Appleseed Saga, Ex Machina- E-SWAT Snap-Kits and Landmate BAF

From Hot Toys

Appleseed snap kits action figures from 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 Parker checks in tonight with a Hot Toys review of the much smaller variety - take it away, Jeff!

Thanks as always to Michael. Back in January I reviewed the excellent 1/6 figures of Deunan and Briareos, from Appleseed: Ex-Machina, then in September they were finally joined by Tereus, but at the time of his announcement they also unveiled some very cool 1/20 scale Ex-Machina snap-kits, they consisted of most of the Olympus ES.W.A.T team, Deunan Knute, Briareos Hechatonchires, Tereus, Manuel Aeacus and Rhoetus, but the thing that got the fans of Masamune Shirow really excited was that if you bought a full display box, you were guaranteed all the parts for a 1/20 scale Landmate (LM) BAF (build a figure), it’s a concept vehicle (well, more of a hulking great robo-suit with super sensitive control and articulation, think power-loader with attitude) that Shirow has used in many guises in many of his stories and they finally got the 3D treatment in the new Appleseed movies, you can see Deunan take on a construction LM here and there are some more scenes of various LM from Appleseed in action, featured here.

Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys

Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys

I’m still hopeful that Hot Toys might revisit this line and give us a 1/6 version, OK, OK, I know it’s wishful thinking, but having seen the Power Loader, Batpod and Tumbler, I’d never say never, Hot Toys are certainly ambitious enough, and who knows the IRONMONGER from IRONMAN has just ‘got’ to around the corner!

Packaging: ***
Like their other Snap-Kits and Cosbaby figures these come blind boxed. But also like most other figures sold this way, you should find many retailers will either open them or sell them with a sticker letting you know the contents. However here is where you may encounter a problem. The only way of guaranteeing that you get all the parts you need for a complete LM is to buy a complete display box, which contains ten figures (that’s right, all five characters twice) as Briareos doesn’t come with any LM parts and all the others come with one of two alternate parts.
It breaks down like this-

Briareos- none.
Deunan- 1 wing blade + 1 aerial
Tereus- main body + gun or abdomen and upper legs
Manuel- Right arms or left arms
Rhoetus- Right lower leg or left lower leg

Now this is a bit naughty, but as the BAF is a bonus and they’ve made this plain from the start, I guess you pays your money and makes your choice. Plus it means I have a complete set of figures for my studio as well as one for my home, and I’m sure a full set of figures would still sell well on eBay should you want to.

All of the various bits for each figure come polly-bagged in separate compartments hidden inside an oblong full colour box. This box has pictures from the movie front and back with photos of the figures and the disassembled LM on the sides, all very straight forward but nicely done nonetheless.
Each one also comes with an instruction sheet on how to construct each individual figure and the LM as well.

Sculpt: LM + Briareos ****, Others ***1/2
Both the LM (which works fantastically at this scale) and Briareos stand out as the strongest in this set, and that’s down to the fact that both are primarily ‘mecha’ figures, that’s not to say the humans aren’t good too, but hardware is nearly always an easier job than flesh and blood, even if it is in an Anime style. 

All have different character heads, and all very well executed to represent the allotted individual. If I had to put them in order of preference I’d go for Briareos at the top followed by Deunan who has some incredible work for this scale on her hair detail and her small mic, then Rhoetus with his chiselled native American features, next would be Manuel who has a half robotic Bioroid head and lastly Tereus. As I said all are carried out well and it’s obvious who each one is, but that’s my personal order of preference, though it’s too close to affect the scores of the latter four.

Apart from Briareos and Deunan, who are the only two with 100% original body sculpts and parts particular to them selves. Tereus and Rhoetus share identical bodies and kit where as Manuel is virtually identical except for his Bioroid upper left arm and he has a unique pistol. 

Considering the scale, which is only marginally larger than Hasbro’s Indy and Star Wars 3 ” lines they have managed to pack in a ton of detail and an impressive amount of articulation. The details on the tiny holsters, straps, buckles and shoulder guards are spot on, and like the larger scale 1/6 figures, they have even used a softer rubber like material to cover the upper bodies and improve the pose-ability, most impressive.

Paint: ***1/2
These are small-scale figures, standing between 10 and 12 cm tall (the LM is 18cm tall), but I kid you not, I can’t find any serious slop at all! 

From the miniscule copper rivets and tiny silver buckles on the figures armour right through to the larger decals and fine white lines that adorn the LM it’s all virtually faultless and when viewed with the naked eye you’ll find little or nothing to complain about. 

The flesh tones are all pretty flat on the human characters, but the detail work on the eyes, eyebrows, lips and headsets are all super crisp and can put up with some pretty close scrutiny, I’ll hope my photo’s can convey this. There’s also some great accurate detail work on the colouration of their combat suits, with different tones of greys to enhance the different panels.

The LM is beep, almost metallic blue with red, black and steel details, as mentioned above there are also some super fine detail lines picked out in white and it’s all finished off with some nicely applied decals denoting it as an Olympus ES.W.A.T version. A couple of variants would have been cool, a white Olympus police version, and perhaps the new ‘pink’ version for Deunan, but that would have meant buying a hellovalot of figures. Even Briareos guns have some painted detail to pick out the steel coloured parts, an amazing job for figures at this scale and price-point.

Articulation: LM **** All others ***3/4
These are credited on the box with 20 points of articulation, though I count more like 29, as I consider a joint that has both a swivelling and cut ball joint that has a turning peg at either end to be three points, not one.
The LM is likewise cited as having 32 points, I’d give it over 40.

A rough breakdown for the 4 male figures would be: cut-ball and double pegged (CDP) ankles, CDP knees, cut thighs, ball-jointed hips, limited ball jointed waist with the same in the upper torso, a double pop-on ball jointed neck at the chin and base of the neck, CDP shoulders, elbows and wrists. Deunan has a few small differences because of her scale. Her ankles are pinned and pegged, she doesn’t have the upper torso articulation, her neck is only ball jointed at one end, her shoulders are pinned and pegged, her upper arm is cut, the elbow is pinned and the wrists are pinned and pegged as well, but apart from that everything else is the same.

The LM has CDP ankles and knees. Pop on ball-jointed hips, CDP waist, opening cockpit, articulated pilot arms at the shoulder (and articulated pilot neck when you have popped the head of which ever ES.W.A.T member you want in place), articulated LM head, large CDP shoulders and CDP elbows and wrists. It also has two articulated antennae on its shoulders and a large set of wings on its back that can both turn and swivel. There I hope that gives you some idea, but there’s no description in the world that couldn’t be better understood than by sitting and playing with the figures for twenty minutes, but suffice to say I was very impressed.

Accessories: Deunan, Brireos & LM ****, Others ***1/2
They all come with their signature weapons-

Deunan-  HECATE P-08 pistol, HECATE stg 1002 assault rifle, sword, sheath and sword hilt to fit in sheath.

Briareos- 2 x PROMETEUS M-08 pistols, ENIGMA M-117 anti-material rifle (which is more of a bazooka/cannon)

Tereus- HECATE P-08 pistol, HECATE stg 1002 assault rifle

Rhoetus- HECATE P-08 pistol, HECATE stg 1002 assault rifle

Manuel- Alternate silver pistol the same as the version that came with 1/6 Tereus

Landmate- Large assault rifle.
Though tiny, all these show great detail. Deunan even comes with an extra ‘bladeless’ sword hilt that fits into the top of her scabbard for when it’s sheathed, and the large assault riffle for the LM has a side handle for cocking and red lenses in the sights, nice attention to detail.

Fun factor: ****
These could easily be used as toys, hell they are toys, they’re every bit as solid as small Hasbro figures and have a lot more articulation than most. They can pose well in some pretty dynamic positions and the BAF LM is the icing on the cake for me. Seeing how well these turned out I’d love to see them give the same treatment to Batman TDK and even more so to IRONMAN, which would lend itself so well to this style, and an IRONMONGER BAF would be freakin awesome!

Value: ** - **1/2
If you’re happy to have two sets of figures and a ‘bonus’ Landmate ***1/2
If you just want to build the Landmate **

Sideshows were selling these for $12.99 each, but have long since sold out of all of them.  I imagine there might be some unhappy campers when these are delivered as it doesn’t explain on their web-site that you need a full case to guarantee all the parts for the LM, in fact I would even go so far as to say they lead one to believe that by purchasing a full set of figures you will be able to construct the LM , this is however not the case. 

When you consider you’re gonna be paying on average $120 for a case that works out at $12 each with a free Landmate or $10 each with a $20 Landmate, but whichever way you dress it up, at the end of the day, to actually build the BAF, you end up with two whole sets of figures. As I said, one set could be sold on, but it could be considered a bit of a nause!

Overall: ** - ****
Individually ****
If you just wanted the LM with Deunan and Briareos **

If judged solely on the merits of the design, construction and paint applications then these are four-star figures hands down. Even the price on an individual basis is more than fair.

Where the trouble begins is if you want that BAF, and lets face it, every Shirow fan will want it a lot.

It is a great figure/vehicle with outstanding detail and articulation, and again as a standalone piece is worthy of full marks, but the truth of the matter is you face having to buy more figures than you need, to actually get it! 

Some people are selling all the parts for the LM as an individual figure on eBay, but most are asking upwards of $50. So it’s a very sticky wicket and this category will polarize fans of the series.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - LM + Briareos ****, Others ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - LM **** All others ***3/4
Accessories - Deunan, Brireos & LM ****, Others ***1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ** - ***1/2
Overall - ** - ****

Where to Buy -
SideShow Collectibles were the official US importer on these but have pre-sold out for $12.99 each, with no offer on a full case.

A couple of Michaels other sponsors also have them-

$11.69 each or a set of 5 for $58.45, no offer on a full case.

Forbidden Planet-
8.99 each, no offer on a full case.

I’m sure if you contact these sellers they would do you an unopened case, or you can try eBay where a full case is going for between $110 to $140 (remember to keep an eye on the shipping), and individual figures are selling for between $14 and $19 depending on popularity, so I guess it’s a no brainer that it seems Deunan and Briareos are selling for more money and a lot faster.

Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys

Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys
Appleseed snap kits action figures from Hot Toys

Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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