When discussing Lanard's The CORPS!, most people will probably think of their 4'' tall, GI Joe-alike line of figures, playsets and vehicles. And whilst that probably accounts for about 90% of their CORPS! output, Lanard is no slouch when it comes to other scales. The Ultra CORPS! figures of a few years ago stand at a whopping 12'' (and are set to return in place of their recent 5 PoA 12'' figures) and the company has also dabbled with 6'' figures in the form of the martial arts-themed Dragon-Do range.
Now they've merged this 6'' scale with the existing CORPS! universe to create a new brand, the Super Soldiers.
Did it work out? Read on and find out!
If Lanard's 4'' CORPS! figures are their take on GI Joe then it's pretty safe to say that this is their homage to the Sigma-6 line. They both share the same angular visual style and stand significantly taller than their 1:18th scale cousins (although the Joes edge it out in the height stakes...) Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends entirely on personal taste.
For me I find this style isn't too great a stretch from the ''standard'' CORPS! design anyway. I've always thought the line had a very videogame/animated aesthetic when compared to other military toys so I'm perfectly happy with this new style of figure.
Slash is actually modeled on the pre-existing Dragon-Do figures, right down to his head sculpt and combat fatigues. As far as I can see, it's only his torso that's a new piece and even that may be recycled from the martial arts line. Not that I'm complaining, as (A) I've never seen Dragon-Do at retail and (B) it's a pretty good buck to use anyway.
I should also point out that whilst Slash is almost 100% Dragon-Do based, other figures in the line-up appear to be new sculpts, which is most welcome although it also does mean there are some very different proportions in the line-up and the figures may not always stand so easily together as one line. Again, it's not a problem for me but some may find it off-putting.
Considering his non-military origins, Slash makes for a great soldier. The martial arts armor works well as combat gear and the head sculpt is pretty timeless. The only minor giveaway to his origin is the little rope belt and knot at his waist but even that's not particularly intrusive or character-breaking.
The articulation rig is very good, with the character sporting a ball-jointed head (just be warned it doesn't move that far and will pop-off if forced - and I'm speaking from personal experience here...!), double-joint shoulders (as seen in the 4'' CORPS! or Imaginext figures), cut-elbow joints (so there's an ''in out'' swivel but no bend, sadly), twist-waist, T-bar ball hips and single joint, bending knees. It's a shame that the elbows don't ape the knee arrangement but there's just about enough movement in the joints to be able to get some pretty neat poses - so long as you don't want him to hold his rifle in both hands...
The joints themselves are a mixed bag. Some are stiff enough to hold poses with ease but others are very loose. I experienced the same problems with some of the new 4'' figures (but not with others) so it looks like Lanard just needs to step-up their Quality Assurance to ensure such mistakes don't make it through. (For the record: the packaging allows you to examine the figure's upper body joints with relative ease so should you find multiple figures you can always try them out to see which is best...)
The paint design and app is, on the whole, pretty good. The black body armor looks good against his green shirt and the camo pants are neat (even if the tampo doesn't extend to the rear.) I also like the facial detailing and the Curse death's head logo on his chest looks neat.
The figure comes with an assault rifle accessory. It's very much an example of ''fine for what it is'' but I wish it had been cast in a darker grey, something more in-keeping with the figure's color scheme. And as he has a back port, a peg to attach it to his back would have been a great touch. Unfortunately as I mentioned above he's limited to holding it in one hand, unless of course he's just surrendering as in the above image...!
I've always appreciated Lanard's The CORPS! figures. I love that despite being cheap they don't feel it and that there's always an element of fun to them and their most recent releases have done nothing but enforce my appreciation in a much more positive way. Right now I'm probably more excited about The CORPS! toys - across all scales - than I have been about Hasbro's offerings, particularly GI Joe, for a long time.
Of the six figures available, I have to say that Slash is probably the best-looking of the lot in my opinion. The combination of lean, angular sculpting with cool armor design and the masked look gives him a really great style. The fact that most of this figure came from a completely different martial arts-themed character is also a pretty impressive achievement. One of my design mentors once said to me that one of the most difficult forms of creativity was to take what you have and make something completely new from it. If that is the case then Lanard has some geniuses working for them...
OK, so his rifle is a pretty weak accessory and it would have been great to have a better weapon. Even just adding a peg to slot the piece into his back would have been a massive improvement. But this is really a very minor point and I'm sure it won't even enter the minds of the target audience that the gun is simply too big to be used in one hand.
Where this figure really wins out though - great sculpt aside - is in the articulation rigging. Yes, his twist elbows are annoying but I'd rather have them than not. And there are some production problems with my Slash's joints starting off a little loose and becoming looser over time. But it's not so bad as to make him completely un-pose-able: it's just something I have to take into account when standing him on my shelf. Where, by the way, he looks awesome.
And as I'm sure regular readers know, we love a good bargain at That Figures so the fact that the Super Soldiers figures retail for under $4.50 is just the sweet, sweet icing on a cake of awesome.
If you're a fan of 6'' figures and you're looking to bolster your collection with a few unique looking figures or you just dig the Sigma 6/Marvel Mashers look them you should certainly be looking at this line, as you'll certainly find Slash a great addition to your collection.