TAIL WHIPPING NIGHTCRAWLER
MARVEL MOTORIZED TWIST ‘EMS
Licensed toys can be weird. Sometimes, you get totally straight-forward action figure lines. They represent the property well, and they don’t really surprise anyone. They are what they are. Of course, you might occasionally get the wacky variant here and there, just to keep main characters out there. But the line as a whole is still pretty standard. Occasionally, you get a whole line of figures that are just wacky from start to finish. Take, for instance, ToyBiz’s Marvel Motorized Twist ‘Ems, a short-lived little line of super-deformed figures from the early 2000s. At the time, ToyBiz was taking the “see what sticks” approach to toy making, trying a variety of things. Twist ‘Ems was just one of the things that didn’t take off. Still, that didn’t stop them from making two regular series and one movie-based series. They really tried. Let’s have a look at Nightcrawler, shall we?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Tail Whipping Nightcrawler was released in the Movie Series of Marvel Motorized Twist ‘Ems, as one of the two figures based on the recently released (at the time) X-Men 2. The figure is about three inches tall and, while his shoulders, hips, and neck all have “joints,” they aren’t really articulated, due to the motorized nature of the figure. They move pretty well when the wind-up feature is activated, but they’re not of much use for anything else. The sculpt takes the design of the character from X-Men 2 and “twists” it into a more super-deformed style. The body is where most of the styling kicks in, with short, stubby arms and legs, and larger hands and feet. In proportion, the head is really huge. In fact, the head is pretty much just a 1/6 scale sculpt of Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler. The head sculpt is really well done, with plenty of detail and an excellent likeness of Cumming. Were one to want a Hot Toys-style Nightcrawler, this sculpt would definitely be a good starting point. It’s a little weird to see this detailed a sculpt on a “cartoony” figure like this, but the details are fairly present throughout the rest of the figure, so it blends well enough. The body is subject to a little bit of intrusion from the wind-up mechanisms, but the tabs on the feet and the winding gear aren’t too obtrusive, just obviously present. The figure’s paintwork is generally pretty good. The colors all match up pretty well to the movie look, everything is applied pretty cleanly, and there’s plenty of small detail work that adds a lot of dimension to the figure. Some areas, such as the jacket, are a little bit on the more simple side, but it works pretty nicely. Nightcrawler doesn’t have any accessories, but he does have the wind-up feature. When wound up, his legs walk him forward, his arms move up and down, and his head goes side to side. Interestingly, despite the name, the tail doesn’t really move or whip.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I didn’t entirely miss out on the Twist ‘Ems, but I didn’t get any of the movie ones. In fact, I had almost entirely forgotten about this goofy little line. While at a local Goodwill with Super Awesome Girlfriend (who was looking for some unrelated stuff) I found this little guy just sitting on a shelf, amongst a random collection of stuff. He was only a few dollars, so I figured he was worth it. Like I said, this is a goofy little line, and it’s a little difficult to figure out just who the target audience was meant to be. That said, you can tell a lot of effort was put into this guy, and he’s just a whole lot of fun. And check out this walk cycle!