Mortal Kombat's Scorpion

Jazwares seems to want to play in the big leagues, but can’t seem to pull it together. They’ve obtained a few choice licenses in recent years (Astroboy, Sonic the Hedgehog, and the A-Team), but only their Robot Chicken toys really stood out  (and I feel that’s something of a cop out because those toys are really meant to be display pieces for adult nerds, rather than actual action figures). Back in February at the New York Toy Fair, they revealed that they also scored the Mortal Kombat license. Last month, we finally got to see what the final product looked like as the first assortment reached Philippine shores.

There were four figures in the first wave; Johnny Cage, Raiden, Sub-Zero, and Scorpion. I only picked up Scorpion because I heard he was popular and I’m a sucker for hype.

 There’s a distinct pagoda-like feel to the architecture of the package and its deep reds and angry oranges are a great change from the boring Dark of the Moon toys and the blah blue and white of Marvel Universe.

The bubble gives you a great view of the figure, and is sturdy enough to protect it. Thankfully, there are no twist ties or rubber bands holding the figure down. However, depressions that hold the accessories are too shallow and the rubber swords were out of place in the trays of all the examples I saw. This means that the sword was bent when it came out of the package.

Good news, however. The swords are made of insanely soft plastic, so they go back to their proper shape relatively easily. Bad news is that the material really is soft, too soft in my opinion. That’s a mark off the product in my book.

The back of the card has a big photo of Scorpion and a short biography, along with smaller photos of the rest of the line. You’ll notice none of these figures are sporting any sort of action pose, and we’ll get to that in a minute. In package, though, Jazwares has itself a winner. This is probably the best packaging I’ve seen in a while and really manages to stand out on the shelves.

 At first glance, the figure is impressive, with great detailing and nice proportions. It’s a bit on the short side, clocking in at about the height of new age Hasbro Marvel Legends (ML) rather than the old school Toy Biz ones or DC Universe Classics (DCUC). It’s acceptable, though not impressive.

I’m not a big gamer so I can’t tell you how accurate this guy is to the game model, or even what edition of the game the uniform he wears is from I can say that it is gorgeous. While he probably shares a lot of parts with Sub-Zero, he looks more detailed because of all the color on him.

As far as I could tell, the paint on the figures I saw was passable. There weren’t any massive errors that I found among the few that I saw on the shelf, and I can say that it took me some time to decide on the one I got because the three examples were very similar (there have since been restocks, and I can’t say how good the QA has been throughout). I like the fact that the skin tones been painted rather than just left as the casted color, though that’s never really been a deal breaker for me.

He comes with 3 accessories; two swords and a kunai-like dagger. All of them are made of an overly rubberized plastic, which means they are less prone to breakage, but come off as cheaper and tend to wilt over time, especially in hot climates.

None of the weapons fit his hands very well. To start with, the skin tone application was allowed to bleed between the thumb and fingers, closing off the gap on mine. That meant that I couldn’t even open the hand enough to allow the weapons through until I cut through the offending paint. Once I did, the handles of the blades fit, but they’re thin affairs that tend to flop around in his hand.

The kunai kind of bugs me. Back when I played Mortal Kombat, I would spam Scorpion’s “GET OVER HERE!” attack like crazy (mostly because it was the only move I could pull off). I imagine  what he used then was some kind of throwing knife similar to this one, but with a chain attached to reel his victims in.

But, there’s no chain. Just 2 or 3 links at the bottom of the hilt, and they’re just molded in so you can’t even attach some fishing line or something. I am annoyed.

I also don’t like how the two swords attach to him. While most companies are trying to include scabbards or straps with their figures, Jazwares has gone old school. There’s a hole in each of their blades that fits onto a tiny post on his back. The hole on the narrow blade and the soft plastic make me feel like it’s going to rip any minute, and I’m afraid that the delicate post on the back will snap off when he falls down.

On the topic of falling down, he does it a lot.

While he seems to have a decent number of points of articulation (15 according to a sticker on the package), the whole doesn’t add up to articulation of a DCUC figure.

Here’s a photo of Scorpion with the DCUC Forager, which I chose because he’s got a similar tabard that limits his movement at the hip and shoulder area:

Their joint systems are similar with points at shoulders, elbow, wrist, torso, waist, hip, knee, and ankle, but Forager’s are slightly better in this instance with more range. He is also infinitely easier to play with since his joints are designed well, swinging easily from point to point without fear of breakage. Scorpion’s joints on the other hand limit the range due to a lot of overhanging sculptural features, particularly at the elbows, hips, and knees.

His hips in particular freak me out. He’s wearing action figure diapers that restrict the swivel-hinge hip joint a lot. You’re tempted to force it to get a little more range, but then you hear a creaking. Not nice, Jazwares.

Similarly, his knees only allow about 45o bend while the DCUC figure is much closer to 90o. His ankles are a nightmare and are to blame for most of his falls while I was photographing him. The swivel-hinges there are far too loose and they move in directions that make it too easy for him to lose wood.

Overall, this purchase was a sore disappointment for me. If you’re a fan of the game, it might color your perception of the line, but looking at this toy strictly as an action figure I’m going to give it failing marks.

The problems with articulation and the accessories outweigh the plus points it gets for great packaging, sculpt and design. If this had been designed pre-Marvel Legends, I might have given it a pass, but the fun factor just isn’t present and for Php 850.00, it still feels too expensive.

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