#1111: Punch It

PUNCH IT

SMALL SOLDIERS (HASBRO)

punchit1

I feel it would be unfair tor review a member of the Commando Elite without also giving the Gorgonites their proper due, so today I’ll be looking at yet another Small Soldiers figure.  Fun Fact: the supporting Gorgonites in the movie are all voiced by the members of Spinal Tap (likewise, the Commando Elite are voiced by the cast of The Dirty Dozen).  Harry Shearer, also known for his work on The Simpsons, voiced Gorgonite Punch It, whose figure I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

punchit2Punch It was part of Hasbro’s Small Soldiers line from 1998, but he wasn’t a standard release.  Due to his size, Punch It was his own, special deluxe release.  It’s actually a bit surprising that he was just a solo release, and not packed with Scratch It, his perpetual companion from the movie (who you had to buy a large vehicle to acquire).  Anyway, the figure stands a little under 8 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  The articulation issue is still present here, but amusingly enough, Punch It has more articulation than a lot of the figures in the line, despite his on-screen figure actually having less movement than the other figures.  The only real frustrating part for me is that the hands and legs, which are separate pieces, are glued in place, rather than being articulated.  Punch It’s sculpt is actually one of the better sculpts to come out of this line.  It captures the movie design pretty solidly, and there’s a lot of really tight small detail and texture work.  He’s appropriately chunky and solid, and all of the extra details make him one of the most visually interesting figures Hasbro put out.  Possibly the only downside to the sculpt is the fact that if you remove his big missile launcher on his back, there’s a big obvious post sticking out.  Of course, it’s not like it’s anywhere near as obvious as the huge freaking gun thing on Brick Bazooka’s back, so that’s a plus.  Punch It also gets one of the cooler paint jobs from the line.  The basic work is all pretty solid and clean, and the colors match up nicely with his design, but I think the coolest part is the marbleized plastic for his skin, which plays up the texturing very nicely.  Punch It included a back-mounted missile launcher and a clip-on claw for his right arm.  My figure doesn’t have those pieces, sadly, so I can’t expose you guys to the awesomeness therein.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m always on the prowl for Small Soldiers figures, so when I found Punch It at Yesterday’s Fun over the summer, I was pretty psyched.  Sure, he was loose and missing the accessories, but there’s no denying the sheer coolness of this design.  If I’m totally honest, I think that Punch It’s design was the one that best translated to the actual toyline.  This guy is just really, really cool, and I’m very happy that I got one.

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#0903: Archer

ARCHER

SMALL SOLDIERS (HASBRO)

Archer1

When it comes to 90s movies about toys that are actually alive, most people remember Toy Story. Or, on the more horrific side, Child’s Play. I’m not knocking either of those (well, maybe Child’s Play; not really my thing) but my go-to movie of this odd sub-genre is hands down Small Soldiers. The movie was, at best, a modest success, but it had some pretty awesome people involved. It was directed by Joe Dante (of Gremlins fame), featured the vocal talents of Tommy Lee Jones and Frank Langella (to say nothing of featuring the likes of Kirsten Dunst, David Cross, and Phil Hartman in live action roles), had visual effects by industry legend Stan Winston, a score by Jerry Goldsmith, and is one of the earliest examples of a film making use of a Led Zeppelin song. It’s an awesome movie. Toy makers Hasbro were brought on as consultants for the designs of the film’s lively action figures, and in return were given the rights to produce the film’s tie-in toys. Sadly, they weren’t quite as successful as they were in the film. Today, I’ll be looking at Archer, emissary of the Gorgonites, the heroic faction of action figures.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Archer2Archer was released in the initial 1998 assortment of Small Soldiers figures from Hasbro. The figure stands 6 ¾ inches tall and has 6 points of articulation. Here’s where we encounter the primary issue with these figures: articulation. The toys seen in the movie had a lot of articulation (they had to be able to move around in a fairly humanistic manner). The real life toys had 6 points, all cut joints. Letdown doesn’t begin to describe the articulation here. It’s made worse by the fact that the sculpt clearly emulates the articulation seen in the movie, but leaves it motionless. Clearly, they wanted the figures to be cost-effective, and that didn’t allow for the proper articulation. I’m not sure what the best fix would have been (short of charging more per figure), but there’s no denying that this is a major failing of these figures. With that out of the way, how does the rest of the figure fair? Not badly, actually. The sculpt does a pretty good job of capturing the toy design from the movie, especially the upper half. The proportions have been tweaked ever so slightly, making him a bit more squat than his movie counterpart, but it’s not that far off. One thing that is a bit off is the pose, which has Archer’s back totally straight, despite the character in the movie always having a slight hunch. It definitely throws off the appearance of the figure, which is a shame. On the plus side, the detail work on the sculpt is pretty great, and captures a lot of the smaller details seen in the movie. The paint on Archer is definitely a step down from what was seen in the movie, but that’s fair, since the one in the movie was a professionally painted prop, and this is a mass-produced figure. Given the circumstances, he’s not bad. The best work is on the head, which exhibits some surprisingly subtle work in a few spots. The rest of the figure is reasonable enough, especially for the time. There are a few details that go unpainted, but the general application is pretty solid. Archer was packed with a crossbow (with launch-able missile) and a knife. Mine, however, does not have those pieces.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By the time I saw Small Soldiers (on VHS; I didn’t see it in theatres) the first assortment of figures had pretty much totally sold through. So, I had to settle for a weird variant version of Archer, which was the only Small Soldiers figure I owned for a good long while. When I finally had the resources to go pack and find some of the others, most of the figures had rather high after-market prices. Last October, at the suggestion of my friend Cindy Woods, I checked out 2nd Chance Toyz, a cool nearby shop that carry all sorts of older toys. They had Archer for an exceptionally reasonable price, so I picked him up. Sure, he’s not as cool as the figure in the movie, but he’s still a pretty fun toy in his own right. And that’s the important part!