Mcfarlane 12" Military

Military figures have existed since the start of action figures. The very first action figure, G.I. Joe, was the ultimate fighting man, and that tradition has been carried on decade after decade. Mcfarlane Toys began producing an in-house developed military line in 2005, and will be releasing the fourth series (not including repaints) very soon.

But what's a military figure if he's only 6" tall? Okay, they are pretty cool, but McToys figured they'd move them up to 12" scale, similar to their other lines. Now, these really are just two ups - the exact same figure released in 6" scale released in the larger 12" scale. In fact, most of Mcfarlane's figures are sculpted in this two up size, and then reduced by computer to create the 6" molds. This technique allows for more detail in the sculpting, a hallmark of Mcfarlane Toys.

They are releasing two of the previous figures in this scale so far - the Paratrooper (reviewed tonight) and the Marine Corps Recon. You should be able to find them at Toys R Us, or at one of the online retailers at the end of the review. They're scheduled to hit stores sometime in November.

Packaging - **1/2
He comes in a big box, with a decent window to view the figure. I can't see him quite as well inside the box as I'd like though, and considering the exceptional sculpt and paint, they really need to show that off on the shelf. This is also not a collector friendly box - you'll need to tear things up pretty good to get him out, with a half dozen twisty ties to deal with as well.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Generally the military line is sculpted at this scale and shrunk down to the 6" scale. This results in great detail in the smaller scale. However, at the full size, the detail isn't nearly as impressive, at least in some respects.

For example, the face is much less detailed here. There's no skin texture, and the Paratrooper has one of the smoothest male faces I have ever seen. This guy uses some seriously good skin care products. Where the uniform and its associated wrinkles were quite detailed in 1/12 scale, in 1/6th scale they are much broader and flat.

Still, there's plenty of detail in the small items. Things like the boots, belt, bayonet, bag and any other accoutrement that stars with B, all look excellent. The sculpted pose works well too, looking good on the shelf and being extremely stable, something that's critical for a figure with so little articulation.  There's a great use of varying textures on the different materials of his clothing, and it really gives the impression that they are not just plastic, but distinct types of cloth, metal, and other material.

At this scale, I prefer cloth clothing when done well. Just look at the Takara Batman or the Medicom Wolverine to see how realistic clothing can be in this scale, given enough effort. And in the military world, there have been many, many exceptional looking cloth outfits. However, the all plastic look here works fine, and at about 11 1/2 inches tall in his slight crouch, he should fit in pretty well with other 12" figures.

Paint - ****
The paint work on the smaller version was excellent - it's almost that good again. There's a little loss of detail, but not much, and the cuts between colors and the application of colors (which would show errors much more readily in this scale) look excellent. There's a nice, dusty appearance to the overall outfit as well, making him look very much like he's been spending time in the desert, rather than a crisp, clean uniform.

The paint compliments the sculpt nicely as well, adding to the detail in the uniform. They've done a particularly good job on the camo appearance, but they've also used the paint to accentuate the realism of the sculpt.

Articulation - *1/2
This is as close to a statue as you can get and still have articulation. The paratrooper has a cut neck, cut wrists...and that's it. No movement at all in the shoulders, elbows, waist, legs - zippo.

I will also point out that the night vision goggles are articulated, allowing them to sit up in the air, or down over his eyes. You'll have to turn the head slightly to get them to lay right over his eyes and still fit past the rifle.

While a lack of articulation is probably not a huge deal for most folks looking to pick these up, it does matter in one place. No articulation means the sculpted pose has to be perfect, and here I wish that the arms were up just a little higher. The gun barrel is pointed down a bit more than I'd like, and while I can use the wrists to level it out side to side, there's nothing I can do to raise it up.

Accessories -  **
Technically, he has three, both of his guns and the base The rifle can be removed from his hands, and comes complete with strap to hang over his shoulder. Of course, there's really no reason to remove the rifle since he'd look pretty stupid with his hands up in the air and no gun to occupy them.

Likewise, the pistol is also a separate item, and can be removed from the soft rubber holster. But since there's not much he can do with it outside of the holster, there's not much point to removing it. It is a good though that it's a separate piece, as that allows the sculpt to appear much, much more realistic at this scale.

The bayonet is not removable, which was a disappointment, since it would have been nice to remove it and put it on the end of the rifle for a slightly different look.

The base is the basic sandy ground base from the original release, and his feet fit tightly but smoothly on the pegs. There's no chance of topple, and even less of wilt.

Fun Factor - **
Smaller scale figures can live without articulation and still be fun. But as scale goes up, articulation becomes more important, at least for play. Most kids won't have much use for these plastic statues, so hunt up something from the clothed sixth scale world for little Johnny.

Value - **
He's the same price as the recent 12" Batman from Mattel - $30. At that price point, he's a bit overpriced, but not as much as the Batman was. Why? For starters, he's a very solid hunk of plastic, with zero hollow or rotocast parts. Second, this a much more complex sculpt, and even more critical to cost, a much more complex paint job. There are many more paint operations on this figure than on the Batman, making him more expensive to produce.

Still, he's really a mass market release, considering all the stores that carry the military line (including Toys R Us). Unlike a more expensive Kotobukiya Star Wars kit for example, this guy is going to be available at a local store, will be produced in pretty decent quantities, and most importantly has zero licensing costs associated with him.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Zip. This is one of the sturdiest figures I've seen recently, and you could beat an elephant to death with it. Not that I'd recommend it, since it would make a hell of a mess.

Overall - ***
There's no doubt that the excellent sculpt and paint have the heaviest weight when considering the overall score for this figure. I wasn't expecting much in articulation or accessories, but the price point hurts. Just like the recent 12" Batman from Mattel, you can't really justify getting into the $30 range for what amounts to nothing more than a large version of an already released figure.

However, he will look mighty good on the shelf, and in terms of sculpt and paint compares extremely well to higher end, more expensive items like the Kotobukiya 'kits'. If you're a military fan, but you're just to 'manly' to deal with action figures with real clothing, these could be just the ticket. I think I'll be taking mine into work to hang out with the Koto Snowtrooper.

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

Where to Buy - 
Toys R Us should get these in, and if Meijers does, they might be your cheapest. Online options include:

- Clark Toys has them both at $30 each.

- CornerStoreComics is supposed to be getting them in, but I couldn't find a listing. Perhaps if you give them a call...

Related Links:
Check out my earlier review of the 6" scale Marine Corps Recon, or the feature article at the Mcfarlane website on series 4.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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