ADD TOYS War Wolves Back (muscle version) - Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:17 pm
Logan/Wolverine is a favorite comic book superhero, and very much at the heart of the recent X-Men movie franchise. I should state out front that I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert on any of the relevant source material, although I have seen all the movies with Wolverine played by Hugh Jackman. At any rate, this character has been a favorite for various sixth-scale iterations in both licensed and unlicensed versions. I like Logan and the franchise well enough, without specifically being a huge fan, so I was not exactly overly eager for yet another sixth-scale iteration. But this one did offer something innovative in more ways than one: a seamless Logan, and more importantly (since we can all stick one of the Logan head sculpts on a TBLeague body) a hairy Logan. The body alone was worth checking out, but the product is actually pretty full of promise. It comes with a reasonably large set of accessories and two interchangeable heads; there is also a clothed version with a more conventional hard-plastic exposed-joints body. There is a lot they did very well, and a lot that is still wanting... as you can see below. For those that were hoping otherwise, the body is not a TBLeague one or, I think, a Jiaou one.
Disclaimer -- for reasons that will become apparent later, I did stick another head on the body at one point, and some of the photos (in the articulation section) are with that head sculpt; it happened to be a Tom Cruise head, so just pretend it is a perfect color match and that Tom Cruise's real body is not actually the smoothest, most hairless naturally-occurring mammalian surface found on the planet (except of course in Tropic Thunder).
Packaging - 4/4 stars
The set comes in a pretty standard-sized box with white surface color and some fairly abstract graphics, including what looks like a heavily posterized photo of one of the head sculpts. The box is held closed with magnets on the right side, lift that up and then open it like a book. Inside, below a thin layer of black foam, are located two black foam treys, holding the action figure and its accessories. Everything is snug enough, safe, and collector friendly. I don't expect much from packaging (ever), but I do like it.
Sculpting/Molding - 3.5/4 stars
This category covers a lot, since there are not one but two head sculpts and the body to consider, not to mention the sculpted sword, sheath, hand sculpts (including adamantium claws), base, and shoes. Let's go backwards (you can see some of these pieces in other photos in the review). The Japanese sword (katana) and its sheath are both sculpted and nicely scaled and detailed, especially the intricate wrist guard, loops, and the characters (writing) on the surface of the sword. The adamantium claws, added to fairly standard fists, are sturdy, cleanly sculpted, sharp, and appear to be made of light non-magnetic metal (aluminum/aluminium?). The base part of the action figure stand (a standard crotch-grabber, or whatever rude term we use for it these days) is a raised plastic platform molded to appear like rusted, worn/pitted metal, with a large X in the center. Certainly far more interesting than a bland (blank?) base that might already be more than what most "third party" companies provide. The shoes (short boots) are sculpted in intricate and realistic detail, from their laces and loops to the sole.
The rubbery (silicone?) body surface is molded into the shape of a tightly muscled body with defined muscles and some veins; the only thing missing are the nipples (oddly, as they are painted). Since someone is bound to ask (and be too shy to do so), I did check, and the figure is definitely male, and fully so -- the body is molded this way, no attachable/detachable parts. Not something that we necessarily need for this particular look, but since customization, poseable figures, and seamless bodies are all about being more realistic, I appreciate their commitment to realism. With the head(s) and shoes on, the body stands about 12.25 inches (31 cm) tall.
Then there are the two head sculpts. I'm not certain that the circumference of the body surface at the neck is ideal for the head sculpts. One can probably stuff something inside to increase it and decrease the current gap -- or perhaps the heads are sitting a little too high, and they do appear a little too large for the body (or is it Logan's hair?). But let's focus on the sculpts themselves. The one that comes "on" the body is the less agitated scowling one; the alternate head has an anrgy shouting expression. Normally I would prefer a less animated expression for a sixth-scale head, but I'm not actually sure which one I like better here, and whether that has anything to do with how well one or the other is executed. Either way, they did the right thing, providing both a more animated and a more neutral head sculpt (rather than one more animated one). Whether or not this is a perfect rendition of the actor's features (and I don't remember enough to tell if they are copies of previous sculpts), the head sculpt is very finely done in both cases, and the hair stranding is superb (suitably finer strands for most of the hair, but clumpier pieces for the spiky top). The shouting head sculpt has the added complexity of the open mouth with the teeth and tongue, and this too appears to have been executed very well.
Paint - 3.5/4 stars
The paint applies to everything but the cloth parts of the outfit. The shoes and sword sheath are painted to look like leather, offset by a few metallic elements painted appropriately; the shoes are also given a bit of weathering. Each hand sculpt is painted to not only math the body, but also to match the painted-on body hair; the adamantium claws are painted to look stained with blood, and the same effect is applied to the fists to which they come attached.
We have seen some of this before. What makes this set unique, is that the painting is carried over to the seamless rubbery surface of the body. Individual body hairs are painted or printed, and appear to be reasonably hard-wearing (although I was fairly careful, I'm sure I would have noticed some damage if things weren't properly done). The hair is a little faint on the body (less so on the hand sculpts) and I wish it had been just a little bit more contrasting and that there was just a little more of it. They probably didn't want to overdo it, but even so the overall effect is quite good. And since someone was going to ask about that, I checked, and apart from the pubic area, the body hair treatment is not carried below the waist. Yep, apparently Logan shaves his legs. I know we weren't going to look at it, but it would have been nice if they had applied the hair painting/printing to that too. There appears to be some subtle spotting on the body surface, adding extra realism (though some of it may be dust or tiny strands attaching to the surface!). The nipples are painted softly (though disappointingly not sculpted). The use of fairly traditional plastic joint pegs was not a bad idea in itself, but they should have been given a less shiny surface to match the body and hands more closely; better yet, they should also have been given the body hair effect. Minor issues aside, there is a lot TBLeague and Jiaou can learn and re-learn from this set.
Both head sculpts are exquisitely painted. For one thing, they match the body surface color very well, something difficult to do with different materials. The work on the eyes (glossy, with tiny eyelashes), eyebrows, mustache and beard is all very fine; the hair is perhaps a little flat, but this is largely offset by the fine sculpting of the strands. While it is probably just short of perfect, I'm impressed by the paint application on the lips, teeth, and tongue (or more generally, mouth interior) on the more animated, shouting head sculpt.
Articulation - 2.5/4 stars
There is no stainless steel skeleton inside the rubbery body surface here. The active joints are perhaps plastic; the movement is certainly a little jagged. You can achieve very decent articulation in most respects in the upper half of the body (for example, you can bend beyond 90 degrees at the elbows), although holding more extreme poses would prove impossible -- the joints are too weak to keep the material pushing them back to a less extreme position. This is where this body falls short of the standards set by TBLeague. In particular, trying to raise the arm over the shoulder and head results both in a bounce back and in an unsightly fold on top of the shoulder. Things get more problematic below the waist. Here it is hard to tell to what extent the problem is due to the body's joints and rubbery surface causing a bounce back, and to what extent to the restrictions caused by the fairly tight pants and fairly high rim of the footwear. As a result, he can bend at the knee only up to 90 degrees, and he cannot sit quite properly. The ankles are fairly sturdy, but very difficult to work with. They can allow you to tilt backwards and forwards, but rotating them sideways for additional support in some poses seems nearly impossible. This makes standing the figure on its own quite difficult. And that difficulty is exacerbated by the fact that the whole body has the tendency to bounce and wobble a little bit (making me wonder if it has a full skeleton of any material inside at all), and to renegotiate its pose or center of gravity. Getting this body in a specific pose might be easy within limits, but getting it to stand in that position can be very frustrating. Once again, I wish they had gone with a metal skeleton. There is a stand, of course, and if one poses an action figure on a shelf one would probably use the (a) stand anyway, but that isn't the point.
Accessories - 4/4 stars
First, the set includes four additional pairs of hands, making five pairs total: fists (they come on the body), relaxed hands, pistol grip hands, sword grip hands, and the fists with the adamantium claws sticking out of them (these are located in the lower black foam trey, with the base/stand). Other spare parts include the alternative head sculpt (the shouting one). Then there is the Japanese sword and its sheath, which are the only "real" accessories. Note that the sword is not only finely sculpted, painted, and inscribed, it even has actual cord (I think) wound round its handle: very nice touch. I refuse to see a base/stand as an accessory proper, although the difficulties in getting the figure to stand certainly make it a relevant addition; and it certainly looks cool. There are a lot of hand choices here, but other than that this is not a whole lot of accessories. I have long forgotten the scene or film this is based on, so I can't guarantee there was anything else that could have been included (a pistol for the pistol grip hands?), and we should realize that there is a separate, "suit" version of the set (with a different action figure body but the same accessories). The reason why I'm not going to deduct points for this is the price of the set. When Hot Toys sells you a Leia without a single accessory for over $200, that is pretty insulting. When this pretty new and obscure outfit sells you an innovative and impressive, even if not quite perfect product for $165 and includes a couple of accessories, it is somehow less annoying... to me.
Outfit - 3.5/4 stars
The outfit (excluding the sculpted footwear) is very simple: pants and belt. The pants are in a drab color, with a modicum of weathering, most obviously a long blood stain on the right side of the right upper leg, where the bloodied adamantium claws must have brushed against the fabric. It's a nice touch. The belt is made of stretchy cloth and works like a real belt, with a real buckle. Neither of these things is phenomenal, but they are more than adequate. Considering the look reproduced in the set, they are just right. The promotional materials mentioned socks, which do not appear to be included; I doubt they would be missed, and this is the only thing they promised that they did not deliver.
Fun Factor - 3/4 stars
War Wolf has no one to play with (other than possibly his other self), and that hurts; but you can always improvise. The effective limitations on the articulation (bounce back, tight pants) are annoying, but not extreme. The worst problem is the difficulty standing and balancing the figure. But if you end up perching him on a stand on your shelf, that would no longer be an issue. As usual, the fun factor would vary from one collector to another, and depend on their imagination and interest.
Value 3.5/4 stars
This is a popular protagonist from a popular franchise; the set is attractive and innovative, if fairly basic. That said, in the world of high-end sixth-scale collectibles, $165 (USD) including shipping is close to the lower, rather than the higher end of the price range, and I appreciate that. There was clearly some research and development that went into this, and while the result is not perfect, it is still impressive and in many ways a step forward (a step, one might add, that other, established outfits should have taken already but have not). But note that this price might not be available at all sources; in this instance I used eBay.
Things to watch out for
Hard to tell yet. The body surface feels just a little sticky, and closer to TBLeague's silicone bodies than Jiaou's TPE ones (though I could be wrong); either way some protective powder probably won't hurt -- but I haven't tried it myself. I would not abuse the joints excessively; if they are indeed plastic, they might snap. Heat up the hand sculpts before placing on the pegs -- there are no spare pegs provided, and these are not exactly the same as the ones used by Soldier Story or DAM or by Hot Toys and others. Careful with exchanging the head sculpts -- they require some effort to remove or to attach, and you don't want to snap the neck peg that comes out of the body; heating up the head a little bit before trying this should help. I didn't try too hard to test it, but although it appeared safe and secure, I would handle the parts of the body where the hair effect has been applied with some basic care. That said, it is not as fragile (or the body as difficult to pose) as the twelfth-scale version of Logan that came out some time ago.
Overall - 3.4/4 stars
In terms of looks, the set delivers everything it promised. While it is fairly limited, it does include a number of interchangeable parts, including two beautifully-executed head sculpts. And it commands a price nearer the lower end of the range current in our hobby. I do wish the articulation were better, while I realize TBLeague has spoiled us. But it has also set a standard that ADD should have made sure to match. As it is, neither has attained perfection.
Where to Buy
You can always check eBay or the following (among others) --
Cotswold Collectibles for $180
Timewalker Toys for $180
Hope this has been useful. As always, what do you think? And one more for the road (or, in Spanish, Una mas y vamos)
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