Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Action Figure Review: Tree Warrior from True Legends by Toys R' Us/ Chap Mei


     With the internet and hundreds of toy blogs and news sites at our disposal, it isn't often that we get the chance to be surprised anymore. Still, every now and then we get a surprise. Today's toy was one of those surprises. For the past few years Toys R' Us has had their own line of product called True Legends which consists of traditional action figures, small plastic minifigures, and role play items across a number of genres including military, mythology, and fantasy. While the package and toy itself simply list Toys R' Us as the manufacturer, most of the action figures seem to be created by Chap Mei, a company that creates tons of low budget items for retailers like Dollar General and Big Lots. Rather than the typical knock off junk, though, Chap Mei has always featured amazing sculpts and solid quality. I recognize lots of their accessories and military sculpts as well as took notice that the manufacturer's mark piece on this fellow is actually a removable piece of plastic that could probably b swapped out with another name in the future. This really makes me think this is Chap Mei's work. I always check out their stuff whenever I notice it (it is very distinctive) and I was floored when I came across this deluxe Tree Warrior figure from the True Legends line. Looking at this figure was like a wave of nostalgia: The sculpt, action features, and the fact that it was sold in a colorful window box totally made me feel like I was back in the mid 80's on a magical trip to the toy store. Trees can be incredibly creepy (see The Evil Dead series if you don't believe me) so I thought this was a fitting review for a nostalgia laced Halloween tribute. Ready for a look at a giant tree monster? Then join me after the break...

  This guy is pretty big at 8 inches tall and almost 10 inches wide. He's intended for the 1/18th scale True Legends figures, but honestly I could see him working with figures that are a bit larger (maybe even MOTUC stuff) or minifigures that are much smaller. The crazy style of this guy is really creepy and definitely reminds me of Inhumanoids for some reason. Maybe it is because he is a giant terrifying toy monster? Honestly, I can't think of a single toyline that wouldn't be improved by the presence of the Tree Warrior. If you can, then you can't visit my blog anymore and you have to go home.

     He doesn't have a ton of articulation, but I bet he has more than you thought he did. The Tree Warrior features: A hinged jaw, swivel shoulders, and a hinged "finger/branch" on each umm... limb. Sorry I didn't want to make that pun. This guy is made from a very light, hollow plastic, but he feels very sturdy. He's also recyclable, according to the symbol on his back. Who the heck recycles their toys by actually putting them in a recycling bin? Captain Planet wouldn't even condone that behavior. Anyways, the moving limbs make this guy nice and expressive and the branch/thumbs (I think they're thumbs) let this guy hold his included accessory or other figures. The hinged mouth is my favorite part because it lets Tree Warrior trap people inside of him. So freaking cool! This is an awesome, sturdy toy and I want to buy another one the next time I see one.

     I've already mentioned that the back of the figure is hollow and flat, but who cares. The front is amazing! This guy is rocking with woody detail! Random dents in his body, random branches that look like teeth, and various vines all over just bring this guy to life. Not literally, though. The interior of his mouth looks like what I imagine the interior of a tree monsters mouth might look like. This guy is expressive and just pure win. Plus, he has little pegs all over him that can hold various action figures with holes in their feet. Two lucky figures can ride on his side while on even luckier can ride on his head. I want to meet whoever designed this figure and buy them a nice hamburger dinner somewhere kind of fancy. I love this guy so much!

     Remembering this is part of a store brand budget toyline, I'm really happy with the paintwork. Yeah, most of the figure is molded in brown plastic, but what other color would you choose for a Tree Warrior? Still, there's a mix of different colored paints used for shading and applying details such as the random vines hanging around and the mud on his feet/stumps. The interior of the mouth is a glowing orange paint that matches the terrifying eyes. I want to put a battery operated tea light in this guy's mouth and use him as a nightlight for the entirety of this October. I probably wouldn't be able to sleep, but I'm going to try this.

     What sort of weapon does a giant Tree Warrior use? How about a massive tree limb that he can use to bludgeon and/or capture his enemies with. Yeah, that's the ticket. Both of the Tree Warrior's palms have holes that this massive branch can plug into, letting him hold this big stick nice and tightly.

     The branch has some solid tree limb-like detailing on it and a mess of smaller branches on the end that can be used to capture a smaller action figure. It's a pretty neat accessory for a Tree Warrior and one that is nicely functional, too. This is a solid win.

     I'm gushing about this guy, but this is one of those rare toys that is just so fun, creative, and amazing that you just kind of gloss over anything negative. Sure, he's hollow on the back, but I just don't care. I love this guy! I've always needed more spooky tree guys in my toy collection and this fits the bill perfectly. Put this guy amidst your TMNT figures, pose him alongside your Imaginext stuff, or have him face-off against Ash. There really is just no end to what you can do with this guy! Confirmed: Epic!

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