Today, I want to dive into something that all the kids are into …and I’m not. At least I wasn’t, until Jazwares started releasing 4 inch action figures: Fortnite! Apparently there’s some video game out there, cross-platformed amongst your PeeCees and Xbox 1sies and your Nintendo Switcheroos and maybe PS4s… that is, if Sony has stopped being jerks about the cross play. That’s something I should google.
Ah, you google it; it’s not that important to me.
Unfortunately, Fortnite falls in that not-so-sweet spot, where it’s too violent (and too online with randos and too cash grabby) for me to allow the kiddo free reign to play, and it’s too skill-based for a n00b like me to figure out how to play effectively without getting my butt kicked and hurting my feelings. I’m traditionally 3-5 years behind on most video game trendz as is. I’ve still got a stack of PS3 games I have to get to before I get close to the newest stuff. Make that 5-7 years behind. That’s all besides the point. We’re not here to talk about the massively popular, open world, battle royale online game that’s dominating the market, we’ve got something more important to discuss: its toys!
Fortnite toys started popping up right before the most recent winter holiday season. They have a range of toys including 2 inch models, deluxe 7 inch models, Funko stuff, and most importantly, a 4 inch action figure line.
There are a host of price ranges and varying packages from which to get your Fortnite fix at the 4 inch scale. I haven’t seen a line with this many options since the beginnings of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line when they had sub-lines and movie vehicles all over the place.
First, you have your standard “Solo Mode” action figures, or as the kids refer to them, skins. They retail for $12.99 traditionally, and they include a highly detailed figure, a weapon, and a piece of a wall, which also doubles for a stand. There have been two waves of single figures released. The character designs run the gamut of Skeleton dudes (Skull Trooper), an anubis masked guy (Drift), a painter lady (Teknique), a 1950’s style space-man (Toxic Trooper)–there’s tons of really appealing designs.
Characters range from fun or silly to hip or wierd or scary. There’s something for every kid, whether they like dinosaurs, super heroes, robots, ponies–whatever. Jazwares saves some of the fun designs for their bigger sets, but the Solo Mode is where I first ventured into the line. There are a handful of really cool characters, and I have been starved for standard retail action figures. Plus, I wanted parts from Drift and Teknique for customs that I never got to make because the kiddo liked those characters too much to let me destroy them!
I will note that after only two waves, I’ve noticed the liberal amount of re-use (Raptor and Havoc share figures; Omega and Carbide have the same body; Rex and Jonesey share many of the same parts, etc.). I don’t mind this, as this is one way that toy lines (the smart ones, at least) can cut down on tooling costs and stay viable longer. I always go back to the He-Man and G.I. Joe lines of my youth, where the re-use of parts was almost part of the fun. As a toy customizer, it’s something I don’t mind, as it makes my part re-use later on easier to justify. I learned it from watching you, big toy companies. I learned it from watching you.
I’ve cherry picked both waves as they’re really on the expensive side as it comes to action figures. If they were $9.99, I’d have them all by now, but once you cross the $10 threshold all the way to $13, it really makes me pause and consider my purchase. So I’ve been picking off toys one or two a month since last December, picking them up and putting them back multiple times before I finally concede and make a purchase. Of course, if this were a franchise I was in love with, I’d be all in. Why, you ask? Because…
the figures contain multiple points of articulation, including a hinged neck, torso and waist cuts, t-bar legs, thigh cuts, double hinged knees, hinged ankle swivels, shoulders, elbows, and hinged wrists. They also have holes on the bottoms of their feet and on their backs for accessories. Whew. That’s 17 points of articulation! They’re made of a durable plastic (not too flimsy or rubbery). Their sculpts can seem a little soft on the human figures, but I think that’s by virtue of the purposeful style. The paint applications all seem to be on par or better than any mass market 4 inch scale toy I’ve seen in years.
Individually, these toys are very impressive. They hold their poses well, and they’ve stood up durability-wise to the quality checks my kiddo and baby have put them through. They’ve been posed, twisted, dropped down the stairs, tossed around the room, stepped on, left in the middle of the floor after I told my kids time after time to pick up your toys!!!! You get the point. The action figures themselves are delightful, and almost justify the premium price tag.
You could also purchase a single figure packaged as an Early Game Survival Figure. So far, there have been two of these, Omega and The Visitor. These figures traditionally run $19.99. Omega has the same wall piece and weapon as the Solo figures, but he also includes 3 other pieces: an umbrella glider type weapon, a harvesting tool, and another..thing– a bookbag… For an extra $7! At least for the Visitor, they included the 3 extras and 3 additional exclusive building materials. Still, for a $7 price jump from the traditional single figures, it shows the premium Jazwares is putting on the accessories. I did break down and get Omega because the kiddo really wanted that one, but I waited until he went on sale for $12.99. Even that I thought was expensive, but considering I shelled out similarly for a handful of singles, I justified the price in my head. No Visitor for this house until he hits a similar sale mark.
Speaking of the accessories, you can also purchase a Loot Chest, which contains an additional 6 or 7 pieces depending on the chest, for $10. One model contains four weapons, a backpack looking thing, and 2 building materials. You will not find one pictured here, as that is way too much for me to spend on something like that. Even when they went on sale, the fancy chest was not cool enough to justify anything more than maaaaaaybe a fiver. At best. Being primarily an action figure guy and not an actual game player, I have no idea why the Frozen Shroud is so important. It’s not $10 important, I’ll tell you that. My surplus Joe supplies can supplement if needed.
The Solo Mode and Early Game Survival figures are ultimately what is going to determine whether this line succeeds or fails. Once a kid gets mom or dad to shell out for that first figure, then getting the second or larger set becomes a much easier sell. But the singles are not actually the best part of the line. That will have to wait for next week, as we’ll dive into the rest of Jazware’s offerings.
There’s where it really feels like a summer blockbuster. There will be action! Big sets! Broken pieces! Broken hearts? Redemption or revulsion? Final grades? Who knows?! You could, but you’ll have to tune in next week! Same Chad-time, same Chad-channel. Or here next Sunday at http://www.gotstratosphere.com.
Until next week, I’ll be waiting with bated breath to open up all of these other boxes! Aaaargh! Anticipation is the worst!