Toy Review: Gold, Commando 12-Inch, and Mandarin Spawn
McFarlane Toys only recently revealed an all-new Spawn-focused toy line, but they’ve been inching back in that direction for a while now. The company’s signature character who started it all was never going to be far from Todd McFarlane’s toy making heart, so we got a Kickstarter Spawn, a Mortal Kombat Spawn, and more. Recently, the company revisited one of its classic figures, Mandarin Spawn, first under the catch-all “Gold Label” line and then as its own Spawn-themed one-off. They recently sent over three different Spawns for us to look at, and they represent three different approaches, in their own way. Let’s take a look.
The gold Spawn is the same Mortal Kombat Spawn released some time ago, in yet another color configuration. The first version made our top toys of 2020 list, and is a perfect combo of sculpt and articulation, lacking only perhaps a ridiculously huge McFarlane cape. Our review of the original stands; the only question with the newer ones becomes how each variant color scheme works.
It’s just a hunch, but these will likely do best with folks whose school colors get represented this way. If McFarlane Toys send most of these to Pittsburgh, they should sell well. Multiple color variants make sense in fighting games for variety and player differentiation, but few need to own every non-canonical variant. Hasbro’s Batman toys cured everyone of that in the ’90s.
And honestly, the gold/yellow makes Spawn look stained. Like he got dipped in something, or just aged really badly in the sun. Cape sculpt details pop a bit more, but it’s unlikely anyone will prefer this to either the classic color scheme or the pale bloody version (left).
Mandarin Spawn, once known as The Scarlet Edge, is a different story. Here, McFarlane Toys seem to be trying to recreate the original action figure, but with more articulation. This comes as an interesting decision, considering that back in the day they updated the figure with an all new (just as un-articulated) sculpt that was beefier and more dynamically posed. (And better!) But good call, regardless. The major problem with Mandarin Spawn was a body proportion and relative lack of articulation that forced it to stand in a pelvic thrust pose, wielding a double-sword weapon in an awkward, space-taking-up manner.
The addition of ankles, elbows, knees, and weapons more like those from Mandarin Spawn II helps a lot here. Though the ankles are a bit different – the back and forth hinges require a big SNAP out of place in order to go back and forth, and add more of a cut joint underneath than the usual rocker.
The rest: a restricted ball neck (his collar keeps him looking slightly downward). Ball shoulders. Upper bicep cuts. hinge elbow with cut joints on both ends for extra ball effect. Disc and pin wrists. Ball mid-torso. Ball hips. Double hinge knees. The aforementioned ankles.
As a redo of an old figure — the McFarlane Toys version of Masters of the Universe Origins — it works. As a modern Spawn figure, it doesn’t quite fit. The costume design is all front facing, with a weirdly un-decorated back. And the figure’s physique feels a holdover form when the line leaned closer to six inches. The person under the costume would have to be a super tall and extra slim Doug Jones type. Also the left shoulder pad came off on the review sample and needed re-gluing twice.
For pure decoration and nostalgia, a fine figure. But one that won’t necessarily fit with a lot of other stuff. That said, bring on the Mandarin Spawn II redo.
But these three Spawn samples did include one big winner. Mortal Kombat Commando Spawn is it. McFarlane’s 12-inch, barely articulated figures haven’t seemed a great idea thus far, especially on properties where all the other figures are super-poseable. Longtime Spawn fans,however, own many 12-inch Spawns with limited articulation. And freed from having to make it look like a more normal human character from a movie or game, the sculptors went to town here.
Unlike the regular MK Spawn, or even most comic Spawns, this one wears a costume that’s more like the kind of body armor we see in superhero movies. Think The Dark Knight‘s Batsuit. The segmented armor plate textures mark a different style for Spawn, and he rocks it.
Weirdly, the only part of the figure with rough detail is the big boot, which looks like a clay sculpt, and also just an upsized version of the regular Spawn figure’s boot, enlarged without adding scale detail.
Commando Spawn’s articulation, such as it is, all cut joints: Neck. Left elbow. Left wrist. Waist. Top of big boot. The major differences in pose to be had? Either hand on hip, or hand generating necroplasm. And said necroplasm can point several ways, but straight down isn’t an option because gravity will cause it to fall off the hand that way.
Yes, the necroplasm is translucent, and has sculpted holes for each finger. But it comes on and off easily, unlike the gun, which must be pried into his cold, dead hands.
Speaking of said gun — its paint job could have made different choices. The red stripes pop, for sure, but a more McFarlane style dirty wash might have made it seem less obviously toy-ish. But display it without, if you prefer — the hand looks fine empty too.
One other point about a Spawn this size. He’s closer to original comic-book scale with the RAW 10 Cy-Gor figure. Whom he costs twice as much as, because he’s absolutely solid compared to the rotocast robo-ape.
Yes, Spawn is hefty, and could break if dropped from a great height. Mine fell from one photo spot and broke his left ankle, but thankfully, that is a seam, easily glued, even though it’s not an articulation point.
Marry Commando Spawn. Affair with Mandarin Spawn. Kill Gold Spawn. Should you decide otherwise, Entertainment Earth has Mandarin for $19.99, and Commando for $39.99. Both reasonable prices for what they are, matching Amazon (see below) and others. Superhero Hype is part of the Entertainment earth affiliate network, and does earn fees from sales made through our links.
On the fence? We have lots of pictures to help that decision. Enjoy the gallery below. Which would become your favorite?
Let us know in comments.
Recommended Purchase: McFarlane – Mortal Kombat 12 – Commando Spawn
Toy Review: Gold, Commando 12-Inch, and Mandarin Spawn
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