Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Toy Review – WWE Amazon Exclusive Mankind from Mattel

I used to really like – nay, adore – Mick Foley. 
 
He was a hero to me for the many different things that he not only pursued, but excelled at. There’s no questioning that he’s a bona-fide wrestling Legend. He changed the face of the business and is one of the greatest sports entertainers to have ever entered the ring. I can’t mention Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold, Ric Flair, or The Rock without mentioning Mick Foley. He was an innovator and a trendsetter like none other.

Foley is also a tremendous writer. His autobiographies are excellent. I’ve read Have A Nice Day and Foley is Good several times each. I’m actually on my third copy of the former. Now, whether that’s because of how good it is or low quality binding, I don’t know. Foley has also written fiction. I really enjoyed Tietam Brown, despite it not being what I expected. I still haven’t gotten around to his second novel, Scooter.

Mick Foley is also an ambassador of Christmas, and there are few things I love more than Christmas.

But over the course of time, the combination of Foley’s recurring talk of politics and his time in TNA Wrestling tarnished his image to me. I still had a tremendous amount of respect for the man, but it was for who he had been and not who he currently was. Well, mostly. I’m super-impressed by his work with multiple charities, particularly RAINN.

But nothing will ever change Foley’s initial impact on me. I’ll always respect Mick Foley – for being an incredible entertainer, for being a guy that never stopped chasing his dreams, for being a great father. He wasn’t one of the guys that I had to grow to appreciate. He was compelling to me from the get-go. He exuded charisma and intensity in everything that he did as Mankind. I didn’t know about Cactus Jack until later, when he teamed up with Terry Funk as Chainsaw Charlie to take on the New Age Outlaws. 
 
I appreciate that Mattel chose to make this figure. This isn’t moneymaking Mankind. Usually when we see a Mankind figure it’s from Foley’s later years as the character, when he wore a white button-up shirt, a necktie, and the mask spent more time off of his head than on it. This is scary Mankind. This is the dark, twisted side of Mick Foley that unnerved children and his opponents alike. 
 
First Glance

This is definitely Manky – as no one ever called him.

All of the key parts – hair, mask, shirt, boots – look great. His legs are too long, like most of the Elite series. I wonder how much that shirt is going to interfere with his articulation.

Also, is it just me or does his head kind of look like Fozzy Bear?

Packaging

This is where things get weird.

I don’t know the story of why this figure was only offered as an Amazon Exclusive or why it is in a blister card more akin to Mattel’s regular WWE line as opposed to the Elite style of packaging, because this is definitely an Elite-style figure. But you know me – aside from gauging how eye-catching and practical packaging is, I really don’t give much of a rat’s ass about it. Ninety-five percent of the boxes my toys come in go in the garbage.

This is a simple blister card – which I love – with some really nice graphics and a bio on the back. And it’s a good bio.

The best thing about this bio is that is focuses solely on Mankind and doesn’t delve into any other Foley personas, not even “Mic Foley”. Aside from a mention of the legendary Hell in a Cell match – which you can’t very well not mention – it all pertains to brown-shirted dungeon guy Mankind.

Side Note: “Dungeon Guy” is my own personal Mankind descriptor. He always looked to me like he was some kind of executioner or torturer that lived/worked in a dungeon.

Looks

This is an incredible head sculpt. I’m not sure if this is the facial expression I would have gone with, but it’s Foley through and through. I wondered if maybe this head was intended for a later Mankind (when he was more frequently joyous), but I don’t think Foley’s hair was ever this long once he started wearing the shirt and tie. 
 
The hair is sculpted to look wild and tangled, and even features two shaved spots on top. 

The mask is part of the sculpt, so it doesn’t look odd or too big like figures with a removable mask tend to (though JAKKS did produce one decent Mankind with a removable mask). The studs on the mask are sculpted on and so is Foley’s beard. I’m also noticing that the top of the mask and the hair are a separate piece, so it’s possible that the bottom of the head was used elsewhere.

The shirt is used to bulk the figure out a bit – not that Foley was as large this early in his WWF career – and the shirt is a great piece of sculpting. The frayed edges look great, but what really impresses me is the fact that the trim and logos are sculpted and not just paint.

The shirt is a textured brown plastic that resembles fabric while the trim and logos are a lighter, glossy brown. Even the studs are individually painted silver. If you look closely, you can even see that the frayed edges have layers to them. This is truly an excellent piece.
 
Mankind’s wicked Mandible Claw apparatus is also sculpt. There’s a strap around his wrist that goes up the outside of his hand and connects to the casing that covers (and protects) his middle fingers. It’s weird and ominous and I love it.

The left arms features Foley’s gruesome Deathmatch scars. I’ve seen these handled different ways and I’m not sure what’s right. When they’re sculpted they tend to be too raised and look like artificial battle damage (which is wrong because they are legit battle damage). Paint can look okay, but Mattel used too deep a shade of red here. Also, I’m not sure this scar is entirely accurate.

Side Note: I find it so odd that Mattel will put heinous, barbed-wire-inflicted scars on action figures but not nipples, which we are all born with. Unless you’re Lizard People, in which case I apologize for generalizing.

Mankind’s boots look great. If you’d asked me yesterday what color Mankind’s boots were I would’ve told you brown and I would’ve been wrong. These are accurate, with brown silver-studded straps over black boots. 
 
Accessories

Mankind comes with two pieces of hair. They plug into the bald spots on his head so that you can have crazy Mankind or crazier Mankind (crazier being the one that has yanked his hair out). 

They work wonderfully and stay put. This was such a neat feature that Mattel would have been perfectly reasonable to skip. What’s most impressive is how good the head looks with or without the hair plugged in.

Fun

Mattel probably could have gotten away with making this figure with the articulation from their standard line. If you don’t know, the difference is double-jointed knees, ball-jointed hips with thigh swivels, and an abdominal joint. Mankind’s shirt restricts the usefulness of everything but the knees. Not totally – the shirt is soft enough to allow for a little movement out of the hip joints. I’m not saying I’m not glad this is an Elite figure. And thanks to those hip joints, you can achieve a number of Mankind’s sitting and/or squatting type poses.

All of these Elite figures are fun to play with. Adding the interactive accessories (the hair) on top of the great articulation makes this a worthwhile toy as well as a nice-looking collectible.

Overall

When this Mankind was first offered he was only fifteen bucks. Like I said – I don’t know what led to this great figure being an Amazon Exclusive or why it got a lower price point than other Elite releases, but it’s worth every penny. Of course, now that time has passed that price has crept up.

If you’re a fan of Foley or of classic WWF, this is a must-have for your collection.

5 out of 5

I would love to see similar releases of Dude Love and Cactus Jack. Heck, I’d buy a repaint of this one if they stuck all three in a Faces of Foley box set. 
 
Until then, if you want this Mankind you can buy him here and help out Needless Things!:


No comments:

Post a Comment