Dragon Battlin' Shrek

We're being treated to a new fairy tale this spring, called Shrek.  McFarlane is doing the toys, and this makes it ground breaking.  This is the story of an ogre named Shrek, the evil Lord Farquadd, and a journey to slay a dragon.  Pretty standard fairy tale stuff.

So why ground breaking?  McToys has certainly done their share of movie figures.  But this is the first time that the have produced a line of action figures specifically for children.  The intended audience of the film are small kids, and this line isn't intended as a collectors line.

Will they succeed?  It will help if the movie succeeds of course.  But for McFarlane, this is a big step, and could open up a tremendous number of future licenses.  I picked this one up at Meijers.

There are six figures in the pictured on the cardbacks, but there are actually two more.  The regular Shrek comes in both a toothy smile and closed-mouth smile version, and a completely different figure, the Farquaad Mascot, was also produced.  There are also three packs of 3" mini-figures (which are also out), and some playsets (which I haven't seen yet).  There are super sized figures with sound, and plush figures due later.

Packaging - ***
Shrek's head is figured prominately, and the package is designed so that it appears as though he's handing you the figure.  It's a cute idea, and well executed.

Quality - ***1/2
The quality of McToys has always been one of their big problems, but these figures appear far more sturdy than past lines.  That makes sense considering these toys will get played with.

Paint - ****
Every figure I saw had great paint ops, and in particular I love the sooty face on the Dragon Battlin' Shrek pictured here.  Be prepared when you crack these open however - the paint fumes will knock you on your butt.

Sculpting - ***1/2
As always, beautiful work all across the line.  Shrek is extremely good, and the other figures in the line also look great.  Sure, it's easier to do animated characters, but they still have the touch.

Accessories - ***
Shrek comes with a great broad sword, and an excellent helmet.  Both these accessories work well with the figure, although it takes some work to get it on his head correctly.  Be careful pushing his ears in an putting the helmet on.

The sword fits well in his hand, and overall the accessories are great.

Articulation - **
Gee, little articulation.  No real surprise here.  Shrek has neck, shoulders, hips and wrists.  There's also a couple other joints, uh, sort of.  The Dragon Battlin' version has jointed 'ears'.  That is so they can be pushed back into his head to allow for the helmet to fit on.

Shrek stands alright in certain positions, but tends to be top heavy.  Kids should have fun with him though, and that's really the point of this line.

Value - **1/2
$7 seems to be the standard rate for figures these days, but it's still high for a figure with only a couple accessories and little articulation.

Overall - ***
It's a sharp looking line, but how well it does will depend heavily on the movie.  The only figure in the set that really stands out is Shrek.  The donkey is, well, a donkey, and the Lord Farquaad isn't much to look at.  I haven't seen the dragon yet, but I have a hunch it will look pretty sweet.

Where to Buy:
On the street, you can find these at Meijers ($7), Wal-mart ($6), and at some Toys R Us stores.  With the movie hitting soon, they should start swamping all the retail outlets.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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