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TNI Review: Avatar 4inch figures (Humans)

General: Tom - 2009.11.30

Thank you to Mattel for sending along these new Avatar figures from the upcoming movie. Below is a review of three 4 inch scale human figures. Look for a TNI review of Na'vi figures to be up soon!

Package Description

Norm Spellman
Spellman’s bookish good nature and remarkable intellect conceal a warrior’s heart. His encyclopedic knowledge of Pandora and the Na’vi make him a valuable member of the team.

Colonel Miles Quaritch
This ramrod straight, lifelong soldier will do everything in his power to complete his mission. Col. Quaritch’s current goal is to secure unobtainium for the RDA – at any cost.

Corporal Lyle Wainfleet
He will fight for any cause as long as he’s paid. Corporal Wainfleet is a brutal mercenary who lives by the credo “might makes right.” Wainfleet has nothing but contempt for Pandora and the Na’vi.

Package Design
The packaging has a nice tubular design suggestive of the avatar tanks shown in the movie trailers. The figures are clearly visible while still being able to make out clearly the background pictures. If you plan on displaying these figures in package though, the bottom of the packages have ridges that make them hard to stand upright. If you plan on displaying any of these in package, be prepared to have to prop them up.

The three human figures share the same basic body and parts with some exceptions. The torso of the three figures is the same, with a vest added on top for Lyle Wainfleet and Norm Spellman. The arms are the same with some tweaks. Sleeves were molded onto Norm’s arms, in addition to a different watch mold. Norm also got his own pants mold. The pants of Lyle and Miles Quaritch are from the same basic mold, with enough tweaks to make them distinctive.

The proportions are good everywhere except the torso. The torso looks a little too wide and blocky as seen on Miles. This is covered up by the vests on Lyle and Norm. The vests also help cover up the torso to shoulder transition, which is pretty ugly on Miles. Most of the joint transitions are smooth and the body sculpt is fluid. It’s also obvious that Mattel put in details wherever they could. The characters have different tattoos, watches, and camouflage patterns. Unfortunately the small details don’t stand out very well on display, but there is enough difference between figures that make them look unique on display.

On the shelf these figures should display as well as any other figure this scale. Stylistically they appear very similar to GI Joe and other figures this size. Next to Na’vi figures they look even better because of the contrast with the blue. Without vehicles or Na’vi these figures can look a little generic. As a set though they look great, and carve out their own niche in my 4 inch display. Overall these figures are nice looking, but really shine when displayed next to or posing with Na’vi figures for a contrast in size, color and texture.

All three human figures have the same articulation. The shoulders and elbows are ball joints. The head is a pin that only moves side to side. The hip joints are the same design as DC Universe classics figures, able to move out and forward. There’s a cut at the waist for twisting. The knees and ankles are ball joint. In total there are 14 points of articulation. Overall it’s an eclectic blend of articulation styles. The elbows and knees bend about ninety degrees. Other joints get the full range of motion they were designed for. I was surprised Mattel didn’t go for the same style as DC Universe Infinite Heroes figures, since they’re the same scale. Instead Mattel improved the motion in the legs. Overall these Avater figures should be able to get about the same range of motion and movement as other figures at this scale.

The combination of a swivel head and no torso articulation hurts these figures the most. They have pretty good balance though and pose well with their weapons. The DCUC style leg articulation lets them do running poses, but they won’t be able to kneel. These figures will display ok with Gi Joe or Indiana Jones style figures, but go best with vehicles and Na’vi figures from the movie. These figures look good fighting the Na’vi and will probably look even better with the vehicles.

Avatar I-tag
Each of these figures comes with a tag. By going to www.avataritag.com you can download some software that will create a computer model of the character. This model is projected onto the tag using a webcam plugged into your computer. It’s a cool feature, but I couldn’t get it to work. At the loading screen, it found my webcam and turned it on, but never showed any picture, i-tag or not. I’m hoping I can get this to work soon; I’ll post an update if I get this feature to work later.

Final Judgment: 26/30
As stand alone figures these human figures can hold their own with other lines. What really is going to make these figures worth getting are the Na’vi and vehicles to display them with. The uniqueness of their Na’vi enemy and vehicles will give these figures their own niche in collecting. For someone used to collecting GI Joes or Star Wars, the technology and races of Avatar should provide a nice blend of modern military and Star Wars level tech.



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