Thursday, November 7, 2013
WrestleMania XXIX: The Figures
Though I never intended to get them all, I've become quite a fan of Mattel's Build-A-Figure collections. Always exclusive to Toys "R" Us, so far we have seen Michael Cole, Ricardo Rodriguez, John Laurinaitis, and Teddy Long released in this manner. The concept is simple: a set of four figures is released each containing portions of a fifth figure. When all four figures are opened, you are able to build the fifth. The fifth figures have, so far, been stars who were non-wrestling personalities in the company. These are usually characters that Mattel feels will not sell well on their own, although a Rodriguez single release figure is forthcoming.
This holiday season we are treated to two Build-A-Figure sets released simultaneously. Both sets are completely made up of superstars in the attires that they wore at WrestleMania XXIX. Booker T, dressed as either GM or Hall of Famer (take your pick) is included in a series of Basic figures while Paul Heyman is in an Elite collection. The Elite figures are, as usual, at a higher price point and include more accessories. Seeing as that these figures do include the Build-A-Figure pieces, they are priced higher than their normal Basic and Elite counterparts. Thankfully, many Toys "R" Us stores received these figures as a "Buy 1 Get 1 40% Off" sale was occurring. That, coupled with my well-documented love of WrestleMania XXIX, I couldn't find a reason to pass the sets up.
It should be said that many collectors are sometimes less than happy with the figures chosen to be in these sets. Obviously a new character isn't going to be debuted among the four figures needed to build the fifth (Fandango would've been ideal here), as the selling point is already in the Build-A-Figure. Personally, I refrain from buying any figure repaints (and sometimes even figures that Jakks produced en masse) so that when these sets are released I'm not totally disappointed in the lineups.
Can you dig it? Booker T is impressive. He's accurately a taller figure and seems to have the same legs as the Laurinaitis figure. Booker's glasses seem a bit "cloudy" in the lenses but are removable. They fit nice and snug into his hair. Perhaps the only thing missing is a hand in his trademark "Five Time" pose, but nonetheless this figure is ready to perform a Spinaroonie...perhaps next to the Hall of Fame podium that is included with the upcoming Bruno Sammartino figure.
Heyman scores a few less points with me than Booker, but not too much. It's a great figure of the "Walrus" complete with "mad scientist" scowl and ever-receding hairline. A microphone would've been a fun accessory considering that the figures hand could hold one and it's the item that allows him to be one of the main reasons to watch Monday Night Raw. In the spirit of WrestleMania, the urn can be positioned in Heyman's arms. It should be noted that, like Rodriguez, Heyman will also be released outside of the Build-A-Figure series in the future.
The Build-A-Figure collection continues to grow. Although I'm not particularly happy that Rodriguez and Heyman will now be placed into regular lines, I doubt that we'll ever see Cole, Long, and Laurinaitis redone. Recent announcements from Mattel suggest that we will be seeing Build-A-Figures of both Paul Bearer and Jim Ross. Both will be welcome additions to the lineup. My beloved WrestleMania XXIX will also live on in 2014, as my most long-awaited figure of the year, Zeb Colter, will be released under that banner in an upcoming WrestleMania Heritage series. Welcome to a "Very Mattel Holiday Season!"