Nitro Riders: Green Vapor
Review by The Enthusiast
CDX is not exactly a bastion of McFarlane Toys appreciation. The handful of reviews we do have reiterate the widely accepted perception that McFarlane makes some pretty statues and some lousy toys.
The first Spawn toys were like something from another planet: hyper-detailed sculpts, moody matte finishes, dark subject matter. And while they weren’t especially fun, they looked terrific. If nothing else, McFarlane gave the toy industry a kick in the ass, disrupting a kind of safe stagnation. The market for sophisticated adult-oriented collector pieces, at least in America, was blown wide open by McFarlane Toys. We can still see the influence of these toys on contemporary Japanese offerings like S.I.C.
At the turn of the century, McFarlane injected a healthy dose of Cyperpunk Mecha into its design ethos, the Interlink and Manga Spawn figures being notable examples. They also released a handful of Nitro Riders, non-Spawn canon (I think) cybernetic motorcycles and drivers. I can’t remember why I didn’t pick these up at the time. It’s still unbelievable to me that these were on the shelves at Walmart next to G.I. Joe. They obviously weren’t successful, and remain plentiful and cheap on the secondary market.
The set is packaged on a typically ungainly MT blister card. A box would make the piece dramatically more appealing.
This thing is heavy. The dense, kinda rubbery PVC isn’t particularly toy-like.
The figure, though arguably an accessory to the Motorcycle, is pretty respectable on its own. So many of my motorcycle toys have riders who are either a lame fixed-pose afterthought or a reasonably nice figure which is unable to actually ride the damned bike. This toy manages to thread the needle.
As you would expect, the sculpt is handsome and richly detailed.
The articulation is surprisingly not terrible. The lack of elbow joints is my only complaint.
But let’s acquaint this fellow with his ride.
A large clear cover fits over the rear of the bike. At first I found it distracting, but it’s grown on me.
As I said, the rider fits on the bike effectively. A rubber hose plugs into his back. I like the organic, Giger influenced combination of the mechanical and the organic.
What makes this set a qualified success for me is that it’s a motorbike. Even the most toy-like, shiny, diecast and ABS wonders are still essentially bricks. All they need to do is have rolling wheels. And damned if the Nitro Rider bike doesn’t have rolling wheels. They’re actually pretty great as rolling wheels go, with heavy rubber tires and solid, smooth action.
The sculpt, naturally, is killer. I can understand it not being everyone’s thing, but for a mass market toy, this level of finish and detail is ridiculous.
So...toylike? Not precisely, but successful nonetheless on its own terms. If you can put aside the McFarlane baggage, it’s worth a look.
|Posted 13 May, 2012 - 18:41 by The Enthusiast|