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Mortal Kombat Scorpion And Sub-Zero Action Figure Set

The first series of six-inch Mortal Kombat action figures from Jazwares was plagued with weak sculpts, cheap plastic, poor articulation, and sloppy paint. While the second series shows significant improvement over in all these areas, some flaws remain, making this line continue to suffer in comparison with the big hitter in this genre, the Street Fighter series from SOTA. In this review, I’ll be taking a look at Scorpion and Sub-Zero, currently available for $24.99 as an exclusive set from Hot Topic.

 


PACKAGING

Scorpion and Sub-Zero come packaged in an attractive cardboard window-box that allows for thorough inspection with the exception of the figures’ feet. The box is adorned with character art that for the most part matches the figures – the artwork is repeated on the sides and bottom of the box, allowing it to be easily identified if it’s not stacked with the window-box in front.

For the second series, Jazwares has moved the branding from the Mortal Kombat: Deception game to Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. Both Scorpion and Sub-Zero are available as hidden players in that Shaolin Monks, which features the other two characters in this series, Liu Kang and Kao Lung.

The back of the package pictures the first series of figures, perhaps as a reminder of just how far this line has come since then. The inside features a simple plastic tray and a printed insert of a moonlit valley. There are no twist ties, making removal as simple as can be.

SCULPTING

Compared to their Deception-based counterparts in series one, everything about Scorpion and Sub-Zero seems tighter, sculpt-wise. For example, the series one Scorpion and Sub-Zero featured large shoulder balls that were partially obscured by armor pieces and garments that seemed ill-fitting, at best. The proportions on the new figures are much better. The shoulders are not as large and are recessed deeper into the torso, and the garments fit much better.

Jazwares had an opportunity to go the way of the original Mortal Kombat game, in which Scorpion and Sub-Zero were represented by one set of sprites with different coloring. However, with the exception of the shoulder balls and biceps, these figures are completely independent sculpts. Video game purists will notice some divergence between the Scorpion action figure and his in-game counterpart. He’s missing his shoulderpads, and the studs on his tunic are different. Also missing are his skull-emblazoned knee pads, begging the question why Jazwares didn’t re-use the series one knees and shins. Despite those inconsistencies, what was sculpted for him fits, and features a good amount of detail, with straps, buckles, and spikes.

Sub-Zero, on the other hand, is entirely faithful to his video game counterpart, including the chainmail girdle, textured pants, and studded shoulder pads. The only nitpicks I had with his sculpt was that the symbol on his sash buckle is a bunch of indecipherable squiggles, and that his kneepads are sculpted low, making his thighs seem longer than they should.

Both headsculpts match up directly with what you’ll see in the game, with detailed masks and shapes far more pleasing than their earlier counterparts.

PAINT

The paint on these figures is adequate. There is over-spray throughout the figures, but it’s only noticeable on the highly contrasting areas, like the hood and the face underneath. The washes on the tunics of both figures seems rushed and heavy, resulting in some pooling. One big improvement in the paint was doing away with the series one eyeliner.

To capture Sub-Zero’s ice effects, his hands, forearms, and biceps are a translucent blue with a white spray, like the paint on the exclusive Sub-Zero from San Diego Comic Con this year. It’s used to much better effect here, as it’s not over-powering. The transition from ice to flesh on the biceps is well-executed.

ARTICULATION

Most of the articulation is identical to what we got in the first series. Like their earlier counterparts, the figures have ball-jointed heads, shoulders, and hips, and swivels at the waist and wrists.

The move from double to single-jointed elbows and knees is actually an improvement – the double-joints in series one created a lot of extra space in the sculpts, and were uniformly loose. While the single-joints limit some range of motion, the sculpts flow better and the joints are a little tighter. The hips feature detentes that make audible clicks when you rotate the legs forward and back. Another improvement comes in the form of ankle swivels, allowing for a little more poseability.

While the detentes help stabilize the hips from flailing front to back, there’s no help on the other plane of motion – you’ll find the side to side movement of the hips extremely loose, resulting in a lot of unwanted Jonny Cage splits while you’re posing the figures. Both heads are also loose, and rattle around with the slightest disturbance. And both figures could have been improved with hip swivels and ankle hinges.

ACCESSORIES

There’s not a lot that comes with this set – you get one interchangeable hand for Scorpion. It has his trademark harpoon, which is itself removable. That’s it.

PLAYABILITY

These guys are a vast improvement over their predecessors, but they’d be a lot more fun if Jazwares would improve their articulation. Sure, they’re fun to pose – ninjas rule! – but you’ll spend a lot more time getting them set up in action shots on account of the loose hips and heads. On the plus side, both look awesome in standard vanilla poses, and stand up very well.

IF FWOOSH RULED THE WORLD

I’m really pleased to get iconic versions of Scorpion and Sub-Zero, but for the $24.99 price tag I’d really expect more. How about some stands, to help get them to stay in action poses? In addition to fixing the flawed articulation, I’d want some additional ice attachments for Sub-Zero, and maybe some string for Scorpion’s harpoon.

Most of all, I’d have gotten myself to wait for the single-carded versions, due out early next year. It’s likely they’ll include more in the way of accessories, at a cheaper price to boot.

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