The 12" action figure market, first mined by Hasbro with G.I. Joe,
has certainly become far more crowded in recent months. Along with
Joe, 21st Century, Mattel, and Formative International (Soldiers of the
World) have all started to vie for shelf space. Dragon Models is a
fairly recent entry, at least in the United States. At the 1999 Toy
Fair, the initial bodies and general concept were shown by Marco Polo
Toys, a distributor here in the US. Since then, the line
has expanded in military, police, and licensed characters. Priced
only slightly more than their competition - $30 for a 21st Century figure
or $20-$25 for a Hasbro figure vs. $25-$35 for a Dragon - their main selling point is
their extreme attention to detail and quality.
Sculpting - ***
I've heard raves about the sculpts, but this is one area I can't really
agree. Actually, the sculpt itself isn't bad, although poor Hermann
appears to have been born with quite the honker, but the paint work hurts
The variation in skin tone is too pronounced, and the glossy finish
inappropriate for a 'lifelike' face.
Articulation - ****
Dragon was the first to introduce the double jointed knees and elbows.
Although the bodies are light weight, I like the feel of the joints,
particularly the neck ball joint, better than the 21st Century stuff.
It's not a huge difference, but I did find it noticeable.
Packaging - ****
Okay now, everyone else pay attention. No tape, no tearing the box
apart. You can remove everything (although I would have preferred NO
twisty ties, especially since the two used seemed very superficial) and
replace it without ever damaging the packaging. And that's good too,
because the graphics on the package are fantastic, and a very well written
explanation of the figure is provided. 21st Century, are you
Uniform - ****
Smokin'! This is a terrific outfit, and the details are simply
amazing. I was a little disappointed in the fit of the hat - easily
the coolest hat I've ever seen for a 12" figure, it doesn't fit his
head very well. I'm told that eventually it will 'settle', so I'm
still hopeful. The rest of the uniform is of terrific quality, and
the details on the patches and emblems is amazing.
of the patch on the arm:
And on the front of the hat:
Accessories - ***1/2
The detail is extremely good on the accessories as well. In
particular, the connectors on the items like the bread bag and water
bottle are much nicer, including metal were necessary. Unfortunately, this means fewer of them for the similar price point.
The cartridge pouches, a bread bag and water bottle, one stick grenade,
and the MP-44 are it. While the detail is better than 21st Century,
I would like a few more items in the box.
A comparison between the Dragon NCO and the 21st Century
NCO. For an additional $6 (unless you got the 21st Century figure at
Target for $5!) you get a much nicer figure in the Dragon.
Overall - ****
While I certainly won't be completely giving up my 21st Century figures, I
have to admit to never having paid full retail for one. All were
bought on sale, while I paid full retail for this figure and will for
other Dragons that I find interesting. If you like 12" scale
figures, you owe it to yourself to check these out - they have something
to please everyone! Their website is: http://www.dragon-models.com
- stop by and see what they have available. Finding a retailer is a
little tougher, but there are several available. I can't vouch for
any of these sites, but others have told me that their service is good:
www.kbkids.com (search for Dragon
Figure from the collection of