TOY REVIEW ARCHIVE    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE >


Medicom Wolverine: Last Stand

While they weren't perhaps the very best superhero movies ever produced, the three X-men movies were certainly some of the better. With solid comic book roots, yet a realistic sensibility, this movie ushered in a wave of successful comic book based films, and helped convince the movie studios that money could be made from this genre. Who knows - perhaps if the first X-men hadn't been the critical and box office success it was, we might have never seen the Spider-man film finally make it to the theater.

X-men might be the story of a team of superheroes (and super villains), but the success of the films was driven in large part by the appeal of one character - Wolverine. Played by a relative unknown at the time, Hugh Jackman, it was an example of casting away from the comic book appearance of the character. Wolverine is a stubby, heavily muscled character in the books, but the movie producers went with a taller, leaner actor. It was a smart move, as Jackman brought the heart and soul of the character to the screen, rather than simply mugging the appearance.








With his success in the three films, it's no wonder that a Wolverine film is in production. But all the success of the films didn't translate to the toys, and there's never been an outstanding movie based line. Medicom has brought out their version of Wolverine based on the films, and fans are going to be very, very happy.

Of course, it's not a cheap figure. Sideshow Toy is importing it for Medicom, and they have it up right now on second chance for $100.

Packaging - ***1/2
It's not exciting, but it is collector friendly. No twisty ties, nothing to damage, easy as pie to slip out of his plastic tray, display and play, and put him all back again for storage or sale. The box is nice and small too, just big enough for the figure and accessories, avoiding waste.

These boxes are a little easy to tear though, especially at the bottom edges. Take care when you're pulling out the tray if you plan on keeping the box.

Sculpting - ****
One of my biggest issues with Medicom's RAH line is the head sculpts. I hated their Luke Skywalker, but masked figures like the Rockeeter, Stormtrooper or Batman, they do a great job. Human faces, not so much.

But I have to say that I think they captured Jackman extremely well this time. It's still a little cartoony, certainly more so than a company like Sideshow would have gone for. It is slightly stylized, with a little less detail than a truly realistic sculpt would have had. But there's no doubt it's Jackman's Wolverine, and the proportions and style really butter my butt this time around.

While the head has that distinctive joint at the neck again, the sculpt itself (along with the costume) hides it really well. The sculpted hands with claws are also excellent, and perfectly proportioned to the body, neither undersized nor oversized. The length and width of the claws is perfect, and even the boot sculpt looks great.

I would have preferred a slightly more realistic version, but unfortunately, that's not going to happen with Medicom, and I can't fault them too much since detailed, realistic sculpts isn't their strategic direction. However, this one is good enough that I'm giving their Jack Sparrow a second look.

And while I'm pretty enamored with the entire sculpt, there's one feature that I love. It's the six distinct loose strands of hair hanging down onto his forehead. They match his claws in number and style - excellent!

Paint - ****
Obviously, there's not a ton of paint here, but there's always the ever critical head and hands.

The cuts between colors are really clean and neat, particularly the hair line. That's critical with the thin strands that run down the face, where are sharply defined against the skin tone. The eyes are clean as well, but I would have liked a more realistic finish here and on the lips, similar to what Sideshow does. I realize that's not the general Medicom style, but what this ends up appearing like is the plastic that it is.

The slight growth moustache throws me a bit as well, since the amount of hair between the beard and moustache is such a huge difference. Still, they did an excellent job getting the five o'clock shadow feel in the moustache, something other companies have such a hard time accomplishing.

The hands are painted to match the suit, and they've coordinated the colors and finishes extremely well.

Articulation - ****
Medicom articulation is top notch, with almost nothing to complain about. Sometimes they use their smaller body for a figure that really needs to be bigger (i.e. Batman or Vader), but no worries here, as this is the larger, more standard sized body. Wolverine stands at right about 12 inches tall, and while he's a little leaner than some sixth scale figures, he should still fit in pretty well.

He's got all the joints you could ever need, and they all have an excellent range of movement, even within the outfit. The ball jointed neck is particularly well done, and you'll find it critical in creating expressive poses. The wrist joints are also a highlight, and the long posts have little chance of getting damaged when swapping hands.

This Medicom body has the feature I've talked about when discussing the changes Sideshow should make: this body hangs naturally. You can adjust the hips, waist, shoulders, torso and neck to get a natural flow to the body, and produce very realistic (i.e. non-mannequin) poses.

Outfit - ****
The overall look and feel of this figure is simply fantastic, but if I had to boil that down to one single contributing factor, it would be the exceptional work on the outfit.

The outfit only consists of three main pieces - boots, pants and jacket. The boot sculpts are good, and work nicely with the articulation in the ankles to allow for some great poses.

The pants have one annoying feature - a Velcro fly. I hate the use of Velcro by Medicom, because it's a cheap alternative that shouldn't be in high end figures like this. But fortunately they went with a very thin Velcro, so it doesn't detract from the otherwise excellent tailoring and fit of the pants. The pants and jacket are made from a black leather with yellow piping, and they look absolutely real.

The jacket fits perfectly as well, and both the pants and jacket stretch to allow for all kinds of deep stances and complex poses. I did have one minor issue with my jacket though. The stiff yellow piping runs the full length of the material, right around into the hemmed material on the inside. Because the piping is fairly stiff, it was pulling the hemmed material down and out on the right side of the jacket, so that it was apparent to the casual observer. I was able to keep it out of the way for most of the photos, but I think a little ironing with a slight warm iron might be in his future.

There's also more than one type of material used in the jacket. While I mentioned the plastic piping and leather, there's also a soft stretchy black material used for the center for the back. Using different materials like this adds to the visual appeal as well.

Oh, and let's not forget the in scale zippers! The problem with most zippers on sixth scale figures is that companies use versions that are much to big. Here, there's a zipper down the front of the jacket and on each sleeve, and they are much smaller than the usual fare. They work great as well!

Accessories -  ***
Ah, the one category where this figure is a little light. Wolverine comes with a clear display stand, and an extra set of non-clawed hands.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm much happier with the clawed/non-clawed hands on this figure than those damn removable claws that Medicom went with for the comic book version. This works better in all sorts of ways: you won't break a claw putting it in or out of the hand, you won't lose a claw, and perhaps most important, you get better hand sculpts for the un-clawed versions.

Here, both non-clawed hands are done in slight 'gesturing' poses. The sculpts work well for a resting pose or a ready to fight pose, and while most people will probably stick with the clawed versions, having the option done in this manner is greatly appreciated.

The clear stand is the basic Medicom stand, and unless you're going for a funky pose, isn't really needed. As always, it's nice to have, but you won't be dependent on it. And for me, I really dislike having figures in display stands when it's not necessary on the shelf - it kills a lot of the realism in the look of the figure for me.

Even though this is a figure that's pretty much worth the $100 price tag, he could have used a couple more accessories to push him over the edge. An alternate cigar smoking head perhaps...

Fun Factor - ***
These aren't designed as toys, but that's what they are. Very expensive, very high quality toys. And by that I mean they operate exactly as you'd expect the very finest toys to operate.

The articulation not only works great, it's extremely sturdy. The costume is also well made, with little chance for damage with basic play. Those hard plastic claws aren't good for the little ones, and obviously the price tag implies these aren't intended for little Billy to swing around their head on the end of a string. But Wolverine is an excellent example of a 'collectible' that has retained its connection to its roots.

Value - **1/2
At a $100, you're actually getting just about what you're paying for here, one of those rare times recently when a figure touted as 'art' really lives up to the hype. Had they thrown in a couple more accessories, he could have gotten *** for value, which is pretty amazing considering the price tag. That's how good this figure is.

Things to Watch Out For - 
I didn't notice a thing. The claws could break of course, but they're thick enough and hard enough that it would take a pretty good jolt. The hands pop in out out smoothly, there's no costume issues - this is an excellent quality figure.

You could lose the hard plastic symbol on the front of the jacket though, the one that looks like a belt. It only fits a little way into the jacket on either side, and it's easily removable (if you want to undress the figure, I suppose). However, it can also fall out and get lost if you don't realize it's a separate piece.

Overall - ****
I own about a half dozen Medicom figures now, from movie properties to comic book properties. I can easily say, without a doubt, that this is my favorite of the bunch. At half the price of some of them, he's actually a solid value, a high end figure with a price tag that matches the quality and design.

If you're a big fan of Wolverine or the X-men flicks, do yourself a favor and pick this guy up. I rarely say this, but go buy this figure. It's outstanding, and it's going to be one of those Medicom's that dries up and rises in cost as time goes by.

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

Where to Buy - 
I picked mine up through Sideshow, and they have a second chance offer up right now ().

- Amazing Toyz has him listed at $90.

- CornerStoreComics also has him listed at $90.

Related Links:
There's plenty of other reviews to check out:

- this isn't the only larger scale movie Wolverine - there's also the old Famous Covers 8" version.

- there was this guest review of the Medicom comic based Wolverine.

- looking for something sixth scale but cheaper, there's always the Icons version.

- in a smaller scale, there's the recent Toybiz Wolverine, Marvel Select Ultimate Wolverine, Marvel Legends 11 Wolverine, Marvel Legends 6 Wolverine, X-men Classics Wolverine, the X-men 2 movie Wolverine, Apocalypse Wolverine from the ML Giant Man wave, the Marvel Legends 12 Wolverine, the Marvel Legends 3 Wolverine, Marvel Select Days of Future Past Wolverine, Marvel Select Origin Wolverine, and the Marvel Legends X-men Legends boxed set. Whew.

- and in the statues/bust department, one of my favs is the Sam Keith bust from Diamond Select, the modern era Wolverine statue from Diamond Select, and there's the very cool X-men Evolutions maquette.

- and if you liked this Medicom, other choices include the Rocketeer, Symbiote Spider-man, Darth Vader, Batman, Stormtrooper, and Luke Skywalker.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour Hosting.com