BARNEY ROSS, TRENCH, BOOKER, & MR. CHURCH
THE EXPENDABLES 2 MINIMATES
“Barney Ross is the leader of the Expendables, and elite team of mercenaries hired to handle difficult international situations. When a job for the enigmatic Mr. Church goes off the rails, Ross must partner with his rival Trench and fellow operative Booker to make things right.”
You know, I haven’t reviewed any Minimates in what feels like forever. And I haven’t reviewed anything Expendables related in actually forever. Mostly because I just have the one set, but that does not negate the point. My Stallone quota is way down. Gotta fix that. So, without further ado, here are some Expendables Minimates.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
This set was released as part of the greater Expendables Minimates line, which was comprised of four boxed-sets, two released at specialty, and two at Toys R Us. This is one of the TRU sets, and it’s also one of the two sets based on Expendables 2. It covers the film’s “heavy hitters,” albeit it’s mostly covering the glorified cameos from the film’s big climactic battle. Still, it was enough to reel me in, so that’s a plus.
Barney Ross, aka Sylvester Stallone, is the central character of the Expendables films. As such, he was one of three characters to get two ‘mates, one from each of the first two films. This one’s shirtless. …Okay. That’s different, I guess. This was actually Stallone’s seventh Minimate, counting all the Rocky ‘mates. The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Barney uses the standard ‘mate body, with four different add-on pieces for his hair, belt, and thigh holsters. All of the add-ons were re-used (the Expendables Minimates were entirely re-use, in fact). The hair is from Marvel Series 21’s Tony Stark, the belt is from DC Series 4’s Jay Garrick, and the holsters are from Marvel Series 27’s Nick Fury. The pieces make for a decent enough recreation of Barney’s look from the movies. The paintwork on this ‘mate is pretty awesome, truth be told. The Stallone likeness is pretty spot-on, and the tattoos on the torso and shoulders are really fantastically detailed. Definitely adds some extra pop to what could have been a slightly bland ‘mate. Barney is packed with a knife, two HK USPs, and an M4 with a grenade launcher and a suppressor.
Joining his buddy Stallone is Arnold Schwarzenegger, or as he’s known in the film “Trench.” Like Barney, Trench was one of the characters to get a second ‘mate in the Expendables Minimates line, which was a little weirder, given his more minor role in the first film. But hey, Schwarzenegger’s Schwarzenegger; dude sells toys. This was Arnold’s eighth time as a ‘mate, though unlike Stallone, this wouldn’t be his last. This ‘mate, like Barney, is built on the standard base body, with add-ons for his hair, jacket, and bandolier. Both the hair and bandolier come from a prior Schwarzenegger ‘mate, namely the TRU exclusive Assault Gear T-800. I actually like the hair piece better on the older Schwarzenegger than the one from T2, so that’s a plus. The jacket comes from Marvel Series 46’s Peter Parker. It works perfectly fine, but it does still have the peg hole meant for Peter’s backpack, which is a minor annoyance. In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty solid. The Schwarzenegger likeness is fairly decent, and better than some earlier ‘mates. Under the jacket, there’s actually a fully detailed Hawaiian shirt, which is pretty cool. It’s too bad he didn’t have any extra arms or anything to help show it off, but it’s a fun little detail nonetheless. Trench is packed with a Remington 870 shotgun, an AA12 shotgun (in theory), and a Colt 1911.
This guy’s Chuck Norris. That’s all you really need to know about him. Booker was unique to this set, which is sensible, given he’s essentially just a cameo in the second film, and that’s it. Still, good excuse for a Norris ‘mate, right? To date, this is his only ‘mate, so make it count. He has five add-on pieces for his hair, vest, sleeves, and belt/holster. The hair is from Terminator 2‘s Kyle Reese, and it’s the biggest point of contention with this figure. It’s perfectly reasonable for Norris, but Booker is never seen in the film without his baseball cap. Since these were all based on re-use, they couldn’t create a new piece for him, but it’s still a bit of a let-down. The vest comes from another T2 ‘mate, Miles Dyson, who was himself taking the piece from the cancelled BSG New Caprica Col. Tigh. The sleeves come from The Spirit line, and the holster is courtesy of Blondie. All in all, not a terrible assemblage of parts, moving past the issue of the hat. The paint on this guy is on par with the others, presenting a solid likeness of Norris, and doing a nice job detailing his outfit from the film. He lacks some of the more interesting little details of the other two, but that’s more to do with the character’s design in the film than anything else. Booker is packed with an HK94A3, an M4, and a Colt 1911.
And here’s Mr. Church, better known as Bruce Willis. Because he’s just Bruce Willis playing Bruce Willis. Because that’s just what he does. Church joins Barney and Trench, getting his second ‘mate in this set. His first one was wearing a suit. This one’s wearing…a safari suit? Or something. I don’t know. It’s a little goofy. Church only gets one add-on piece, which his jacket. It’s re-used from the Punisher: Warzone’s Frank Castle, and it’s a fairly nice piece. Decent choice of re-use. The rest of the details are paint, and it’s pretty top-notch. The Willis likeness is certainly spot-on, and the details on the costume, specifically the scarf, are pretty sharply handled. It’s a lot of tan, which isn’t the most exciting scheme ever, but it’s accurate. Church is packed with an M4, and two silver Colt 1911s.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I picked this set up from TRU when it was first released. It was actually before I’d seen any of the movies; I was mostly grabbing it for the Willis and Norris ‘mates. It’s a solid set, no doubt. The Expendables Minimates were some of DST’s more inspired work, offering highly detailed ‘mates, with a ton of awesome accessories. Honestly, I sort of wish I’d grabbed more of them when they were new. This was a set that was more fun than it deserved to be, and that’s coming from someone who sort of enjoyed Expendables 2.