Minimates MAX
Elite Heroes Special Ops & Law Enforcement
by: Diamond Select Toys
2” Scale
$4.95 per 2-pack at TRU (on clearance)

I don’t think this will come as a surprise to anyone who’s read my reviews (or seen my house), but I am a minimate fan. It’s been my experience that these little stylized figures are pretty polarizing in collectors, you either love ’em or you hate ’em and I fall solidly on the “love ’em” side.

While most minimates you’ll find are propped up heavily on their license to sell them these are actually based on “real” heroes rather than fictional ones. Hanging from the pegs at Toys R Us were small versions of Soldiers, Firemen and Police Officers as well as a pilot with his very own jet. I passed on these several times in favor of other minimates but when I saw them at a reduced price this week I took the leap and picked up a small army of 2-inch plastic fellas to tell you about!

Packaging:
Unlike most minimates, the MAX figures come on an eye-catching blister card with the MAX logo on the top left and the specific figure’s name displayed on the bottom left. The figures are displayed in both “geared up” and basic versions so that you know exactly what they’re going to look like before you open them up.


The back of the package features the figures in their various set-ups on top of a glowing orange world that these guys are out to defend. There is a nice little bio explaining what this line is aimed at featuring, the same on the back of each package. The 4 figures in this wave are featured on the top left and I gotta say, I think this cross-sell worked because I really want the firemen now!


Once peeled off of the card back, the figures are secured in a nice little tray that has a special slot for each of the weapons included in the set. The extra gear that’s not packaged on the second figure is laid out clearly to make sure you know it’s there. Let’s GEAR UP!

Sculpt:
As with all minimates, the base sculpt of these guys is the same as almost every other minimate. Since this is my first minimate review lets check it out so you’ll all know what you’re dealing with.


The core minimate body is a round head with a flat top, a slightly rectangular chest piece, a crotch piece that plugs into the chest as well as 2 arms and 2 legs each with separate hand and foot pieces. Occasionally the hands and feet will be replaced with bigger versions that are sculpted for the specific figures, but as a general rule you’ll get the same appendages all around.


The hands are very stylized little parts that don’t so much resemble hands as they do tiny Pac-men.The feet are also kind of like little irons that you could maybe use to press your minimate’s clothes if they weren’t using them to stand up. I like the way they look with overall minimate design but some may not be as big on them.

The bulk of the actual sculpted bits are going to fall under accessories so I’m going to save those for later. There’s also very little paint to speak of as the figures’ faces and chests are tampoed on very cleanly. They’ve got a nice, generic look that works great as an army builder. Depending on which hair or hat piece you choose the look changes quite a bit and allows for some variation even though the actual body is identical from figure to figure.


I did run into one issue, all 4 of the figures that came packaged in the gear were missing tampos on their chest pieces. It’s a little aggravating to not have the full versatility that’s implied by the packaging but I’m not incredibly bothered because the gear is so good! The last thing I want is to keep all of this great stuff in a bin, I just wonder if this is intended or a factory error.

Articulation:
Minimates, as a rule, have pretty nice articulation, especially for such tiny little figures. They hall ball joints at the neck, shoulders and hips and well as hinges at the elbows and knees. Finally, they have swivel wrists, waist and ankles.

Basically, if there is a pose that you want your minimate to get into it’s going to be able to get there. Combined with the removable parts and the fact that their feet will peg onto a standard LEGO peg you can really set up some cool scenes with these guys.


In their basic officer forms these figures are extremely agile but once you start to add the complicated and awesome web gear they come with a lot of that posability goes right out the window. While the joints are still mostly functional, you lose up and down motion for the neck and about a third of the range for the legs and arms. This still leaves you a lot of room for play but it’s disappointing that I have to trade off mobility for armor. Damn you physics!

Accessories:
Whoa nellie are there accessories! Each 2-pack comes absolutely loaded with extra gear for each figure. I’m going to break it down so you can really see what’s crammed into the trays on these blister cards.

SPECIAL OPS

Jaws of Life
2 Helmets
2 Night Vision Goggles
2 Tactical Vests
2 Hair Pieces (brown)
4 Pistols
4 Knee Straps w/ Grenades
2 Machine Guns
1 Shotgun

LAW ENFORCEMENT

2 Riot Helmets
1 SWAT Gas Mask
1 Hat Piece (blonde)
1 Hat Piece (brown)
2 SWAT Vests
2 Sets of Armored Arms (whoa!)
2 Sets of Armored Feet
1 Assault Rifle
1 Canister Launcher
1 Shotgun
4 Pistols
1 Cell Phone
1 Clear Minimate Body -head (whoa!)

As you can see, there is just WAY more stuff in here than you would think just from glancing at the packages. The more I look at these pieces, the more neat details I find that are new to me.


The helmets from the Law Enforcement set have a visor that is both removable AND displayable in open and closed positions. I really like the built in gas mask on this piece as well as the plastic they used for the visor. It allows you to see the character’s eyes through it clearly which is surprisingly uncommon. The Spec Ops visors have an eye piece that fans of Modern Warfare will recognize from their characters in that game and it lines up really well with the painted eyes.

The guns are all sculpted nicely, they don’t have any paint on them at all but they are so well designed that I don’t think it’s needed. All 8 pistols between the 2 sets are identical, they have a criss cross pattern sculpted into the handle and a lot of detail for such a tiny weapon. The smaller machine guns that come with the Spec Ops guys resemble a stylized MP5 while the assault rifle from the Law set is a model I don’t recognize. It has a second trigger sculpted near the muzzle that I’m pretty sure is supposed to be for a shotgun!


The harnesses / armor have so much going on it’s really hard to even begin to describe it. The Spec Ops set has a walkie talky and a shoulder mounted part that runs a cord to the main walky. There are lots of sculpted armor plates on both sets that really bulk up the figures and make them look really dangerous once they’re all kitted out, plus both harnesses have 2 working holsters for the pistols.

I mentioned before that the armor limits the mobility of the base figure, another down side is that the holsters on the Spec Ops gear tend to pop off if you aren’t careful placing and removing the guns. Besides this minor problem, I can’t think of any downside to the accessories in this set, they really are amazing.

Value:
If you read the previous section, you’ll pretty much know what’s coming here. If you like minimates and you like soldiers and law enforcement types then you’re going to feel like you got one over on the people at Toys R Us.


The pack of soldiers comes with 2 fully geared special ops ass-kickers with more guns than they could ever possibly use. It’s like someone crammed a John Woo movie into a blister pack and slapped a price sticker on it….I mean this is really just a silly amount of weaponry for your minimates. If this was a Mattel product I’m fairly certain it would cost this price WITHOUT THE MINIMATES!

The SWAT pack ups the ante, if you have any extra minimate heads lying around you’ve got 3 full figures with again more guns than even they can use. I think we’ve figured out where all those guns from those “Guns for Presents” exchanges went! I want to stress again the clear minimate body that comes with the SWAT set, this is a fully playable minimate that’s only missing a head to make this 2-pack into a 3 pack!


The value here is simply through the roof, for kids and adults alike. At the MSRP you’re paying $7 for 1 set but at the current clearance price it’s down to $5. You really can’t get better than that on any modern toy aisle.

Summary:
I don’t think there’s much left to say here. I’m bowled over by these sets, I spent several hours finding different configurations for these sets before I started taking pictures on them, it’s truly amazing to me how much Diamond has crammed into these low priced and insanely creative minimate sets.

Minimates are never going to be for everyone, they’re strange looking little figures that some argue are too similar to each other. While that may have been true for some of the earlier sets, I defy anyone to keep up that point of view while looking at any of the modern sets. If you haven’t looked at minimates in a while I think you owe it to yourselves to check some of these out.


The MAX Elite Heroes sets give you an exaggerated version of Army and Police folks that you can carry around with you anywhere you go. They’re cheap enough that you can use them to populate your minimate displays, make customs out of them or just use their weapons for your other figures. They’re just oozing with awesomeness and are highly recommended!

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