X-MEN (TOY BIZ)
“Training in the Danger Room, Gambit has his hands full with a holographic Sentinel when he is rushed by a fully-armed Robot Fighter! Caught between a Sentinel and a hard place, Gambit pauses when the Robot Fighter suddenly launches its missiles! Ducking just in time, Gambit turns to see the missiles destroy the Sentinel behind him, giving him a chance to fire his explosively-charged playing cards at the Robot Fighter and bringing him a hard-earned victory.”
The ‘90s X-Men line initially started as a pretty straight cartoon/comics-influenced, but as it progressed, Toy Biz started running out go authentic variants of the main characters, and had to start creating their own. There were a number of gimmicky-themed series. Today’s focus hails from one of those series. So, let’s have a look at the X-Men’s resident lovable rogue (who also loves Rogue…wait, I’ve done that joke before…), Gambit!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Gambit was one of the five figures that made up the “Robot Fighters” series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line. It was Gambit’s third 5-inch figure, following the Light-Up Series release. The figure stands about 4 inches tall (thanks to the hunch) and has 8 points of articulation. At this point in the line, they were cutting back on the articulation on most of the figures (likely in an attempt to capture some of the McFarlane Toys style), so Gambit wasn’t unique in this. The Robot Fighters designs were (largely) unique to the figures; Gambit takes a lot of influence from his main design, sans the coat, albeit with a few more armored bits and such. I’m not really sure how the Danger Room set-up given in the bio text translates to this new design, but I find the design to be pretty cool, so I’m hardly complaining. As far as the sculpt goes, the best part is definitely the head, which I think may be my favorite Gambit sculpt out there (Toy Biz seemed to like it too; it was re-used later down the line on a Strike Team Gambit). It’s just really sharply detailed, and they expression looks really dynamic, and almost Kirby-esque. I’m not sure what the headset is for, but it looks kinda neat. This whole series was really hit pretty hard by pre-posing, and Gambit sticks with that. He’s in this really deep crouching pose, and the articulation doesn’t let him get out of it. It’s not the worst pose ever (there were some far worse ones in this very series), and you can actually change it up a bit and get some really cool mid-action poses, which works well for the proposed setting. The detail work on the body is a little varied, which some areas being a little more detailed than others, but it’s pretty solid overall. I particularly like the molded playing cards; the removable ones always seem to get lost! The figure’s paint is pretty straightforward; the palette is definitely Gambit-like, and the application is all nice and clean. Nothing’s been left unpainted, and there’s even some nice accent work on the hair and a few of the torso’s elements. Gambit was originally packed with the Robot Fighter mentioned in his bio, officially dubbed the “Attack Robot Drone.” It shots missiles, because it was the late ‘90s and everything had to shoot missiles. I don’t have that piece, having acquired my Gambit figure second hand.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I remember the Robot Fighters Series hitting retail, and I remember seeing them all over the place, but somehow I never ended up with a single one of them. Gambit amends that. I fished him out of the loose figures bin at All Time Toys. This is the first figure I’ve bought from them since they re-opened after Ellicott City’s Main Street flood, so he’s kind of special to me. The actual figure is honestly not half bad. I mean, he’s uber-‘90s, but it’s at an enjoyable level. I’m happy that I finally tracked this guy down. I guess I should get the rest of them at some point.