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Some Stand-Up Figures

Sure, WEEBLES wobbled, but they never fell down

By Andrew Kardon     May 23, 2002

Today's toy collectors have it so good. Never before have there been such amazing sculpts, paint jobs, action features and accessories. Not to mention the characters that are making their way into plastic. That's why it's even more surprising that some of the top toy manufacturers are still not correcting a major action figure flaw. Excuse me a second while I get out my soapbox...


Okay, that's better. Hopefully you can all hear me now. Anyway, as I was saying, there are still a lot of figures out there that just don't have the legs. No, I'm not talking about consumer targeting or market share. I literally mean their legs. How can a figure so unbelievably gorgeous like McFarlane's REDEMPTION SPAWN have difficulty standing on its own? (You either need lots of surrounding support or a degree in engineering to pull that one off!) Even McFarlane's WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE figures are a beast to keep up. Sure they come with little stands to hook the characters in, but even then you have to twist and adjust them just right or they'll keel right over.


But I don't mean to pick on just McFarlane. (After all, it's only a few of their figures that need some serious help. And the unbelievable attention to detail pretty much makes this annoyance one to overlook.) There are plenty of other manufacturers out there that fall into the same trap. Take one of my favorites, for example: Playmates' SIMPSONS. These figures take some of TV's greatest animated characters and give them 3-dimensional life. But there are a few that come to mind (Say PROFESSOR FRINK) who just can't stand on their own, unless you bend them in a ridiculous pose and don't even breathe near them. (I won't even bring up the fact that the figures can't actually hold 90% of the cool accessories they come with...)


It actually makes me wonder if toy manufactures literally "play" with their toys before they finish production. Do they just take a quick look to make sure all the fingers and toes are in place? Or do they literally try standing them up, putting them in different poses, and even attempting to make them fall down?


Whatever the case, let's just hope that as companies continue to push the bar higher on action figures, they don't forget the basics. Because eventually -- Who knows? -- we might not stand for it anymore.


TOY TIDBITS


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Time once again to double your pleasure! Yes indeedy, all you ARMY OF DARKNESS fans out there can rejoice once more. In case you missed out on all the previous ASH action figures, this October, McFarlane Toys will be releasing a special limited-edition clamshell-packaged set of ASH and EVIL ASH. Exclusive to the Musicland chain -- Sam Goody, Media Play, On Cue and Suncoast stores -- the two figures will sport some slight changes to differentiate them from their previous MOVIE MANIACS incarnations.


Prepare to be shocked. Shocker Toys is releasing an innovative action figure on the unsuspecting toy market in the next few months. SAFs -- SHOULDER ACTION FIGUREs -- are wacky little buggers that actually sit on your shoulder, and come with a control that extends down to your hand, so you can move the figure. Made of a lightweight-but-strong PVC, look for SAFs to come in different characters based on Shocker Toys' various properties.


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Holy Jawa on a stick! Check out the Cartoon Network's Web site for a chance at winning their latest STAR WARS contest. What can you win? Well... a custom-designed action figure of you as a JEDI KNIGHT! And even if you don't win the grand prize, some 500 lucky folks will each snag a bitchin' STAR WARS: EPISODE II action figure.


ON THE SHELVES


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Your toy shelf is about to get about 200% cooler. And that's thanks to the folks over at 21st Century Toys. Now you can grab yourself a STEVE MCQUEEN ON WWII GERMAN MOTORCYCLE action figure. This "King of Cool" hero comes with his ultra-cool leather jacket and kick-ass motorcycle. Just warn the ladies about this one...



Go Figure is our weekly Toys and Action Figure column.

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