Thursday, October 13, 2016

Magnum T.A. Arrives

I don't think that I've championed the release of a figure, or any piece of memorabilia for that matter, as much as this one. The man simply deserved it. With all of the regional and territorial stars that received figures in the Jakks WWE Classic Superstars line, it was almost a crime that this man did not get the same treatment. Here we are, almost three decades to the day that his career was cut short. After a figure line that should have included his release passed him over, not to mention an announcement and prototype from Mattel years ago, we finally have it in our hands. The Magnum T.A. figure has arrived.

Out of the blue, Mattel decided to release a special "Elite" series of figures that some are calling the "Lost Legends." The other figures in the series are re-releases of past Legends and/or Flashback figures such as The Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Kamala, and Chris Jericho. For me, Magnum T.A. is the absolute star of the series. A man who never before saw a figure release. A man who was slated to have a figure in the initial Mattel WWE Legends figure line, only for the release to be cancelled. Why? Various reasons could be blamed. When I asked the legend himself about it, Magnum said that he was indeed paid for it, but would have liked to have seen its release for his young sons to have.

The newly released figure does in fact greatly resemble the prototype that made its way onto the back of packaging years ago. Though it's likely the same, the facial likeness looks better in-hand. The prototype also featured red tights whereas this final version has black. Considering he wore both, it isn't that big of a deal. The packaging blends the original Mattel WWE Legends design with the 2016 Elite style. It's a winning combination. Magnum would have "floated" in the old packaging as many of the other figures did.

Magnum's style definitely has a bit of a dated look to it, so I'm not sure how much, if at all, this figure will appeal to the younger crowd. They may get familiar with him thanks to WWE Network, but the others in the series such as Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker will be much more popular. Magnum's release is a tip of the hat to longtime fans and collectors. Magnum wasn't flashy like HBK or a complete character like Taker. He was just hair, mustache, tights, and cowboy boots. No frills for the 2016 WWE fans, but an absolute legend to those who value the history of the industry.

Magnum's only accessory is a vest. This is the same vest that was included with Barry Windham. You weren't expecting a classic championship belt, were you? The vest works well for the figure, but when it is on the figure can pretty much only look downward. It's a common problem for figures with the combination of long hair and removable attire. The facial likeness is absolutely perfect and the body parts used match Magnum's physique to a T. The cowboy boots are different from those used on the recent Dusty Rhodes release, but are just as nice and detailed.

It's hard to say just how popular this figure will be. If you've attended any of the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Fanfests, you know how the fans still react to Magnum T.A. to this day. His star is remembered even after all of these years and shines just as bright. In that region I would imagine that this figure will be flying off of the shelves. Elsewhere, I'm just not sure. Seeing as that this is likely the only release of the figure that we will ever see, he could be snapped everywhere. So far, distribution of the entire series has been odd. One "prime" online retailer now has the figure priced the same as brick and mortar stores, so that may be the route to go.

Regardless of how popular the figure is, this is one collector who is beyond thrilled to have him. A figure lineup of the stars of 1980's Jim Crockett Promotions is that much closer to being complete. While I still hold no hope that we'll ever see figures of the likes of J.J. Dillon and Ole Anderson among others, a man who captivated the fans of the NWA for a brief few years finally sees himself immortalized as an action figure. Mattel hit a legendary home run with this one, no matter how you look at it.