It's an exciting time to be a fan of Lanard's The CORPS! line. If you've been keeping up, you'll know we've recently seen the arrival of new female characters, a line of 6'' figures (including the previously-Reviewed Slash and Oculus) and a host of new vehicles, including two completely new - and very cool-looking - battle-mech/exo-suit vehicle-and-figure sets. And as I'm sure you've already gathered from the title of this Review and the above image today we're going to take a look at one of these battle-mechs... So let's press on and check out the new hardware!
The Curse Exo-Battlesuit
I'm not going to dwell too long on the packaging but I did want to quickly add this image to illustrate how cool these figures look on the shelf. Lanard has made real strides in terms of the way they're packaging this re-branded line of figures (thanks to some awesome artwork) and I have to say that the presentation here is really eye-catching, with the transparent packaging displaying the figure and vehicle to good effect. My only minor quibble is that the packaging doesn't reference anybody by name or give any insight into the CORPS! vs Curse plot. But that's a minor point.
As mentioned above, Lanard has released two battlesuit sets, one for the CORPS! and one for their enemies, The Curse. Both feature a re-tool of the same suit (with some minor modifications and new transfers) and a pilot figure. In the case of the Curse's Exo-Battlesuit, it's piloted by new character (and brother of the previously-seen Ogre), the delightfully-named Troll, so let's go meet him now!
Troll is, as far as I'm aware, a new character and although he re-uses parts from previous figures, Lanard's designers have done a great job creating a new look from pre-existing pieces. That's a smart move, as they're balancing creativity against cost and doing a good job of it.
There's a bulky, stocky feel to Troll that I like. He feels solid and I could imagine he'll survive rigorous play sessions without suffering any ill effect.
The sculpting is, overall, pretty good. I like how damned ugly this guy is and there's plenty of close-up detail on the figure. Although this version (he's available in one of the 3-figure packs) doesn't come with any weapons, his sculpt includes a number of ''pre-applied'' holstered weapons, so he doesn't look completely defenseless.
It's just a shame the paint app doesn't maximize these details, though. I'd have loved to see his pistol, knife and strap accessories highlighted with some different-colored paint, as there's a lot of close-up detail that would really benefit from being picked-out. If you're somebody who enjoys customizing your figures, though, then there's a gold mine of detail to work with here.
And as you can see on the above ammo bandolier, the application is a little loose in places. But for a 4'' tall figure it's not bad and I've certainly seen worse on some of Hasbro's offerings. I also dig the tampo skull on his arm, which is a nice detail.
Troll uses the standard CORPS! articulation set-up - single jointed head, twist-and-bend shoulders, cut-bicep joint, elbow bend joint, twist waist, T-crotch hips and single-joint, bending knees. The joints themselves are strong and will hold a pose well.
Whilst Troll is a neat CORPS! figure, he's not the reason you'll be buying this set. No, that would be for the Exo-Battlesuit, so let's take a closer look at it.
As you can see, the Mech is pretty large, standing at around 7'' tall when the cockpit cover is closed.
The pilot sits in the center of the vehicle, locked in place by a C-shaped ''belt'' that clips around his waist. It's a fairly easy process to get the figure in and out, although as his legs also have to sit within the Mech's limbs you may find you'll have to do a little jiggling to get him to sit in there properly. It's also worth noting that there are no designated spaces within the suit for Troll's arms. I personally prefer to fold them across his body and encase them within the canopy cover but that's just my own preference.
And here's the Suit with Troll in the pilot's position and the canopy cover locked in place. I say ''locked in place'' but the reality is that the cover simply sits there. Which is fine, as sometimes having locking mechanisms can overly complicate the process of opening and closing a vehicle's cockpit.
Troll sits reasonably well within the Exo-Battlesuit but just take note when you move the suit's limbs that you may also affect his position within. I found I'd often strike a neat pose, only to find Troll's face sliding up against the aperture or his exposed leg hanging loose between the Suit's limbs. It's also worth noting that there's no glass within the canopy cover.
The sculpt is fun, with the Suit featuring some cool close-up detail to really sell the idea of it being a mech. It also feels pretty solid when you play with it, despite the limbs being hollow. Obviously the legs are hollow to accommodate Troll's legs but the arms have no reason to be, aside from as a cost-cutting exercise. Not that I'm complaining, as it's a very minor issue, particularly if it keeps the expenses down.
Articulation is fine for what it needs to be. The canopy is on a single hinge, allowing access to the cockpit, plus there's a single joint at the shoulder, with the right hand also featuring a pincer (with each half moving independently) and both legs are articulated at the hip. There's also a ball-joint cannon attached to the Suit's rear, which allows it to move and pivot with relative ease, although it can be prone to ''popping out'' until you learn the limits of its range of motion. With that said, though, the design allows it to be positioned in a variety of spots, so it's really not an issue.
As you can see, the Exo-Battlesuit is pretty steady on its feet and can stand unaided with relative ease.
There's not really a paint app in the usual sense here but the mix of copper/gold and silver plastic works well and, again, if you're somebody who enjoys customizing your toys' paint apps, there's a lot to work with here. Even without that, though, there's some nice detailing in the tampo transfer work, with the Curse skull appearing on the left shoulder plate and being a particularly cool detail. And for those wondering, a ''Buggane'' is a kind of ogre from British mythology, which fits nicely with the Curse naming conventions!
But is it just me, or does this look suspiciously like Gypsy Danger from Pacific Rim?
Lanard's The CORPS! figures are always a lot of fun. I like their retro-styling and great value for money, so it will, I'm sure, come as no surprise to learn that I'm a fan of this Exo-Battlesuit set.
Troll is a standard CORPS! figure. Your views on whether he's a good toy or not depend on your views of Lanard's figures as a whole. Personally I really like their solid, robust feel, cartoon-ish sculpts and strong character aesthetic but I can see that fans of more detailed, super-articulated or ''real-world'' military figures won't feel the same.
And the Exo-Battlesuit will definitely be a design that divides collectors. I'm really not sure if ''serious'' military toy fans are into The CORPS! line-up but if they are I can see that this won't be a toy they'll have on their list. But if you're a fan of sci-fi, fantasy or even superhero-themed toys then you'll find there's a lot to like here.
Sure, the sculpt may look a little clunky and the articulation is fairly limited. And yes, some canopy glass and some paint to highlight the details would have been nice. I could even see an argument that the lack of a spring-loaded missile weapon is to the toy's detriment but these are really very minor points, especially when you consider what you do get - and how much you're paying for it.
At around $8 and change, the set represents great value for money. Troll is a cool-looking figure, for sure, but as I mentioned above, the real draw here is the Exo-Battlesuit. The question is, is it good enough to justify the asking price? The answer is a most definite ''yes.''
Another super-affordable, super-fun addition to the line-up.