Yao Ming

It's a sports night, with my review of Stevie Yzerman, and Coheteboy's review of the giant Yao Ming.  Ball's in your court, CB!

McFarlane has now entered series 5 of the successful NBA line up and included in this series is YAO MING, a 7'5" giant. Last time I reviewed Shaq and the Backboard and if you collect these figures then you know what to expect. Series 5 also includes: Chris Webber, LeBron James, Ben Wallace, Ray Allen, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Stephon Marbury, Steve Nash, and Tracy McGrady.

Packaging - ***1/2
Packaging for this Rookie here is virtually identical to just about every other McFarlane figure on the shelf these days, packed within a plastic clamshell bubble. What's good about this style is that it's clear on all sides and allows for colorful art inserted on the inside. But instead of having photography of the figure on the insert as done in the past, all we get is the name of the player which makes for a rather dull looking presentation. Let's hope they bring that back or provide us with actual headshots of the players themselves. 

Sculpting - ***1/2
With every set of figures, the sculptors at McFarlane outdo themselves each and everytime. If you compare the sculpt and detail of Yao with one of the earlier figures, you can definitely notice a slight difference. The detail on fabric is exceptional depicting the player in motion. Even the shoes and socks have a high level of detail. The headsculpt is very accurate though it's not the facial expression I would have selected to be done in plastic. Sculpting the physique of Yao Ming is also done with superb precision. 

Paint - ***1/2
There is always one thing that can destroy a perfect sculpt: paint applications. Fortunately for us, the paint ops are applied with same level of precision as we've come to expect from McFarlane. At the same time, there really isn't much to Yao Ming that requires anything extra but everything is done well. All the logos and designs on the uniform are clean including the shoes. What really stands out is the miniscule NBA logo applied to his jersey and socks. 

Articulation - **
McFarlane Sports Picks still remain as "statues" instead of "action figures", but that is of course what is expected. There are FIVE points of articulation total on Yao that include: neck, biceps, and legs (where it meets the shorts). I can understand why McFarlane went with the minimum amount of articulation but I can't help but think that they could have put in just a few more in there to improve it. 

Accessories - ***
Each of these figures come with at least a ball and a base. Detachable legs don't count! The ball is different here compared to the basketball that came with Shaq. That ball had a clip to attach to Shaq's fingers but Yao's ball has a peg attached to plug into his hand. Thus making the ball useless anywhere else. Still, the paint detail on the ball is quite impressive as well as the texture. 

The base features Yao's name and team with jersey number. The included stand attaches to the base on one end and the bottom of Yao's foot the other. That's it. Now you can display the figure alone or plug it into the exclusive backboard from the official website. 

Value - ***
This figure and the rest of them should all be priced around the $10 range which isn't bad considering the fine sculpting job put into each one. It's true you can get other figures for much less that contain a lot of points of articulation but then you can think of how much a beer would cost you at a game. $10 ain't so bad anymore is it??

Overall - ***1/2
Knowing what to expect from these figures is the key to the overall score. If you buy this expecting to recreate your favorite moves, you're going to be seriously disappointed. Like every other McFarlane toy based on existing people, you're going to get a statue, and a really good one at that! I knew what I was getting when I picked it up and this figure met all expectations. 

Where To Buy:
Sports Picks can be found at Target, Toys'R'Us, Wal-Mart and several other fine specialty shops.

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Figures from the collection of Coheteboy.

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