#2072: Kicking Woody

KICKING WOODY

TOY STORY (THINKWAY TOYS)

The latest installment in Pixar’s Toy Story franchise hits theaters today, and it’s a pretty big deal.  The end of an era.  Why, it’s almost as big a deal as the last time that they did this, back when it was Toy Story 3!  But, they’re way more serious about it this time, I guess.  We’ll see how it goes.  To get myself into that Toy Story mood, I’m doing the absolute most appropriate thing possible, and reviewing a toy, from the original movie no less!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kicking Woody was one of two Woody variants produced by Thinkway Toys for their 1995 Toy Story line.  They were denoted by their action features.  This one kicks.  I know, shocker.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation, though the articulation on his legs is slightly hampered by his action feature.  Unlike Buzz, whose design has built-in articulation (which his figure ignored a good bit of), Woody’s got, what, one point of articulation in the canon?  At the neck?  And that’s replicated here.  Beyond that, he’s changing up the material from cloth to plastic, meaning the articulation’s just sort of made up.  It’s really not bad, though, especially for the time this figure was released.  Woody’s sculpt is actually a pretty respectable offering.  The proportions match well with his film model, and the likeness is certainly there on the head.  The body is definitely on the smooth side, with no real texturing like he really should have, but we’re once again falling into the realm of “product of his time.”  All of the important details are definitely there, and there’s no denying who he’s supposed to be.  Woody’s sculpt is topped off with his signature cowboy hat, which is a nicely sculpted piece which sits quite nicely and snugly on his head.  Woody’s paintwork is pretty standard; it’s a decent match for the source material, and it’s bright and colorful.  The application is overall pretty good, with minimal bleed over and not as many fuzzy lines as were on my Buzz figure.  Woody was originally packed with a snake (presumably about to go into or just exiting his boot), which my figure no longer has.  He does still have his kicking action feature, though; press the button on his back and his leg swings upward.  Very exciting.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like Woody from the films, this figure’s been with me for quite some time.  Toy Story was the first movie I saw in the theater, which probably explains a lot about me when you really get down to it.  Woody was definitely my favorite character, so my parents made pretty quick work of finding me this figure.  He was the only one I picked up from the original line, and he’s been in my collection since his 1995 release.  I gotta say, he’s a really solid figure, and remains my favorite version of the character, despite being almost a quarter century old.  He’s one I’m really glad I hung onto.

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#1669: Buzz Lightyear

BUZZ LIGHTYEAR

TOY STORY (THINKWAY TOYS)

“To infinity, and beyond!”

In the ’90s, it was easier to say what movies *weren’t* getting some sort of tie-in toyline.  Surprising absolutely no one, Toy Story, a movie with “toy” in the title, got an accompanying toyline.  Perhaps the most surprising thing about it was that the toys came from the relative unknowns at Thinkway Toys, and that there weren’t a lot more of them.  Nevertheless, it served to give us basic figures of the two main players, Woody and Buzz.  I’ll be looking at the latter today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Buzz Lightyear was part of the first, and only, series of Thinkway’s Toy Story line.  There were actually two releases of this guy; one in his standard colors, and one with chrome sections in-place of the white.  The white was of course the more common of the two, but at this point, neither’s particularly hard to find.  I have both, because I’m me.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  That’s still less articulation than the actual figure from the movie, but we’re not talking Small Soldiers levels of reduction or anything.  The figure’s sculpt is actually pretty good for the time.  It matches well with the model from the movie, and manages to be pretty well detailed and quite authentic for the time.  It’s scaled down quite a bit, of course, and there are a few rather obvious points of construction, especially on the legs.  Still, quite nice.  His helmet is probably the most compromised piece on the figure.  In the movie, it’s one solid piece, and it pops up or off completely.  In the real world, that doesn’t work so much, so this figure has a segmented helmet, which pulls back from the front half of his face.  It’s a little hokey, but it’s an okay compromise.  His wings also don’t collapse like in the movie, since there’s not enough space for that.  Instead, the pack just pops off his back, and the wings can be removed outright, thus recreating essentially the same look.  Buzz’s paintwork is decent.  The base application is decent enough, though both figures I have have some serious fuzz on the transitions between colors.  There are decals for the more detail intensive parts, which is actually pretty accurate to the movie.  This version of Buzz was advertised as having “Rocket Flying Action,” which refers to the rocket he gets strapped to him at the end of the movie.  Said rocket is included and can be plugged into the figure’s back.  There’s a zipline sort of a feature, which simulates flying, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had the Woody figure from this line as a kid, but I never got a Buzz figure.  Both figures here were picked up from Lost In Time Toys, during one of their sidewalk sales last fall.  They were cheap, and I’d never had them, so I figured, why the heck not?  He’s actually a pretty good figure, especially for the time, and also when compared to the Mattel figures from Toy Story 2.  This was a pleasant surprise.

#1285: Water Patrol Woody

WATER PATROL WOODY

TOY STORY 2 (MATTEL)

As a action figure collector that grew up in the ‘90s, it was nigh impossible that I would run this site and not ever touch on Toy Story.  What’s a bit surprising is just how long it took for me to get here.  Moreover, I’m kind of starting at an odd point.  The toys for the first film in the franchise sort of came and went.  It was the ‘90s, so every movie was getting toys.  This one was no exception, obviously.  But, aside from some serious scarcity of a few choice items, it was a fairly standard line.  When it came time for the sequel, things got a little weirder.  Which is admittedly a bit of a surprise, since the first film hit in the mid ‘90s, when action figures were at probably their weirdest, while the second film hit in ’99, when things were cooling down.  The first film’s toys were done by the relatively unknown Thinkway Toys (who actually have the license again), but for the second movie, Disney partnered up with Mattel to secure Barbie for the film.  Part of the deal was that Mattel got to make the action figures.  They released some fairly straightforward versions of most of the main characters, but after the main movie stuff was mostly through, they launched a few sub-lines, showcasing non-film variants of the main characters.  I’ll be looking at one of the variants of Woody today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Water Patrol Woody was released in the “Aqua Action” sub-line of Mattel’s Toy Story 2 tie-in.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has…movement.  I don’t know that I’d classify the movement as “articulation.”  Thanks to the non-removable head dome, there’s no movement at the neck, and his arms and legs are just a rubber mold over a wire.  So, he’s posable in theory, I guess. The figure sports a totally made-up design, just like all the other figures in this particular series.  It’s supposed to be a dive suit, I guess.  I personally always thought it looked more like a space suit, but I guess there’s an old dive suit quality about it.  It’s not a bad design.  It keeps the important elements of Woody’s main design (the hat, belt/holster, and boots), but also crafts a pretty solid protective suit for him.  The head’s a little odd; Mattel’s Woody likeness was never quite as good as others, and the hat had to she shrunk to fit inside the helmet.  I personally would think it would make sense for him to lose the hat all together, but I’ve been told in the past that I’m not good with “brand identity” so what do I know?  At the end of the day, the head’s close enough that you should be able to pick up on who this is supposed to be.  It’s worth noting that despite being clearly engineered for water play, Woody’s helmet was far from air-tight; more than once, this figure ended up with a full helmet of water, followed by a day or two with a fogged up helmet while the condensation cleared.  It was rather frustrating to 8-year old me.  In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty decent from a technical standpoint, but I can’t help but feel that Mattel chose the dullest possible color scheme for him.  Ooooh, varying shades of brown.  Such fun!  Couldn’t we have at least gotten some of Woody’s regular colors worked in here and there?  A little blue and yellow would have gone a long way.  Woody’s one accessory was a “Quick Draw Squirter” which sounds a little bit…off.  I’m also not sure what constitutes it being “Quick Draw.”  He just stands on it.  Wait, it’s always out.  The quickest draw of them all!  That’s it!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Water Patrol was a gift I got for my eighth birthday.  I’m not 100% sure who gave him to me, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was either my Nana or my cousin Rusty.  It feels like a “mom’s side of the family” gift.  While that was the year of me being largely obsessed with the then recent X-Men Movie figures, I know that Woody was a figure I had specifically requested.  I was on a Buzz Lightyear of Star Command kick at the time, and I wanted this Woody figure because he looked like he was in a space suit, and therefore made sense with all of my Star Command figures.  Even as a kid, I didn’t really buy him as a Water figure.  He’s not the most exciting figure of all time, but he amused me as a kid, and that’s the most important thing, really.