Produced by Lanard | Released 2011
Lanard's The Corps! figures have been around almost as long as the line they're clearly emulating (that's GI Joe for the hard of thinking.) Since the mid 80s, Lanard has released a steady stream of figures, vehicles and play sets that incorporated military aesthetics, space travel, ninja commandos and more, but the most radical revision came about a few years ago, when Lanard relaunched the Corps! with a new direction. Not only did they introduce new characters, teams and vehicles but Lanard's designers also adopted a new visual style, presumably in an effort to distance themselves from the GI Joe line. Has this worked or are The Corps! still no more than cheap GI Joe knock-offs? Read on and find out.
Connor ''Bolder'' Bradic
Lanard's The Corps! figures are available in a variety of multipacks, as bundled vehicle drivers or - like the subject of today's Review - as single carded figures. In a move I applaud, Lanard has not - to the best of my knowledge - made any figure a multipack or driver-exclusive. However, this means if you do intend picking up a few toys from the line you may want to start with the vehicles and multipacks then fill-in any gaps with the single carded releases, simply as this will not only be cheaper but will also avoid buying repeat figures.
The figures use the same standard card back with character ''plate'' inserts within the blister pack. It's not massively exciting but the large blister does a pretty decent job of showing off the enclosed figure and his accessories (the line-up of figures is exclusively male) and keeping the figure in place.
The rear of the packaging features illustrations of all sixteen figures, the official website address plus a generic copy explaining the toy concept.
Sculpt and Design
Before we proceed you'll need to shake-off any expectations about realism or lifelike character design. The recent Corps! figures are very stylized and incorporate a kind of comicbook/cartoon-style design that I, personally, find quite appealing, although I can see how they may not appeal to all tastes.
Personally I really like the chunky, caricature-style sculpt work. I'm reminded a lot of the visual style used in Team Fortress 2 or in CGI animated shows and although it's not a particularly realistic style, it works nicely for the figure in question. He's a very solid, tactile figure that feels weighty and durable and although I am a fan of complex, highly detailed toys (hence my GI Joe and Microman collections) I can also appreciate the robust, fun aspects of this toy.
The actual design is very cool, with Bolder sporting oversized, gloved hands and heavily booted feet, a solid breastplate and cool shoulder pads. As you can see from the images, this chunkiness means he has no problems standing unaided, which is rather cool. And in a nice piece of design, his belt features a loop into which his tonfa baton can be slipped, with a side holster on his thigh holding his shotgun rather neatly.
The head sculpt is particularly good, with Bolder resembling two parts Jason Statham and one part Eric Cantona. And although it's not, as mentioned, massively lifelike, it does work very well here.
Bolder the standard Corps! articulation set-up. And an interesting set-up it is.
The upper body articulation is pretty neat and certainly a match for many figures of this scale. Bolder features a single neck joint, ball jointed shoulders and elbows that include a pin-joint to allow the elbow to bend, plus a second twist joint that allows you to reposition the forearm. Although he lacks any form of wrist joint the forearm joint's twist articulation almost makes up for this and you'll certainly find it quite adequate for the majority of poses.
Sadly, the lower body isn't quite so cool, being limited to a T-crotch at the hips and single pin joints at the knees. So whilst Bolder can sit, bend, kneel and stand in walking poses, you won't be able to pose him in dynamic, wide stances or doing side kicks.
The actual joints are fluid but firm and although he'll never match GI Joe/Microman levels of poseability, I was pleasantly surprised at the poses I could get from Bolder.
Bolder's paintwork is pretty limited but what's here is reasonably well-applied, with some nice ''scuff'' detailing on his breastplate and a particularly effective shaven head/stubble effect being applied to the head. The actual palette isn't exactly standard issue military but nor is it bright day-glo neon and although the sculpting style doesn't really allow him to stand side-by-side with more realistic figures, the paintwork certainly isn't out of line with some of the more recent GI Joe offerings.
Extras and Accessories
Bolder includes two weapons: a tonfa baton and a shotgun.
Both weapons fit nicely into their respective loop/holster and are a pretty decent fit in the figure's hands, although the baton is definitely the better of the two, as the shotgun's trigger can occasionally get in the way when posing. And although the baton is cast from a rather bright blue (I'd have preferred it in black) it almost matches his armor and detailing, so it just about works.
It's difficult to separate my thoughts on Bolder from my thoughts on The Corps! line as a whole, so I'm not going to say anything specific to the figure beyond the fact that he's a perfect representation of the line-up.
Whether you like The Corps! figures - and thus Bolder - will depend on two things: the visual style and the articulation. Whilst the former is very stylized, I personally really like the chunky, comicbook hyperrealism of the figure. It may be slightly caricature-ish but it's very well done. The articulation - or more specifically, the T-crotch hip set-up - isn't quite so great but even with these limitations it's still possible to get some neat poses out of Bolder and I was pleasantly surprised at just what he was capable of.
But beyond that there's a third consideration I haven't yet touched upon and that's the pricing. A single carded figure retails at under $2. But Lanard's low-pricing extends across the line. The three-figure, mini-vehicle packs are just $5 and you can score full-sized vehicles starting at $6. Put that up against some of Hasbro's recent GI Joe: Retaliation offerings - which in some cases use a cheaper grade of plastic and less articulation - and you'll begin to see why this line is looking a lot more attractive today than it did a year or so ago...
That's not to say The Corps! are just cheap, GI Joe substitutes. They're actually very cool figures with some great designs, neat paintwork, decent articulation and some fun vehicles that will appeal to collectors of all ages. It's simply an added bonus that they'll also appeal to fans of Hasbro's Real American Heroes. And if you happen to be such a person then do yourself a favor and grab a figure or two.
Simple and cheap - in a good way.
Final Score: B+