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LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER 6-Inch & 12-Inch Action Figures (Playmates)
The videogame heroine loses familiar curves and articulation but gains the likeness of Angelina Jolie.
By Dan Cziraky
June 24, 2001
Gone are the familiar curves and exaggerated features of video game-vixen Lara Croft, the pixilated adventurer-babe created by Eidos. Playmates' "Tomb Raider: The Adventures of Lara Croft" line of 6-inch and 9-inch action figures made an initial splash on the toy scene in 1999, just months before a certain PHANTOM MENACE
appeared on shelves. The initial wave of four 6-inch figures with scenic dioramas and the 9-inch "Lara Croft in Wet Suit" diorama flooded the market like a sea of Wonder Bra-wearing warriors. However, the next two 9-inch figures ("Jungle Temple Lara" and "Area 51 Lara") and two 6-inch figure/diorama sets didn't sell nearly as well; the 6-inchers ended up as Toys 'R' Us exclusives. The final pair of 6-inchers were only sold overseas, as stores were prepping for the movie figures. Although the level of detailing on these figures were limited, in keeping with the video game nature of the character design, they had great articulation, and the dioramas were fairly impressive (even if we only got half
a Yeti in the "Lara Croft in Tibet" set!).
Now that Angelina Jolie is ricocheting off multiplex screens across the country, Playmates has unleashed the LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER
movies figures on the public. While the likeness to Jolie is pretty good (they opted not to go the "RealScan" route like JAKKS Pacifics' WWF figures or Hasbro's upcoming STAR WARS
Episode II line), the levels of articulation have dropped, and the diorama play sets done away with altogether.
Why do these figures feature limited articulation (none of the figures have jointed legs)? [IMG2R] According to an AP story, the line was planned as being aimed at collectors, not the kiddies. "We decided to aim these at young adultsmen and women who have played the video game," said Nancy Bassett, a marketing executive at Paramount. "And if kids do buy the figures, they probably won't play with them. These are toys that will mostly sell to collectors." Well, I'm
a collector who has never played the video game, and I'd like to have seen these figures have at least jointed hips so they could sit down. Then again, since there are no vehicles in this lineeven though there is a "Lara Croft in Motorcycle Gear" figure!why bother with the extra articulation, right?
Dave Gerardi, senior editor of Playthings
magazine, a toy-industry publication, told AP that when the game first came out, Lara wasn't quite so curvy. "Now she's a bombshell with a bust-line increased to Playboy proportions. That makes the toys a little tricky," he said. "But despite the prevalence of female action heroes on movies and television, studio marketers say it's still a tough sell getting little boys to play with a girl dolleven one with two hip-clinging handguns," AP went on to comment.
LARA CROFT 6-INCH FIGURES
[IMG3L] So, here's what we've got in the 6-inch line (all figures blister-carded unless otherwise noted):Lara Croft in Motorcycle Gear:
Black leather jacket (no, it doesn't come off), five points of articulation (head, waist, left elbow, and both shoulders), molded-on sunglasses, guns, and an All-Seeing Eye relic.Lara Croft in Tomb Raiding Gear:
Why is she smiling? Anyway, more guns, some high-tech gadgets, grappling hook with line, six points of articulation (head, waist, both shoulders, and both elbows), and molded-on headset.Lara Croft in Siberia Gear:
Long white coat, snow goggles, more guns and gear accessories, and just four points of articulation.Stone Monkey Warrior:
Direct from the jungles of Cambodiaor the CGI effects house, at least. Six points of articulation (head, waist, both shoulders, and both biceps), with two sword accessories.Lara Croft in Combat Training Gear:
Four points of articulation (head, waist, and both shoulders), several different guns, including the big mother she uses to waste the robot S.I.M.O.N.S.I.M.O.N. vs. Lara Croft (2-figure boxed set):
The Lara figure is almost identical to the "Combat Training Gear" one, except the head is different. The robot has eight points of articulation (um, it's a robot, so the anatomy is kinda weird), and "explodes" when hit with the projectile from her gun. The only real part of the line that might have decent "play value."
LARA CROFT 12-INCH FIGURES
There are only two figures in the 12-inch line.
[IMG4R] Lara Croft in Combat Training Gear
is not a super-poseable fashion-doll type figure, as are JAKKS' Charlie's Angels
and Josie and the Pussycats
figures. She has articulation only at the head and shoulders, and comes with her two thigh-holstered pistols, a machine gun, and her backpack. Her clothes are cloth and are removable, as is her gun belt, but the boots are molded-on. Her hair is plastic, not rooted. Also, a note to our heavy breather
contingent of collectors: under her clothes are molded-on, aqua-green bra and panties. Lara Croft in Motorcycle Gear
is the second figure, which has the same limited level of articulation, but at least her jacket comes off. These look real nice on a shelf, but that's about it. For TOMB RAIDER
completists and/or Angelina Jolie stalkers only.