Wednesday, May 28, 2014

McFarlane Toys: Walking Dead Daryl and Merle Action Figure Review

Today's review is of McFarlane Toy's Walking Dead action figures, Daryl and Merle Dixon.  The Daryl figure represents his standard biker vest look and comes with his ride of choice, a Triumph chopper, while his brother Merle's figure depicts him after he's been turned into a zombie.  Originally I was just going to just get Daryl, but you can't very well have someone from Walking Dead and not have a zombie for him to fight.  In this case, who better than his very own brother.  These latest WD releases have all looked great but I've held off buying until now (for reasons I will explain later) so let's see whether or not I regret my purchase.

Product Description: 
Daryl Dixon w/ chopper
Fan-favorite Daryl Dixon, from AMC's hit television series The Walking Dead, is a lone wolf survivalist who has proven time and again to be a vital sentinel for Rick Grimes and his group in an unpredictable and perilous apocalyptic world. McFarlane Toys' deluxe box set features Daryl Dixon with his iconic chopper motorcycle. The figure's exact likeness is created using a full 3D scan of the actor himself, Norman Reedus! This brand new sculpt portrays Daryl in his angel wings stitched biker vest and includes approximately 20 points of articulation, hunting knife and new crossbow. Daryl's transportation of choice in this apocalyptic world is his brother Merle's black chopper motorcycle. The first vehicle produced for The Walking Dead action figure line, this iconic chopper includes the lightning-bolt insignia on the tank, skull decal and saddlebags.

Zombie Merle Dixon  
After being left for dead in Season 1, Merle Dixon, brother of Daryl, made his return as The Governor's left-hand man (he lost his right) in Season 3! After reuniting with his baby bother, Merle began searching for redemption, but instead met his demise. Daryl eventually finds his brother converted into a bloodied walker. This action-figure comes with approximately 22 points of articulation and a prosthetic arm with prison shiv. 

Sculpt:  Both the Zombie Merle and the Daryl have incredible sculpts.  I think the likeness for Merle is just a little bit better than his brother's, but they each clearly look like the actors they represent.  Granted, Merle has the advantage of having to match a make-up heavy undead rather than a real person, he still clearly looks like actor Michael Rooker.  I also don't have much of a problem seeing Norman Reedus when I look at the Daryl figure.  My main issue is with his hair, which isn't the more iconic cut I would have liked to have seen.

As for the body and clothing sculpt, I couldn't have asked for anything better.  Every fold and wrinkle seems to sit just right.  All the details you can think of are present.  The figures look as natural in a neutral position as they do in an action pose, which is the mark of a well sculpted action figure.  I think that, again, Merle has the advantage over Daryl because both his real and prosthetic arms look just a little more proportioned and realistic.

Verdict: Daryl 8.5/10, Merle 9/10 - Just the most minor of tweaks and possibly some added textures would have made they two perfect.

Scale:  This is a very sore subject for me. I really hate the scale on these figures. Other than the Halo figures (which I don't collect, but I would have a few of if their scale was also different) I can't think of a single other line that uses 5 inch (1/14?) scale with this amount of detail. Sure. it's the same scale as the old Toy Biz Marvel lines, but there is no way these would look right side by side. It just really sucks that these can not be displayed along side any other current movie, TV, or comic book action figure line. The extremely stupid decision to go with this scale is the only thing keeping me from collecting all the Walking Dead figures. There is no reason why these figures should cost just as much as NECA figures that are much larger.

To be fair, these figures do seem to fit in just fine with all the other Walking Dead figures.  When you line up the whole cast, they look outstanding together.  I just really wish I could throw Rambo, Dutch from Predator, or Ash from Army of Darkness into the group.  It's just annoying as all hell.

Verdict: 3/10 - Some points for being consistent within the line, but screw you for not being 6 or 7 inch scale.

Paint:  A paint job can really make or break an action figure and really needs to be well done to bring out the detail in the sculpt.  Luckily the paint on both these figures is up to task.  Everything good about the sculpt is made twice as good by the application and detail put into the paintwork. The skin tones look realistic and well defined while the clothing looks appropriately worn and lived in.  The blood and dirt shows different levels of "freshness" and general color pallet used for the clothing is spot-on.

Verdict: 10/10 - I honestly can't think of a thing that should have been done differently.

Articulation:  Before I got these figures, it had been a while since I bought anything from McFarlane Toys.  Years ago I would buy some figures form the Movie Maniacs line and wish that they were a whole lot more pose-able  rather than basically being a plastic statue with a few cut joints.  Things have definitely changed.

These figures are packed with plenty of useful joints with a decent range.  You probably can't get them into any crazy superhuman acrobatic positions, but you'll at least get some great regular human poses out of them. Daryl looks natural whether he's aiming his crossbow or riding his bike.  Merle looks great shuffling around as the living dead or lunging at his prey.

The articulation is as follows for both (minus one of Merle's wrists):

  • Ball-jointed neck
  • Ball-jointed shoulders
  • Ball-jointed elbows
  • Ball-jointed wrists
  • Ball-Jointed torso
  • Double hinged hips
  • Ball-jointed knees
  • Ball-Jointed ankles

  • Verdict: 9/10 - Way to step it up McFarlane Toys!  It took a couple decades, but you've finally got some impressive articulation.

    Accessories:  One of these figures does great in this category and the other does not.  Can you guess which is which?
    Let's start with Merle. He comes with absolutely nothing.  I can understand not having a gun for his holster because a zombie wouldn't have much use for one, but it doesn't mean he couldn't come with SOMETHING. Maybe an arm or something for him to feed on or some arrows (bolts, quarrels, whatever you call the things Daryl's crossbow shoots) that you can stick into his body to show some damage. Heck, he'd at least get some points if his prosthetic came off.

    Daryl fairs much better.  He comes with his trusty crossbow, a knife, and of course, his chopper.  The crossbow looks great, is very detailed, and has some nice paint applications.  The knife is fairly small but it fits nicely into its sheath.  As far as weapons go, these are pretty standard issue for Mr. Dixon.

    The chopper is an entity in itself.  It practically deserves it's own review.  I am by no means a motorcycle expert, but I do know that this is not one you're going to buy off the lot as is.  This chopper has a few modifications (which is what makes it a chopper).  I'd love to be able to dish out some specs about the engine size, the horse power, and whatnot, but that's not going to happen.  You can google it if you really need answers.  All I know is that it has some sweet saddlebags (which don't open but do come off) and a gun/crossbow rack.

    Like the figure itself, the sculpt and the paint is top notch.  All the details you could want are there.  The light covers are clear plastic with a red tint for the back light.  The license plate is numbered 0110D4, which I'm sure means something relevant to the show.  The weathering to the whole bike is incredible.  This really looks like a bike that's been ridden hard for a while.  There's paint scrapes, oil and grease smudges, dust and caked mud, and even rips in the seat.  There is also a disk that pops into the back tire to help the bike stand.  You'll need it.

    If I was to have a complaint about anything, it's that the bike seems fragile.  This isn't really isn't something you're going to want to play with a lot, because things will snap and break.  Those handlebars and brake-lines might not make it very long.  If this had been die cast metal, it would have been amazing.

    Verdict: Daryl 8.5/10, Merle 0/10 - Daryl has it good with his accessories, although it should be noted that you're paying a heck of a lot more for him.  Merle is just Merle.

    Overall Verdict: 8/10 - I'm going to go easy on these figures because, once again, I got a great deal on them during a sale.  Had I paid full price for these, I may have been a little rougher.  Honestly, I liked them quite a bit and I'm tempted to get more, at least a Michonne and a Rick.  The scale still chaps my @$$ and I hate that it's an issue, but if it's not one for you, then you may want to score these a little higher. Either way, and 8 out of 10 is pretty damn good.


    Click Here for a review of Talon and other action figures.
    Click Here for a review of the DC Collectibles Bizarro action figure.
    Click Here for a review of Link from Legend of Zelda action figure.
    Click Here for a review of the DC Collectibles Batman action figure.
    Click Here for a review of the NECA Godzilla action figure.
    Click Here for a review of the NECA ED-209 action figure.

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    1. I might just go ahead and get the entire series 5.

    2. only have a couple of the comic book style figures, but the merle one looks freakin awesome.