Firemen
5 Inch Scale
By: Greenbrier
2010
$1.00 (4 Pack)

During one of my usual visits to the Dollar Store in hopes of picking up some Top Ramen for cheap, I wandered into the toy aisle as I often do. They didn’t have much, but I thought about picking up something to review. I figured I’d find something to skewer and make fun of. Then I noticed what I thought were giant army men figures and thought they would be perfect. Upon closer inspection I realized these were giant Firefighters. Then I looked at them a little more and realized, they actually had articulation and stuff. I decided to grab a couple packs and head home. Despite some obvious flaws, these turned out to be pretty neat figures. Want to find out more?

Packaging:
For $1 you shouldn’t be expecting much in the way of packaging. There’s not much here. To put this into perspective though, the baggy with a card header is often what high end collector vinyls come in. So can you really dismiss this as a crap package?


The figures inside aren’t protected much, but the baggy is of a decent quality. It’s that hard rubbery feel. The header card isn’t much but it does have some flames and a couple of fire fighter logos on it. It also says 5.5″ on it pretty big. That’s literally like .5 of an inch, not like 5 and 1/2 inches.

Sculpt:
I immediately noticed these guys had some charm to them in the store. The sculpts reminded me of those old green army men figures. Once I got them home and looked at them a little closer though, I was even more impressed.


Make no mistake, these aren’t like Four Horsemen sculpts or anything, but the sculpts are actually pretty good. You can tell someone actually spent some time sculpting these toys. I like to imagine a little old toymaker who looks like Gepetto making them. I’m sure that’s not the case, but it’s fun to dream. Look at the little subtle leather details on the belt, pretty impressive.


Surprisingly each figure has a different sculpt. Not a DCUC style different sculpt either, I mean a whole different sculpt. Heck, four figures in and this line almost has as many unique parts as Masters of the Universe Classics! (That’s a joke, settle down!) The first guy appears to be a fire chief, while this one seems more like the guy who would go in and risk his life to save you. I’ll call him Tommy Gavin.


The next guy is pretty clearly an army figure in my estimation, but he can pass for a fire fighter as well. He’s got a bunch of rope around his shoulder, so clearly I have no choice but to name him, Alpine.


This guy also seems a bit like a repurposed army man, but he might be a police officer as well. Thus I will dub him, Eugene Tackleberry. Even though these two aren’t as clearly Firemen, they work well enough in this set. All feature small sculpted details and a decent, enduring, although not perfect sculpt overall.


There isn’t a single shred of paint on these guys. Of course if you’ve ever seen some of the paint on some of these Dollar Store Toys, perhaps they’re better off for it? What if perhaps this was a stylistic choice instead of a result of the factory being cheap? It is possible after all, the solid coloring is what makes them seem like the old green army men. I’m conflicted.


Of course it’s not all sunshine and roses, there are some pretty nasty mold holes on the backs of each figure. Some of there torsos have gaps and there are some minor mold lines throughout. Lest we forget that these guys aren’t works of art.

Articulation:
Often when you see a toy at the dollar store, it won’t have much in the way of articulation. They tend to be more like poor McDonald Happy Meal toys. Not so much with these guys.


These guys only have the big five: Cut arms, cut legs and a cut neck. That’s certainly not great articulation, but that’s always my main need in a figure. I feel every toy action figure must at LEAST have the big five.


These guys have as much articulation as a JLU figure and better sculpting in many respects. It’s kid of depressing. Also note that whoever designed these guys, made their elbows and knees just slightly bent. That’s a sign of a great design, because all figures who only have this sort of articulation look more natural when posed if they have a slight bend in their elbows or knees.

Accessories:
Accessories are a mixed bag… Pun intended. See I bought two bags of these guys. One pack came with four weapons. The other pack came with a figure with a disconnected leg and all the weapons you see below.


It was worth it to me to get the package with the bum leg for the extra weapons. Each package contains at least four weapons or so, but many contain a lot more.


We can rebuild him.


The four weapons are a saw, a hammer, a axe and a fire hose gun. Surprisingly they all work well and fit into the characters hands. Again, I know of many major toy lines that can’t even get their figures to hold their weapons, so the fact that these do is amazing.

Value:
So let me get this straight, you get a fully articulated figure with a decent sculpt and weapons for essentially a .25? Because a four pack costs $1. How can this not be a great value? If I was a poorer fellow than I am, I could see buying this kind of toy for my kid. Think of it this way, if you spent $10 on these guys you could give your kid FORTY figures. Sorry but in this economy, paint aps be damned, that’s a great value.


Score Recap:
Packaging – 3
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Hammer, Saw, Axe, Hose Gun
Value – 10
Overall – 8 out of 10


Look, I bought these guys to make fun of them. When I got them in my hands, I realized these weren’t bad toys at all. I can’t even really call them misguided toys, because these toys were distributed for the dollar store market. So I have to judge them based on the other toys in the Dollar Stores. On that basis I’m inclined to give them a 10 out of 10! I mean, I got four cool little figures for $1! You could paint these guys and make them look better if you were so inclined.

That said, they do have few minor flaws throughout. One of the figures has his leg off, even though it can easily be fixed. So I’m docking the points in the appropriate areas and then rounding them off to a full 8 score. That’s a very high score and maybe I’m insane for doing it, but I just can’t get past the value on these guys. A QUARTER A PIECE?! You can barely get a bubble gum ball for a quarter nowadays.

Obviously the 8 here wouldn’t be the same as the 8 that some other figures get. These guys are graded on a bit of a curve. Plus I think these guys make for some neat Doctor Who villains. Like giant army men style Autons. As always if you’re looking for more wacky overrated toy reviews, you can follow me on Twitter.

9 Responses to Dollar Store Firemen Figures Review

  • Curt83 says:

    This is why I love this site man. You spotlight the stuff that other people wouldn't dream of. Totally fun toys for a buck.

  • Thanks I try to provide the different. Glad to hear it.

  • Reverend Ender says:

    We can rebuild him.

    Priceless!!

  • Jeanette says:

    haha! the dollar store can be a dangerous place – walk in for one thing and come out with ten items! we bought army men from the dollar store for my boys for their Easter baskets and they still play with them every day. also we like to get toy guns at the dollar store, since practically every toy store has banned "realistc" toy guns.

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    Y'know, I thought of the Autons soon as I saw Jon Pertwee mixing it up with these guys. I remember the larger sized army men from the 70's: I had a couple of cowboys too, but those were more like statues on a stand. One guy was very detailed and reaching for his holster. Geez, I can't believe your review made me remember that! It's like some long dormant brain cell that came back to life. You actually make these seem cool as Doctor Who aliens, custom fodder, or just something to give your kids to play with. Loved it, Newt!

  • Henry says:

    Hmm. There seems like there should be a downside but there isn't. The nice surprises are the best kind in life though.

  • That's what we do here, conjure up dusty 30 year old brain farts!

  • Yeah I kept thinking the same thing.

  • I just saw these last week at the Dollar Tree, and now I'm kicking myself for not buying them. They also had Police and Army dudes!

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