Sunday, October 7, 2012

12-inch Original Action Figure Body (Review)

I have been looking for new bodies for my Star Trek (2009 movie) action figures (AF). Yesterday, I chance upon this unknown AF body at a local toy event. I wasn't able to get the seller's information.

These AF came in three skin tone: the one in this review, a reddish peach tone and an AA skin tone. There was no evidence of a female counterpart of this figure.

The Package

The package is very basic. There is no information about the manufacturer. This, I think, is very fishy. It's like the company didn't want anything to do with the toy. There is no clue about the reputation of the manufacturer. There is no way to send feedback, comments and/or suggestions.

The lack of manufacturer details made me think that this could be a TrueType (TT) clone but some design details are clearly different. (For photos and review of the original TT you may want to visit this site:

The package is able to show what's inside except the feet. The buyer can get an idea of the feet design from the illustrations on the back of the box. One hand design (used for gripping guns, etc) on the box illustration is not included in the content. The figure came with an extra pair of hands (clenched fists) and neck joint.

It is easy to remove the content. The items are secured by adhesive tapes.  The box can be reused to store two action figures and accessories, without the plastic tray.

Once deboxed, the amount of work put in the AF can be clearly seen. I don't have TT figure so I cannot compare the quality of the plastic but this one seems brittle. I think the plastic can crack or break when dropped. This toy needs to be handled with care, more care compared to the Basics or Fashionista Ken. The Ken plastic seems to take some impact and not break. This figure may not have Ken's durability.

The Joints

The package says the AF has 38 points of articulation but I didn't bother counting. The joints seem too robotic which was initially a turn off.  They seem acceptable to me when photographed. Also, the clothing can easily cover the hideous joints so I gave in. The advantage of this joint design, not common in fashion dolls, is the wider range of motion aside from the regular pose-ability. How many dolls can touch their shoulder? Or have their dolls sit on their heels? Or sit in the lotus position? This AF can.

The shoulder joint seems similar to that of the TT. This allows the AF to place its hands on the waist while having its elbow point either forward or backward, aside from sideways. This also allows the figure to do shoulder shrugs.

The major difference from a TT is the mid-section. A TT torso has two major segments while this one has three. This allows the AF to do ab crunches and arch its back.

Another difference from the TT is the crotch joint. This has cylindrical mechanism to allow leg twisting. There is no twisting motion at the knees for this AF which is a basic design element for most jointed fashion dolls (e.g. pivotal Barbie). This joint looks less unsightly when the legs are rotated such that the toes are pointed forward.

Other figures can do what this figure does, especially the newer ones from Hot Toys. The newer ones take into consideration the aesthetics in joint design. The joint design for this AF seems old or backward (if it is new) when compared to newer AF designs with the same articulation.

The head I used was Kirk from the 2009 12-inch Star Trek AF by Playmates. (I was having second thoughts of buying this body as I was not sure if the skin color would match. I was right. It was a wrong match. It seems acceptable when the figure is clothed though.) The ball joint at the neck was loose. I covered the joining parts with masking tape to make it fit snugly.

Clothing Options

This figure can wear some Ken clothes, even the ones which are not stretchy. Ken's long sleeve is too short for this figure. Roll the sleeves up to make it look better or just make him wear short sleeves. 

The waist of this AF is definitely bigger than Ken's. The Ken Basics pants had to be lowered to make the snaps close. A little pulling is required to close them. Some shorts can be secured at the back while some can't.

Some Ken footwear can be worn by this AF but there are some which don't fit. Some may be forced to fit but removing the foot from the shoe could be a problem. I removed the feet before I let him put on the boots. There is no feet in the boot and high-cut shoe.

The Price

This is a relatively inexpensive figure at PhP600 (around US$14) each. In the Philippines, it costs about 33% less than a Barbie Fashionista (regular price at around US$21). The AF price is also way less than the US$40+ for the TT as mentioned in the linked review above. This is a budget friendly alternative to the TT. That is why I got myself two figures.

I also don't know if I can buy something like this ever again. I got this from a toy event which is temporary.  I haven't seen it in major toy stores.  It is also possible that this is an old toy that has been discontinued. This toy is not widely available which some people could use to (selfishly) justify jacking up the price.  If these are manufactured in China, they might cost more for those who are in the western part of the globe, due to added shipping costs.

Overall Comment

It's generally a good buy but it is not for heavy duty play. The joints may turn off some doll collectors who value smooth joints but it will be appreciated by those who require not only articulation but also a wider range of motion in their male toys. Getting this specific figure may be a challenge as it is not available in major toy stores, not even on eBay at this moment. Similar toys from a more reputable brand costs more.


Andrea said...

Thank you for this review, Niel.

I like articulated bodies for posing dolls for pics, but I don't like visible joints in my clothes rack dolls - the ones set up in showcases for display of fashions.

This one looks very well proportioned and he doesn't have the blow-up chest like a body builder, which is a plus in clothing him.

Niel said...

No problem, Andrea.

My first concern with the chest size is the fit in Ken clothes. It looked like he has bigger chest than Ken. I'm glad that this can still use Ken's shirts.

Like you, I also like dolls without nasty looking joints like model muse bodies. I also use them mainly to just wear clothes.

I like pose-able dolls more for story telling. Since dolls can't show a wide range of emotions, these ones compensate with better gestures and body language to communicate an emotion. :)

limbe dolls said...

Thanks for the review. This body looks like a viable option for upgrading some male figures.

Niel said...

You're welcome, limbe dolls. Yes, it a viable option but the accessibility could be a problem for those who might be interested.