Player Select: Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
NECA’s Player Select line offers action figures that, just a few short years ago, nobody thought would ever be made. Now we’ve got Ryu Hayabusa slaying demons alongside Alucard, Raziel lighting the way for Isaac Clarke, and Altair (suck it, Ezio) sneaking around with Sam Fisher. It’s no embellishment to say that Player Select is my favorite action figure line today, with its focus on detailed sculpting, incredible articulation, and an affordable price tag.
That being said, not every figure is a home run. From time to time we get a Lara Croft, Alex Mercer, or Army of Two: figures that often look nice but stray a bit to far from the formula to please their respective fans. When I first saw Vector’s earliest shots, I suspected the worst. From the ground up, he appeared to be a solid lump of plastic like the MGS toys from a few years back that TRU couldn’t sell if they were bundled with a squeeze on Scarlett Johansson’s boobs.
Once again, NECA provides the traditional plastic prison they always do. Honestly, it does a great job of protecting the figure, can stand up on its own, and isn’t easily damaged like a standard card. I suppose it’s good for MIB and MOC fans, too, for the consistency. To me, it’s just the cruel invisible wall between my and my beloved, and it shall be smited. Or is it smote? Or smitten? It shall be smotened.
And as usual, NECA’s kind enough to let you know who did all the work on your new toy. Still a big fan of this. An artist deserves his or her credit no matter how small a job.
Vector’s bio says he specializes in infiltration, and I think his look captures that nicely. His suit is mostly a very deep charcoal, with very few noticeable details. You may even find in some of the pictures that he’s difficult to see. The plastic is a little shiny, and comes off as black in most cases. It wasn’t until I got a lot of light on it that I began to think it was less of a pure black and more of a darker gray. I could be wrong on that, as both my mom and wife say I’m colorblind.
Vector’s mask is of a particularly cool design, though I’m not sure it’s 100% accurate to the game. It could just be that the hood is throwing it off a bit. I think the hood should be a little more free-flowing (a little more Jedi, if you will) to capture the look from the promo art. It makes the mask seem a little fat at the bottom, like the proportions are off. The eyes are painted with a lighter blue moving outward to a darker one, giving off a cool glow effect that really makes them pop out from every angle. The suit is covered with small hexagonal panels, which I assume are supposed to be sensors that operate similarly to our current stealth technology.
His back features the most prominent variation in color on the figure, with a huge swatch of silvery armor. An ideal place to be armored, I’d think. That, and the dingus. He appears to have some sort of radio device mounted on his shoulder like you sometimes see on SWAT officers. The legs feature buckles that don’t seem to serve a purpose and metal kneepads which I’d have to guess make a lot more noise than this guy usually hopes to give off. Then again, when your eyes glow bright blue in the shadows, you’re kind of inviting criticism of your work anyway. The boots are detailed with airholes and more metal, which, despite practicality rendering them a little stupid, still look pretty badass.
The only other thing I want to mention about the figure’s sculpt is that the shoulders appear to be slightly slumped as a result of the looseness of the costume. I get what Zammit and Gwyn were going for and I think they did a pretty decent job capturing it. I think the problem only exists because the mask is so large and the vest is so bulky, but just so you know, you may have to fiddle with him for a while until you really capture a vanilla stance you’re comfortable with.
Vector comes with three accessories. The pistol and knife are both very well detailed, with contoured grips and even some bloody paint apps on the knife. The knife’s blade is similar to that of a Khukri and even features a tiny lanyard hole like you see on many tactical knives today. Cool! The pistol has a laser fixed to the rail and is listed on the box as “UCBS pistol,” but that’s just the name of his unit. To me, it looks a bit like a Sig, but I’m not really versed enough to place it exactly. Any thoughts?
Both the pistol and the knife can be stored on Vector. The pistol has a right-handed crossdraw holster on the left side of his vest, while the knife can slide in between his radio straps on his back. I don’t know if it’s meant to go there, but it fits and I like storage so whoo-hoo!
Vector’s last accessory is an SMG of some type. It seems to definitely be of Heckler & Koch make, but I’m not sure on the exact model. The grip is very much like an MP5 or a G3, but the forward grip and buttcap are much more similar to a G36. The magazine is slanted too far forward to be a modified MP5 and the receiver is flat across the top. No HK bitchslap for you! The stock is very modern and reminds me of the kind you see on sniper rifles or any of the billions of M4-based monstrosities Airsoft players build. Is this an actual weapon anybody? There’s got to be a military nut out there who can identify this or at least weigh in on the design.
The paintjob isn’t awful on the gun, but it’s not great, either. The weathering looks just fine, it’s just that a lot of this weapon should be made of polymer and wouldn’t scuff up like metal does. I let details like that go on pistols, but on larger weapons it’s something to be aware of. The weapon also features an ACOG on the sight rail, which is sort of the default scope in video games and movies right now. Despite the weird design and paint choices, the gun looks nice in hand. It can take a bit of work to get it into both hands, but thankfully all the weapons fit into their respective hands easily and securely, and give you a lot of options for army-building cool spec ops soldiers or cyber ninjas.
This is the part I was most worried about. Luckily, I needn’t have been…mostly.
Vector’s got a ton of articulation. He sports a ball and socket neck, swivel hinge shoulders and elbows, ball wrists, ab crunch torso (under the vest), swivel waist, swivel hinge hips (set into the abdomen), swivel thighs, double hinged knees, swivel boot tops, hinged and rocker ankles, and hinged toes.
Now on the surface he’s ready to go toe-to-toe with your Marvel Legends, taking pot shots at Longshot because, let’s face it, he’s got a mullet and he deserves it. However, not all the joints are perfectly implemented. The neck is very restricted by where the mask meets the collar, meaning he has a tendency to look up. The elbrows aren’t bad, but could definitely stand a little more clearance to reach 90 degrees. Both the elbows and knees have pads secured by glue and feature free-floating straps over the joints. I’m surprised to say this isn’t much of a hindrance when posing.
But man, I hate those hips. The angled hips that shoot up at 45 degrees into the torso almost always kill the fun for me. And in the case of my first Vector figure, they really did the job. The swivels in the thigh are incredibly tight. So tight, in fact, that I broke my first Vector’s left hip right out of the box. Upon dismantling my second figure using the boil and pop method, I can see that the peg going into the figure is a very small peg, while the one going into the thigh is very large. The one going to the thigh ain’t gonna break; it’s as solid as the biceps peg on the Gears 3 figures. I’ve been VERY tough on my new figure’s thigh joints to test whether or not my figure was an isolated incident and have had no further issues. It may have just been a fluke, but be careful with the upper hip joint just in case.
Now, I wouldn’t call the ankle rockers useless, but they certainly don’t have the range of the aforementioned Marvel legends or even MOTUC figures. The toe hinges, on the other hand, are surprisingly tight. Normally I don’t care for toes hinges as it’s just one more joint that might give under the weight of a figure, but as you can see, Vector can balance on his quite nicely. In this respect he actually reminds me of NECA’s Ryu Hayabusa from a few years back.
I can’t tell if his ab crunch is hindered much by the tac vest, but it works much better than I’d hoped. I really like the articulation setup on this guy. He works great in action poses as well as simple repose, and very few of his joints are obvious. If he had a little better clearance on just a few of his joints (and dropped those awful hips), he’d be a perfect 10. As is, he’s definitely more than serviceable, but some poor design decisions keep him from being a true contender for toy of the year.
I personally paid 21 bucks to get this guy a little early from Amazon. That’s a bit steep, but not beyond what I would ever expect to pay for a high quality figure from a company I trust. Bet on these being closer to 15.99 at your local TRU when he sees wide release. That’s right about on track with what Hasbro and Mattel are marketing with their 6” lines. So for the same price, NECA gives you an extra inch! No charge! Toss in the three unique accessories and I’d say he’s just perfectly priced (so long as he maintains the current TRU price plan).
The figure is far from perfect, but there’s something (Snake Eyes) about a military (Snake Eyes) ninja figure (muthafuckin Snake Eyes) that just kinda draws me in. Not sure what it is, really. I do know that despite his flaws, this guy really is a lot of fun to mess around with. I had more fun taking photos of him than I have in quite a while.
I’d consider bumping him up to a full 10 if NECA had the foresight to make the tac vest removable. He appears to be full sculpted under there, but it’s glued at the side. Come on, man, gimme some options!
I don’t know how successful Operation Raccoon City was at launch, but I know I wasn’t that attracted to the project from a gameplay perspective. That initially made me worry a bit as to the odds this figure will be a peg-warmer. After really playing around with him, I think he’s going to appeal to a decent range of toy collectors. For RE fans, he appears pretty faithful to the game art and for the rest of us he makes a great spec ops army builder with so many different weapons. I suspect a lot of people will be picking this guy up to tear off that tac vest, skirt, and hood and see what they can work with to make some unique soldiers. Hell, I’m tempted to do it myself.
Vector may not have full hit his potential, but he stands up on his own as a very cool action figure and is certainly worth your 16 bucks. Recommended to fans of toys, Resident Evil, science fiction, and military figures in the 7” scale.
Thanks for reading and as always, it’s just a toy. Open the darned thing.
If you like military science fiction, make sure you check out Newt’s review of the GI Joe Cobra SNAKE battle armor.
If you’re into other horror properties, but not so much video games, go take a look at Newt’s review of Full Moon Toys’ Totem figure from their Puppet Master line.