be eligible to purchase the Collector’s Club exclusive Flying Monkey two pack that also comes with an extra Munchkin.
I have seen all these in my local comic store save for Dorothy. She and the Lion are the shortships in this series and for good reason. She’s like no other Dorothy you ever imagined (if you say you have imagined her this way, you should probably apply for a job at McToys you sick little monkey). And the Lion… well, he’s just the baddest mutha this side of Shaft.
Packaging - **
Now, I know Michael really digs on these full plastic blister packs that McToys has started using, and while I admit that they are pretty and all, I find them frustrating as hell. You can’t just cleanly tear a bubble off a card anymore and have at your toy. Now, you’ve gotta chop away at the plastic and risk slicing open your hand on a jagged edge. Also, trying to get everything out from the inside resulted in the tearing of the backer card which, I discovered later, unfolds to unveil the third and fourth chapter of the Twisted Land of Oz saga that, of course, must be started and completed by purchasing the entire set. So, be careful when you open yours.
On the back of the package, they show all the characters plus the slug for the Collector’s Club exclusive. And they’ve covered Dorothy appropriately for a package that is to be displayed on store shelves. If you want better pictures of her and can’t find the toy in stores near you, just visit
www.spawn.com as they have a few good shots up.
Paint - ***1/2
Spectacular. That’s all I can say here. Nice mixing of browns in the Lion’s fur and mane. The musculature of his body is well colored as are the accessories (see the Accessories section for more details).
My only beef is with just how light the color is in his arms. It’s almost too bright and monochromatic. And the result is that they stand out way too much when the emphasis should be on other parts of the sculpt.
Sculpting - ****
Again, very nice. The Lion has been sculpted in a very nice pose that is both weak from being attacked (he looks like he’s stumbling forward) while at the same time, very defensive and defiant (clawing arm position and growl). I like it. Plus, he’s got the separate sculpt of his belt and loin cloth that, while it hangs loose in front, is molded to the body in the back. Be careful, though, the two pouches on his belt will come off relatively easily and will need glue to stay back on there. The other plus to this sculpt is the three layers of rubbery fur that make up his mane. Nice touch and gives it a much more realistic look.
Articulation - **
This is where the figure takes a bit of a hit. Neck, two cut shoulders, two cut forearms, two cut wrists, and a cut waist. That is all. Eight points of articulation. Unless, of course, you include the bendy tail. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t suppose that eight is all that bad. However, there is no movement whatsoever south of the waist and that would have been a nice touch. This is obviously intended to be more of a statue than anything else. You can’t even give him a nice fallen pose should he lose his will to live.
Accessories - ****
Ah, what a nice lot of extra toys our figure comes with. Where shall I start? A barbed spear, one broken-bladed sword, and another short-bladed sword. Bear in mind that none of these are for the Lion to arm himself with. These are to stick in specially sculpted holes around the figure. The spear sticks through his back and all the way out through the gaping hole in his gut. The broken sword sticks in his back near his left shoulder blade (insert painfully obvious “backstabber” joke now). Finally, the short sword sticks in his right leg above the knee. Nice touch.
He also comes with a big old bear trap with giant bloody teeth. You gotta expect that the ASPCA would have a field day should traps like this ever really be made. The chain attached to the trap is metal and there are several other individual pieces attached to the trap as well. Only problem I discovered is that one of the two spring loops that, traditionally, help the trap snap shut is on the trap upside down. I know it’s a picky detail on my part and one that many aren’t likely to notice at all, but when figuring out how this trap is supposed to operate, I realized that they put it on wrong. I guess I could actually pull the pins out that hold the jaws on and flip the spring over, but that’s just way too much work.
I would also like to mention the base that comes with the Lion. It is very well done and is necessary as the Lion is very forward heavy. I just noticed that the base plate has several mud covered and cracked yellow bricks all over it keeping intact, figuratively speaking, the old Yellow Brick Road that so many Oz fans identify with. Cool.
Finally, if you’re looking at some of these pictures wondering what that bunch of reddish silver plastic is that looks like a pile of bloody entrails… well… it’s just that… a pile of bloody entrails. This “accessory” has two pegs – one that sticks in his left palm and the other that, after careful navigation, gets plugged into his stomach. The result is that the Lion stands there holding his guts in a scene reminiscent of the opening sequence in “Saving Private Ryan”.
Value - ***
Okay, I paid the collector comic store price for this figure because I didn’t think any retail store, in its right mind, would stock a toy series that has a bondage victim as one of the characters. I could be wrong, but I’m not thinking this will be carried by your local Wal-Mart, kiddies. If they sell only censored CDs, I don’t see how they’d carry this.
So, at the price I paid ($15), I’d have to give this three stars. He’s expensive, but he’s the most worthwhile of the bunch (along with Toto) in terms of amount of plastic per dollar. He’s one solid figure, indeed. After seeing the rest of the line at my local comic shop, I’d probably give the rest only something like two stars each as compared to this one. Toto, while he is significantly larger, is also upcharged by way of comparison due to the larger packaging (hey, simple economics… more packaging = higher price point, doesn’t it?).
Overall - ***1/2
Tons of plastic, great sculpt, great paint, and killer accessories (pun intended) make this a cool toy and one you can proudly display on your toy shelf. Unless you are a parent and don’t want to be explaining to your kids why the Lion looks so dang nasty when he was such a sweet old furball in the movie. I’m still ticked about the lack of leg articulation and that’s why I bumped off the 1/2 star.
Where to Buy:
This is a very good question… where do you buy these at a lower price? You can try some bricks and mortar stores like Meijer and Target. I know I said I don’t think they’ll carry them, but they may still surprise me. Who knows?
Amazon.com does carry them if you look under McFarlane Toys and scroll a ways through the pages upon pages that your search will turn up.
Toys has the set for $59, or each individual figure for $10.
About the Reviewer:
I’m a part-time toy collector only who loves Legos as well as the occasional Muppets or Simpsons figure. If something else out there catches my eye and I’ve got some extra cash, I may pick it up as well. I never really know.
Figures from the collection of