Thursday, 19 January 2017

Post-Christmas Quick Crappy Reviewapalooza 2017: The Corps! The Corps vs The Curse: The Collection 3-Figure Set: Dozer, Rain & Puma*

Yeah I bought another Corps three pack so I could I could have a Puma to go with my Snake Bite, it was five quid and I had a lot of Christmas money (I have a big family), there was no reason for me not to buy it and I wanted to do a quick crappy review of it because I did a quick crappy review of the other set but…sigh…I’m not sure how much I have to say about things in the set that aren’t Puma. I’ll try to make this interesting for me to write and you to read, but no promises.

Lanard have been making The Corps! action figure line since 1986, originally as a G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero knock-off. The card art for this set calls the line ‘The Corps vs The Curse’, the official website calls it The Corps! 2.0 and these are the same items that were available under the name The Corps! Elite. The Corps are a world-wide peace keeping force, the Curse are Cobra but lead by a traitorous Snake Eyes. I have a massive fan boner for the figure Snake Bite so I bought another set from this line to own her then found out she had a villainous counterpart called Puma, now I’ve bought this set to get her. These ‘The Collection’ packs include three figures, a small vehicle and a bunch of weapons and are frankly great value for just about anyone who likes action figures, from kids to parents to collectors to customizers.

As he’s the Corps’ current leader, I suppose we should start with Rain. Kenji Shinto, he’s half Navajo and half Japanese who was trained by a Windtalker and the daughter of the foremost ninja master in the world, and became a vigilante in Japan before being picked up by the Corps. I can’t decide if that’s terrible or brilliant. Objectively there is very little wrong with Rain other than he’s a bit white; he has a bunch of articulation, way more than should be expected of ‘discount’ toy like this and almost on par with the line’s very well-articulated female figures, he can store two accessories on his body, his head sculpt is just full of character - he looks so stern, I look at him and I feel like I need to apologise for something, anything, and there’s plenty of detail found on his body. I’m trying to talk myself into liking him more than I do because at the moment I’m just kind of ambivalent to him; I don’t hate him, I don’t love him, I don’t want to sell him, I certainly don’t want to disappoint him, in fact I might keep him out as a kind of motivational force but I just can’t move past ‘meh’ as my overall opinion of this figure. It’s not the end of the world but it does make this an extra quick and crappy review. Anyway these sets come with a nice bundle of accessories, some are packaged near the figure and seem clearly intended as ‘their’ weapons while others are just included as extras for the characters to wear, and people wonder why action figures get called dolls. Rain’s shown on the box art as having what looks like a sword but there isn’t one in the set at all; he was packaged next to a one those fuck off big bowie knives that Buckshot came with, so… it’s a sword now. The set’s pistol doesn’t quite fit right into his trigger hand, the handle’s a little too big to have it point in the right direction, the unfortunate side effects of tooling generic weapons and giving them to everyone.

When he was asked why he had the cheek to call his wares ‘action figures’ when they were averaging about one articulation point between the whole wave and thus couldn’t really perform many actions Todd McFarlane responded with a reply that, paraphrased, was ‘they’re in action poses, it totally counts’ - Dozer is on board with this. Dozer is an easy character to like, he blows shit up, he’s a Russian-American from Brooklyn and…his real name is actually Nikolai Volkov – really? Really, really? You’re not even going to mix it up with another character’s name to make it less obvious? You’re just going to spell it with a ‘v’? Really? Subtle. For those with a life: Josip Nikolai Peruzovińá played Nikolai Volkoff in the World Wrestling Federation for just over 10 years and is mostly known for his time tag-teaming with The Iron Sheik and Boris Zukhov during the Hulk Hogan era, he’s not exactly a household name but he was plenty famous. Sorry what was I talking about? Oh yeah Dozer and his three points of articulation; swivels at his neck and his shoulders but is otherwise fixed in a pose that make him look like his legs went weak cos he heard a loud bang, Todd McFarlane would be proud and articulation is really fucking inconsistent with The Corps isn’t it? Oh well it pads out my paragraphs and Dozer probably the best sculpted Corps figure I’ve found, he’s approaching Warhammer levels when it comes to squishing impressive amounts of detail into something so small and he’s the figure that I feel is closest to the art style used on the packing and web site, looking very much like something that stepped out of games like Army of Two or Gears of War. There I said nice things about you Dozer, now to moan about the horrible thin yellow paint that looks like it was applied with someone’s dick; the fact that you can’t hold your bazooka up, your main function in life, without falling over because you have no leg articulation and we can’t do anything to balance you out and that your angry head sculpt just makes you just look a little confused and annoyed, in fact it makes you look like Vic the Veep from The Boys but that’s a pretty deep cut and I’m not sure how many of my imaginary readers will get the reference. Dozer’s signature bazooka is included in the pack and it’s as well sculpted and detailed as he is, this isn’t a punchline like the rest of this paragraph, it’s a genuinely nice piece and I’m sure G.I. Joe enthusiasts would love it and could repurpose it all different ways, I think the vintage Fridge figure would look nice with it.  

I’d’ve thought it would have made more sense to reverse the ratio just to offer more variety but this set also only includes one member of the Curse and that’s what I bought the set for, and once again the lady is best figure overall. Born Aella Ramos, Puma was/is South America’s youngest and most feared assassin, with a speciality in poisons, her family were killed by a drugs cartel and she was raised by an Amazonian Headhunter tribe, I love Corps bios they’re just the right mix of bad fan fiction and an awesome 1980s cartoon series. Below the neck Puma and Snake Bite use the exact same body, which is fine by me – not for pervy reasons – but because it’s a good set of parts, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about on the usual (boring?) fronts of articulation and sculpting and even if there was I would have done it already. I do think Snake Bite’s paint scheme is more aesthetically pleasing and her paint apps are slightly more impressive, with that tiny Corps decal and the sheer amount of crisp camo comparing favourably to a skull and some badly aligned cybernetic stuff that can barely be made out on Puma’ left leg, but I’m worried about showing too much favouritism towards Snake Bite because I’m clearly in love with her and she will be my waifu. Above the neck Puma is unique and her head is very stern, not Rain-level stern but without even a hint of that cheeky sexy thing her artwork has going on but it’s nicely done, well detailed with some actually astonishingly good paint apps for this quality of toy and toys in this scale in general: be honest 3 ¾” fans, there’s a lot of badly painted faces in your collection, even on high end lines like G.I. Joe or Star Wars, Puma’s face is as good as anything from those lines. She does look like Tessa Peak-Jones though… …hmm? What? Oh, she was Raquel in Only Fools and Horses. The only real problem with her is that, like Rain, she’s way too white, her art work gives her much browner skin tone and I wish she had it in figure form, for accuracy, racial diversity and just because it’s a nicer colour. Accessory wise… ok so Puma is pictured with a grey crossbow but comes with a brown crossbow, Snake Bite comes with a grey crossbow despite never being shown to use one, that sort of thing makes my brain hurt, I know it’s almost certainly due to tooling groups (parts that are on the same mould so cast in the same colour regardless of what colour they need to be) but OCD says no: girls: swap, don’t argue, just do it. Other than that I have no issues, well I lost one of the little brown knives already but then I have brown carpet and live with someone who hoovers to an obsessive-compulsive level so I respect my situation is a lot less conducive to tiny brown accessories than the average tongue-and-groove floored American home.

As I only bought the set for the bad guy, I’m pleased that the small vehicle is for The Curse this time around, a dirt bike called Rancor. I like it, I like dirt bikes, I like skulls and I like green but it’s pretty fucking useless. It can’t stand up on its own and it’s too tall for Puma to sit on and prop up with her own legs, for kids it’s a bit better because you can still put a figure on it and push it along but even as a child things that didn’t stand up bugged me (poor Barbie). It’s also very cheap feeling, very light, fairly brittle plastic and the stickers on mine have been applied so badly they remind me of how I apply stickers to toys, I am so shit at that and have never improved, how can you do something for so long and not get better at it? it’s a bit of a bugger as I wanted to have both girls on their bikes, I’m sure I can figure out a way to the thing up using Blu-Tac or a small block of wood or chewing gum or something but I’d rather not have to bodge something together and the thing just stood up by itself.

Conclusion then? There’s a lot less for me in this pack but the figures are undoubtedly really good and far better than the last pack with no filler at all. These sets are just great value too, even with a really cheap bike it still has a bike that still goes along and when you consider that it’s a miracle if Mattel include all of the wrestler’s clothes in their releases this is to be praised. 

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