Xtreme Detail 1/18 scale-Vietnam: Navy SEAL figure
Not only do I collect and enjoy 1/6th scale figures, but I've always loved the 3 3/4-inch GI Joe line too. Last year 21st Century released their Xtreme Detail line of WWII era 1/18th scale action figures. What disappointed me most was quality of the figures. Now the vehicles, like the Panther tank and the P-51 were outstanding, but finding the room to display them is another dilemma altogether, which would need the space of multiple articles alone to address. All in all, the WWII series turned me off altogether from their 1/18 XD line, because quite frankly, there was nothing at all Xtreme about the detail except for an Xtreme lack of it. The head sculpts were hideous, as they resembled something that would come out of grade school art class, with thick looking paint and very bad detail.
The figure articulation, or lack of it is another issue. At $5.99 there's still some sitting on the pegs at my local Toys R Us (TRU), due to the high price and terrible quality. I even recall seeing a few with ammo pouches and stuff that was supposed to be attached to those figures floating loosely inside the plastic blister packaging. To make a long story shorter, I avoided the XD series like the plague, even though I badly wanted the planes and tanks.
Now they're at it again, with new XD figures in 1/18th scale, but from the Vietnam era this time out. I kept walking past them at first glance at my local Toys R Us, because I had expected the same lack of quality and lack of detail that the WWII figures exhibited. Since these are Nam era figures, I decided to take another gander. In all honestly, I was surprised by what I saw. Ok so they're still lacking any kind of acceptable articulation, but the head sculpts were a lot better. Also I liked the figures that they had to offer, and I couldn't walk away from the Navy SEAL figure without picking it up and heading straight to the cash register with it.
The detail of the head sculpt is above and beyond what they offered first time out with the WWII-era figures. The uniform is also impressive on this SEAL, complete with a Nam-era jungle camouflage design, some gear around his waist, and what appears to be a Nam-era Stoner machine gun to boot! This SEAL also has camo face paint and a green do-rag on his head. On the negative side he still lacks some Xtreme Detail in a very important area, because the joints are hideous, as they're are cut to move at very peculiar angles, making it almost impossible to get any good poses out of the figure. Also like the first XD series of figures, these each also come with an extra set of arms to allow the figure to properly hold a weapon. That right there says a lot about the articulation (or lack of it), because any figure that requires an extra set of arms to hold a weapon won't be of much use when it comes time to think up some cool poses to set the figure up in.
I was also disappointed by the lack of more weapons and gear for the figure, as it would have been nice if there was at least a pistol, knife or something else aside from the figure, two extra arms, a little display base, machine gun and the figure in the package. The packaging design isn't very eye-catching either, so it's very obvious that 21st Century could really use some good marketing people. Hey I'm available for the job if you're reading this! :)
To conclude I'll say that they're taking baby-steps in the right direction with this stuff, because the WWII era has been exploited to no end in 1/6th scale, and the Nam era has been done a little by them in 1/6th scale already, but in 1/18th scale I think it could go over a lot more successfully than WWII, but there's still issues that need worked out. The lack of articulation on a level that could at least compete with Lanard's CORPS or Hasbro's GI Joe: A Real American Hero line is what really hurts these figures most.
I also have a notion that if I asked 21st why they are made as they are, that they'd say something along the lines of "To offer a figure with this level of detail takes a certain amount of resources, and to offer outstanding articulation, and the level of detail we have today is impossible without passing that cost onto the consumer". Again, thats the kind of response I can see some marketing weasel coming up with (but it is not what they said, so dont quote them as saying that), but the bottom line is that at $5.99 a figure they're already too expensive when you can get a two pack of GI Joe 3 3/4th figures for $5.99 at Wal-Mart, with more gear, and an acceptable level of detail and absolutely outstanding articulation.
The way I see it, they could turn this XD line around into something we could all enjoy more, but it won't happen until they get more creative marketing people, more gear into those packages (by first doing away with those extra sets of arms), and adding a level of articulation that could at least compete with what the competition has to offer. As it stands 21st Century's Xtreme Detail line has improved with these Nam-era releases, but not enough to make them a viable option to actually collect like 3 3/4 inch Joes, because the quality offered is now that of cheaply made, but expensive toys with nice looking head sculpts. Before they were just cheaply made, but expensive toys.
They still have a long way to go with these figures, but they have improved them a little, which is enough to have made me take notice. I'm also eying up their M-60 Gunner, and Platoon Leader figures, and the Huey displayed on the back of the package is also looking pretty tempting. So if you hated the first run, you might find that these are a little better, just don't expect anything more in the area of pose-ability.
The rest of the new Vietnam Xtreme Detail series, and the Platoon Leader and M60 Gunner figures, both of which I went back and purchased the next day.;)
InToyz Colt Weapons Series 1 Set
Ok so M-16s aren't the hardest to come by 1/6th scale weapons. And really, M-16s have been around since the vintage Joe days, so it's not like we haven't seen it done time and time again over the past 30+ years by Hasbro and third-party manufacturers. On the other hand, if done right an M-16 is a nice weapon to have for your 1/6th scale figures, and the Armed Forces: Colt Weapon Series 1 Set from Intoyz is a very nice set with a classic M-16 and a whole lot more.
I'm not going to come off as a weapons expert either, but I've seen the originals from Hasbro and what 21st Century, Dragon and other vendors have to offer, and from what I've seen the M-16A1 from Intoyz can easily compete with the best of them. The XM177 is also very nice, and well detailed. Like the 21st Century version the stock extends, but the Intoyz model also features extra paint detailing in areas that are left unpainted on the competitions products. Also the area where shells would eject you'll find a small door, which opens and closes via a tiny hinge, which is another very nice touch. What's more, you can move the
micro-lever to switch between full-auto and semi-auto, and the trigger and cocking mechanisms are both spring loaded to boot!
This isn't just an M-16 set either; actually this set is worth getting just for the pistols! The 45 ACP Government issue is outstanding, and includes removable clips, and the hammer can actually be pulled back, as it's spring loaded. The Colt Python 4" is also a work of art. Detailed in black, the cylinder rolls out and is empty, but they include a tiny speedloader. The speedloader (with bullets fixed to it) fits perfectly in the cylinder chamber. Each of the rifles comes with very nice slings, which can be easily detached. Additionally an extra magazine is provided for each of the automatic weapons in the set.
All in all, this is an absolutely fantastic weapon set, and it's well worth picking up just for that Colt Python and the speedloader alone. For $10 (depending on where you shop) it's a steal, and the level of detail offered in this set raises the bar for weapon sets in 1/6th scale.
One fine set of weapons, and that Python alone is reason enough to get this set!
InToyz Gatling Gun
After seeing the feature film Predator almost every guy wanted a mini-gun, and the muscle that Jesse "The Body" Venture had to handle wielding it. A mean, lean, lead spitting machine it was, and just that sound it made alone was enough to get your blood pumping into overdrive.
Well, now your Joes (or any 1/6th scale action figure) can cut down foliage and foes with ease too, because Intoyz just released their 1/6th scale version of the mini-gun as the Armed Forces: Gatling Gun weapon set. I was fortunate enough to pick one up on eBay for about $15.49 a little over a week ago, which is a steal considering the retail on these are close to $20+.
The detail is amazing. The handle features a push-button trigger, which actually moves when depressed.
An ammo box, with an ammo belt is also part of the package, and the entire set is molded in black. My only complaint is that it would have been nicer if the ammo belt were more detailed, as a little brass detailing on the casings would have put this already outstanding weapon set over the top. Additionally Intoyz made claims on their website that the cannon spins, but oddly mine didn't move at all, and I was too afraid to force it in fear of breaking it. No harm done, because quite honestly, I could care less if the barrel spins, because it will sit idle anyhow in the hands of one of my Joes.
So if you have the chance, dont hesitate to pick this set up, because it's well worth the price of admission.
Cot's Blonde Jake Fuzz-Head w/beard handling the Intoyz Gatling Gun.
Frakenstein (Sideshow Toys)
Hasbro gave it a go at capturing the likenesses of the Universal Studios:
Monsters a few years back with their Signature Series. At the time
many of us thought they were very nice. After all, no one else did any
nicer renditions of Frankenstein, Wolfie and Dracula since the Mego days.
Sideshow Toys is relatively new to the 12-inch action figure market, but
they've been doing some fantastic 8-9-inch versions of many of Universal's
most popular classic movie monsters for a few years now. Thankfully
the level of detail found in those smaller, less articulated figures have
been carried over to their new 12-inch line.
The box is an exact replica of the Frankenstein movie poster, and inside
the figure is displayed nicely behind an opening flap (held closed with a
tiny piece of Velcro, a nice touch I might add). All of the accessories and
the figure are displayed perfectly in the box. Quite honestly, you could easily
display this figure in the box alone, and it was a real dilemma for me to take
it out, because it did display so well in the box.
The head sculpt is a perfect rendition of Boris Karloff as the monster, and
even his towering presence is revealed once you do take him out of the box,
because next to a Joe he's a lurking hulk of a figure. The boots are big and
bulky-looking, his hands are creepy, and his clothes also look the part.
Accessories include a brain inside of a jar marked Abnormal Brain, a pair
of shackles and a little flower, one of the same variety used in the movie to
toss into the water, before the monster got carried away and tossed little Sally
in too. A flat display base, very much like the ones that Dragon figures come
with, is molded into a cobble-stone likeness, and rounds out the accessories
that comes with the monster.
The articulation is nicely done, however the body feels a bit too thin, and a
little on the frail side. None the less, this isn't meant to be a play thing; it's a
collectors piece, so Ill let them slide in that area. Overall the level of detail is
spot on, the accessories accent the figure perfectly and at $20 at Toys R Us you
really cant go wrong with this piece. Keep an eye on Sideshow, they have
A LOT of up and coming pieces well worth taking notice of.
A face that only a mother could love.;)