Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Blue Meanie Dances Again

I've said it numerous times over the years. If any wrestler was meant to be an action figure, it's The Blue Meanie. It's a crime that he didn't have one during his stints in ECW and WWE. Now in 2017, following the year when Magnum T.A. finally received a figure, The Meanie is dancing into our collections. Does he live up to almost two decades of expectations? Let's take a trip to Pepperland and find out...

The Blue Meanie's first figure is part of Figures Toy Company's new Legends of Professional Wrestling line. The line is just one of several either started or planned by the company, also including figures under the Ring of Honor and Rising Stars of Wrestling banners. Also included in the first wave of Legends of Professional Wrestling figures are Jim Cornette, New Jack, and PJ Polaco (Justin Credible).

My friend and fellow wrestling/Blue Meanie fan Kerry Huffman did a great review of the figure on his YouTube channel shortly after it was released. Knowing that he was anticipating the figure as much as I was, I admit that I was a bit concerned after the review. Loose arms? Surely this had to be a one-off mistake. Another friend had mentioned to me that he had similar issues with some of the figures from the Ring of Honor line. Nonetheless, I was determined to investigate myself.

My Meanie actually had a different problem upon arrival. He was so excited to join my collection that he lost his head! The figures head was completely off the body when I received it. Thankfully I was opening the thing and, admittedly, did not take this issue to the company. Still, this has to be a concern for the many collectors who will be keeping the figure carded. Despite the figure being packaged in a reusable "clamshell" case, you still have to remove a Figures Toy Company zip tie to open it. When that's off, it's technically no longer "mint on card." You can purchase the zip ties from the company, but I can't see many doing that. I've heard of ways to remove these without cutting them, but I wasn't messing with that since this one was being opened anyway.

I was able to pop the head back on upon opening the figure, but then the loose arm situation reared it's ugly head. You can "balance" the arms occasionally, but generally the arms simply hang. Your Meanie isn't really going to "dance." There are issues with the wrists as well. Though these figures are based upon the Jakks "Ruthless Aggression" design, these are not the exact sculpts. The plastic used isn't quite the same quality either. There's a plastic folding chair included as well, but this is just a castoff from Figures Toy Company's line of wrestling figure accessories originally produced many years ago. There isn't too much of a reason for it to be included, but I don't see it taking up much of the figure budget, either.

It isn't all bad. The cloth shirt and shorts are great and add a lot to the figure. The facial sculpt is perfect and could actually not be any better. Meanie has previously said on social media that he deliberately had the design done as a mix of "eras" of The Blue Meanie and it really works. This is the look that I've been picturing all of these years. The shorts have a tendency to slip, but that's often a trade-off when using cloth accessories. Besides, isn't it just like The Meanie to be flashing some buttcrack to the audience? The belt is a separate piece from the jeans which does look good. The knee pads are very similar to their Jakks counterparts and stay on firmly.

It's very hard to recommend purchasing this figure at the current price point. On one hand, this could be the only time that an iconic cult character in wrestling ever sees a figure. Plus, there's already a bWo Stevie Richards figure out there to go along with it. At almost $40 after shipping, though, it's a steep investment. If you're opening the figure, the loose arms and other production issues hurt it. If you're keeping it carded, will the head pop off? Between the latter and the price point, I have decided against purchasing a second one to have signed. I was also interested in the Cornette figure, but may end up putting that off as well.

Following Figures Toy Company for a long time, I do understand their position. Their figure lines of all genres are niche. They do not sell them in stores and are generally only available online. The price points have to be high to pay the bills. That being said, low quality out of the box just isn't acceptable. Being a diehard fan of the 1966 Batman tv series since I was a child, I have collected many of FTC's figures from that line and have seen much better quality control there. These wrestling lines deserve that, too.

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