BASIC NINJA – RED
ARTICULATED ICONS (THE FWOOSH)
“Silent shadows hold unseen danger. Steel whispers the fatal strike. Between breaths, between blinks, the ninja makes his home; a nightmare apparition that means death to those he seeks. In times long past or futures unwritten, these invisible assassins stalk their prey, draped in the stillness of the night, leaving only mystery in their passage. Beware the darkness that lay between myth and legend; the ninja is there. Immortal warriors that live only for the bloodlust of battle, the Great Ninja Clan is the most feared opponent. Where the others fight their wars in the light, the Ninja owns the shadows. But when the Ninja Master is betrayed and murdered by unknown assailants, the Great Ninja Clan is irreparably split apart. What was one is now many as ninja fights ninja and brother fights brother to the uttermost end.”
The waaaaaiiiiiting is the hardest part! Odds are good Tom Petty wasn’t talking about action figures in that song, but those words sum up my relationship with a lot of lines of action figures. Doubly so when they’re via Kickstarter. Despite the best intentions, most Kickstarters tend not to deliver by their estimated arrival times. As I’ve delved into the world of Kickstarter, the wait for each item has increased pretty steadily. One of the longer waits I’ve experienced was for todays item, the Basic Ninja from The Fwoosh’s Articulated Icons line. Their Kickstarter campaign ended in October of 2015, with an estimated arrival of May 2016. They missed that by a few months or so (okay, about 14), but the figures are finally here! Were they worth the wait? Let’s find out!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The premise for Articulated Icons is pretty simple: it’s a line of generic troop builder style figures, purposefully designed to be compatible with current lines such as Marvel Legends and Star Wars: The Black Series. Their first series, dubbed “The Feudal Series,” gives us one of the coolest “generic” concepts out there: ninjas! The initial offerings for the line were limited to just ninjas, in basic and deluxe formats. I opted for the basic red ninja, mostly due to his similarity to a certain group of Marvel Comics ninjas who wear red and fight the likes of Daredevil and Iron Fist. What were they called? The Foot? The Fist? No, those aren’t right. Anyway, onto the figure! This guy stands 6 inches tall, which makes him a little smaller than the average Marvel Legend, but not so small that he looks too out of place. Plus, this way he’s also in-scale with things like Figuarts and DC Icons. He also has 34 points of articulation, which allows for a ton of great poses. Some of the joints are a little on the loose side on my figure (especially the shoulders), but he certainly isn’t flopping around and falling over the place (an issue I’ve had with more than a few TB Legends). Some of the articulation could perhaps be worked in a bit more organically, but I’ve seen far worse from far larger companies. To aid in his compatibility with various Hasbro lines, this guy’s got a sculpt by Gentle Giant Studios, the same company that handles the sculpts for The Black Series and the MCU-based Legends figures. It’s a solid sculpt, exhibiting very balanced proportions and some tremendous detail work. I really like the texture work on the trim of his tunic in particular, but everything about this guy feels really strong for this scale. The standard head is wearing a simple balaclava, which is a nice, clean look. There’s some nice small detail work here, such as the piping on the top of the mask, and you can even make out his face under the mask, but it’s all very subtle. He also includes another head, this time wearing a zukin mask. This head has a lot more going on, with lots of folds and such. Very different look, and a great way of keeping things from getting too repetitive if you’re picking up a bunch of these guys. The paint on this guy is fairly straight forward; there’s obviously a lot of red going on, which suits the body pretty nicely. There’s a wash on all of the red parts, which helps bring out the various sculpted details. The work on the eyes of the figures is decent enough; the eyes are green and pupil less, which looks cool and otherworldly. There’s a little bit of slop on the two heads, but not enough to ruin either of them. The basic Ninja as lighter on the accessories than his deluxe compatriots, but he’s still got quite a selection. In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, this guy includes three sets of hands (in fists, gripping, and flat positions), a katana, a wakizashi, sheaths for both of the swords, a kunai throwing knife, a sash/belt, and a hood (in both up and down configurations). The hands are a lot of fun; they can be difficult to swap at first, but not after a few swaps. The sheaths fit the swords very nicely, and have a removable loop which allows them to be attached to either the center of the back or to his belt. The pulled up hood fits well on the balaclava wearing head, and looks very nice; the pulled down one is okay, but has a little bit of trouble staying in place on his neck. All in all, a very nice selection.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
When Articulated Icons was first announced, I was interested, but not 100% sure I was going to back it, since I’d backed quite a few Kickstarters sound the same time. But, I liked what was shown, so I opted to go for the basic guy and at least give the line a try. The wait’s been quite long, but The Fwoosh was good enough to keep us all very well posted on the progress of everything. In hand, the figure is not without one or two minor flaws, but I’m overall exceedingly happy with this guy. He’s a lot of fun to mess around with, and I’m very seriously considering picking up one or two more figures from the line, should they be available later on.