BBI's Elite Force Figures
As you'll know (if you're a regular That Figures reader, or you've set foot in the Target toy aisles recently) BBI has re-issued a number of their rather cool Elite Force figures. Featuring super-realistic sculpts, lifelike gear and ''real-world'' styling, the figures are currently available (along with a number of vehicles) at Target for the amazingly-low price of just $5 per figure. We've already taken a look at LT (and were very impressed) but can his wave-mate Chaos prove his equal? Read on and find out!
Like LT (and the GI Joe line) the figure has two names: ''Chaos'' is his codename, with his role/designation being ''Private Militatry Contractor,'' so please don't be confused if I refer to him using both titles.
So with that said, let's take a closer look at Chaos.
Unlike the other figures in the line, Chaos doesn't have a specific role outside of ''Private Military Contractor.'' He's not a sniper, diver, paratroope, heavy weapons expert or any other such role-specific soldier and, as such, has a fairly straightforward design to him. I personally like this, as it means he can be used in a variety of ways in your displays/dioramas (it's just a shame his face isn't covered, as he would make a great Army Builder figure but his exposed features kill that idea, unless you're adept at head-swaps.)
That's not to say his design is dull or uninteresting. As you can see in the close-ups above, virtually every inch of the figure sports a pack or strap or weapon. Each piece is rendered cleanly (in some cases I believe they're separate parts that have been attached to the figure during assembly) and looks great, although for some the design could be considered too ''busy.'' Indeed, in the case of his torso-mounted ammo pouches, the pieces are a little intrusive and can get in the way of posing him (more on that below) and I could maybe see younger collectors finding this added bulk something of a distraction.
Articulation is solid, with the figure's upper body allowing for a wide range of movement but, like LT (and all figures in the line-up) he's a little hampered by the T-crotch set-up. He can kneel, sit and run but he can't be posed doing kicks or the splits, which is a shame, but considering the price-point, I'm OK with this.
The articulation also comes at a (minor) cost in terms of his looks, as the knee and shoulder joints are... ''obvious'' would probaby be the best way to describe them and his twist-bicep joint is fairly visible in some poses. These are very minor points though and are pretty much what you'd expect from a 4'' figure sporting articulation.
As mentioned above, the bulk of his ammo/supply pouches can be a little restrictive when posing him and although he can easily hold his weapon with both hands, the additional width the packs add to his torso can limit your posing options. It's a shame they didn't include the pouches as removable pieces, as that would have been a great way to both have and consume the metaphorical cake.
Chaos' paint app is realistc and, on the whole, very good. I like that BBI is eschewing bright colors and going with a more believeable palette for this line and Chaos is a prime example of the lifelike look the entire line features. The figure is treated with a dark wash to accentuate the details but, as is always the way, there's still room for additional detailing on his holster, knife, straps and so on (so if you're a fan or customization there's plenty of scope to add further detailing). It's also worth noting that his knee joints have ''pegs'' that don't match the color of his pants, which is a little distracting at certain angles.
Chaos comes with two accessories: a removable (and nicely bulky) backpack and his weapon, an MP5 SMG. They're both nicely designed accessories that fit well with the figure, although the MP5 can look a little ''wimpy'' in the hands of the figure, given how much bulk he has around his torso. The weapon itself sits well in the Private Miltary Contractor's hands and, once in place, is a fairly secure fit.
It's worth noting that the pistol on his thigh and calf-strapped knife are molded, solid pieces and cannot be removed.
Unfortunately the figure doesn't include a base or stand and, as his feet do not include any form of peg port, you'll have to rely on balance and inventive posing when you display him, but this is a very minor point, especially when you consider that most Hasbro figures are no longer shipped with stands.
As ever when looking at ''cheap'' toys, it's very easy to get the impression that they're good simply because they're affordable. That is not the case with the BBI Elite Force line and certainly isn't true of Chaos.
The sculpt work is great, with some fantastic up-close detail and a great overall look. From the folds in his uniform to the straps on his holster and facial detailing, the figure's sculpt is, quite simply, superb and stands up well beside any recent offering from Hasbro or Mattel at this same scale. There's a great realism and lifelike quality to the design and the sculpt does a fantastic job selling that this is, indeed, a real-world military figure.
As with all the Elite Force figures, the T-crotch articulation is a disappointment. It's a shame BBI couldn't come up with a way to give us a little more movement here, as being able to ''widen'' Chaos' stance would add a completely new dimension to his pose-ability. But when you look at other figures of a similar scale and/or price-point it becomes impossible to argue too hard about the articulation and it's a fairly minor annoyance you'll quickly get over.
Add to this a neat (enough) paint app and a couple of great accessories and the result is a figure that I'm sure all fans of military figures and toys will really dig. No, he isn't as articulated as a GI Joe and yes, the ''bolted on'' pieces would benefit from being removable accessories but these are all very minor points. For kids the figure is solid enough to survive a vigorous play session and pose-able enough to allow a range of options during said session. For older collectors the figure's looks and range of articulation are more than enough to allow him to stand beside your other 1:18th scale military toys and (in some cases) even put them to shame. It's a win-win.
Unless you're the most die-hard GI Joe fan (to the point of excluding all other toy lines) or you refuse to buy anything with less than 32 points of articulation, there's no sane reason why you shouldn't have Chaos (and indeed, his cohorts) in your collection.
A great addition to the Elite Force line that will appeal to all military figure enthusiasts.