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Tin Woodman

Twisted Land of Oz
by Rustin Parr

"If I could only stand erect! Doo-doo do-do-do-do-do-dooo."

Ever get a figure that you really, really like, but it has one fatal flaw, and that flaw slowly wears away at your liking of the figure until you loathe the purchase as though it were, oh say, a recent film project by George Lucas? Well I have, and all too recently.

Tin Woodman You see, I've been looking forward to Tin Woodman figure from McFarlane's Oz line for quite awhile. I'm not sure if it was the cool cyborg-y-ness of it, the interesting looking right arm, the massive paint detail, the stove door on the chest, or the combination of them all, but, somewhere deep inside of me, this was probably my most anticipated figure of the line. When I found it last weekend I was at first put off by the paint on the facemask. Looked too clowny. Then there was the $12.99 price tag, and the underwhelming packaging. But since my good friend and shopping buddy snagged up Toto, the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Wizard, I felt obligated to push my self to the sheer limits of indulgence, and blow over 14 bucks on a single toy.

But you know what? None of this really bothered me. Especially when I opened him and found an ungodly amount of articulation on him, at least below the waist. I played around with him, making all the glorious newfound discoveries as a young girl first coming in to her sexu- ...as a child on Christmas morn. And finally, when the time came, I perched yon Tin Woodman upon his yellow-bricked base, posing him in a semi-wicked lunge position, and left him to his own devices. It was but a few hours later that I discovered the true nature of those devices: Due to the high amount of leg articulation, the Tin Woodman cannot stand!

Here's the rundown (not the surprisingly fun-looking film vehicle for Herr Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, but rather, you know, the rundown) of articulation: neck, shoulders, elbows, right "wrist", waist, ball-jointed hips, knees, right ankle and ball jointed left ankle. It's that left ankle that seems to be the leader of el revolucion, though all other legly joints are quick to follow.

Well-armed There's also a handful of "play articulation," or rather, moveable parts not directly related to the physiology of the figure. These include a hinged section of the "spawn boot" on the right leg, the stove door on the chest, a positionable elbow guard on the right arm, a piston on the right arm, and a very cool gear thing that opens and closes the claw the Tin Woodman has for a right hand.

Don't get me wrong, it's nothing groundbreaking, just that each side of the claw is joined together and has ridged "gears" at their base. When you push or pull on one pair of claws, the opposite responds in the same manner. For some reason I am in love with this feature and it really drove up my opinion of the figure. I'm also a really big fan of the stove-door. I couldn't tell you why, but it's probably the one thing that has excited me most about not only the line, but also the whole concept of "Bizarro Oz" (well, I am into bizarre versions of classic tales, but I'll save that for another review).

Aw, c'mon, have a heart! Anyway, the door opens and reveals a mechanistic heart device. The "heart" is a separate piece and is cast in rubber, but is glued in place, which is a bit of a bummer. Oh, and before I forget it, the handle on the poison tank on the figure's back in not articulated, don't even try. I did, and now my figure lacks it.

The paint is nothing short of stellar. This is a shining example of what McFarlane can really do when they are at their best. Great detail, both sculpt- and paint-wise! I don't normally dig on brown and orange, but since it's used here for A) rust and B) decomposing flesh, I'm fine with it. The greenish copper rust color is a great touch and works super well. I'm also really pleased with the half-faded skull label on the back of the tank.

The detail of the sculpt is really good, too. There's lots of little wires and bits everywhere, there's even a couple spigots and other common household stuffs, really adding to the homemade feel of the, daresay, character. In fact, the only real problem I have with the paint of sculpt of the figure is the faceplate. I was never really convinced it looked right and the final paint job on it just makes it look worse than I imagined.

Crying on the inside, rusting on the outside As alluded to earlier, the Tin Woodman looks like he has a clown face. The color around the eyes is bone white with an orange wash, which makes it the brightest point on the front of the figure, which naturally draws your eyes to it. It then has red highlights and three silver rods covering the mouth, which are reminiscent of a big cartoon smile. But, like I said, I like the rest of the figure so much I can forgive that, though begrudgingly.

Can I axe you a question? The Tin Woodman comes with two accessories: an oilcan and an axe. The oilcan is just plain awesome. I didn't expect it and find it a very cool touch, especially since it is very realistic looking. It's nothing the figure could hold or use, but is still a very cool inclusion. The axe is good, but could be better. The blade is fine, but looks a little soft, for lack of a better word, to me, and the handle is pretty small. I the think the whole axe could have benefited form a size increase. It's just not as threatening as it could be.

The figure also includes a section of the yellow-brick road as a base. As the Tin Woodman has but a single peg hole, and that's on the right foot, it doesn't help much, but is a neat little piece to include nonetheless, though it could benefit from more paint.

Finally, we get back to the articulation, what ruins the figure. Well, "ruins" isn't fair, because I'd still recommend it, but it'd certainly what hampers the coolness of the figure. Fist and foremost, ball-jointed shoulders. He needs them something bad. There's just not much you can do with the left arm, the one with the axe, and a ball joint would be a huge help. An articulated left wrist would be great too. Also, a balljointed neck would be a big plus because the neck is sculpted at an angle and the figure is constantly looking down. I've already touched on the massive problems caused by the leg articulation, so I'll avoid doing do again.

The main point is really that the articulation should be swapped, hemispherically. The bottom half should be fairly rigid and solid, while the upper half should be super poseable. All in all this is a pretty good figure, but he'd be great if I could get him to remain standing. The Tin Woodman is a case in point for why we don't always need more articulation; after all, it is the articulation that really hurts this figure. You can't do enough with the top hemisphere and can't rely on the bottom.


Who designed Woody's articulation, and why did they do so poorly? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.

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