Wednesday, December 18, 2013

McFarlane Toys 1998 Bottom Line

I have reviewed McFarlane Toys a few times and.. to be honest.. I'm going to be reviewing a lot more before it's all over with. You just can't look at modern vintage toys without looking at McFarlane. They did so many things right, and so many more things very, very wrong. This time, I'm taking a look at a figure called Bottom Line, which was made after McFarlane Toys had been running for a few years. Is he something done right or done wrong? Let's find out!

Please don't ask me the backstory of this guy. I mean, you can ask, but please don't expect me to actually be able to answer your honestly. I'm just going to say his name is Norm, he's a galactic gardener, and he enjoys hot chocolate and long walks on the beach. He also enjoys ramming his decapitated head up the butt of his best friend, Top Gun.. Uhm.. I'll get to that.
McFarlane toys were known for having a lot of details in their figures. Far more details than the competitors could provide. The problem is that the eye can really only comprehend so much. In this case, the design is so busy that the eye gets tired just trying to take it all in. The proportions are wonky as well, which doesn't entirely help with the eye trying to figure it all out.
Bottom Line is also a combiner, which is a personal weakness of mine! McFarlane Toys wasn't known for their combiners, and still isn't.. and this is one of the reasons why. (The other reason was called the Interlink 6 and it was barely even able to stand upright) The combining actually ties into the action feature for this figure. Press the button on his back and the head launches out of the body. It's an incredibly inconvenient super power, I would think, but you've got to work with what you've got.
The thing is, when the head pops out, it leaves a gaping hole. That gaping hole just happens to fit a large plug that sticks out of Top Gun's butt. You plug Bottom Line into Top Gun and you get a whole new figure! Joy! It's.. creepy. I like combiners and I like how they look together, but I really do feel a bit dirty putting them together. It's... something that probably should have been discussed a bit further in the development stage.
One thing Bottom Line does have is far more articulation that most figures get. Even his fingers are articulated! His arms are very mobile, as are his legs, although those are limited by just being swivel hips. Still, there is a lot of personality you can get just from the arms. He's also incredibly stable, so that helps.
He's just so complicated! From the front or the back, it's far too hard to tell exactly what everything is supposed to be. It doesn't help that the color scheme is essentially dark red and dark gray. It doesn't bring it to life at all.
The figure is very well constructed and doesn't really feature any parts that would be hazardous for children, and that's a plus. Also, he's pretty inexpensive to find due to an embarrassing lack of popularity. He just hasn't aged well since his release in the eyes of a lot of collectors. To me, however, he's an example of a later 90s McFarlane figure, as well as the 90s aesthetic that ran rampant at the time. You can see experimentation with articulation, design, and even materials in this single figure. As an arm chair historian, I really enjoy those aspects.
Just, you know, be careful when ramming him up someone else's butt.


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