The Walking Dead
Comic Series Rick Grimes
Black and White Variant
by: McFarlane Toys
$19.99 at Toys R Us
I’ve been reading “The Walking Dead” as a comic since I picked up the first 6-issue trade right before a trip to a relative’s house courtesy of Hurricane George. I tore through the trade in one sitting, non-stop, and then immediately read it again. Needless to say, I loved it.
I’ve been buying the single issues, the trades, the hard covers and the omnibuses ever since. The Walking Dead has been one of only 3 comics I haven’t missed an issue of in years and I’ve been jonesing for action figures of the characters all along. Thanks to the success of the TV show we’re getting 2 lines of toys leading up to the second season. One line is based on the characters and style of the live-action show while the other is designed to look like the ones in the comics.
I stumbled onto the first wave of comic figures at TRU this week without knowing they’d been released. There were multiples of each including Rick, Michonne and 2 different zombies but I could only find one that was Black and White to match the styling of the comic. The B&W Rick is a Toys R Us exclusive and, since there was only one on the shelves, I just had to plunk down the high asking price and bring it home. Damn you Robert Kirkman, this is all your fault!
Let’s see if he lives up to my fan boy expectations!
Rick came packaged in a very nice looking card that’s similar in size to McFarlane’s Halo figures. It’s about the same height as a GI Joe or Marvel Universe cardback but about double the width. The extra space is there to make room for all of the gear that Rick comes with but it looks a bit too big for Michonne who only comes with a couple of small weapons.
The design of the package looks great with plenty of art from the comics on the front and a well done layout featuring all of the figures in this wave on the back. I really like the way they’ve highlighted the features of the 2 zombies and shown you everything that’s available. All of the print on the back is in quite a few languages which is always interesting and educational!
There’s no mention on the card of the Black and White version of Rick that I bought. I only know he’s a variant because Ebay is packed with folks trying to scalp him and because I only saw one at each TRU that stocked these figures. There’s also a B&W 2-pack of the zombies available from several online retailers that I plan to try and track down.
Sculpt, Paint, Looks:
Rick’s wearing his police officer uniform from the first arc of the comic storyline. While he’s held on to the cowboy hat throughout the majority of the series he didn’t stay in the officer’s gear for very long. Still, this is one of the first looks that you ever see Rick in and it makes perfect sense for McFarlane Toys to release it early on. They’ve based the design on the cover to The Walking Dead #1, a comic that I’m proud to say I own a copy of.
Rick’s very detailed sculpt-wise with plenty of little, sculpted things all over. Everything is really well done from the grip pattern on the bottom of his shoes to the tiny badge on the front of his hat. The jacket even becomes a separate, flexible piece as it hangs loose from his torso. This is the kind of sculpt that I expect from McFarlane Toys and I like just about everything about it.
What I don’t like is the fact that Rick is pretty severely pre-posed. His left leg is visibly longer than his right leg which makes it impossible to pose him in a flat footed pose and he’s also painted with his eyes looking to his left. His left arm is also slightly bent starting below the elbow. I’m really, really against figures being pre-posed because I think it defeats the purpose of being able to move them in the first place. If I want something that’s stuck in one position then I’ll buy a statue dammit!
Luckily, Rick isn’t severely hindered by the pre-posing and he still looks good in lots of different poses. Those left-slanted eyes really do hurt though. I’m also not sure this looks like Rick Grimes in the face. He’s definitely gone through a lot of changes, including a swap in artists, and I may just be too used to him having beard at this point. It feels more like a generic white man than the character I’ve come to love.
The paint scheme is a really good Black and White style to match the interiors of the comics. They’ve done a great job mixing grays to give Rick a lot of depth and variation in shades so that he doesn’t look flat. They even painted his guns, bag and hatchet in the same tones! There’s also little to no slop present on the figure although there are a couple of strange lines on his neck. I’m not sure if these are meant to be shadows or if it’s a paint error but they look fine either way.
The package boasts 23 points of articulation and I have to say I was pretty skeptical about that with the reputation McFarlane Toys has had over the years. Once I got him out of the plastic I was extremely surprised and very impressed with the joints that have been included.
Rick sports a ball joint on the head that works really well. He also has ratcheted swivel hinges at the shoulders and elbows as well as revoltech-style wrists that swivel in two places as well as hinge on a ball between the hand and the end of Rick’s arm. The wrists work great and they even compensate to some degree for the missing bicep swivels. I’m not crazy about the way the balls stand out from the great sculpt on the wrist, especially since all the other joints are hidden so well, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices.
Rick has ball jointed ankles that make getting him to stand super easy as well as hinge knees and some kind of odd swivel and hinge hips that I’ve never seen before. The swivel at the hips is basically just a hip cut but it’s designed differently. It’s always interesting to see new styles of articulation but I’m not sure what the intention here was.
I was able to get Rick into several interesting poses despite the limitations given by the pre-posed leg and arm. I do wish he had something in the waist or chest area but overall Rick has quite a lot going for him in the posability department.
Rick comes with a literal bag-full of gear including several different shotguns, a pistol, a hatchet and a nice duffel bag that pegs into a hole on his right shoulder. It’s a really nice touch that they’ve repainted the accessories into the black and white style of the figure. I mean, they would have looked silly in color, but I wouldn’t have been surprised by it.
Each gun is a unique sculpt that looks very realistic to me. I’m no expert on guns but these are convincing enough that I don’t think anyone’s going to be complaining. I really like that the guns are different too, it makes a lot of sense for Rick to be carrying just whatever armaments he could find rather than a full compliment of matching weaponry.
Rick’s hatchet has become as iconic to him as Ash from Evil Dead’s chainsaw and I’m really glad they included it! It didn’t take long for Rick to realize that a reusable weapon was almost always a better choice than a gun against zombies and he’s been toting around the same hatchet ever since.
The pistol and the hatchet each have a spot to store them on Rick, the hatchet hangs in something like a hammer loop while the pistol gets a fabulous holster. Both hand weapons store securely but they will take a little effort going in and coming out.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me that I continuously am pulled to toys that cost way too much. Either I have really, really good taste or I’m just a flat out sucker.
These Walking Dead figures are being sold for $19.99 at Toys R Us and that really feels like too much for a 5” figure at retail. I know TRU is bad about marking things up, especially “collector” toys that only they are likely to carry, but even at $14.99 I would feel a bit wrong buying these figures.
It’s not that Rick isn’t a great toy! Pre-posing complaints aside, he’s a well made, really good looking figure with lots of great joints. He even comes with a pile of accessories to try and sweeten the deal!
It’s just that there are a lot of other things I could get with that $20. For the love of cheese, MOTUC figures are the same price and they have a much lower production run(I’m assuming), are about twice the size over all and I still complain about the cost of them. How am I supposed to explain to my wife that I need to spend $1,000 to pick up a horde of zombies for Rick to battle?
I think the best bet, unless you absolutely must have them now, is going to be to wait and see if any other stores carry these guys at a more reasonable price. I know www.thwipster.com had a great price on the 2-pack of zombies and there are probably other great deals to be found.
I guess it’s time to start giving blood if I want Michonne any time soon….
This is the first McFarlane Toys figure I’ve bought since the very first wave of Spawn figures when I was in highschool and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed. I’ve let myself get carried away by the overblown, overgeneralised wave of complaints in the online community and, rather than check it out myself, I decided McFarlane Toys were well scultped statues. Obviously, I was wrong about that and I’m just sorry it took a figure from my favorite comic book to show me the truth.
Rick Grimes from the Walking Dead comic book is an awesome, highly posable and well-geared action figure that I’m really excited to own. I really don’t have any big problems with the figure itself other than how much money I convinced myself to pay for it.
In a lot of ways Rick reminds me of some of the Revoltech figures that I’ve bought from overseas. He has some similar articulation (though not nearly as much) and is even in the same general scale as a lot of the Revoltechs. Hell, if Rick and the other Walking Dead figures were Revoltechs I’d be falling all over myself to pay $20 a piece for them without even thinking twice.
So maybe the problem is perspective. Or maybe $20 is way too damn much to be paying for a 5” action figure.
I’m still trying to decide for myself.