Last week, I made my case for the initial offerings of Jazwares’s Fortnite IRL action figure line, at least as far as the single packed figures are concerned. I believe those toys will draw kids in, but what we’re going to talk about today is what will keep them engaged: the bigger sets.
Now, we can get away from the petty griping about prices and onto the really neat stuff, as I feel like the sets are where the value is with this line.
First, we have a 4 pack of Fortnite: Squad Mode. This 4 figure pack contains 4 figures, 4 harvesting tools, 5 weapons (whoever carries the smaller glock gets two), and 4 wall pieces. This set retails for $40. It’s got a really exciting mix of characters, as you get Rex, the dinosaur guy; Cuddle Team Leader, who’s like a cross between Care Bears and Five Nights at Freddies; Brite Bomber who’s rocking My Little Pony-esque unicorn accessories, and Ragnarok, who has a flaming horned skull and spikes and just looks really tough. It’s a great starter set to get you hooked on the line, and at $10/figure–and recently on sale for as low as $30, it’s a worthy set to pick up.
You can also look into the Lama Loot Pinata, which comes in the form of a cardboard pinata for $20-25. This contains the Rust Lord action figure, 8 building materials, 10 weapons, and 4 accessories, and confetti. It’s a really cute package, and it pairs well with the Squad Mode pack as each of the 4 additional accessories seems to match with someone on the squad. This is one of those purchases that I could pass on early, but as I started to accumulate figures…well, I couldn’t have Rex without his stuffed Dino pack, could I? That’s almost inhumane. Plus, who doesn’t love tearing open a Pinata? It’s no wonder this toy in particular won Jazwares some industry awards for package design. This set might as well be called the icing on the cake set, as it doesn’t contain any one super important element, but it compliments everything else very nicely. And messily–there was confetti and plastic wrap everywhere when we cracked this thing open!
There is actually a second piñata hitting stores now, a blue one. I snagged one but haven’t opened it yet. Why? If the first set was any indicator, these piñatas pair with the four pack squad sets. Did I mention there’s another one of those scheduled to hit any day now? Keep your eyes peeled! Until I get the second squad set, I’m not opening the piñata.
Next, we have the set that really sold me on the line, just in case there was ever any question: the Turbo Builder Set. Usually retailing for $40, I finally broke down when the set hit under the $30 mark. It contains 2 figures: Jonesy (a mostly Rex repaint) and Raven, the cool ghost-looking character whose milkshake brings folks to the yard–at least my family, as the kiddo really thought Raven looked cool.
Once again, I did figure math, and thought those 2 would be $26 by themselves. I didn’t mind paying the extra $4 for the extra stuff. What extra stuff, you ask? There’s 4 weapons (meh), 2 harvesting whatevers, and 81 building materials!!! 27 wood, 27 metal, and 27 brick. This may not sound exciting. Once you get this set in hand, IT IS THE MOST EXCITING!!! You see, these building materials are modular, meaning you can put them together in a variety of ways. I, for example, first built a wooden box. Then, a metal box–with a lid that opens and closes! Then, with the remaining bajillion pieces, I was able to build a 3 square wide, 4 level high display platform! Plus, two other boxes, two L-shaped display stands and a wooden bridge between them! These display pieces were the previously undiscovered best part of the line.
They could be used to supplement my other displays for storage (you can put things in the boxes!) or to add extra stands or levels to existing playsets. The wood pieces are the only ones with foot pegs, an underrated feature, but they all look great and can all be combined together. The pegs are too large for Hasbro toys, but they do fit with Lanard (Corps and King Kong) figures.
Solo figures each come with one building piece, and sets like this will include more.
I will say, along with these pieces being my favorite part, they’ve also given my fam the most frustration. First, they’re tough to put together for the kiddo. Snapping the pieces into place or out of place to build other materials does take a certain amount of strength and dexterity that can be frustrating for the youngest kids who want to play with these toys… or their dads that are struggling to fit the parts together. Also, these pieces, most likely because of the same rigidity that makes them so difficult to put together, break the easiest. We’ve already gone through at least 4 of our 81 pieces that have had one side of a hinge piece broken off. As long as they have one hinge peg, they’re still usable but far less stable. After I got used to putting them together and taking them apart, the breakage rate dropped dramatically. Still, there is a learning curve.
With that said, it wasn’t until we had soooo many building pieces to play with that I really started to see the possibilities with this line.
Finally, we have the 1X1 Builder Set. This set includes the Black Knight figure (another really cool design that piqued my kiddo’s interest), 31 building materials, 3 windows, a door, 2 weapons, and 2 harvesting tools. This set retails for between $20-25.
The windows and door add decent wrinkles to the building options, and at this point, I’ll take any and all building materials. The 3 window pieces really do open up to even more possibilities!
I purchased this set on sale at retail for $20. It wasn’t as big of a super awesome deal as the Turbo Builder set, but it was still pretty worthwhile. The Black Knight and his set won’t be stopped by any simple flesh wounds. He’s pretty awesome in his own right.
So, to wrap up, let’s do grades for the different options at the 4 inch scale.
Solo Mode Figures: A –They’re great figures, but the premium prices and lesser characters keep these down in my opinion. I would give characters like Drift, Batte Hound, or Skull Trooper an A+ for their cool factor or uniqueness, but characters like Bandolier or Havoc/Raptor repaints get C’s for being characters either G.I. Joe line did better or just featuring designs that aren’t as exciting. Your mileage may vary when it comes to character designs. We skipped two to three figures from each wave, including some repaints. When they hit, they’re hits, and they’re well put together. I hope the line hasn’t priced itself out of consideration for the general public. The articulation, the paint apps, and the basic materials are all top notch. They exceed the best action figures Hasbro, Mattel, and Funko have put out in terms of articulation points, movement, and durability. I’m happy to see high quality 4 inch figures out there.
If this were a comic-based license, I’d be over the moon with the quality. Even as a license I’m not crazy about, I’m still very happy with them. I actually saw a character in a suit from their larger line I really really really want to see make it to the 4 inch scale–so hopefully they are successful enough to continue and we get many more waves to come!
Early Survivor Mode Figures: C –Even if the figures are cool, there’s not enough here to justify the price jump. At sale prices, they’re probably a full letter grade higher. For what’s included, these shouldn’t be more than $2 more than the regular already pricey figures. At least they added a little more to the second figure. It’s a step in the right direction.
Loot Chest: D- –I’m not seeing it. I won’t be seeing it at these price levels. Even on sale, Jazwares is putting too high of a premium on accessories. I like the idea these packs exist, but there either needs to be more included (like swappable heads or armor pieces pieces) or a dramatic price decrease.
Llama Loot Pinata: A- — As appealing as the packaging is, don’t let this be the first set you open; you’ll be disappointed by what’s inside. It’s one figure with lots of accessories. And confetti. However, if you’ve bought into the line, this pinata has plenty of sweet surprises. This set is a celebration of the first wave, especially the Squad Mode set, and is a really cool cherry on top. As long as you get it at the right point, you’ll be happy with it. Btw, this should be the level of accessories found in the Early Survivor packs or the Loot Chests.
Squad Mode: A+ –One of the highlights of the line, this eclectic group of figures has a vast youthful appeal that ranges from cuddly soft to unicorns to dinosaurs to things with skulls and spikes–I feel like the range of characters from this game is on full display. This multipack includes extra weapons at a reduced cost per figure to the single packs so you’re getting more for less–this is a great entry point to the line.
Turbo Builder Set: A+ –This is the gem of the line as far as playability goes. It has two strong character choices with Raven and Jonesy, and with so many building materials, I feel like we really got our money’s worth in this set. Raven was the character my kiddo wanted the most, which is why we got the set. The extras were an initial afterthought, and they ended up being my favorite part. Even with some of the pieces breaking, this set was so much fun, and it offers so many future possibilities, I can’t help but give it the highest grade.
1×1 Builder Set: A –A timeless figure design (I only wish the limbs were easier to remove!), even more building pieces and whatever else was in the box. This showcases the best of the line and is a worthy addition at its price point. The fact that this set and The Visitor are currently the same price at Target baffles me. In this case, it’s more positive. Pick this set up before they figure out it’s worth more!
Overall, the line is a solid A line. The figures are high quality and highly articulated. The figure stands turned into modular masterpieces and for all my petty gripes about certain aspects being pricey, there are plenty of surprises and cool cultural nods to be had throughout the line. I wish Jazwares nothing but success and more licenses moving forward from here!
Until next time, I’ll be building all kinds of box-based madness for my toys new and old! Huzzah!
P.S. The next day after writing this article, I emailed Jazwares customer service and told them about the issue with several pieces of building materials breaking along with a picture of two of the broken pieces. I had read some online reviews and it turns out the hinge situation is a common complaint. I hardly ever do this when toys break unless it’s something really egregious, but I wanted to see how the company would handle what I noticed is a recurring issue. The Jazwares rep emailed the next day and said they would take care of things.
A few days later, I received a notice in my mailbox that I needed to provide $1.53 in postage due for a package from Jazwares.
I was livid! I thought Jazwares was so cheap about these stinking accessories that they were going to make me pay postage to replace their bum product!
I was ready to pack up my set and ship the whole thing to Amazon for a replacement on Jazwares’s dime on account of 3 or 4 accessories! They want to upcharge $7 for 3 additional accessories on their figures, and now they’re charging me $1.53 to replace three small pieces!
It turns out, I was overreacting. I do that sometimes. They actually sent over 20 new building materials; they’re just not great at weighing packages, I guess. I’ll chock the postage thing up to either an honest mistake or a finicky postal clerk.
Ultimately, I was happy with the customer support, and even happier to have more building pieces. I feel like Emmit from the Lego movie–maybe I have enough pieces for a double decker box now! Double-decker huzzah!
Until next time, I’ll be haunting the toy aisles looking for sales and deals to fill in my Fortnite collection!
P.P.S. The second wave of Squad Mode and Turbo Builder packs have started hitting the video game shops and should reach regular retail any day now. Thanks to a decent sale, I’ve been able to secure the new Piñata, the new Turbo Builder set (So many more building pieces!), and the second Squad Mode pack! Look for my review of those toys in my Fortnite IRL Part 3 of 2, coming soon! Grab the first wave stuff while you can!
Much like the game, the opportunities to take your money just keep coming! Triple Huzzah!!!