Action Figure Military Set


Charlie Clone's All Action Figure Revue


Charlie Clone

Welcome to Charlie Clone's All Action Figure Revue at SWAFT.info!

I'm your host, Charlie Clone!

Things have gotten a little backlogged here at the CCAAFR, but I’m hoping to pick up the slack a little starting with an Action Figure Military Set that was acquired in the Target Dollar Spot aisle.

As with other Target dollar toys, this too was made in China and distributed by

Ankyo Development Ltd.
T.S.T. Kowloon. H.K.

If you are really impressed with the item, you can try to hunt it down using its DCPI#234020974.


CONCEPT:

It’s hard to imagine army toys ever really going out of style. At the very least, a society has a certain necessity to perpetuate a militaristic ideology among its youth if it hopes to maintain a willing force of armed volunteers in the future. Plus, weapons and armor have always and will always simply look cool.

Especially when it involves masks.

Of the several varieties of Action Figure Military Sets that were available, I chose this particular unit precisely because of its gas mask. Granted, a gas mask can make a soldier look like some kind of dopey, cyber-mutant racoon, but the gas mask still retains some of the mystique of the ancient warmask.

There is something attractive about the lifeless, stoic, dehumanizing warmask – unless, of course, the person wearing it is charging at your with a battlespear.

Perhaps the mask captures a certain iconic quality that at once obliterates the wearer’s features while also paradoxically inviting the viewer to imagine himself in the wearer’s position. Before the mask is revealed, anyone can be under there...even you.

Plus, its always an advantage to have a couple of figures with gas masks at your disposal in case the other guy starts to engage in chemical warfare.

All that being said, this toy might well appear in the least toy-appropriate package art of any toy I have so far reviewed. The generic bright yellow, blow backing, with the goofy handprinted-style lettering altogether evokes an 80’s kids’ magazine more than it suggests a tough, rugged, warrior trained in the arts of battle.



ACCESSORIES:

You get two different machine guns with this guy.

This means he can be a crazy, rampaging, double-fisting gas-masked berserker.

This might be helpful, considering he has limited time before his filter eventually clogs up with particulate matter and renders his gasmask useless.

Except, of course, for the fact that the toy can’t actually hold either weapon by the handle. At best he can grip the muzzle of the gun and use it as a bludgeoning tool for close combat.

Disturbingly, a significant amount of paint dust rubbed off on the weapons after my repeated attempts to arm him.

I tried not to breathe too deeply at that point.

FEATURES:


This figure weighs in a little scant on the articulation side, with only five moveable parts (neck, shoulders, legs). It does have a fair amount of detail for an eight-inch figure. Someone took the time to sculpt laces on his boots, ridges of body armor over his fatigues, an open collar, and even some of the mechanisms on the machine guns. It also feature six different paint colors applied to the green plastic, and the color scheme itself provides perhaps the most fertile soil for commentary.

The paint job on this figure is more of the Monet variety than the Da Vinci. Quick brush strokes convey the impression of what are meant to be differently colored articles of clothing or accessories, rather than relying on a more mimetic approach. Some of the paint actually has bubbles in it. Other bits have chipped off. (I’m pretty sure I’m throwing this figure in the trash shortly after this review...I don’t own a real gas mask.)

The painters put enough care into the toy to apply an olive green paint to the various pockets and belts while also including brass colored highlights to clasps and buckles.
They might have gotten a bit carried away, however, when they opted to use the same brass color scheme on the three hand grenades this trooper has strapped to his left thigh.

Those most be some pretty fancy hand grenades.

Maybe he just wants his opponent to be able to see them glaring in the distance long before they reach their target. It’s rather thoughtful of him, really.

Silver paint has been applied to the gas mask apparatus, but also to the eye goggles, giving the figure an unsettling appearance of have silver eyes.

It doesn’t help that he appears to lack eyelids, giving him a look of terrified surprise.

Maybe he’s no man at all under that gas mask. Maybe he is only wearing it to conceal his true, robotic identity. Dirty clanker.

A stark spot of red on the helmet indicates some ambiguous feature on the gas mask...that, or our soldier has just been shot in the face, which might explain his surprised expression.

Gas masks don’t do much good against headshots, I imagine.

Perhaps the starkest paint application, however, are his white gloves. It could be that gas mask donning troopers in Kowloon run about in white gloves, but this seems out of place to me. Of course, it might be that our trooper is part of some kind of bio-hazard sanitation force.

I can imagine him wiping up some still-glowing radioactive goo on the white tip of his index finger, waving it to some new recruit and saying, “You call this clean?”

Cue voice-over narrator: “With Kowloon Bio-hazard Sanitatizers...you get the white glove treatment!”

Could he be based on quality control officers at the Chinese toy factory where he was made?





PLAY VALUE:

It is my opinion that parents should be leery of letting their child play with a gas-masked soldier. Such accoutrements as gas masks can only encourage their children to imagine the most heinous, deadly, horrifying, and gruesome of scenarios.

What is going on that this soldier needs to take such extreme measures to protect himself?

Has the enemy unleashed some horrible toxin, shattering the nervous systems of all of the bare-faced figures, leaving them tortured, twitching shells of the men they were? Do his opponents hold such little value for human life that they could release airborne poisons for mass extermination, as if their enemies were nothing more than soulless insects?

Or does he need to protect himself not from chemical weapons, but some other health threat?

Is he fighting disease-based zombies, or does he live in some nigh-apocalyptic world where man has so devastated his environment that he can no longer breath fresh air?

Oh, what horrors have this man’s silvery eyes beheld?!?

Because the white-gloved uniform especially evokes some sort of Asian military force to me, I feel as though this toy screams to take part in some kind of Godzilla attack. I could imagine a child stomping into a room littered with these figures, demonically impersonating the mutated respawn of some ancient saurian lizard king, smashing these guys to pieces. (Given the loose texture of the paint, I can also imagine the child consuming several ounces of questionable paint chips in the process.)

Whatever scenario your child will imagine, it will be grim, foreboding, and possibly traumatizing.

Thus, as cool as gas-mask soldiers might seem on the shelf, one must consider their lasting effects on a child’s imaginative play.

Until next time...

--Charlie Clone





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2009

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