Friday, January 10, 2014

McFarlane Toys Top Gun 1998

I've accidentally ended up with a McFarlane Toys theme week! I promise, it wasn't intentional. Honestly, I log these reviews weeks in advance, so there can be patterns that show up that I truly never expected. Still, it's about time I take a look at the second half of the McFarlane Toys combiner with today's review, Top Gun! You might (or might not) remember that I previously reviewed his.. uhm.. bottom half with Bottom Line. This figure was released at the same time and makes up the upper half of the combiner.

Combiners have an interesting history in toys. They really took off in the early 1980s with toy lines such as Voltron almost exclusively focusing on the idea of smaller toys coming together to make bigger toys. Transformers made it huge, however, with their eternally classic Devastator and other combiners such as Menasor and Piranacon. (How cool is it that I finally have enough reviews to start linking back to older ones? Schway!) The Transformers were complex robot/vehicle transformations in their own right, so their ability to make even larger robots was just icing on an already very tasty cake.
McFarlane Toys, to be honest, kind of missed the point of that. What we end up with here are two figures that are obviously two separate figures mashed together. Bottom Line rams his head up Top Gun's butt and voila, they are together. You have a head left over for Bottom Line and Top Gun really doesn't change in any way, shape, or form. You even have Bottom Line's arms still just kind of hanging out, doing whatever.
That's not to say that this figure doesn't serve any purpose. Visually, it's certainly still striking with its vast number of details, and this figure is SOLID. I mean, seriously, you could kill small puppies with this guy (not that you'd want to, of course). Combined, he is very hefty and is not going to go anywhere off of the shelf barring a massive earthquake (at which point, you probably won't be too concerned about this figure).

I love combiners and I really wanted to love this one after finding out about it, but it just seems kind of.. meh. The lack of thought into the two forms makes me think that the individuals were designed first, and then kind of rammed together later (literally, in this case). Seriously, you can't cram Bottom Line's head into Top Gun's ass without feeling a little dirty about the whole thing. In some ways, as you can see in the picture below, you get a kind of simian feel to the figure, but it's really kind of ruined by the extra set of arms still showing from Bottom Line.
Still, just because this guy isn't a great combiner doesn't mean that he fails as an individual figure. He really is, in many ways, far superior to his lower half. The details are still there, but they aren't so convoluted that your eyes can't figure out what to look at. Instead, his form is simplistic but defined, with him using arms for locomotion and his ass plug just kind of swaying behind him. Having him legless is an odd decision, but it certainly is no odder than a one-handed, one-footed Hawaiian-shirt wearing pirate with a weed whacker and jackhammer. I mean, let's be honest. The Weird Bar has been set really, really low for McFarlane Toys.
One thing I can say without a doubt is that I love the face on this guy. It's a sullen expression with an articulated jaw that lets you really show different personalities, although I really kind of prefer it closed. He's quite naturally decked out with all kinds of techno gizmos and giant, impractical guns. It's kind of a McFarlane Toy requirement, where you either get a chicken leg, a board with a nail hammered into it, or a gun three times your body weight. The gun on his shoulder is articulated to move back and forth, the flexible wires he is hooked up to aren't removable which makes them way less of a pain in the ass than with other figures and otherwise his articulation is somewhere between limited and non-existent.
Is this a great figure? Naw, not really. The plus side is that its lack of excellence makes him and his combiner-mate very affordable. For less than $30, I was able to get both of them. I'll likely display them separately, since it negates any chances of losing Bottom Line's head (which is already doubling as a missile, making it likely to be lost in the first place) but it could certainly look good on a shelf combined as well. There are some small parts that parents should be aware of, but this is a toy that is built to be played with and would be great for any kind over eight, I would think. There is an action feature as well, with a plastic pump attached to shoot water or something, I think. I really didn't waste any time on it, to be honest. It has a very convenient holster on the back which will let you forget it ever existed. Hooray!
Just be ready to have a talk with them about why it's not okay to jam your head up someone else's behind. It's an awkward conversation, but let's be honest.. it's one every parent has to have eventually.


Eric Stettmeier on January 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM said...

Good lord! McFarlane toys really started losing it near the end there, didn't they?

Wes Grogan on January 11, 2014 at 7:07 PM said...

It really was an approach of throwing everything at the wall and hoping that some of it stuck.

And "in the end".. I see what you did there!

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