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Walking Dead - Carl Grimes & Gas Mask Zombie
McFarlane Toys

Gas Mask Zombie Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys


The Walking Dead remains one of the very best dramas on television, with another strong week in the rear view mirror. A lot of the characters have grown this season, but no more than Carl. He's becoming a man, getting his emotions and moral center under control, thanks to some intelligent parenting on his father's part. He's growing up in an awful world, but he's finding his way, and I have to say that I'm pretty impressed by the acting of the young Chandler Riggs. Most kids his age are simply bad actors -they are past the cute stage and haven't reached the point where they have enough life experience to successfully 'act'. He's coming into his own on the show, and he's been a welcome character this season.

I bring him up because his figure, along with one of the new SWAT zombies, is the focus of tonight's review. These shipped with the Governor and Andrea figures I reviewed earlier, and there's a second SWAT zombie in the series as well, taking the wave count to five.

These are available now at Toys R Us stores, as well as various online retailers, for around $18 each.

Packaging - ***1/2
I like the size of the packages - there's no waste, and they look good on the peg. There's too damn many twisties, but the overall look is really growing on me.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Gas Mask Zombie Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys
Carl Grimes Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys
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Gas Mask Zombie Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys
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Gas Mask Zombie Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys
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Gas Mask Zombie Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys
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Gas Mask Zombie Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys
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Gas Mask Zombie Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys
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Gas Mask Zombie Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys
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Gas Mask Zombie Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys
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Gas Mask Zombie Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys
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Gas Mask Zombie Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys

Sculpting - Zombie ****; Carl ***1/2
The first wave or so of the McFarlane Walking Dead figures was weak - there's no other way to put it. That's no longer the case.

I'm not going to say Carl is as good as the exceptional Merle, or even Michonne. But I was shocked by how good the likeness was on this portrait.

He doesn't have one of those easy to sculpt faces, because there's nothing super distinctive about it. And yet, they've captured it - you really see Chandler Riggs as Carl. I will say that not wearint the hat the likeness isn't quite as strong, but in the hat he's a dead ringer.

I'll go in greater detail on the three layer face on the SWAT zombie in the Accessories section, but suffice to say that the sculpting on all three layers is fantastic. I really love the look of the zombie without any face, gruesome as it is. Unlike Carl, it's not really necessary for this to be an exact duplicate of an actual person, but the detailing and sharpness of the lines makes it a terrific looking zombie to add to the mix.

The zombie is about 5 1/4 inches tall, while Carl comes in at a scale appropriate 4 inches. Both stand fine on their own, once you find the sweet spot.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint can still get better - there's a little gloppiness on the skin tones, and some areas are thicker than I'd like.

But overall it has improved, especially when you consider the scale.  The work on Carl's face is clean, and doesn't detract from the excellent likeness. There's a nice amount of blood and gore on both characters, although the zombie has a bit more...as you'd hope.

I do wish his teeth were a little less dirty, and by that I mean less actual dirt in the paint. The teeth have a surface roughness that doesn't seem consistent with the general damage and rot. On the flip side, the work on the rotting eyeballs is great, and I love the detail of the splatter inside the mask.

I wanted to mention that Carl is able to hold his accessories, unlike the Govenor and Andrea figures I reviewed earlier. The hand sculpts are much better suited to work with his extras.

Overall I'm quite happy with the paint quality, and the level of detail work.

Articulation - Zombie ****; Carl ***
Both figures have good articulation, another area that's improved over the course of several waves. Dropping the silly action features also helped here, since they often got in the way of decent mobility.

Both have ball jointed necks, ball jointed shoulders and a rocker waist (although Carl's is pretty restricted). Carl has pin elbows and pin wrists, while the zombie has ball elbows and cut wrists.

Both have those ball hips that lack the mobility that you really need, but the ball knees and ankles help make up for it a bit. Carl has a slightly harder time taking good stances because of the restriction on the ankle caused by the pant sculpt, but you can still get him to stay standing.

Be careful with the wrists on both of them, as they were painted tight on mine.

Accessories - ****
Both figures come with cool extras, appropriate to the characters.

Carl has his dad's hat, and it really looks great. This is one of those rare times where the figure looks better with the hat than without, and the slightly oversized nature is appropriate.

He also has a small knife that fits nicely in a sheath on his belt, as well as a duffel bag and a set of keys. These all make sense in the context of earlier episodes, but I do wish he also has his gun with the homemade silencer.

At first glance, the zombie doesn't seem to have any accessories. But his face mask is not one extra but two - and it's one of the coolest, well executed ideas I've seen in awhile.

The full mask fits nicely over the face, and stays in place. The interior of the mask appears to be splattered with snot, or something even worse. You can pop off this plastic piece, exposing the zombie face underneath. This face has sagging, rotting skin. You can then pull of the entire mask, and the skin is gone, exposing the raw, red muscle and flesh underneath. 

This works and looks great - it is one of those very cool ideas that was perfectly executed.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
With good articulation and accessories, and a perfect conflict story for role play, these make excellent action figures. They are a little fragile, but not so much that kids couldn't have a good time battling the monsters. With zombies, you don't have to be a fan of the show to have some fun.

And how much fun is the removable face on the SWAT zombie? That's just too damn cool.

Value - **
I have a tough time convincing myself that these are worth almost twenty bucks each, considering the kind of work we're seeing from DST and NECA for the same or less money. While these have improved, the price point is still a killer.

Things to Watch Out For -
I snapped the wrist on Carl with a slight touch. It was painted tight, and very brittle. Take care with the joints, especially the wrists.

Overall - Zombie ****; Carl ***1/2
Both of these figures are right up there with the best of the line overall, and I gave the zombie the edge just because I really, really, really love the layered face. It works perfectly, which is so rare these days.

I'm also happy with this series overall, because the quality has gone up across the board. The sculpts are much improved, the articulation has improved, and they even dropped the ridiculous action features that hurt some of the previous releases.

I haven't picked up any of the comic book figures since the first wave, but I'll be a completist on the show based line, something I didn't expect back when they released the awful first series. I wish every company paid attention and corrected issues this way!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - Zombie ****; Carl ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - Zombie ****; Carl ***
Accessories - ****
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - Zombie ****; Carl ***1/2

Where to Buy -
I picked these up at the local Toys R Us for about $17 each. Online options include these site sponsors:

- Entertainment Earth has the singles for $15, or the set of 5 for just $70.

- Big Bad Toy Store also has the singles at $15, and the full set of five at $70.

- Urban Collector has both for $18 each.

- Things From Another World also has them at $18 each.

- Fanboy Collectibles has the set of five regular figures for $70.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I just covered the Governor and Andrea, also from this series. I've also covered Merle and Michonne, the RV and Well Zombies, Shane and the Bicycle Girl, Walking Dead figures series 1, the two humans in series 2, as well as the first series of comic based figures. And don't forget that Gentle Giant is doing busts, including Michonne, Rick and the Well Walker so far.  And if you like the RV Zombie, Mcfarlane also did a cool blu-ray case using his head, as well as the third season blu-ray case.

Discussion:
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Gas Mask Zombie Walking Dead action figure by McFarlane Toys


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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