Even though I wrote some fairly recently, I’m feeling a lot of review rust, in fact I spent about 40 minute reading old itsalltrue.net and Fwoosh.com reviews to get myself back in the mood, though really all it did was annoy me because I’ve been so out of the action figure collector loop of late. But fuck it, I bought a new thing and I need a blog post to fully justify my purchase and I’ll only get more rusty the longer I wait and if I put it off enough eventually I’ll end up like the Tin Man and need Judy Garland to sort me out, and I will not rely on Judy Garland for anything every again.
So Lanard have been making The Corps! line for a looong time now, they launched in 1986 as the best of the G.I. Joe: Real American Hero knock-off lines as and have been going pretty much non-stop ever since, today’s set is now considered part of The Corps 2.0. by their official website but were also released as The Corps! Elite. I haven’t bought a Corps figure since I was small, we’re talking 1992ish, but while shopping for Christmas presents I fell I love with their new character Buckshot and, finding her set for a fiver in The Range, I caved in and brought her home with me, this not the only time I’ve brought an angry Australian home from Romford. Called a ‘collectors edition’ the The Collection sets are really just an evolution of their old Triple Pack and Action Pack concepts and includes three figures, a snazzy bike and a shitload of weapons. Not bad for a fiver.
We’ll start with Buckshot, because he’s the crappiest – spoilers. Again I’m not up on my Corps but a process of elimination leads me to believe this is reused from an earlier line, or possibly from another line altogether (I was right, he
debuted in 2014 in the Corps!: Total Soldier line). Buckshot (real name Austin Colt) heads up the Corps’ Flying Forces team, he’s from Huston Texas and is former American Air Force where he built planes for a top secret aeronautics division, all of these things giving him the right to have that moustache. His figure is comparatively shit though, in terms of sculpt, articulation and paint it looks like it came out of an older wave of Chap Mei’s Soldier Force, no bad thing but certainly not up to snuff with his set-mates (that’s a term now). He boasts five points of articulation and they’re all swivels or hinges, Buckshot will never do the splits – or put his arms out, or look up (but dogs CAN look up). His sculpt’s good and detailed but let down by bootleg levels of paint-apps – I don’t think a single one lines up properly with the sculpt lines, whichever slave labourer painted this clearly never learn to colour in the lines – they were probably struggling to feed their family or something ridiculous like that. One of the results of the bad paint job is that his moustache is crooked, making him look a little like he’s smiling, as his signature weapon is a big fuck off bowie knife this adds a murderous quality to him that I find quite charming. He’s still going down the charity shop though.
Ogre is the only member of The Curse, the Cobra of Corps 2.0., in the set and what a surprise he was, distracted as I was by Australian boobs I barely noticed him until I got home, how did I not notice a scarred man with a huge red skull on his chest? The pull of Australian boobs must be strong. With a design that recalls both Action Force and Adventure People, only more Metal than both of them could ever hope to achieve, he’s pretty damn great. According to the official
site Axle Broz was raised by a Russian crime syndicate and was an underground fighting champ before joining the Marauders (I’m guessing an old faction from a previous Corps era?) and then eventually The Curse, who’ve been able to dose him with three times the normal nanotech thanks to 6’8” size and incredible strength, making him one of the strongest men alive. A great sculpt all ‘round that’s complimented by the lines’ rudimentary paint apps rather than undermined by it like Buckshot, the big thing there is a surprisingly complex two-colour skull on his chest (Frank Castle? Who the fuck is Frank Castle?) that fades from one colour to the other, paint gets a bit sloppier on his head leaving my one looking a little derp eyed, although it’s quite easy to fanwank that his scarred eye just doesn’t work anymore. Articulation is pretty great, he has hinges at his crotch, arms and knees, a swivel at his neck and ball joints at his arms, and his design really integrates his knees and shoulder joints nicely. Star Wars fans of old should love his legs, which have that old Kenner trick of attaching hanging cloth of any kind to the legs rather than the torso piece – this doesn’t make the least bit of sense from a practical view - it’s not like they’re worried about hampering the articulation of anything, his head barely moves thanks to the hard plastic collar – and breaks immersion the minute you move his leg, but there’s a nostalgic quality to it that makes me happy. Ogre’s apparently a heavy weapons sort of fellow but was packaged beside two hand guns (a revolver and a silenced pistol), the set does come with two bigger guns but his hands are just too small hold the largest of them (the shotgun looking thing), bad times (it will spring out and kill your cat if you try, so don’t) but it does fit into the screw hole on his back, I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but I hope so.
The final figure, and the toy I bought the set for, is the lovely Snakebite. A former member of Australian Special Operations Command Unit and former animal rights activist who has developed a natural immunity to toxins and poisons, real name Nasha Raven the Corps brought her in because she’s immune to The Curse’s A.I. Virus and because she can kill just about anything or anyone with just a pair of knives. She’s absolutely the star of the set, appearing on the
card art and just feeling the most high-end, hell you can tell Lanard must have been proud of her, they gave her some paint on the back of the figure (it’s only her belt though). She’s just fucking awesome, her head sculpt is fantastic, though she’s slightly more feminine in her official artwork, her toy’s slightly more androgynous face combines with her hair to make her look like they took army fatigues and then poured in one of the girls from the sort of clubs I like to frequent, one of the girls who I think are too cool for me to talk to. Oh and this toy was clearly sculpted by a man, never has a 3 ¾” figure had such a bust, impressive when you figure that Cover Girl and Baroness are both usually found in that scale. She’s also the best articulated, adding ball jointed hips to Ogre’s set-up, I’d say her sculpt is pretty much on par with her enemy’s but I slightly prefer it by way of it allowing her to carry all of her weapons with both her hands AND her body - storing all the accessories on the figure is ALWAYS a good thing, especially for soldier-types who need to look as badass as possible and double especially for smaller figures that come with poxy tiny little weapons. Her paint work might be even better though, her camo looks sharp and there’s lots of it (even if it is only on the front of her legs), her Corps log and face is sharper still and the only real problem is some of the pink of her arms having gone over the edge of her gloves, obvious and unsightly yes but that still adds up to the best of the three. All her artwork (and her bio) have her signature weapons as a pair of knives but she comes packaged holding a cross-bow, odd but whatever she can carry her other knife anyway so she can have it (see what I mean? Storing weapons on figures is great).
Lastly there’s the Stryker, the bike of the set. It’s a modern racing style bike so immediately I dislike it on principal but it’s nice enough, it’s well sculpted with nice hard lines and the handle bars are on a swivel joint which is a nice extra touch. It’s a little small and only Snakebite can ride it but she looks good on it, in fact it really does feel like ‘her’ bike (though that’s never stated), with the silver, green and orange complimenting her colour scheme nicely. Of course it’s only painted on one side though so if she’s going west it doesn’t fit so well. It’s made from that cheap silver paint that looks like it hasn’t been stirred properly? You know what I mean? It had darks swirls in it? I like that, it looks attractive to my eyes. All that nice stuff said though it’s thing special and nothing you can’t get in a pound shop, and those might have a pullback of rev-up action feature, I’m planning on keeping it for Snakebite to pose on but without her it would have been sent off to Help the Aged.
So in conclusion? A good set, I bought it for one figure and’ve ended up keeping two and the bike so it must be fairly good mustn’t it? Obviously it could have been better, I could have kept all three figures but y’know Lanard has budgets and Buckshot probably meant that my now beloved Snakebite could look as good as she does. It’s great value for the target audience and I wholly recommend things like The Corps and Soldier Force to parents looking to bulk their kids pile of presents, you get quantity (enjoy stepping on those little guns all Christmas holiday won’t you?) and some actually good quality too, Buckshot may be comparatively poor thanks to how good Snakebite and Ogre are but he’s still a well detailed and charismatic toy. Will I be buying any more? Well I wouldn’t mind Snakebite’s opposite number Puma…I cannot be trusted.