Toy Review: McFarlane Toys Doom and Mortal Kombat Variant Figures

McFarlane Toys made the notion of “bloody variants” commonplace some two decades ago. At the time, the notion of toys based on R-rated properties was shocking, and mainstream retailers wouldn’t carry figures sporting painted blood splatter. So specialty stores carried them instead, while Target and similar stores got either clean or “muddy” versions. Nowadays? Nobody cares. But we’ve missed bloody variants. And especially so on Mortal Kombat figures, a property whose entire raison d’etre is massive amounts of blood flying as warriors do battle. It’s good to see the two things combine. In the latest wave of Mortal Kombat variant figures, Baraka, Raiden, Sub-Zero, and Spawn come in new color schemes that best show off the bloodstains they also display. There’s a red Kitana as well, but no blood on her. Like Deadpool, perhaps, she knows why to wear red to a fight.

McFarlane’s initial Raiden was saddled with a frankly hideous color scheme, combining army green and bright blue with gold armor bits. It did not work at all. The best Raiden is one in heavenly white clothing, maybe with red or blue highlights. So this color variant is absolutely welcome, and the blood on his gear and face makes it even better. His staff in particular looks soaked in the blood of a fresh kill.

He and Baraka look like a tag team in near-matching gear, though Raiden looks like he uses extra Tide pods while Baraka never does laundry at all. They’re clean and dirty versions of the same idea. This sample Baraka has slightly warped bone claws, but there’s always a hot water trick to straighten them out. He alone of all these variants also looks like he’s actually eaten his last opponent.

Spawn, one of the best figures of the year, comes in an oddly nude-looking color scheme. It’s all the better to show off the blood, of course. But it offers quite the contrast with the classic black figure. The lighter tones display all the testure. Making him look like something more akin to a mummy.

Sub-Zero has the same off-color look that makes him appear to have washed his costume in blood-soaked water without enough bleach. So now the whole thing looks off-color and the bloodstains still aren’t gone. But he’s got no time for a second wash; those ice axes won’t stay unmelted forever. His fatality skull also comes in “bloodied ice” colors.

Needless to say, all of these Mortal Kombat variant figures are improvements over previous versions with the possible exception of Spawn. His classic colors will always be most appealing. But seeing him bloodied in new colors, well, that’s almost equally fun.

McFarlane’s new Doom variants are a little different. First up, a Walmart exclusive bronze Marauder.

As usual with metal-all-over variants, the single tone really brings out the detail level of the sculpt. It’s pretty insane on this guy.

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And then there’s the Doomicorn. The one variant figure in this whole review that actually has new parts. This Doom Slayer didn’t just get a fresh coat of paint, but also winged unicorn parts.

The paint job isn’t quite as intricate as the in-game version, which also gets delicate silver piping. But along with the variant that inspired it, it’s a rare design step away from traditional machismo iconography. There are, after all, many Bronies in the armed forces these days. In addition to the pink wings and tail, he also gets a rainbow magic wand. All of them removable, though the unicorn headdress is not.

The original Doom figures appear to have been made while McFarlane Toys were still working out their current articulation system, as they’re a little different from the MK and DC figures. Elbows and knees are pin-and-disc ball joints, and the toe hinge is absent. If there are chest butterfly joints, they barely function. While the Marauder has the current complicated, over-engineered hip mechanism that doesn’t allow much of a twist, Doomicorn has more of a true ball joint which — surprise! — works better and offers more range. They seem to have abandoned this design since, but would not be badly served to bring it back.

Where they have improved since is the neck joint. Doomicorn’s head is a bit free-floating if posed at the wrong angle. McFarlane’s gotten better at covering up ball joints generally by using soft cuffs to conceal them. One at this guy’s neck might have hidden that nicely.

Where he does excel is the articulation on his shoulder cannon, i.e. the part on every NECA Predator figure that breaks. Doomicorn’s feels more secure than that, by being both more chunky and less brittle.

Unless and until we ever get figures of WWE’s New Day in Gears of War armor, this comes closest. The only thing to keep an eye on is his grip on the shotgun, which can get a bit loose.

Get a closer look at all of these variants in the full gallery below. Which is your favorite? Let us know in comments.

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