This week, we’re going to bring you a detailed review of the first new budget-sensitive twelve inch military figure offered up in some time. Last year, Cotswold Collectibles offered up six figures in a new line billed as Super System. Among the six figures were SWAT, ACU, ACU2, SDU, Corpsman, and Wounded Soldier. The nice thing about these figures is that they were not budget busters like Dragon or Hot Toys, but were priced a little over twenty dollars and were a good entry point for younger collectors.
I finally got my hands on one of these, the Corpsman, and can offer up my opinion.
First of all, it is apparent from the packaging that this toy was designed by someone for whom English was not their primary language. There are no extreme “howlers,” but the wording on the packaging is a little awkward, “it could give different and complicated poses.”
The Corpsman figure comes in a nicely designed window package that shows off almost all of the accessories. He comes with a jumpsuit, flak jacket, medic armband, knee pads and boots. Plus he’s rather heavily armed for a medic, with a couple of machine guns and a pistol and holster. Other equipment includes a helmet, smoke grenades, canteen, bayonet, sunglasses, walkie talkie and two spare sets of hands.
The quality of the weapons is probably the low point of the set. They lack detail and don’t seem terribly realistic. The other accessories aren’t much better, although the sunglasses are rather nice. The uniform pieces are made from an inexpensive nylon with velcro type closures. Back in the heyday of the military action figure revival ten to fifteen years ago, these accessories would have been on the low end of the quality scale and would have been the sort of thing you’d expect with a ten-dollar action figure.
However nowadays, beggars can’t be choosers. Basically, if you want to spend under twenty five dollars for a 12″ military action figure, your choices are the Power Team Elite/World Peacekeepers, which only turn up around Christmas time at Big Lots or low priced knockoffs with lousy uniforms, like the recent offerings from Lanard.
What makes Super System Special Forces worthwhile is that it has an elaborately articulated, lightweight body that offers a lot of potential for customizers. The package promises over thirty points of articulation. I counted at least twenty eight, so that’s pretty impressive. This is a figure that can kneel realistically and hold a rifle properly while looking through the scope.
The Super System figure has double ganged elbow joints and an elaborate and multi-faceted shoulder joint that very closely mimics human range of motion. The knees are sculpted to look as though they are double ganged, but they actually aren’t. They do have a clever cutaway in the back of the thigh that allows them a greater range of motion. This articulation short cut was last seen in the late 1990s on Ertl’s Outdoor Sportsman figures, which were sold through Cabela’s.
One other interesting quirk of this body design and one which may delight customizers is that the body is screwed together with twenty eight tiny Phillips-head screws.
The head is attached with what seems to be a very fragile rubber-like connector, but it’s hard to know for sure since the head is also molded in a softer plastic.
The head itself actually seems to sit a bit high on the neck but when fully outfitted, this won’t be noticeable.
The head sculpt itself isn’t too bad and has at least five paint operations finishing it.
All in all, the Super System
Special Forces figure is a nice addition to a hobby that hasn’t seen many additions lately. There’s plenty for a customizer to work with, a top notch figure that is remarkably light–easily as light as a Dragon model’s figure–and accessories and clothing that would be suitable for a kid who just wanted a toy Army man.
The box says that these are suitable for children ages 14 and up, but I think they’d be fine for kids as young as five or six, as long as their parents are cool with them having military toys and they are told to be careful with the seemingly fragile head.
You might find the Power Team figures to be a better value, with more impressive accessories and articulation that equals Super System. However, if you want a little more variety and are intrigued by the customizing options available with a screw-together body, you might want to give these guys a try. You can find them at Cotswold Collectibles, and a few have found their way to Amazon. With the paucity of 12″ offerings from Hasbro during this fiftieth year of GI Joe, it’s nice to see someone giving 1/6 scale hobbyists something to work with.