TRON, FLYNN, & SARK
“When a brilliant video game maker named Flynn hacks the mainframe of his ex-employer, he is beamed inside an astonishing digital world and becomes part of the very game he is designing. He must team up with the heroic Tron and evade the forces of the Master Control Program to find his way home and shut down the power-hungry MCP once and for all.”
Despite being at best a modest success when it hit theatres in 1982, Tron did get a little bit of toy coverage at the time of its release, courtesy of toy makers TOMY, who have us a handful of the film’s main characters. Since then? Well, neither the movie no its sequel, Tron: Legacy, has had a ton of luck with toys. The original film’s titular character was fortunate enough to get a couple of figures earlier this year from DST as part of a tie-in with Kingdom Hearts, and to follow things up, they’re giving a Tron line proper a try. Let’s have a look at those guys today!
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Tron, Flynn, and Sark make up the first series of Tron figures from DST. The line-up seen here is specifically the Walgreens-exclusive, slightly paired down line-up; specialty stores will be getting the same Tron and Sark, as well as Flynn in a red color scheme (because why not, I guess), and all three will include parts to build a Recognizer. The Walgreens set started hitting in early September, and the specialty line-up should be arriving in the coming weeks.
Both Tron and Sark were just released in DST’s Kingdom Hearts line. I had initially thought that these figures would be slight retools of those releases, but that’s actually not the case. Tron is seen here sporting an all-new, more movie inspired sculpt. The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall (giving him a 1/2 inch on his predecessor) and he has 29 points of articulation. Comparing the two Tron figures, leads to the question “does more articulation mean more posability?” and in the case of these two figures, it’s kind of a toss-up. The double joints on the elbows and the swivels on the thighs certainly are an improvement, but the hips just seem different for the sake of being different, and the added mid-torso joint doesn’t change his range in the slightest, meaning he’s got a break in his sculpt there for no practical reason. Perhaps most frustratingly, the neck, which had a decent range on the KH figure is now greatly reduced. That’s disappointing. The overall sculpt is a bit less stylized, obviously, since it’s based on the movie, and not a game, so Tron has a slightly more realistic set of proportions, as well as greater detailing on a few areas of the sculpt. The boots in particular are quite impressively handled. That said, the head is different from the previous figure, but I can’t really say it’s any more accurate or closer to Boxleitner in appearance. In general, while the sculpt goes for a more realistic look, I found that the sculpt made more compromises for the articulation this time, and the end result is a figure that just never looks quite as natural standing on the shelf as the previous figure. Tron’s paintwork marks another change from the KH figure, and honestly another area of different for the sake of difference. Rather than the grey with blue of the prior figure, this one is predominantly a light blue, with grey for the “skin” and darker blue for his tron-lines. I suppose an argument can be made for this being more accurate to the film, but the very dynamic nature of how the characters look on screen means that either appearance reads more or less as accurate. Tron is packed with his disk (a notable improvement over the KH figure) and a display stand. The disk is nice to have, though it’s worth noting that his hand posing isn’t totally ideal for holding it and it has a little trouble staying in place on his back.
The movie may be named after Tron, but Jeff Bridges’ Kevin Flynn is the more clear-cut protagonist (and his son is undoubtedly the protagonist of Legacy). Despite all that, he’s far less common as a figure, and was left out of the Kingdom Hearts stuff. Also, for whatever reason, DST decided to make the wider release version of him in red, rather than his blue that is his default look, making this figure the most desirable of the Walgreens trio by a country mile. Yay? Flynn’s construction is very similar to Tron’s, and the two of them share the same right arm, lower torso, pelvis, hands, and lower legs. The articulation is the same here as above, for better or for worse, but on the plus side, Flynn’s got his little toga thing from the movie, which hides the non-functioning torso joint for the most part. Of course, then it ends up restricting his left shoulder. You win some, you lose some. The head, though not a spot-on likeness of Bridges, is at least distinctly a different person, so there’s that leg up on the TOMY figures. Flynn’s paintwork very much follows the model of Tron’s, swapping out the character-specific details of course. He’s still predominantly that light blue color. The specialty release will, of course, swap this out to match Sark’s colors. Flynn is packed with a disk and display stand. They’re the same as Tron’s, but the tunic at least keeps the disk more in-place when on his back.
The legendary David Warner actually does triple-duty in the original Tron, with turns as corrupt exec Edward Dillanger, Big Brother stand-in Master Control, and dictator-esque program Sark. Of the three, I guess Sark’s kind of the most toyetic, isn’t he? Sark was offered in the Kingdom Hearts line, but like Tron, this figure is an all-new offering. He shares no parts with the other two figures, and that’s probably for the best. By and large, Sark’s articulation actually works a fair bit better than the other two. The range on the shoulders was definitely better, and the mid torso joint is not only functional, it’s also pretty much hidden. In general, the articulation and the sculpt mostly stay out of each other’s way on this guy. Getting him into a basic standing pose is a lot easier here. By far my favorite part of the sculpt is the head. While the other two likenesses are so-so at best, Sark is pretty unmistakably Warner, even if he’s hiding behind all that goofy headgear. Sark’s paintwork goes back to that KH styling, with the majority of things being grey, with the red highlights thrown in. This confirms for me that I really just prefer the grey with accent color look, as it just works a lot better. I don’t know why they opted to do it the other way for Tron and Flynn. Sark is again packed with his disk and a display stand. The disk is still tricky to hold, but is at least much more secure when plugged into his back.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
When these figures were shown, I had no idea if I’d be picking them up, because they honestly didn’t look all that different from the Kingdom Hearts releases, and I don’t believe Flynn was part of the initial line-up. I happened across Tron and Sark while checking some Walgreenses in an out of my area location. I almost just picked up Sark, but decided to grab the pair, and at the time had no clue about the Flynn figure. Once discovering Flynn’s existence, I was able to get hold of him as well with an assist from Max. I want to like these figures more than I do. Tron is really hurt by following the KH figure. While this one tries some new things, ultimately, the more standard faire of the previous figure is just more enjoyable to me. Flynn is more unique, but still suffers from a lot of the same issues. Sark is by far the best of the trio, and is the only one that really seems to succeed in what they’re trying to do with this line. Ultimately, I’m not sure what DST’s aim was with these figures, but they’re something of a mixed bag, and a little hard to recommend. They’re not terrible, and at least the Walgreens releases are pretty cheap, but I can’t see the specialty versions being worth $30 a piece.