Thursday, July 31, 2014

REVIEW: True Heroes Smash & ATV

True Heroes
Regular readers of That Figures will, I'm sure, be familiar with our burgeoning love of the Toys R US-exclusive True Legends toys. They're a range of fantasy/mythological figures featuring great sculpts and retro-styling at an incredibly low price. And although their limited articulation and bulky, vintage style may not be for everyone, they're a fun, affordable line of figures. So it comes as no surprise then to learn that we've taken our first steps out from the realm of myth and into the ''real world'' (or at least, as real as military toys get) with the subject of today's Review, Smash and his ATV.

Let's start with the included figure, Smash. 
Sporting urban camo and a grey/muted color palette, this version of Smash is rendered in the Sentinel 1 color scheme. Other versions of the character are available in a desert/tan camo combo but palette changes aside, this is the same figure.

The app itself is cleanly done and there are some cool sculpt details that are highlighted with the paint, such as his pistol and grenades and the smaller character details like his facial features and shoulder tattoo are all accurately applied.
As you can see, the sculpt is big, bulky and fun. It's just the other side of cartoon/comic/hyperreal and gives Smash an interesting profile that's reminiscent of various retro figures and characters. He's part Hulk Hogan, part Chip Hazard, with a dash of GI Joe's Leatherneck thrown in for good measure, with the sculpt featuring some great - albeit over-the-top - muscle detail, big, chunky hands and a crew-cut you could set your watch by. The figure certainly looks imposing but fans of lifelike or realistic figure designs won't find a lot here to enjoy. Personally I like the stylized look but I know it's not for everyone.

And if you're an articulation freak, then you'll be disappointed with what Smash has to offer, as his joint set-up is pretty limited. We've a twist-joint head, twist joint shoulders, single-jointed elbows, T-crotch with twist-joint hips and single-jointed knees. And that's it. Smash doesn't include any kind of wrists/forearm articulation or any kind of midriff motion.
The joints themselves move just fine but sadly the limited articulation makes posing Smash a somewhat futile exercise, as in reality all he can do is sit or stand. But on the plus-side, he's fairly solid on his feet and isn't overly prone to falling over.

Smash comes with his personal ATV, a four-wheeled vehicle designed for rapid deployment and armed with a side-mounted large caliber weapon.
In terms of design, the ATV falls into the ''OK, I guess'' school of design, in that it's pretty much what it says it is and what you'd expect it to be: a four-wheeled, one-man vehicle with a gun on it. And whilst everything here is fine for what it is, the ATV lacks the kind of scary ''oomph'' a real military vehicle should have. The lines are simply too graceful, too... feminine... to really work as a rough, tough guy kind of transport.
Smash's bulk doesn't really help, either, because - as you can see in the above image - he does look like he's borrowed the ATV from his sister and that the vehicle is simply too small for a figure of his stature to really ride in a convincing manner. Indeed, were it not for the side-mounted cannon and paint job, this ATV could just as easily pass as a My First ATV or even Barbie vehicle (scale issues aside.)

I don't know. It just looks more ''urban commuter moped'' and less ''death-dealing war machine'' to me, more ''Honda Whisper'' than ''WarCorp Killcycle 5000.''
It's also a little disappointing to learn that the steering column/handlebars are fixed in place and that the only articulation the vehicle sports - minor gun movement aside - are moving wheels. This may be limited to my ATV but the front left wheel appears to be mounted oddly and doesn't spin as freely as the others.

Overall, ''weak'' design aside though, this isn't a bad little vehicle and if the concept of an ATV being used in battle is one you can get your head around, then you'll probably like this one. And yes, as you can see below, it's perfectly in-scale with your GI Joes.
Drive it like you stole it... Or like you don't want anyone to see you riding it...
Extras & Accessories
Smash comes with an assortment of weapons and accessories, all of which are mounted on a ''carrying case'' sprue. This means that the items themselves have to be cut from the sprue before they can be used, which may leave some ''injection mold'' marks on the weapons. Personally I find this an odd idea, as I'm not sure how much I like the thought of having a kid trying to cut these pieces loose, especially if they're using a knife...
Unfortunately - a few pieces aside - the equipment isn't a very good fit in Smash's hand. The walkie-talkie/cellphone and ''Uzi'' fit quite neatly but many of the other weapons feature trigger guards that get in the way or are so tiny that they simply drop out of his hand. I believe this weapon ''pack'' is shared across a few releases so it would be interesting to see how well they work with another figure.

The pack also includes Smash's dog tag.

Final Thoughts
This is a tough one.

On the one hand I like Smash's sculpt and look but his limited articulation irks me, which is ironic considering that the Heroes of Olympus figures have fewer joints. The difference is, their articulation is interesting and smartly executed but here, the limited planes of movement (essentially everything moves forward/backward or up/down depending on your perspective) mean it's very difficult to do anything with Smash but have him standing or sitting in an almost identical pose. A waist joint or extra dimension of shoulder movement - as found with the Lanard CORPS! figures - would have really added greatly to Smash's articulation. Sadly though, what we have instead is a fairly limited, relatively un-pose-able figure.

What then of the ATV?

As I mentioned above, if the concept of an ATV with a cannon strapped to its side is one you can accept then you'll probably be OK with this toy. I personally dislike the ''swan neck'' design (it looks to much like a jet ski or, as I said, moped for me to take seriously) but the rest of the vehicle is fine. And that's pretty much what this entire set is: OK. Fine. Acceptable. Tolerable.

I'm not going to get too upset about this set, given that it retails at $6 (and in its defense, it does feel more robust and solid than similar offerings from Lanard's line) but unless you really, really like combat ATVs or you're a fan of retro figures then there's really not much to recommend here. As I said above, you can apply all the middle of the road adjectives you want to this set and you'd be perfectly on-point. It's not that there's anything massively wrong with the figure and vehicle (especially at the price) but both also lack anything to really get particularly excited about.

A textbook definition of ''it is what it is.''

Image Gallery


  1. I think it's great as a cheapie toy and worth the price but if it was in the $10 range i would pass.

    1. That's the thing: you really can't complain about this toy at the price.

      It's just a real shame the ATV is such a ''wussmobile.'' With a bit of a redesign around its ''neck'' it could have been a really cool toy - especially at the price.

  2. Im kinda new to True Heroes. I've been indoctrinated into it through my kids. Ive always been impressed by the vehicles however. Stopping to gaze at them in the aisle at TRU, thinking of the Joe related ppossibilities. But i never gave much notice to the included figures. But when my kids asked for some of the 4.99 2 packs currently available, i got to inspect them first hand. Really, i have no complaints except for the articulation. And even then, IMO, they're just one or two points at the shoulder away from being at least as good as Lanards Corps figures. And they display very well with the Corps offerings as well. My kids love them. And i admit im tempted to pick some up to go with the Corps guys. As much as most of True Heroes vehicles and playsets look to be worth picking up, i will admit this particular vehicle leaves me cold. Not because of lack of realism or detail, but simply because i dont think it looks that good. The other two that are at the same price point however, look to be solid and worthwhile purchases. Im really digging the knockoff Joe style figures these days. I also love the BBI Elite Force pieces as well. I wish i would have picked up BBIs Fearless Forces from a few years back. If i remember right, those would have gone very well with the Corps and these Sentinel 1 figures . Do you have any reviews of those on your site?

    1. I've purchased more from the True LEGENDS line, as I'm a big fantasy/monster fan and they feature some great He-Man-esque Greek heroes and some amazing creatures (especially for the price.) I have to admit that this was my last choice from the three vehicles in this price range but it was the only one in the store, plus I wanted to get the Smash figure, as I really liked the chunky design,
      I've been admiring the SEAL Team boat, which is only $30, as it looks to be a superb example of how good the True Heroes vehicles are but the last time I was in TRU was the first time I'd seen it on shelves and there were other toys in stock I wanted to grab. I'm sure it'll end up in my collection very soon, though.
      As for BBI figures, we've only Reviews of the latest, Target-exclusive figures. There are links to them in our Other Reviews listing, to the left.


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