Soul Reaver's Kain

Originally posted at on 05/12/09

Let me get this out of the way right now; This is easily one of the worst action figures I’ve ever bought.
Whew. Glad that’s off my shoulders. Truth to tell I was really exited when I saw this availble on the PTK boards selling for a really sweet price. Sure it was loose, but it had the original packaging (which I promptly threw away). Sure it was one of those “will-not-break-set” sales, but the other figure was the NECA Raziel figure which was really easy to sell (helped largely by my glowing review of it apparently). Considering it’s a pretty obscure character that was never really easy to find here, the price was nothing to complain about and this review is in no way a reflection on the seller (thanks again, dude). I should have known what I was buying.

The reason it’s so bad is that it’s not an ACTION figure at all. It is one of those dreaded “McStatues”; a derogatory term action figure collectors apply to toys whose only claim to the term “action” are basic swivel joints cut into the sculpt. These joints add absolutely nothing to the figure and are almost always useless because the sculpt demands you leave them in one pose anyway. The sub-category was made famous by McFarlane Toys which has made a niche for itself by making products like these. I probably should have known this effort by NECA wasn’t going to be anywhere near as impressive as their Raziel was since it was released years earlier when they were still known for making “in-action” figures.

For the most part, these types of figures have other things going for them to keep the rants from us joint junkies down. In the case of the Hitman figure that came out at the same time, there was a plethora of accessories that gave gearheads wood. In the case of the Lara Croft Anniversary figure, it was the gorgeous likeness of everyone’s favorite buxom English treasure hunter that impressed the horndogs. With most actual McFarlane statues, it’s the sculpt that wins people over since a really great pose can make anyone forget that the thing is a glorified paperweight.

Sadly, old Kain here has none of those things.I’ll start with accessories. He’s got two; a sword and an extra hand. The sword is welcome. It’s a rather good looking rendition of the Soul Reaver, the weapon that both Kain and Raziel share (you’re going to have to Wiki Soul Reaver if you don’t know the story). This is the material version of the sword, so it’s a metal blade instead of the coil of energy Raziel packs. It looks great by itself, but he can’t do much with it.

His other accessory is a swappable hand with some funky, spiky, off-the-wall, stuff going on. I guess it’s supposed to be an energy effect, but there is not one angle in which this hand looks good. It really is a terrible piece. It’s easy enough to exchange the normal hand with this one, but it’s hardly worth it. I’d just as soon throw it in my bits box of toy parts that will never again see the light of day.

So… likeness. Yeah, I will give it to NECA that he does look like the in-game design. Still, he doesn’t seem to be a good representation of, forgive my artsy-fartsiness, the soul of the character.. In the game, Kain is the Godfather of all vampires, the architect of the end of his world, the root of all evil on Nosgoth.Why then does he look like a goofy guy who took his grandma’s curtain and a green Freddy Krueger mask and went out on the town in his jammies?

There’s detail in the sculpt, but it feels rather phoned in. Maybe my first impressions are coloring my thoughts on the figure, but the pants, the face, the cape, the gauntlets, it all feels rather bare. As if they took the old Filipino adage of “Pwede na ‘yan” (That’s good enough) and stopped at the first iteration of the design process.

The pose itself is rather… well it’s crap. There’s no two ways about it. I’m assuming his intended pose is something like one arm raised to zap Raziel, while the other is drawn back to slice him to peices. Unfortunately, that looks odd, while other variations look downright ridiculous. In fact, there is not one position that you can put him in that makes you go, “Whoa! This guy is the guy you turned an entire world into blood sucking vampires!”.

As I said, his articulation is crap as well, so there’s only so much you can do with him. He’s got ball-jointed shoulders, but the lack of any other articulation in his arms means they’re pointless. Same thing with his ball-jointed ankles and wrists. If I’m not mistaken, the neck and waist joint are also ball-jointed, but there’s no real point other than to brag about points-of-articulation on the package.

If you have a Raziel… well, you COULD pose him with his lieutenant. If you wanted to. I don’t. It looks awful.

If you want a Kain for your collection, I’d suggest making friends with someone who frequents eBay and asking them to look for the old BBI Kain. While I don’t think the sculpt on that one is any better, he had more height, and his articulation was alot more impressive. Me, I’m thinking the only way I’m going to get a nice Soul Reaver line up is to learn how to make custom action figures.

Unless NECA wants to play nice and give us the rest of the vampire lieutenants. Pretty please?

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