Toy Story Cosbabies - regular and super sized!

Toy Story Cosbaby action figures 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."

Jeff is back with another look at some of those cute little Cosbabies - take it away, Jeff!

Cosbaby figures, you either ‘get’ them or you don’t, and that will obviously influence whether you ‘like’ them or you don’t!

Since they first kicked off with the Pirates of the Caribbean set, the licences they have encompassed have been diverse to say the least, everything from Tim Burton’s  Edward Scissorhands and Mars Attacks through to Michael Jackson and the Disney Classics. That last set, being based on cartoon characters lent itself easily to this line of figures, as did the set from Pixar's UP. And now here we are with Pixar's most celebrated characters to date (well some of them) from the movie that kick-started it all for them in the first place. Toy Story.

The characters of Woody and Buzz are now just about as internationally recognised as it’s possible to get, and with the recent addition of Toy Story 3, which quickly became the highest grossing animated movie of all time (it’s now brought in over a billion dollars, and that’s before the DVD has even gone on sale) it’s become one of the biggest franchises ever. So its safe to say this little, one might even say humble, group of toys is now fully deserving of the title icons!

I said when I reviewed the UP Cosbaby figures, that I really hoped it was going to lead to many more collaborations between Pixar and Hot Toys and I still hope it will. I desperately want someone to bring us an articulated and fully accurate WALL-E, and a decent set of The Incredibles figures would make me a very happy bunny indeed.
But right now we are looking at the latest set of Cosbaby figures, we get a regular set of seven with a rarer chase figure making a complete set of eight. Well, I say rarer but mine did come in a boxed case of 8 figures. I don’t know if this is how they are always packed, but if it is it means the extra figure should be packed in the same numbers as every other one.

This time there are also three rather impressive large versions as well, something I don’t think has happened since that first Pirates of the Caribbean set where there was a larger scale Captain Jack.

So, could this set be the one to finally pop your Cosbaby cherry, I have a feeling it will for many Pixar fans out there, and lets face, there are few!
Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys

Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys
Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys

Packaging - regular figs ***1/2- large figs ****
The smaller, regular sized figures come blind boxed, but because of the nature of the designs of these figures the boxes are a little bigger than they have been in the past. This is to accommodate their larger hats and indeed helmets. In fact they are about a third bigger than the usual single figure packaging. These are nice colourful little boxes with a selection of images of characters from the movies on the front alongside the movie logo. The sides have photos of the figure selection available plus all the legal mumbo-jumbo and licensing information. Inside are two small clear Vac formed trays that the figures are sandwiched between to hold them safe and secure.

The larger boxes aren’t quite as colourful, but make up for it in terms of overall design and quality, actually managing to look pretty classy!

Designer vinyl figures often go for clean unfussy packaging and these live by that doctrine. They all measure 7” x 5” x 5” and have differing textures and colour schemes. Buzz’s is gloss white at the top with matte green at the bottom and has a spaceship shaped window on the front with smaller angled bar windows on the sides, Woody has a brown matte hessian textured top half with a golden yellow bottom half, the front has a large horse-shoe shaped window while the sides have sheriffs badge shaped windows on either side. Lastly there’s the Alien box, this is matte textured lime at the top and reflex blue at the bottom and has a rocket shaped window on the front and three alien eye shaped windows on the sides. All the colours used on these larger boxes are beautifully flat and dense and look to me to be special spot colours… as I said, quite classy, the backs of them also have small holographic stickers to let you know these are official Disney/Pixar products!
It’s worth mentioning the interiors of these large boxes as well, as not only are all three held secure by vac-formed trays but they have rather cute printed backgrounds to boot. Buzz has an image of the corridor he runs down at the beginning of Toy Story 2 in his battle with Zurg, while Woody has an image of the other ‘Woody’s Round-Up’ vintage collectible goodies in Al’s haul, and lastly the Alien has a whole legion of Aliens crowding around him.

All the boxes are built of good stiff cardboard as well, so the contents are well protected, and lets face it, that is what a box is for!

Sculpting - regular ***1/2, large figs ****
The selection here is…

Regular 3” versions-
1 Sheriff Woody
2 Buzz Lightyear
3 Jessie the Cowgirl
4 Emperor Zurg
5 Alien (smiley version)
6 Alien (Oooooooh version)
7 Army Man (regular with rifle)
8 Army Man (variant with binoculars)
Large 6” scale-
1 Woody
2 Buzz
3 Alien (with sunglasses)

I have to admit that at first I was surprised we got the two Army Men in this selection over a possible Mr Potato Head, Hamm or Rex. But I guess the more human proportions of the soldiers, plus the possible licensing issues with companies like Playskool may have influenced the decision.
The sculpting of Cosbaby figures is all about interpretation, but also about keeping enough of the source material visible to make them instantly recognisable, now while that has been more successful on some sets than others, here it works a treat. But like the Michael Jackson set, most of the ‘humanoid’ figures here get unique head sculpts rather than just repaints of the classic Cosbaby head. For Woody and Buzz in particular the heads are great Cosbaby representations of the characters, but the one that jumped out at me and became a bit of a fave is Zurg… I’m not even 100% sure why myself, but he just looks like a cool little toy figure. Plus he looks great alongside my second favourite Buzz.

Buzz has lots of cool details like his extended glider wings on the back-pack and he even has his bubble helmet, something that was sadly lacking on the Mars Attacks Martians, and all his details are well observed, shrunk down and Cosbabied up to the max. My next faves are the Aliens, these are identical except for the differing mouth expressions, I think these are the coolest of the bunch and if I had the cash to buy a 100 of them, they would make for one hell of a display, verging on the small-scale pop-art installation. The head on the Alien is pared down to an even simpler form than it had in the movie and the feet are fused together to mimic their movie anatomy as well. Woody and Jessie make for a cool little set on their own, looking like some long lost collectible from Woody’s Round-Up that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Al’s classic collection. Both have their cowboy hats, though neither are removable, both also have separate belts and Woody even has his waistcoat and spurs sculpted as separate items, and both have the tiny rings for their pull cords modelled onto their backs.

Lastly, for the small regular set we get the two Army Men. These, like the Aliens, are identical in their sculpt but have different accessories. One has a tiny assault riffle while the other has a tiny pair of binoculars, the gun can obviously be held by the handle but the bins have a tiny central handle under them that the figure grips. I did find you could get the figure to hold them in a pose that approximates looking through them, but it takes a couple of strategically placed blobs of Blu-Tack.

The large scale figures are just that, as they are simply the same figure but twice the size. The small figures measure in at 3” while these are 6”. Of course a lot of the details are enhanced at this larger scale giving us crisper tooling and sharper lines, but in essence these big versions are pretty much identical in their sculpt and construction, well, apart from the Aliens shades. He comes with a trio of triglasses, these clip on behind the ears with small pegs and have black painted frames on dark tinted lenses, and they fit surprisingly well, considering he doesn’t have two noses!
I’m giving the large figures a deserved higher score, as the increase in size means the quality of finish on the casting gives these a much more high end feel, and the use of ABS plastic means they are nice and light and can stand easily, even on one leg with a little practice.

If you plan to buy only one piece of ‘designer vinyl’ this year, make it  ‘designer ABS’ instead, and make it the Alien, ooooooooooh!

Paint -regular ***1/2, large figs****
The paint on Cosbaby figures is always pretty crisp and accurate and the small figures are as good as we have come to expect. So don’t expect complete and utter perfection, but for $8.99 a pop, but you’ll get pretty darn close. These are clean, unfussy and well carried out.
The large scale figures as you would expect are even finer in their paint apps, with even better crisp painting and faultless division lines. Of the large Cosbaby selection the Alien is my stand out figure, he simply has a very cute and cool shelf presence (aided by those specs), but Woody and Buzz standing side by side have quite an impact as well.
The thing about the whole look of ‘vinyl’ style figures is the aspect of ‘perfection’ they strive to achieve, not only in the casting/fabrication but also in the immaculate paint apps, making you feel like you are holding a fully realised 3D illustrated, then rendered item in your hands. And as such these really do the job!

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention another cool little detail, both the large and small versions of Woody and Buzz have ‘ANDY’ written on the soles of their right foot, and yes they remembered to put the ‘N’ the wrong way round on Woody’s, a cute touch!

Outfit- N/A
All clothing is sculpted.

Accessories - Army Men *** Army Men chase **1/2
Apart from on the Army Men this is a barren category, and they just have one item each. The regular has a tiny rifle and the chase version has a little pair of binoculars. The paint on the Army men is a nice solid dense green on both the figures and accessories, and they even remembered to paint the small casting rings on their backs, another cute touch.

Articulation - ***
The classic Cosbaby figure always has the same articulation, but from time to time some need specific sculpting/engineering to suit the physiology of a given character, so here only three have the regular articulation of push in ball jointed appendages on all their primary limbs. They are Woody, Buzz and Jessie, all the others have variations of fused feet of skirted legs. But all can stand OK and with a little manipulation you can insure that no two displays are the same, which is pretty sweet for a bunch of 3” figures.

The larger scale figures have all the same articulation as the smaller counterparts except Buzz’s helmet can be taken off to pose the head and neck into different positions, this can’t be done with the small-scale Buzz. And the large Alien like his small counterpart has his feet fused together.

Value - regular **** large scale ***
The small figures will run you to $69.99 for the set (for some reason Sideshow don’t have the chase figure available again, unless they chuck one in with the full set when ordered complete?) or you can get them individually for $8.99 each. The larger figures are $45.99, which I have to admit does seem a little on the steep side, but I’m guessing a Disney/Pixar license is far from a cheap thing to invest in, so you gotta claw that outlay back somehow.

However, If they had been in the $25 to $35 bracket I think they would seem like a much sweeter deal, so they lose a whole star in this category. If it wasn’t for the fact they looked so cool, and the detailing on both the casting and painting wasn’t so strong, then they might have lost even more. But even at the slightly lofty price they make for some very cute shelf fodder.

Overall- ***1/2
The Toy Story characters are to Pixar what Mickey and Donald are to Disney, so these were a great way for Hot Toys to continue with the Pixar Cosbaby line. And let’s face it, the fact that these are ideally suited to characters in human, or at least near human form, it wasn’t going to work with Cars, Nemo or Wall-E, but I do hope we might get the Incredibles, Monsters Inc and maybe even Ratatouille represented further down the line, but who knows? Until we see sequels to these movies we might just get the newest releases given the Cosbaby treatment. As it is I could even see another set of Toy Story figures being an option, but I guess that will all be down to how well this set do at retail as well.

I’m awarding both sets, large and small the same score. I think the quality of paint work and the clarity of the sculpting was far finer on the large figures, but this is offset by the fact that the small figures are a good pocket money collectible, while the larger figures have quite a hefty price tag. I did toy with giving the large figures just 3 stars, but the final quality was just too nice for that!
Plus, how often do you get to say ‘I have a large Woody’ in polite company and get away with it…exactly! It’s worth buying him just for that!

Where to buy
The full ‘official’ set of seven characters are available from Sideshow for $69.99 on pre-order or you can select your favourite for $8.99 a pop. However if your favourite is Woody, Buzz or the Alien then you can upgrade to the uber version, where Sideshow are asking the RRP of $45.99.

I couldn’t find them with any of Michael’s sponsors, so your other port of call will have to be eBay where prices for the complete set of 8 figures is between $70 to $100, with individual characters fetching between $9 to $24 depending on rareness or desirability.

The large figures are also being sold as a set of three for between $145 to $220 or individually for between $40 to $70… as always, shop around!

Toy Story Cosbaby action figures by Hot Toys

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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