We're big fans of the Imaginext toy line here at That Figures. From their super-low price value to their awesome retro fun-ness, they're a line that appeals to both young and old kids and collectors alike. You can imagine then how happy I was this weekend when I found Series 3 of their blind-bag Collectible Figures sitting on a shelf in my local Target. Unfortunately, it looks as if I've missed Series 2 (and believe me, I've been looking), plus the single box sitting on the shelf had been picked over by a number of other collectors, leaving just four bags in the box. Needless to say I happily grabbed what was left - including the subject of today's Review, a figure I'm calling the Bomb Disposal Expert (that is until Fisher-Price update their site with Series 3's names...)
The Bomb Disposal Expert
Let's start with the oddest - and perhaps most controversial - thing about this character: he's clearly a modern military figure. Why is that so noteworthy, you ask? We'll come back to that as we delve further into the Review...
''Controversial'' concept aside, the figure is pretty much what you'd expect from an Imaginext character. The basic sculpt and proportions are chunky and fun, with big, bold hands and feet and a solid, bulky feel to the figure, which is further enhanced by his protective armor, a hood-and-chest piece that slips over the head to provide protection should his bomb diffusing skills fail him...
There's a surprising level of detail in the hood, as you can see in the above image. I love the straps and armor plate pieces and, like all Imaginext characters, he sports the ''circled-i'' icon, this time dead-center on his torso (plus on his kneepad).
Even without his armor, the Bomb Disposal Expert is an interesting figure. I love the detailing on his chunky gauntlets, kneepads and chest harness. There's also some cool little detailing in his clothing folds that help break-up the figure's overall shape and avoid him being too simplistic.
The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that he appears to be carrying a pistol on his right hip. This makes sense, given he's a member of the military, but it does seem strange - as I said in the opening paragraph - to see an Imaginext figure based on a contemporary military character, moreso one sporting such an accessory (even if it is molded onto his leg.)
Personally I don't have an issue with this, given that (A) it's a molded, non-removable piece, (B) it's something kids probably won't notice (or if they do, worry about) (C) it's being used by a ''responsible'' character and isn't glamorized or shown in a negative light and (D) it's a toy. I mention the whole gun thing simply because I could see some, more sensitive parents being worried that a line aimed at very young children includes a character with a pistol. Yes, the Imaginext toys feature all manner of ray guns and historical weapons but I could imagine that a modern day, ''cutesy'' character with a very obvious firearm may make some parents uneasy. So buyer beware.
The figure also comes with a bomb disposal drone, which is a pretty impressive little ''extra'' to include in the pack. Indeed, many of the figures from this line include some rather large accessories, so it's cool to see Fisher-Price really giving us our money's worth with these toys.
The drone's sculpt is pretty simple, with the notable features including a robotic arm, complete with camera ''eye'' plus the base has moving wheels. The robot arm also includes a single joint at the base, allowing it to move forward and backward to a small degree and whilst it's a fairly simple accessory it's also very clear as to what the piece's purpose is in conjunction with the figure and really helps sell the idea of him being a Bomb Disposal Expert.
As you can see, the vest includes some ''interface'' detail in the form of some electronic gadgets and an aerial, which - presumably - allows the character to control the robot remotely. And there's also a mounting peg which allows you to attach the robot to the character's back.
This does leave him off-balance (hence the rather awkward lean in the above image) but it's a nice touch and shows that the designers put some thought into how the pieces would work together.
Paint is very neatly applied, with the figure's hands, boots and assorted straps being detailed nicely and there's a neat tampo transfer on his head. I'm not entirely sure why the character is winking. Maybe he's trying to reassure us that he's up to the task in hand or perhaps he's a devil may care type. Who knows...?
And as for articulation, the figure uses the standard Imaginext rigging: a swivel joint neck, double-joint shoulders, swivel wrists and waist bend (with both legs being connected.) It's not the most exciting of arrangements but it works well enough for what you need him to do.
The Imaginext toys are a lot of fun. I like that they feel very durable and would be great for the younger audience, as I'd have no worries about them breaking or coming apart. The accessories are also large enough to ensure they're not going to disappear into the eternal void of your carpet, never to be seen again, which again means they're ideal for the youngsters.
But even for older collectors, there's a lot of fun to be had here.
For starters, blind-bag toys are always fun. There are eight characters in Series 3 (as there were in Series 2, a drop of four characters from Series 1) and the packaging is stamped with a numerical ID that can be used to locate which specific figures your'e looking for. But if you prefer Pot Luck - but don't want duplicate figures - you can simply check the codes against each other (although I have to admit, in my rush to grab what was left I didn't pay enough attention and managed to get two matching figures...) which keeps the surprise of the blind-bag selection but avoids the disappointment of getting repeat figures.
Then there's the figures themselves. Not only does the Imaginext line appear to be a homage to pretty much every toyline of yesteryear (with everything from Adventure People and The Masters of the Universe to Micronauts getting a little nod) there are also a lot of in-jokes that will only really be understood by older collectors. This wave sees a Walter ''Breaking Bad'' White cameo plus what's very clearly a Creature from the Black Lagoon riff alongside a zombie who sports a head-covering flour sack that would see him right at home around Camp Crystal Lake.
The pricing is also major factor, especially when you consider that the (much smaller) LEGO Minifigures come in at around the same price-point. If you're a collector who likes a big bang for your buck (well, three bucks) or you're a parent looking to purchase an affordable but high-quality, durable toy for your kids, then you should definitely check out the Imaginext line.
As for the Bomb Disposal Expert, he's a very cool figure indeed. The green coloring is striking enough to make him pop but not so garish as to make him cartoony. OK, he's not going to blend in with your GI Joes or even True Heroes but he's also got enough of a realistic look about him - albeit rendered in a chunky, toy-like way - to give him a broad appeal. If you were a fan of the GI Joe Combat Heroes or you just want an SD-style military toy then you're sure to like this figure.
Beyond that there's really little much to add, as these figures are very much a case of what you see is what you get. And as you can see, you get a lot. If you're not a fan of the Imaginext line then you probably won't get why this is such a cool figure but if you're already a convert - or if you're looking for an entry point that's not too ''childish'' - then you'll love the Bomb Disposal Expert.
A fun, high-quality figure with great detailing and accessories, who looks great and will cost you about $3. How can you not want this?