Wednesday, September 10, 2014

REVIEW: Elite Force Corba (Marine Force Sniper)

Elite Force
BBI's Elite Force is a line of super-affordable, highly-realistic military action figures. Currently available solely through Target, the line includes a 5-figure multi-pack, a range of vehicles (varying in size and price) and a number of single-carded figures. As regular readers will probably recall, we've already taken a look at a couple of these releases in the form of LT and Chaos and today it's the turn of the Marine Force Sniper, Corba.

The first, most obvious point to mention is Corba's name. Doing a quick Google search reveals nothing that would connect a soldier to ''corba'' (unless he's a computer programmer or concerned off-road cyclist when he's not a sniper) so it's probably safe to assume that this is an example of a poor translation and his name was supposed to be ''Cobra.'' Maybe somebody at BBI got cold feet at the last minute and worried that Hasbro might take offence at that...

Anyway, with that out of the way, let's take a closer look at Corba, the Marine Force Sniper.
Initial impressions are very good. Corba has a great look to him, a very clear purpose and a neat, ''real-world'' styling that extends from his proportions and detail to his paint app and design.
As you can see, he's clad in desert ops garb, augmented with an assortment of packs and other gear. These close-up details are really well done and help sell the idea of him being a soldier in the real world.
As well as a canteen and combat knife, you can also see he's sporting what I assume is a sat-phone or GPS unit and an assortment of other utility pouches. This detail extends across the vest, with the flashlight and radio ''handset'' being two particularly well-detailed touches, alongside an assortment of straps and seams. The backpack is also removable, but like all Elite Force figures, it leaves a bit of a plug gap in his back, so it's probably best just to leave it attached.
Unlike some other BBI figures, Corba's helmet is removable. It's cool to have the option to display him with or without his headgear and beneath the helmet, the sculpt is nicely done, although personally I'd have liked to see some hair under there (even if it was simply a painted-on buzz-cut), as the bald head does make him look a little mannequin-esque.
Corba follows the same articulation set-up as the other BBI figures, so he's a pretty pose-able figure. However, the belt - with all its pouches and accessories - can sometimes limit his (already limited) hip movement and it's difficult to get him to kneel, crouch or sit without the belt either getting in the way or hitching up in an unrealistic manner. The lack of a stand also impacts on his pose-ability, which is why my posing isn't overly creative here. But trust me, he'll be able to do most of the poses you want him to, minor hip issues aside.
One thing I will add is that, for me, his role as a sniper is to the detriment of the figure. I don't think I've ever owned a sniper-themed character that can really pose well with his rifle and Corba is no exception. Even in a kneeling position, with his rifle on a wall or other support, it's still impossible to really pose him in a convincing ''sniper stance.'' I had this same problem with Low-Light from the GI Joe line, though, so it's not an issue that's unique to Corba.

My other sniper-related gripe is the fact that the rifle's bi-pod isn't collapsible. The weapon looks OK when it's placed on the ground but this downward-protruding piece makes it look awkward in his hands when he's standing. It's like he forgot to fold the bi-pod away or is looking for somewhere to prop it up. (After taking the photos I switched it with a fairly generic M-16-a-like I had spare from a Marvel Universe figure and I must say he looks so much more comfortable and natural with it!)
Minor rifle-related issues aside, though, the accessories are pretty good. I've mentioned numerous times that I like figures with enough gear to make them interesting but not so much as to overload them and I think Corba hits the ''Goldilocks level'' perfectly. It's a shame the helmet doesn't have any kind of paint app, though, as it's a nicely sculpted piece but it does look a little odd without the highlight detail some paint would add but there's enough detailing on the sculpt that modders and fans of custom builds will enjoy adding their own app, I'm sure.
Speaking of paint, there's a nice wash/dry brush that's been applied to Corba's fatigues that really accentuate the sculpt's details. I love how all the pockets and seams and folds have been brought out and it really gets over the idea of clothing, rather than a lump of plastic. I also appreciate that the pouch on his vest (which actually may be a separate piece) contrasts neatly against the desert tan.

Final Thoughts
A cool figure at an awesome, affordable price. That's becoming our mantra at That Figures but once again, it's true.

I want to stress that the Elite Force figures are affordable and by no means ''cheap' (at least not in  the derogatory sense.) These figures have great sculpts, neat accessories, solid paint apps (so long as you're selective in your buying) and superb articulation. Hands-down they've got to be the best cash-to-quality line out there and if you don't believe me I suggest you pick one (or two or six) up for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

As for Corba, he's another strong addition to the line-up. The figure's overall look is great (it's awesome to have a desert trooper to break up all the green and olive drab) and although I'm not a massive fan of his role as a sniper, it's the work of a few seconds to switch his weapon for something a little less specialized (and let's face it, if you're a military toy collector you'll have all kinds of nifty items he can use.)

There's some great detail in the sculpt, the articulation is good, the paint app works well to accentuate the figure's look and he comes with some neat accessories (even if you may want to make a few adjustments to them.) All this for $5.

A great-looking figure collectors of modern military figures (and kids who dig soldiers) will love.

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