Be honest, did you ever think that, even in the age of bringing back just about every nostalgia property, we would get a modern take on BARNYARD COMMANDOS? Well, here we are, and these crazy characters are showing us that Animal Farm was just the beginning.
I probably don’t have to tell you that, in the early 90s, Playmates Toys was doing some WILD stuff. TMNT was starting to get into the really crazy characters and designs, Toxic Crusaders took that weirdo gross factor and amped it up to an 11, and then pure insanity was unleashed on us when farmyard friends went to war with Barnyard Commandos. It’s a tale as old as time, haha.
I have to admit that I long for those days when toy companies would would come up with crazy ideas and released new action figure lines just to see what would stick. So, while I don’t think we would get anything as strangely original as BC today, it sure is a trip to see them presented as all-new and better than ever. I had a few of these when I was a kid, and I thought they were a bit nutty, but fun. These new figures actually make me appreciate the characters and designs a great deal more due to them being actual action figures, and not just root-molded slug figures.
Speaking of designs, Barnyard Commandos were the brain child of the wonder James Gorman, who you might know from Madballs fame, among other things. Like the Madballs, he was involved in the designs of these new figures, so the balance between modern sensibilities and being true to the original designs is pretty well balanced. The characters are instantly recognizable, but the new aspects are what really make these figures.
There are four figures in this initial assortment, as well as repainted set of all representing the “Stealth Ops” looks that feature glow-in-the-dark paint applications. Two of the P.O.R.K.S. (Platoon of Rebel Killer Swine) and two R.A.M.S. (Rebel Army of Militant Sheep) feature in this first wave, and today we will look at the P.O.R.K.S., both in the standard and Stealth Ops looks, and we will follow-up soon with a look at the R.A.M.S.
CORPORAL HY ONDAHOG
Ah, puns abound in the naming conventions for these characters, and Hy is certainly a shining example of that. As a kid, the the characters presented as standing up/bipedal were my favorites, and Hy might be my favorite overall of these first four figures. The pedigree for these is pretty strong in terms of the talent pool that has been brought in to create these. I mentioned Gorman, but Brodie Perkins handled the sculpting duties, and Jason Wires provided the paint and prototyping. Those are certainly top names, and as you might expect, it shows in the final product.
Frankly, the paint and sculpting are both extremely well done. These figures, as crazy are they are, look really, really nice. The upright pig body updates the original figure well, and the portrait has a lot of personality. The articulation scheme is also a lot more extensive than I would have initially expected, and Hy move really well for a pig with his form. He’s not posing like Spider-Man or anything, but there are a lot of thoughtful points, and the joints are all engineered well. Say what you want, but these are pretty impressive figures.
The accessories might be just as impressive as the figures themselves, too. The rocket launcher and GIANT tractor tire are huge and the paint applications bring out a ton of details in the sculpting. I mean, even if you aren’t into this property, there is just something about having that giant tire around as prop that fits into just about anything. The rocket launcher can be affixed to the tire axle with the lenticular radar, and piston handles attached for a new look. Or, the launcher and pistons can be held above Hy’s head with the dial on the back for a classic look. These pieces are really impressive and you still get a BBQ bayonet as well with a swappable hoof to hold it.
The Stealth Ops repaint is neat, too – and you can almost pass it off as a different character if you want to. The bayonet keeps the same color scheme as the standard, but the rest are done in a much darker look with black and neon green being the predominant colors. Hy is appropriately repainted as well, but I like the standard colors just a bit more.
PRIVATE SIDE O’BACON
Hy Ondahog’s partner in barnyard warfare in this assortment is Private Side O’Bacon, and this is one of the figures I had as a kid. He is a nice compliment to Hy in that he is down on all fours in terms of his standard posture, so you get both forms in this first assortment. That said, he can *almost* pull off a convincing upright pose, but you really need an alternate head to pull that off. That is a bit of silly thing to point out, but as I said, I like the standing posture characters better.
All that said, Private O’Bacon here is in a more natural stance, and because he is solid with four on the floor, he is bringing out the heavy artillery. The giant flamethrower plugs into his back, and there are swappable visors that you can change out depending on if your preference is solid yellow or translucent. Oh, and you also get a big hay bail that can be used as background piece, or as a step for Side to blast his flamethrower up for overhead coverage. Side is the ferocious pit fighter (he’s got a mean mug), so even with the giant flamethrower in place, you can still pose the figure running into battle.
Side’s Stealth Ops repaint matches most of the same cues of Hy’s version, but I think I like the flamethrower in these colors more than the rocket launcher. Now, I still feel like I prefer the standard version, but this one does look great. As I mentioned, the Stealth Ops figures do have a glow-in-the-dark paint deco on the accessories. It isn’t overdone or loud, but I think I appreciate the subtlety here, especially since so many glow figures these days can actually give you a sunburn.
I think the biggest takeaway here is that the Barnyard Commandos have now gotten better figures than we probably ever would have imagined. That is not a slight against the property itself because it is wacky and wonderful, but even in this age, I did not see this coming. I would say if you are fan, you will want to check these out, but if nothing else, these are just really good action figures. They are beautiful (in that muddy farmyard kind of way), and the accessories are really something else. You can still order these, and they are getting very close to shipping. We will be back soon with a look at the R.A.M.S., but spoiler alert – they are just as cool.
*Thanks to Premium DNA for sending these along for a preview.