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McFarlane's Military Series One Review
by Rudy Panucci

I've always wondered what would happen if the talented sculptors at McFarlane Toys ever diverted their attention away from Fantasy and Science Fiction, and tackled realistic military figures. Now we can all see the results, and they are staggeringly impressive.

The first series of McFarlane's Military figures should be hitting retail outlets any day now, and for the collector of modern military action figures, these are a must-have item. The detail is amazing. There is no real articulation to speak of, other than some limited joints to allow the removal of weaponry, but articulation is not the point here. These are exquisite, museum-quality mini-statues. Or to be more precise, these are like giant Britain's figures, only in a larger scale, with even more detail.

There are six figures in this initial wave, and we'll look at each one in detail, but first we'll make some overall observations. These figures are the very definition of "ultra-detail". The sculpting and paint detail are intricate and exact. I am very impressed by the construction of these figures. It's a challenge to tell, just by looking, which parts of the figures are sculpted and painted, and which are molded separately and glued into place. The headsculpts are photo-realistic, although I don't believe that they used Real Scan technology, it looks as if they did. The faces of these guys look like real soldiers, with real personalities.

The articulation is limited, and not really functional, but that's really not the point of these figures. These are more super-evolved toy soldiers, than they are action figures. There are certain "givens" with military figures, and among those is the fact that highly-articulated figures really need to have cloth uniforms in order to maintain a high level of detail. If you have more joints on a figure with molded-on clothes, you sacrifice realistic detail, just by virtue of making room for the joints in the sculpting and painting process. Freed from the requirements of excessive articulation, McFarlane's sculptors have been able to cut loose to create life-like poses with realistic material folds and hands that perfectly hold their assigned weapons.

In addition to their main weapon, the figures also have a variety of sidearms that are removable.

Each figure comes with a base, with pegs that fit into the figure to hold them in place. This is a nice touch, and with the base, these figures remind me of the old Marx six-inch tall figures, only these are fully- painted and sculpted with fine detail. If you like to put your figures into a variety of poses, these are not the figures for you, but if you appreciate fine detail and like the idea of classic toy soldiers, updated to the modern era in a size that's friendlier to aging eyes, then this is the action figure line for you.

The figures come in clamshell packaging, which unfortunately has to conform to mainstream retail security concerns, so once you open these, they stay opened. Each figure has a package insert that includes a brief, informative background on the soldier's missions and duties, as well as photos of the other figures in the series and on the inside, a mini-catalog of other McFarlane Toys offerings. Unlike many "collector" figures, these guys pretty much scream to be taken out of the package. It's the only way you'll be able to fully appreciate the amount of detail.

Taking a closer look at the individual figures......

Figure .01 Marine Corps Recon Sniper

The series kicks off with the most distinctively-posed figure. The Recon Sniper is posed laying on his stomach. Instead of a full base, he comes with a segment of wall that serves as a support base for his M82A1 Rifle. The scope is molded separately from the rifle. The figure is an African-American with one eye closed. His arms are positioned to aim his weapon. He's wearing a knit cap and recent Marine desert fatigues.

Figure .02 Marine Corps Recon

Next up we have a basic Marine Recon figure, and I'm not quite sure if he's wearing the new digital camouflage, or a variety of Woodland Camo. That's not a knock on the design-I'm sure it's completely accurate. I'm just not well-versed in the ways of Marine camouflage. It looks terrific. This figure is posed in a standard patrol position, crouching somewhat, with his weapon at the ready. He has the full combat loadout, and a silenced M4A1 Assault Weapon. He sports an African-American headsculpt with a very determined expression on his face. This figure deserves a spot on the desk of every Marine recruiter in the country. It's very sharp.

Figure .03 Army Ranger

The first Army figure in the series is a Caucasian Ranger, posed kneeling, with his weapon ready to fire. Again, the sculpting is first- rate, with a phenomenal level of detail. This figure comes with an elongated base, to accommodate his pose, and is outfitted with a full combat loadout in current Army desert camo. He's armed with the M249 Assault Weapon.

Figure .04 Navy Seal

The Navy is represented by a figure that has been done to death in 1/6 scale, but still looks good in this newer format, the Seal. The face is partially obscured on this figure, which is a shame because the facial sculpts in this line are so good. What you can see is top-notch work. While this figure is no less detailed than the others in the series, it depicts a real-life uniform with less detail, so it seems less impressive at first glance. On further examination, you can see that a lot of work did go into this figure, but it's just not obvious because of the all- black paint scheme. The figure is posed in the tentative recon, or "sneaky frogman" position, and comes with a base and MP5A3 Assault Weapon. Not a bad first choice, but I look forward to seeing McFarlane's designers take on some other Naval personnel.

Figure .05 Army Desert Infantry

Standing with his weapon at hand, this figure strikes me as one of the best of this impressive series. A Caucasian figure with a desert combat loadout, this guy is armed with an M4A1-M203 Assault Weapon/Grenade Launcher. One detail on the base on this figure seems a bit odd to me. A little wire running across the base makes it look like our Infantryman is about to trigger an improvised explosive device. I think they just wanted it to look like random debris, but that's something they might want to shy away from on future figures. Aside from that, this is a great-looking figure, and again, one that would look pretty good on the desk of an Army recruiter.

Figure .06 Air Force Special Operations Command, CCT

The final member of the McFarlane's Military inaugural squad is the Air Force Command, CCT. This guy is another sharp figure, posed cleverly with one foot raised and his weapon at the ready. Another great headsculpt tops off a figure with a desert combat loadout, M16A1-M203 Assault Weapon/Grenade Launcher. The custom base is designed to accept the pin in the bottom of his foot, which will allow him to stand. Very well designed.

So there you have it, the first line of figures from McFarlane's Military. I selfishly hope that these do so well that the line expands in the future. While these figures are extremely impressive, I'm not the biggest fan of modern military uniforms. If McFarlane unleashes his designers on WWII, or even earlier eras like the Revolutionary War or American Civil War, I'll be thrilled.

I mentioned Britain's' figures earlier. If McFarlane's Military line continues and expands, they may well make Britain's obsolete. These figures are that good.