Img_9789Remember those crappy Hasbro 12″ action figures I wrote about last year? Well, they have apparently had some influence on Mattel, who released some 12″ figures of WWE wrestlers right before Christmas. While they have a lot in common with the Hasbro efforts, these figures are actually pretty good, with great articulation and good likenesses.

There are three figures (so far) in this line, unofficially called “Twelve-inch Titans,” and all indications are that these were initially intended for the Latin American market, possibly being diverted to the United States as an afterthought. They can be found locally for $14.99 at Toys R Us, and at Kid Country Toys for a few bucks more. TRU online has them for under twelve dollars at the moment.

I haven't bought Sin Cara...yet

I haven’t bought Sin Cara…yet

The evidence that these were designed for Latin America is the choice of figures in the line. John Cena is popular worldwide, but Alberto Del Rio and Sin Cara are definitely aimed at the WWE fans South of the border. Del Rio is a former champion, but he’s currently a bad guy in WWE. Sin Cara is a masked wrestler who was added to appeal to the Hispanic fans, and is sort of obscure. So much so that WWE recently switched the wrestler wearing the mask with no fanfare.

The box is tri-lingual, indicating NAFTA compatibility, and this package carries the ‘In Metro” child-safety mark from South America, which is turning up on a lot of Mattel products these days. The package is also notable for copying the style of the Hasbro 12″ boxes, with a single piece of cardboard, printed on one side, folded cleverly into a box with what seems to be a full-color backing board.

Detail from the back of the box

Detail from the back of the box

Not the full range of articulation in this photo, but you get the idea

Not the full range of articulation on display  in this photo, but you get the idea

When you get these figures out of the box, you notice that Mattel did not cut any corners when it comes to articulation. While most of the recent Hasbro 12″ offerings had a minimal five points of articulation, bending only at the shoulders and hips and twisting at the neck, these Mattel WWE figures sport twelve points of articulation, and most of those points are ball-and-socket joints with tremendous range of motion.

The hands swivel at the wrist. The elbows have ball-and-socket joints, as do the shoulders. The neck is a limited ball-and-socket. The waist swivels. The legs have great range with ball-and-socket joints at the hips. The knees simply bend. The joints are tight, except for a little looseness in the hips.

Alberto Del Rio, cheesin' it up

Alberto Del Rio, cheesin’ it up

The headsculpts are great. They appear to be scanned from the wrestlers. The only quirk is that Del Rio is grinning like crazy, probably because he was a good guy when these were designed. The paint operations are minimal, which gives these figures strange-looking eyes. A single dot denotes the pupils, which looks freaky on blue-eyed John Cena.

Gaze into John Cena's weird blue dots

Gaze into John Cena’s weird blue dots

All three figures have the same upper torso and arms. This helps keep the costs down, but it also means that all the figures are the same height, which is a boon to Sin Cara, who is much shorter in real life.

While the painting is not elaborate, it is very nicely applied, with no sloppiness or streaking.

If you want 12″ WWE figures, then these are a godsend.

Everything is molded or painted on

Everything is molded or painted on

If you are a 1/6 scale hobbyist, there is some limited customizing fodder potential here, with some caveats. Sin Cara, being a masked wrestler with full-length tights molded on, has the least potential, and I didn’t even pick him up.

John Cena has molded-on shorts and sneakers. Del Rio has molded-on white boots. The hands are rigid, and a bit large. The figures are a bit large over-all. You might have trouble if you plan to slip a GI Joe outfit on over their molded-on features. The shoulders are very broad and the feet are not articulated, so you’ll have to fight to get pants over the shoes or boots.

The awfully-damned happy soldier is wearing white shoes after Labor Day. Oh, that Alberto!

The awfully-damned happy soldier is wearing white shoes after Labor Day. Oh, that Alberto!

It’s possible that older GI Joe Hall of Fame uniforms might work with these guys. Barring that, they could wear old Formative International military outfits. It can be a struggle, but you can dress these figures. Whether or not you want to is another question. Del Rio is sculpted with a huge grin. Sin Cara has his mask molded on. The John Cena sculpt has a good, serious expression, but detailers may want to repaint his eyes.

If you want to customize these into barbarians or monsters by using paints or applications, they are great for that. The plastic will take paint very well. These figures are far superior to the current Hasbro 12″ line in terms of articulation and customizing potential. As inexpensive as they are, they’re perfect for fans of WWE, and still have some appeal to the 1/6 hobbyist.