12" Mandarin Spawn 2

Mcfarlane Toys has produced a lot of cool figures over the years, but one of the fan favorites has always been Mandarin Spawn. The original version won lots of awards, including best paint application from Toyfare for 1999. Done twice in 6" scale (not including repaints), both were popular choices on fan favorite polls. The first version was also done in 12" format back in 2000 (wow, six years already!), so it's no surprise that we are seeing version 2 released in the 12" scale as well.

This figure should be hitting retailers now, and costs around $30 - $35 depending on the shop.

Packaging - ***
It's a big box. Similar to other Mcfarlane boxes, it shows off the figure pretty well, keeps it safe on the shelf, and is even relatively easy to store for the MIBBers. It's not collector friendly though (you won't be attempting to put this guy back once he's freed), and the graphics aren't as appealing as some of the other Mcfarlane work.

Sculpting - ****
I think both versions of the Mandarin Spawn are some of the very best examples of Mcfarlane hitting on all cylinders when it comes to sculpt and paint. The Asian influenced design really showcases their talent, with lots of opportunity to amazing detail.

These aren't highly articulated figures, so the pose you get is the pose you keep, for the most part. In the case of Mandy 2, there were some folks that were less than thrilled with the wide fighting stance and funky arm poses. However, I think it's a terrific pose, and there's just enough articulation to make it your own.

Most impressive of course is the detail work on the armor. When he was six inches tall, it was pretty amazing, and sometimes when scale goes up, the complexity of the detail goes down. But this time, what looked great at 6" looks even better at 12". I'm sure the ladies will agree.

There was so much detail in the various skulls and lizards and doo dads sculpted into the armor that in the smaller scale, it was perhaps simply too much to all take in. In this larger size, you can better appreciate how much is really going on in the sculpt.

Scale-wise, he fits in pretty well with average sixth scale figures, if you figure he's on the large side, and in his crouched pose he stands 13 inches tall at his spike helmet, or 14 inches all the way to the tip of the shoulder spike.

Paint - ****
There hasn't been a Mandy Spawn yet that did poorly when it came to paint. Once again, the Asian influence on this design allows for a fantastic color palette, with bright gold and red breaking the sea of browns and greens on the shelf. There's almost no slop here as well, with some excellent small detail work, and realistic weathering to areas like the teeth and bones used in the armor.

My favorite work is on the face, there there's gold, black, yellow, white and red all working together. Oh, there's some slight slop on some of the cuts between colors, but considering this is a sixth scale figure (where even a small blip can show up very easily in photos), the work is mighty fine.

Articulation - **1/2
As I mentioned earlier, the pose you get is the pose you live with. There's some things you can do with the arms, but even that's a bit limited by the sculpt.

He has a cut neck, and he really, really deserves a ball joint. It would have added a lot to the poses if he could tilt or angle his head, and there's no reason the sculpt couldn't have accommodated it.

He has decent ball jointed shoulders, along with a ball jointed left hip. These work fine, and are fairly tight. The shoulder pads are hinged, so that they move upward with his arms, and don't restrict the mobility.

There's also cut joints at the wrists, and one above the right elbow, to give the arms some posing possibilities. Actually, moving the arms is your biggest chance to customize his look to your tastes.

The ankles have the same style pseudo-ball joints at the ankles, but I can't get the same range of movement out of them for some reason. They operate more like cut joints this time around. 

The left leg has a cut knee, and a chest joint that is fairly restricted by the sculpt.

For the most part, the articulation that's here is designed to hit the sweet spot and get the center of gravity just right for long term stability. The arms give you a little potential, but nothing major.

Accessories -  **
He comes with one accessory, just like his smaller cousin did - his nasty looking bladed weapon. The handle comes apart about mid-way to allow you to put it in the tightly fisted left hand, and both the paint and sculpt are excellent. The ribbons on the back of the handle are made from a softer material, so that they flow and hang appropriately.

Still, at thirty bucks that's pretty light. It's a good accessory, but with no stand or anything additional, it doesn't help much to justify the cost.

Fun Factor - **
Kids can find ways to use even a relatively unarticulated figure in play, but it's not nearly as much fun. Poor Mandy could end up as Batman's punching bag, but this isn't really designed to operate as a toy first. Don't get me wrong - it's definitely sturdy enough (as long as you keep the hard plastic blade away from the very young) - but it's not a figure I see a lot of kids taking too as a plaything.

Value - **
Ouch. Thirty to thirty five bucks seems to be the going rate for the McToys 12" figures, but it's still a bit high. I don't expect them to be as cheap as Marvel Icons, which are a fantastic value at $15, but something more in line with $20 - $25, which is the price point we can expect the Icons to rise to once Hasbro takes over.

I also just reviewed another 12" two up style figure last week, the Mattel Batman from DCSH. That figure was also $30, but a much worse value. Why? Because at least Mandy sports a truly amazing sculpt and paint job, plus a useful and important accessory.

Things to Watch Out For - 
I did notice that when putting the two halves of his weapon together, you could snap the pin if you aren't paying attention. It's a tight fit, and the peg is fairly hard plastic. Take some care!

Overall - ***1/2
The quality of this figure is all wrapped up in the sculpt and paint. If you like the selected pose, and liked the smaller scale figure, you're going to love the large version. If you're not a fan of the pose, well, I'd be willing to bet the farm that you won't like this one either.

This isn't a hyper-articulated figure, so you need to understand and accept that going in to enjoy it for what it is. The price tag is a good $5, maybe $10, over what it should be, but had this retailed at $20 - $25, four stars would have been a likely overall score. Had they thrown in a couple more accessories in some way that was useful and cool, that too could have boosted him that smidge he needed to hit the elusive four of a kind.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - **
Fun Factor - **
Value -  **
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy:
Online choices include:

- Amazing Toyz has him in stock for $30.

- CornerStoreComics has him in stock for $30 as well.

- Killer Toys has him listed at $30, on pre-order.

- YouBuyNow has him in stock for $34.

Related Links:
I reviewed the 6" version of this Mandarin Spawn, along with the repainted version of the original 6" Mandarin Spawn

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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