Saturday, 16 June 2018

Braun Strowman (WWE Elite Series 58)

Ah, Mattel. You inspire such mixed feelings in toy fans. You’ve done some great lines (like DC Universe Classics and Masters of the Universe Classics) while also consistently refusing to listen to fans, making questionable management decisions, skimping on accessories and generally conflating “bare minimum” with “great work”.  

But one thing Mattel does do well is wrestling figures. Sure, not all of them are perfect – but they pump them out at a frighteningly fast rate, they consistently improve the quality and the pricepoint has been maintained at a reasonable level. So today, we’ll take a look at their most recent version of WWE’s terrifying heel Braun Strowman.

I’m pretty newly returned to wrestling, so I haven’t really seen Strowman's ascent to stardom. But from a newcomer’s perspective, he’s pretty likeable – and he’s getting a bit of a push at the moment, having recently won the 50-man Royal Rumble. Unlike certain other wrestlers we could name, he seems to have both the charisma and in-ring skills to leverage it successfully.

Strowman has had a couple of Elite figures before – once in Series 44, which depicted him in his Wyatt family garb, and another in Series 52 which came with a wheeled stretcher. Though all share some parts, this one looks to be a virtual re-release of the Series 52 figure; the primary difference at first glance is the head, though a closer examination reveals a few different paint apps on the pants. 

The likeness in the sculpt is quite good, much better than the (okay) paint would suggest. I’m sure there are already customisers out there already working on better paint jobs, but I’m happy enough with what I have. Normally I prefer more neutral faces on action figures, and Mattel certainly has a mixed record for delivering yelling faces. But for Strowman I’ll make an exception; he is a big unit who spends a lot of time yelling at his opponents. 

This makes for a fun figure, but he’s certainly not perfect. Though his articulation is mostly pretty good, his shoulders appear to be on pegs, rather than swivels. His arm movement is considerably more restricted than…well, any other Elite figure I own. This is a problem, because unlike many of his bigger WWE brethren, Strowman can actually wrestle, rather than simply delivering big hits. Additionally, the beard means it’s all but impossible to turn his head.

Paint is solid, especially on the tattoos. It’s a shame he doesn’t have any stubble on the sides of his head, but at this price point I think it’s a forgivable admission.

Accessory-wise, he comes with an ambulance door (not pictured), and a stand with a stylised portrait of Strowman on it (also not pictured). The stand is handy, but I’m so-so about the portrait that it comes with. Personally, I preferred the backstage diorama look from previous series. What would be far better is interchangeable hands. I’m sure I’m not the first person to express this sentiment, but it would really take things to the next level. One open hand and one fist is okay, but it would be good to be able to get a bit more variety -- especially considering the guy's catchphrase is literally "Get these hands". 

Braun Strowman is a solid figure that looks great on the shelf, but the lack of shoulder articulation definitely hurts him. Also, given Strowman's inclusion in this week's Money in the Bank match and his overall popularity, it seems more than likely that we'll see more more Strowman merch in the near future. Recommended for diehard fans, but not strictly necessary if you picked up the Series 52 version. 

No comments:

Post a Comment