Friday, July 6, 2012

REVIEW: The Corps! Connor ''Bolder'' Bradic

Produced by Lanard | Released 2011

A Brief History of The Corps!
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.

Final Thoughts
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+

Image Gallery


  1. and I thought I was the only one who found this figures being worth a review! thanks ;-)

    1. You're welcome. I've actually picked up another since (a vehicle!) and it's also pretty neat. More coming soon!

  2. I really love these figures.I have a few in my collection already.Whenever my local department stores hit a dry spell,these are the figures i look for.

    1. Yeah, I'd seen them a few times but always passed. But then I thought ''why not?'' and grabbed one. I'm pleased I did!

  3. I rather like these and should pick up that 12 pack i keep looking at every time i go to Wal-Mart.

    1. It's only about $10 or so, isn't it? I scored a Combat Copter for just $6 and it's great.

    2. Yeah it's about $12 for the set which gives you every single figure currently available which is one heck of a deal. A while back Wal-Mart even had some cool playsets for these figures too.

    3. That's a pretty awesome bargain. And yeah, we bought our nephew a few of the play sets a couple of years ago. I wish I'd picked some up for myself, too!

  4. No action figure line is good as G.I Joe no offence. This figure is getting more in line of quality as joes than not. What I can say is that the think tank and ideas of the corps figures are superior. The actual product is not.

    The vehicles are almost as good as GIJoe and in some vehicles the designs are much better. The stylized figures compared to realistic action figures will forever make corps second class soldiers.

    At one point the corps had some 12 inch action figures that were equal and in some ways better than Joe 12 inch figures. I use to buy them for my daughter (can't go with Ken) when she played with dolls.

    But when your going into 3 3/4 battle, you better have Stalker, SnakeEyes and Storm Shadow on the team or your going down.

    1. Hehe! Yeah, there's no denying that the Joe line is superior. But Lanard have been smart in the way they've relaunched the line - rather than try to compete with ultra-realistic, lifelike figures, they've gone for a more stylized/comicbook look that I personally really dig.

      And yes, some of the vehicles are excellent - especially for the price.

  5. * At $2 These new Corps! figures are the best value action figure line available . The only thing missing from the new figures is lateral hip movement to put them on par with Hasbro's prime offerings.

    * If you're an adult who owns a dremel and/or an exacto knife and are willing to put in 15 minutes these figures can be made to be almost equal in pose ability to Marvel universe or GI Joe for 1/4 to 1/3 of the price.

    * The Corps! sculpting (specifically the new recruits sculpting) allows for head swapping with other lines a touch more seamlessly than GI Joe in the sense that Joe is highly detailed where as the Corps! has a more animated aesthetic. Most cheaper 1:18th lines arent as detailed as joe.

    * The Corps! larger vehicles are kick ass, widely available and cheap enough to cut up / modify without hesitation.

    Hasbro needs to step their GI Joe game up as i haven't purchased a gi joe figure at a retail store since the mid 2000's (secondary market only) where as i plan on purchasing multiple Corps! figures later this afternoon ( a line that isnt supported by any media at all).

    I say this as a life long GI Joe toy fan that frequents Joe forums daily , bought a ticket to see the movie on the big screen and reads joe comics . Think about that. Clearly Lanard is doing something right.

    1. Absolutely. I just love that they're so affordable and fun. I think it's sometimes something Hasbro forget - that toys can be something you can enjoy as toys as well as collectible figurines.

  6. Its good to see some reviews on these Corps guys out there. I loved getting these guys during the o ring era a supplemental characters in my Joe playing time during the 80s......the Remco guys too for that matter. Anyway my kids love these guys and dont care that they dont look as life like as their Joe figures. They mix them up with Joe and True Heroes stuff and have a blast doing so. They have a great value and offer good play value as well. So much so that, while i dont display them with my Joes, ive decided to pick some up to display on their own. I just wish they still made the villians ( why dont they for that matter?) or added a few new characters per year. Maybe even a Corps HQ. Imagine that.......some kind of playset for around 20-25.00 ?! In this day? How cool would that be

    1. I seem to recall about four or five years ago that they had Corps! diorama sets. There was a watchtower and a little guard enclosure. I also think they recently released a few smaller pieces bundled with one of the limited-articulation figures but they were pretty small. You may want to check your local Big Lots, though, as some are re-stocking the Power Team Elite ''Battle Command Post'' which is a rather large HQ building (although it's a little over the $25 mark, coming in at $39.99.)


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