Thursday, August 21, 2014

Follow The Figures...

It was just a few weeks ago when we last visited with the Wyatt Family.  A little over a year since their WWE debut, the wild clan of wrestlers are finally together in figure form.  As shown in the blog entry highlighting the Bray Wyatt figure, these characters aren't the easiest to produce.  With their unique looks, attire, and accessories, bringing the Wyatt's into the figure world is much harder than producing yet another Randy Orton or John Cena.  Unique molds and accessories had to be produced for just about every piece of the three figures.  Shortcuts are often taken in the toy business, but was that the case here?  Mattel had the whole Wyatt Family in their hands.

With Bray already examined, this time we're looking at his flunkies, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan.  As was the case with Bray, these are the second releases of Harper and Rowan.  The two were initially released in "Basic" form in a two-pack.  Although Bray's rocking chair was first packaged in that set, to get the full Wyatt accessory experience you had to wait for the Elite releases of all three men.

I've mentioned the "King Kong Bundy LJN Effect" before, but it bears a repeat explanation.  The WWF King Kong Bundy figure produced by LJN was an immense hunk of rubber.  I'm sure that more than one child got quite the headache by being hit with it at the hands of another kid over the years.  The fact of the matter is, it was heavy and you truly felt like you got your money's worth.  The Elite Harper and Rowan resemble this phenomenon.  Not only are the figures themselves huge compared to many of the Mattel WWE figures, but they are packaged with some great accessories.

You couldn't have asked for better likenesses of the two.  From the faces to the attire to the smallest detail, it's all here.  I did have a bit of over-glue on Harper's head where the hair was attached to the head, but it was easily removable.  My only real issue on the figures is a problem that I often address, but is only evident here with Rowan, that being the torso joint.  This time the joint is nicely hidden under Harper's shirt, but overly prominent on Rowan.  It wouldn't be so bad if it served a purpose, but the joint barely moves due to the otherwise great sculpt of Rowan's outfit.

The Wyatt Family has become known for their various iconic props.  Bray's rocking chair and lantern are here, as is Rowan's sheep mask.  The chair comes disassembled with an easy to follow instruction sheet. Once assembled, the chair is surprisingly sturdy and detailed.  For the child who wants to play "the wrestlers go to Cracker Barrel," all that is needed is a figure-sized fabric game of checkers.  Bray's lantern has a glow-in-the-dark piece of plastic in the center.  I have had no luck whatsoever with glow-in-the-dark action figure accessories since the 1980's, so reporting that I was unable to get it to work doesn't hold much ground.

I think that Rowan's sheep mask is my favorite piece here.  Whatever the meaning behind it, the mask has already been a merchandising success ever since WWE began offering the life-size versions for sale at live events.  Mattel obviously put a lot of thought into how a figure version of the mask would work.  Inside the mask is a mold of Rowan's face.  Those indentations coupled with the mask being made of a hard plastic ensures that it snaps on and stays on.  It's another example, like the sweat on Harper's shirt as well as his back pocket hanky, that make the details on these figures incredible.

If you want the Wyatt figures, these Elite versions are the ones to get.  As we've previously covered, there are versions in the "Basic" line already, but they do not include any of the accessories aside from the rocking chair.  There are more versions coming in the next year, but it's not confirmed which, if any, of the accessories will be included.  I would play it safe and get these initial Elite releases.  Why wait around for future releases when the best ones are already available?

I definitely felt that Bray would take "Figure of the Year" for 2014 in a sweep, but now I'm not so sure.  Mattel delivered above and beyond with all three of these up-and-coming stars.  As a kid, I would have been amazed that the complete Wyatt Family "act" was brought to my toy wrestling ring through such great efforts.  As an adult, I'm even more amazed.  Last year, "Figure of the Year" ended up in a three-way tie among members of a group.  I'm starting to think that 2014 may see a repeat performance thanks to the great efforts of Mattel.

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