WATER PATROL WOODY
TOY STORY 2 (MATTEL)
As a action figure collector that grew up in the ‘90s, it was nigh impossible that I would run this site and not ever touch on Toy Story. What’s a bit surprising is just how long it took for me to get here. Moreover, I’m kind of starting at an odd point. The toys for the first film in the franchise sort of came and went. It was the ‘90s, so every movie was getting toys. This one was no exception, obviously. But, aside from some serious scarcity of a few choice items, it was a fairly standard line. When it came time for the sequel, things got a little weirder. Which is admittedly a bit of a surprise, since the first film hit in the mid ‘90s, when action figures were at probably their weirdest, while the second film hit in ’99, when things were cooling down. The first film’s toys were done by the relatively unknown Thinkway Toys (who actually have the license again), but for the second movie, Disney partnered up with Mattel to secure Barbie for the film. Part of the deal was that Mattel got to make the action figures. They released some fairly straightforward versions of most of the main characters, but after the main movie stuff was mostly through, they launched a few sub-lines, showcasing non-film variants of the main characters. I’ll be looking at one of the variants of Woody today.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Water Patrol Woody was released in the “Aqua Action” sub-line of Mattel’s Toy Story 2 tie-in. The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has…movement. I don’t know that I’d classify the movement as “articulation.” Thanks to the non-removable head dome, there’s no movement at the neck, and his arms and legs are just a rubber mold over a wire. So, he’s posable in theory, I guess. The figure sports a totally made-up design, just like all the other figures in this particular series. It’s supposed to be a dive suit, I guess. I personally always thought it looked more like a space suit, but I guess there’s an old dive suit quality about it. It’s not a bad design. It keeps the important elements of Woody’s main design (the hat, belt/holster, and boots), but also crafts a pretty solid protective suit for him. The head’s a little odd; Mattel’s Woody likeness was never quite as good as others, and the hat had to she shrunk to fit inside the helmet. I personally would think it would make sense for him to lose the hat all together, but I’ve been told in the past that I’m not good with “brand identity” so what do I know? At the end of the day, the head’s close enough that you should be able to pick up on who this is supposed to be. It’s worth noting that despite being clearly engineered for water play, Woody’s helmet was far from air-tight; more than once, this figure ended up with a full helmet of water, followed by a day or two with a fogged up helmet while the condensation cleared. It was rather frustrating to 8-year old me. In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty decent from a technical standpoint, but I can’t help but feel that Mattel chose the dullest possible color scheme for him. Ooooh, varying shades of brown. Such fun! Couldn’t we have at least gotten some of Woody’s regular colors worked in here and there? A little blue and yellow would have gone a long way. Woody’s one accessory was a “Quick Draw Squirter” which sounds a little bit…off. I’m also not sure what constitutes it being “Quick Draw.” He just stands on it. Wait, it’s always out. The quickest draw of them all! That’s it!
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Water Patrol was a gift I got for my eighth birthday. I’m not 100% sure who gave him to me, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was either my Nana or my cousin Rusty. It feels like a “mom’s side of the family” gift. While that was the year of me being largely obsessed with the then recent X-Men Movie figures, I know that Woody was a figure I had specifically requested. I was on a Buzz Lightyear of Star Command kick at the time, and I wanted this Woody figure because he looked like he was in a space suit, and therefore made sense with all of my Star Command figures. Even as a kid, I didn’t really buy him as a Water figure. He’s not the most exciting figure of all time, but he amused me as a kid, and that’s the most important thing, really.