Officer Rick Grimes
Review by JoshB
If you are not reading (or watching) The Walking Dead, you are missing out on something special. The comic, by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Allard, is really an epic experience. The show is good, but it’s a different animal.
Cashing in on the popularity of the franchise was inevitable, and we now have action figures from McFarlane Toys.
Long time readers know how I feel about McFarlane toys. While I think their sculpts are generally good, they really miss the mark as far as “toys” go, and in such aggravating ways. I generally avoid them, and luckily they stay away from licenses I am interested in. That is, until now.
So it is with great trepidation that I review this figure.
McFarlane Toys released four figures in this initial run based on the comic book series in September 2011. In this series you get Officer Rick Grimes, Michonne, and two zombies. A second series, based on the television show, will debut in November 2011.
Rick Grimes is basically the protagonist of the story – a Kentucky police officer who leads a band of survivors through the zombie-infested landscape. The figure depicts Rick as we see him in the beginning of the comic book series.
The packaging is quite nice, with a large clear bubble showing all of the accessories. I’m glad McFarlane decided to go with this style of packaging instead of that terrible plastic clamshell packaging. The front proudly declares “23 points of articulation” and the back shows all the figures in the line, as well as their features, in three different languages. It makes for a messy card back for sure.
Rick comes with several accessories – Four shotguns, shoulder bag, pistol, and axe.
I’m not really sure how to approach this one, so I will jump right in and tell you my first impressions.
I like the fact that McFarlane has embraced articulation. This thing has joints all over the place. All the joints in the world don’t mean anything, however, if the toy has ONE LEG LONGER THAN THE OTHER.
Now, before you rage, I understand what they were going for here. The pose of the initial sculpt had Rick with one leg pointed out a little, and in a sculpture, that leg might be a little longer. The way most action figures are made is that they are sculpted as statues first. Normal manufacturers sculpt their figures in a neutral pose so that when joints are added later, it is up to the consumer to decide the pose.
Not McFarlane. It appears their sculpts start out in some sort of signature pose, and then the toy is cut up afterwards for joints. Let’s be honest here – the legs are designed to look good in ONE POSE. The rest were just to say “HEY LOOK WE HAVE 23 POINTS OF ARTICULATION” even though they are mostly useless. Granted, that one pose looks good, but you are out of luck if you were hoping for a truly dynamic action figure.
So yeah, he can’t stand up in a neutral pose. He always has to have that leg out.
Now that the big elephant in the room has been addressed, let’s get on to the rest of the figure.
The head is on a ball joint with allows for a decent range of motion. The hat is not removable, and while the facial sculpt is nice, it doesn’t look anything like either representation of Rick. There’s also mis-applied paint apps on the hair, and a lot of weird sculpting issues around the ears. Oh, and the eyes seem to be missing pupils. They just look weird.
The jacket is made out of rubber and is nicely sculpted as well, with rotating hinge joints on the shoulders.
The joint is exposed on the shoulder, and you can see the ridges on the joint on the outside which looks bad against the nice sculpting of the arm. Most manufacturers put ridges (or “detents”) on the insides to not affect the look of the figure. The same issue affects the elbow joint, and then the wrist joint is kind of a mess. The wrists are micro-versions of the shoulder and elbow joints, but are extraordinarily hard to move. I was really concerned I would break the hand right off. The color does not match, and it just looks odd. Stick to swivel joints for wrists.
There’s a swivel waist, and on the right side there is a holster which fits Rick’s pistol. There’s even a latch that closes over the gun, but it cannot close when the gun is actually in the holster due to the hole not being deep enough to receive the plug with the gun is inserted. The left side has a loop that holds the axe when not in use.
I find it odd that where the arms clearly are designed for articulation over looks, the legs are just the opposite. Look at the waist. It’s clearly a static piece just cut up to move. The swivel hips don’t move far enough to do anything, leaving the ball joints on the upper thighs to do most of the work. These basically do enough for Rick to stand with one leg out. (see rant above). The knees are simple hinges, with large obvious pin holes on the sides. The feet are on ball joints which are hidden in the legs, probably the best joints on the whole thing.
Finally, there’s the shoulder bag, which is held in place by a peg that does not stay in the hole. You can hold up to four shotguns in the bag.
As you can tell, I am not that impressed with this figure. In fact, I’m a little pissed off. A series like the Walking Dead should be a slam-dunk. Twenty years of action figure experience and it looks like McFarlane Toys has learned next to nothing about what makes a good toy. I realize that this is not designed for kids. I realize that most collectors aren’t going to be re-enacting zombie battles in the back yard with these guys. When you put right on the package 23 POINTS OF ARTICULATION , though, it better mean something. Either make a statue or an action figure. This is a half-assed attempt at both.
With all the emphasis that McFarlane puts on the sculpt, does nobody look at the final toy and go “gee, these giant holes in the knees look like shit?” If I was the sculptor, I would be pissed that this was done to my work.
Maybe I have been spoiled by lines like Revoltech, Figma, and S.H. Figuarts, that manage to integrate great sculpting AND great articulation. They are not mutually exclusive. Before you mention price point, this thing cost me $18 USD at retail, and that’s not cheap for a US figure.
Alas, given their track record, I shouldn’t have held my expectations too high.
Comments5 comments posted
At $18, it's about right in terms of price for a comic book/video game toy like what NECA does. The only problem being this figure is also about HALF THE SIZE. Yeah, that's way too much for so little plastic.
Also, it looks like his right hand's wrapped up with a strip of bacon.
You know, it is really sad that a figure can have worse QC, articulation, and sculpting than a NECA figure....
Of course, wrapping your hand in bacon is the best way to sneak around and survive the zombie outbreak. The zombies would be too confused to do anything. Plus, bacon rocks.
All things considered, I may end up picking this up anyway. Maybe the show version will be better.
How the mighty have fallen :(
WOW. What, did they hire someone who didn't know how to make articulation? I've seen articulation hidden better on a 3 3/4 figure. What's even more amazing is that the articulation is mostly useless! It's just astounding that a major toy company can put this out and call it a finished product. Plenty of companies out there that can make a fine, statue looking figure with well hidden and FUNCTIONING articulation. Dunno why this one came out this way.
I've been collecting *everything* Walking Dead, from individual issues, hardcovers, variant covers, to t-shirts, to bookmarks... I even bought the statues, even though I hate statues! I've been on board since 2004, and even then, people were asking about figures from this series, and almost every one who asked for them screamed "3 3/4-inch scale!" as well.
These, even though I planned on getting them all, I'm passing! My Rick figure came apart right out of the box at the hips, and the paint work on these is really, really bad. This is, at best, a $6 figure, and it's insulting it's almost $18!
I don't know why these and the Dr. Who toys are this weird scale that doesn't work with anything else, except maybe Toy Biz's Marvel Universe line from the 90s. It's hurting the sales of both lines big-time in the US. A lot of shops are reluctant to order Spawn/McFarlane Toys for many, many years because of cost & QC.
Yeah, maybe it is time to dump all the Walking Dead merch I've accumulated over the last 7 years. Maybe I won't let these poor toys color my opinion of a comic I've loved for so many years now. Maybe I'll buy these when they're in the dollar bin at my local comic shop next year. Maybe