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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Ken Griffey Jr. - Mariners action figure
Clark Toys Exclusive

McFarlane Toys
Date Published: 2009-10-12
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Ken Griffey Jr. exclusive Mariners action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Introduction

Two weeks ago, I cared about the 2009 baseball season. Sadly, my Tigers choked like Mama Cass on a chicken wing and tanked their post season, leaving me to watch the Lions. Don't worry - the Wings are starting up.

McFarlane Toys has been doing their version of sports figures for years now, and some feel it's the core of their toy business, raising them to great heights in the strong times, and keeping them afloat in the lean years. Baseball were their first, and still their strongest line.  My sponsor, Clark Toys, has a new exclusive of Ken Griffey Jr, one of the all time great hitters, and a pretty damn good outfielder too. He is also one of the few players of the 'steroid years' who still appears to be clear of any such abuse.

He played with the Mariners through most of the 90's before roaming through several more teams in the last decade. He's back with the Mariners this season, returning to his big league roots.

Clark Toys has this exclusive of Griffey, wearing his Mariners outfit with his original number 24, and in his classic home run stance.

Ken Griffey Jr. exclusive Mariners action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Packaging - ***
Once upon a time, all McToys figures came in clam shells, but not these days. They've switched back to card back and bubble packaging for a lot of the lines, including the sports waves.

There's nothing particularly outstanding here, but the card back is personalized to the player with both text and graphics, and it included the Clark Toys exclusive logo.

Ken Griffey Jr. exclusive Mariners action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Sculpting - ***1/2
After comparing against a number of Griffey photos from the past 20 years, I have to say that the underlying portrait is very, very good. There's some paint issues that make it tough to fully appreciate some of the sculpt quality, but I'll get to that in the next category.

The expression is about right, as Griffey watches another homer leaving the park off his bat. There's some extremely nice skin detail on the face and arms, and considering the scale, the work on the nose, eyebrows and lips is pretty damn impressive.

This is really an older, more recent Griffey in the Mariners outfit, not a 1995 version. He's a bit heavier, the face is a bit older, but it's all Griffey.

One thing that McToys always seems to get right - and not everyone does - is the wrinkles and stretch marks in the clothing in poses like this. The twisted material has to flow properly for an extreme pose to look right, and it's the sort of thing that your mind will pick up on even if you don't consciously realize it. Here, the sculpted wrinkles in the turned shirt and pants are just about perfect.

He stands about 6 1/4" tall in this pose. There's a metal post on the right foot to attach him to the base, and that's a nice touch. We all know how easy it can be to break the plastic posts, and while he won't be able to stand without the base, you wouldn't want to display him without it anyway.

I had a little trouble getting him to stay standing straight on the base, as he wanted to lean back a bit even with the metal peg. I had to dink around with it abit, but eventually I had it about right.

Ken Griffey Jr. exclusive Mariners action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Paint - **1/2
The paint is a little weak under magnification. In person of course, it's harder to see the slightly wonky eyes, fuzzy edges to the belt and belt loops, and random weak cut lines.

Other aspects of the work is good, including the tampo on the helmet, the stripes on the uniform, and the very realistic dirt pattern on his outside right leg. He's already slide into home once today!

Ken Griffey Jr. exclusive Mariners action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Articulation - *1/2
Although he scores low in this category, it won't negatively effect my overall - in fact, it helps a little. The assumption here is that these are plastic statues, really just Sports Nerd Hummels. So any articulation, even a little, is a plus overall.

There are two joints, but cuts at the white sleeves. These allow you to position the arms in his classic pose. Sure, it's not a lot, but it's better than I expected.

Ken Griffey Jr. exclusive Mariners action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Accessories - ***
There are two accessories, of sorts.

While he's a great fielder, he's even a better hitter, so it's no surprise that he comes with his bat. The end pops off to allow you to slide it into his right palm. The bat looks good in terms of scale and paint, and of course is critical to the overall figure.

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Fun Factor - ***
For kids who love baseball - there's still some of those, right? - are going to enjoy collecting their favorites, and Griffey is one of the few greats of the last 20 years left unsullied by concerns of steroid abuse. Let's hope that turns out to be the case long term.

However, these aren't really 'toys' in the traditional sense. Still, when I was a kid I loved my baseball cards, and these are a mighty fine replacement for that sort of collectible.

Value - **1/2
This guy is an exclusive, and as such pulls a slightly higher price than the average releases. You can pick him up for $18, which is getting to be the norm these days, particularly for the store exclusive figures.

Ken Griffey Jr. exclusive Mariners action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
If you could pick one off the shelf, it would be a good idea to check over the paint work closely for the best one. But odds are you'll be ordering this online, and there isn't anything else to watch out for.

Overall - ***
The paint work coming out of McFarlane these days isn't what it once was, but you'll have to use a macro lens or some serious magnifiers. It's really nice to see Griffey in this uniform, with this number, and in this pose - it doesn't get much more classic than this.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - *1/2
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Ken Griffey Jr. exclusive Mariners action figure by McFarlane Toys

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Where to Buy 
Clark Toys is the place to pick this guy up for $18.

Related Links -
Other Sports reviews include:

- I checked out the mini NBA figures quite awhile back.

- One of my favorite sports figures recently is one of the most hated sports 'mascots' - the FOX Sports Robot.

- there's also a guest review of an early wave of MLB figures, as well as an early wave of NFL figures.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Ken Griffey Jr. exclusive Mariners action figure by McFarlane Toys

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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