#0391: Constable Rick Grimes & Douglas Monroe

CONSTABLE RICK GRIMES & DOUGLAS MONROE

WALKING DEAD MINIMATES

Minimates are sort of like potato chips: you can’t have just one. I mean, for one thing, they don’t tend to be sold in single packs (though it does happen), which definitely limits the possibilities of getting just one. But also, they’re just so darn addicting, that buying one set will often lead to the purchase of at least a few more. Or a few hundred more in my case. Such is the case with the most recent series of The Walking Dead Minimates. I couldn’t just get poor Carl by himself. And who would make a better companion for Carl than his father, Rick? Plus, there’s a random old guy thrown in just cuz!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Rick and Douglas were released as a two-pack in the 6th series of The Walking Dead Minimates. This series is loosely based around the “Alexandria” arc from around issue 75.

CONSTABLE RICK GRIMES

“Arriving with his fellow survivors at the walled compound known as The Community, Rick was offered the role of constable, due to his police experience.” Rick has had his fair share of looks over the courses of the series. Generally, he got more and more haggard as the series progressed. The “Alexandria” arc functioned as a bit of a factory reset for Rick, bringing him (mostly) back to where he’d been at the start of the series. It’s a nice change of pace, but, to no one’s surprise, it doesn’t last long. Still, it’s an important look for a number of reasons, and it makes for a Rick that stands out from the pack. Rick is about 2 ½ inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation. Spoilers if you haven’t made it past the first 20 or so issues of a series that’s well past 100: Rick loses a hand, hence the one missing point of articulation. Rick makes use of the standard body, with a bandaged stump in place of the right hand, as well as sculpted add-ons for the hair, coat, tie, and boot holster. The holster is a new piece, and it works pretty well, though it does lead to an uneven stance. The rest of the pieces a re-used. The coat and hair are from the Series 1 Rick, the bandage is from the TRU exclusive Survivor Rick, and the tie first saw use on the boxed set based on the movie version of The Spirit. Don’t hold its origins against it! All of these are well sculpted pieces that work very nicely for the desired look. Technically, the bandage shouldn’t be over the coat sleeve, but it’s a nice enough piece that I don’t mind. Rick’s paint is pretty good.  Everything is nice and cleanly applied for the most part. There’s a little bit of slop at the top of the tie, and around the coat collar, but other than that it looks really nice. The detail lines are all nice and sharp. I really like that Rick’s face is just a happier, slightly older, clean-shaven version of the Series 1 Rick. Rick includes a small revolver that fits in his ankle holster, and a clear display stand.

DOUGLAS MONROE

“Douglas, a former congressman, was acting leader of The Community when Rick and his fellow survivors arrived, and he welcomed their help.” Douglas was a fairly minor character in the context of the series as a whole, but he was important to the “Alexandria” arc, so it’s nice that they included him. Douglas is a little under 2 ½ inches tall and he features 14 points of articulation. The figure uses the basic Minimate body, with an additional piece for his jacket. The jacket piece is a re-use from the Back to the Future “Enchantment Under the Sea” Marty, which has since been re-used on countless other figures. It’s a good basic suit jacket, so it works well. Everything else on Douglas is done with paint, and it’s done superbly. The basic colors are all nice and clean, and the detail lines are nothing short of amazing. He has pinstripes on his shirt which continue all around the torso, and the shirt and pants have a surprising amount of folds and creases depicted. He also got a belt that goes all the way around, and his face is the spitting image of his comic appearance. Douglas includes a spare set of arms done up to match his torso, with pinstripes and everything, as well as a handgun and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Rick and Douglas from Cosmic Comix, my local comicbook store. Initially, I had only planned to pick up Carl to go with the small selection of characters I had from the first two series, but for whatever reason, this Rick figure appealed to me. Actually having the figures and playing around with them, Rick may very well be my favorite version of the character so far, but the biggest surprise for me is how much I like Douglas. He’s not the most exciting character, and the figure had the potential to be rather boring, but Diamond really brought their A game to this figure, resulting in a top quality figure. While I can’t say these have necessarily pulled me back in the line (the next series is supposed to be based on the storyline that got me to stop reading), I will say I’ll probably pick up the occasional set from here out, and I might even go back and get some of the sets I missed.

#0390: Carl Grimes & Burning Zombie

CARL GRIMES & BURNING ZOMBIE

WALKING DEAD MINIMATES

My relationship with The Walking Dead is a strained one. Shortly after discovering Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, I decided to track down a few of the other things he’d worked on. This of course led to The Walking Dead. I quite enjoyed it, for about 99 issues. Then, I read issue 100, and my interest in continuing reading stopped dead. This had the unfortunate side effect of turning me off of the line of comic-based Minimates just two series in, meaning I missed out on a few of the principle characters. But there was one character I knew I couldn’t miss: Carl.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Carl and the Burning Zombie were released in Series 6 of The Walking Dead Minimates. I know that there was originally meant to be a TRU series to go along with this one, but TRU backed out, leading to a bit of consolidation. I can’t remember if Carl was always in the main series or not, but he was released and that’s what counts.

CARL GRIMES

“Rick’s son, Carl had trouble adjusting to life inside The Community, and when their defenses were breached, he lost an eye trying to escape.” Carl is easily the most important character to still be unrepresented in this line. This was an issue that was noted pretty much from the start, though. In the initial 15 or so Minimates DST showed off when they confirmed the license, Carl was nowhere to be seen. As it turns out, Diamond was just waiting til they were certain they could get him right. Carl is around 2 ¼ inches in height and he features 10 points of articulation. Carl uses the standard Minimate body as a starting point, but he features a special set of lower arms and legs to give him a smaller, more childlike appearance, as well as sculpted add-ons for his hat/hair, backpack, and belt/holster. The arms and legs were first used on for the Thunderkittens from Thundercats. They provide a slight change in height and stature, at the expense of the articulation in the wrists and ankles. It’s not a perfect tradeoff, but it’s reasonable enough, and it provides enough of a difference to make it worthwhile. All of Carl’s sculpted pieces are re-use: the hat and holster are from Series 1’s Rick Grimes, and the backpack is from TRU Series 1’s Glenn. Since the hat is meant to actually be Rick’s the reuse is sensible, and the bag and holster are pretty good pieces. Carl’s paintwork is pretty good. All of the basic work is clean and well applied. The detail lines are also pretty great. I love that he’s got a Science Dog t-shirt. The face seems a bit too old for Carl, though. The cheekbone lines age him. Not terribly so, but it doesn’t look quite right. Carl is well accessorized; he includes an extra bandaged head, a hairpiece (re-used from Series 2’s Sailor Zombie), a handkerchief, a coat with an extra set of sleeved arms to match, a rifle, a handgun, a flashlight, and a clear display stand. The bandaged head is actually a bit better than the regular. For some reason, he looks younger. Don’t know why.

BURNING ZOMBIE

“Survival Tip: While not an effective way to kill a walker, fire is a good way to dispose of fallen corpses, a breeding ground for disease.” Burning Zombie is yet another basic zombie. Like the shoulder Zombie, I feel certain this one is based on a specific Zombie from the comics, but I don’t have an extensive enough knowledge of the series to know exactly where it comes from. It’s a pretty standard Zombie, though.  The Burning Zombie is about 2 ½ inches tall and he features 14 points of articulation. The figure is built out of the typical Minimate parts, with an additional piece for the flames. This piece previously saw use on the TRU exclusive Nova Flame Human Torch. It’s a good piece, and it’s well served to what they want to represent. Aside from that one piece, the figure really relies on paint. Fortunately, the paintwork is great on this figure. Everything is nice and clean and all the detail work is really sharp. The little details and texture on the zombie’s skin is outstanding, as is the detail work on the pants. Diamond continues to go the extra mile with their zombies in this line. The Burning Zombie includes a torch (presumably the one it was lit with) and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Carl and the Burning Zombie were acquired from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix. I had passed on quite a few series of this line, but Carl proved to be enough to pull me back in, at least for a few sets from this series. It helps that Carl is one of the best figures in the line, and that he was packed with a pretty fantastic Zombie. I had a minor issue or two with Carl, but overall this was a tremendous set, an a fantastic showing for a pivotal character’s introduction into the line!

#0380: Shoulder Zombie

SHOULDER ZOMBIE

WALKING DEAD MINIMATES

ShoulderZombie1

When it comes to Minimates, Marvel Minimates is consistently the flagship line. Generally, there has always been at least one other line that takes the spot of “Strong second,” however exactly what line that is has changed over the years. Upon its introduction, The Walking Dead Minimates line took this spot. The line has cooled down a bit since its launch, but it’s still going pretty strong overall. Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of the line’s Zombies, dubbed the Shoulder Zombie.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ShoulderZombie2The Shoulder Zombie was released in the fourth series of Walking Dead Minimates. He was included both with Alice and Prison Suit Lori, depending on which set you got. Every zombie in the line is based on a specific zombie from the comics. That being said, I’m not up enough on The Walking Dead to know exactly where this one comes from. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. The figure makes use of the standard Minimate body with a unique torso in place of the regular one. The new torso has been specially sculpted to show the gruesome shoulder wound from which the figure gets its name. It’s a pretty good piece, though it’s been noticeably toned down for the figure. This is understandable, but it’s a little bit gummy when compared to the (painted) extension of the wound present on the face. The rest of the figure is handled with paint, and it’s all done really nicely. There’s no real issues with bleed over or slop, and there’s some truly impressive detail work, especially on the face. I really love how they eyes are going two different directions. The Shoulder Zombie’s lone accessory is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, why, you might ask, do I have just the Shoulder Zombie and neither of the complimentary pack ‘mates? Here’s why: when I placed my order with Luke’s Toy Store for Series 57 of Marvel Minimates, I decided to take advantage of a rather cool thing the store offers. See, they have a pretty great selection of loose Minimates, which I’ve ordered from before. But, they also offer the chance to buy a “Mystery ‘mate”, which could conceivably be any Minimate in existence. I decided to take a chance, and this is the one I got. All said, it could have been much worse. It’s not a figure I would have tracked down on my own, but having it in hand, it’s fun enough that I don’t regret the purchase in the slightest.

#0179: Daryl Dixon & Chopper

DARYL DIXON & CHOPPER

THE WALKING DEAD

It had a rocky start, but McFarlane’s The Walking Dead line is really becoming one of the better toylines around.  I recently looked at a few of the figures from series 5, and was quite impressed overall.  Today’s character is fan-favorite Daryl Dixon, who was actually one of the very first characters released in the line, way back in series 1.  However, that figure had more in common with Kevin Federline than it did the esteemed Mr. Dixon, so he was definitely one of the most requested re-dos.  McFarlane seems to be pulling out all the stops for Daryl, and went ahead and released him along with his distinctive chopper.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Daryl and the Chopper were released as a boxed set, which is loosely serving as a supplement to series 5 of the main line.  Daryl stands about 5 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation (the box says 25, but it’s 27.  Perhaps McFarlane needs to work on their counting skills?).  Daryl has a brand new style of hip articulation for the line, and it’s definitely an improvement over the other figures.  Hopefully, McFarlane will be making this a standard feature.  The accuracy of Daryl’s headsculpt seems to be a matter of opinion, with some claiming it’s spot on and others claiming it’s totally off.  I fall somewhere in between;  it’s not a perfect likeness, but it’s obviously Norman Reedus.  The rest of the figure’s sculpt is tremendous.  All of the clothing has the appropriate textures and such, and it really looks like a real person.  The paintwork is pretty good.  There’s no real slop, and there’s some dry-brushing and washes that help bring out the sculpted textures.  Daryl includes a knife that can be sheathed and his trusty crossbow, which has three removable arrows.  There are slots for four arrows, so I may have been shorted one.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Chopper is more an accessory to Daryl than its own item, but the work put into it is still top notch.  The bike is about 4 inches tall and 6 inches long, and it has movement in four places.  The sculpt is nothing short of amazing.  All the parts line up correctly, and it’s perfectly scaled to Daryl.  The tires are even real rubber, which is a cool touch.  The paintwork is exceptional, which plenty of texturing and weathering, as well as the appropriate logos and such.  The license plate even has realistic wear, so it really looks like it’s been through an apocalypse.  The Chopper includes two bags that can be set on the back, as well as a small stand to allow it to be displayed on the shelf without the kickstand down.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up from Amazon, back when it was up for pre-order.  I honestly only picked it up for Daryl, but the Chopper is amazing piece of work, and shouldn’t be overlooked.  Overall, this continues the upturn in quality from McFarlane, which is definitely cool to see.  I can’t wait for the next series!

#0159: Maggie Greene

MAGGIE GREENE

THE WALKING DEAD

I contemplated pushing today’s review back to next Sunday, just to keep the theme running with my Walking Dead reviews, but I decided that Maggie and Glenn are kind of a set, so I’m going forward with the review today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Maggie is part of the 5th wave of McFarlane’s The Walking Dead TV Series line.  She’s based on Maggie’s look in general, but seems to be drawn from the first few episodes of Season 3 specifically.  Maggie stands just shy of 5 inches tall and has 22 points of articulation.  Maggie’s articulation is okay, but not the greatest.  Her hair sculpt means that her neck doesn’t have much movement, and she lacks the ankle joints that the other two figures have, which makes the figure really hard to stand up.  Seriously, I just barely got her to stand long enough for the pictures.  There are several pictures of the figure mid-fall!  Aside from those issues, the rest of the articulation works pretty well, and allows for some decent poses.  Maggie’s sculpt is well done, with lots of great little details here and there.  I like that the jeans have an actual denim texture, and the folds in her shirt look pretty great.  The likeness isn’t quite as good as Glenn’s in my opinion, but that may be more to do with the paint than the sculpt.  She still has more than a passing resemblance to Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie on the show, so it’s not a terrible sculpt.  The paint is passable, but the face can look weird from certain angles, particularly the eyes.  Maggie’s got some blood splatter going on, which doesn’t look too bad, but I kinda wish they hadn’t made her quite so scene specific.  Maggie includes a handgun, a rifle, and a knife.  She has a bit of difficulty holding the rifle, and the knife doesn’t seem to want to go in the sheath on my figure, but that may not be a widespread issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I came across Maggie twice at my local TRU, but I wanted to purchase her and Glenn together, so I held off until I found both.  I finally broke down and got them both from Amazon.  Maggie’s not quite as good as Glenn, in my opinion, but she’s still a pretty well done figure of an important character on the show.

#0158: Glenn Rhee

GLENN RHEE

THE WALKING DEAD

Hey, would you look at that?  It’s Sunday again!  Which means it’s time for another The Walking Dead review.  I’d love to say that this was carefully planned, but it was totally a coincidence.  So, yeah…

I looked at the Tyreese figure from this line three weeks ago and really liked him.  I mentioned that I hadn’t gotten anyone else in the line, but I had been pulled in.  Well, now it’s official; I’ve been pulled in.  This time around, I’ll be looking at Glenn, my favorite character from the comics, and one of my favorites on the show.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Glenn was released as part of the 5th series of McFarlane’s The Walking Dead TV Series line.  He looks to be based on Glenn’s appearance in the 3rd season of the show, but could easily work for a 4th season version as well.  He’s about 5 inches tall and features 24 points of articulation.  The shoulder articulation is a bit better here than it was on Tyreese.  He can lift his arms as far as a real person could, so that’s nice.  He still has the same mostly useless hip articulation, but it’s not the worst thing in the world.  The sculpt on this figure is really great.  The head looks pretty spot on to actor Stephen Yuen, who portrays Glenn on the show.  I really like that they’ve captured Glenn’s worrisome but determined look that is such a signature trait of his character.  The rest of the figure is well proportioned and has some great detail work on the clothed areas.  The paint is also a bit better here than it was on Tyreese, especially the eyes, which don’t seem to have any spacing issues.  The five-o-clock shadow on mine turned out alright, but it looks like it varies from figure to figure, so if you have a chance, you might want to examine the figure before you buy it.  Glenn is very well accessorized, including a section of pipe, a rifle, a handgun, a knife, a swat vest, and an alternate beaten-up head.  The vest and extra head are really what make this 3rd season Glenn, since he got the vest at the prison, and the head looks to be based on what poor Glenn looked like after he was taken prisoner by the Governor and Merle.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After looking at a few local TRUs with no luck, I finally broke down and bought Glenn and Maggie from Amazon.  I’m glad I picked this figure up, as he improves upon a few of my issues with Tyreese, and is just a really great figure in general.

#0137: Tyreese

TYREESE

THE WALKLING DEAD

So, you know what’s on tonight?  That’s right, The Walking Dead is on tonight.  Unless you’re reading this after the initial posting.  In which case, it isn’t.  Unless you have it Tivo-ed….

Sorry, I’m attempting to be relevant.  I don’t get to be very often.  So, yeah, The Walking Dead is a pretty popular show which I enjoy.  And it also has action figures.  I hadn’t really gotten into the line.  I looked at a few of them, but nobody really grabbed me.  I had seen series 5 online, and I was somewhat interested in Glen and Maggie, but there was one figure I didn’t think I needed: Tyreese.  I never cared for the character in the comic, and he hadn’t really done much for me on the show.  And then the second episode of season 4.5 aired, and 30 seconds into his first scene, Tyrese performed an action that instantly made him my favorite character on the show.  And wouldn’t you know it, it was just in time for his action figure to be released.  That was pretty convenient timing!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tyreese was released as part of the 5th series of McFarlane’s The Walking Dead TV Series line.  Obviously, he’s based on Tyreese’s appearance on the show.  He stands about 5 inches tall and features 24 points of articulation.  I don’t usually discuss the articulation, but I do have a few points to make.  First off, the shoulders are done in such a way as to prevent them from getting a full range of motion on the hinge joint.  They can’t quite make it to 90 degrees, which is a bummer.  Secondly, the leg articulation is practically useless due to the limited range of the ball jointed hips.  Neither of these things ruins the figure, but it does knock him down a bit.  Anyway, on to the sculpt.  The sculpting looks pretty good, and the proportions look really nice.  At first glance, his head seemed a little big, but then I realized that it’s probably just me being used to the skewed proportions on superhero figures.   The likeness of actor Chad L. Coleman is quite good.  The paintwork is good overall, but not perfect.  One thing that bugs me in particular is the work on the eyes, which are just a little bit off, making Tyreese look like he has a lazy eye.  The sweat stains on the front of his shirt could also stand to be a little subtler, but they aren’t bad as is.  The rest of the work is fairly clean, though there is some minor bleed in a few places.  Tyreese is armed with a hammer, a rifle, and a handgun.  The rifle and handgun are a bit awkward, since Tyreese doesn’t really have hands sculpted to hold them, but the hammer is absolutely perfect.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Tyreese at my local Toys R Us.  He and Maggie were the only two sitting on the shelf, and I decided to hold off getting Maggie until I can track down a Glenn.  But given my newfound fandom of Tyreese, I felt compelled to buy the figure.  It has its flaws, but it’s a really cool figure, and I definitely have been pulled into this line!