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Final Faction
by yo go re

Petition to declare this guy sounds like the Scout.

Riptide is a skilled combat and rescue diver from New England. When he's not fishing or indulging in canned tuna, he spends his free time helping local wildlife.Riptide's two forearm mounted harpoons help him ensnare the enemy. He also uses water activated sensors to warn him of nearby Kharn activity.

Now that's some smooth world-building! Did that line strike you: "indulging in canned tuna"? Canned tuna is one of the cheapest foods there is. It goes, like, instant ramen, boxed mac and cheese, tuna; why then would he be "indulging" in it? Well, remember that Final Faction takes place in 2050; climate change and overfishing have probably turned turned quality tuna into a high-end luxury item. It's happened before, and a New Englander like Riptide would know it: lobster was so common it was prisoner food, and the entire point of having a clambake was that you could just walk down to the beach and pick them up out of the sand when you didn't have any money. So in 30 years, a can of Starkist might be the equivalent of a tin of caviar today. Sorry, Charlie!

Riptide wears a thick blue wetsuit, suitable for someone who'd spend their time in the water. Arctic water, if his one cartoon appearance is anything to go by. We know this is a wetsuit and not just regular Alpha Team clothing because the body ends up thicker than average. You could perhaps say that's just meant to show he's a bigger dude, but the width of the torso in proportion to the head, for example, says "thick covering," not "husky." The bit around his shoulders looks like a weight designed to keep him neutrally bouyant, amd there are tiny clips sculpted on the harness where more weighs could be added if he needs. The two small knives sculpted on his thighs are far too small to be usable with the gloves he's wearing, and the turbines on his boots are permanently molded on. Those (and the weapons) definitely give some "Kenner Centurions Max Ray" vibes.

Riptide looks a bit older than the other Alpha Team members thanks to his white hair. The sides of his head are shaved, leaving him with that military look that's not quite a mohawk, but not quite what a civilian would wear, either. He's got painted eyebrows, plus a mustache and a little soul patch under his lower lip. The eyes are just black dots, as per usual.

These figures only cost $1.25, so some corners do get cut. That's why the back of the figure is almost entirely unpainted, or why the articulation is so light. Riptide only moves at the neck, shoulders, and hips, which isn't a lot, but how much more would he really need to swim? A scuba diver isn't worried about doing the butterfly, and even kicking his legs would be superfluous with those boosters on the boots. He does lose a point of articulation when you add his accessories, though.

Like the card said, his main weapons are a pair of harpoon guns. He doesn't hold them in his hands, another reason not having elbows isn't an issue: they each plug into the figure's forearm with two large round tabs. They're detailed nicely, with a large canister that would theoretically contain whatever propulsion device they use to fire (probably not gas, because bubbles would give his presences away to anyone on the surface) and a spindle underneath to coil up the tethers that connect him to the spears. And oh my god, the harpoons can actually be removed from the launchers! Amazing! If you want to tie your own string on, there's even a loop provided for you. This toy costs a dollar! Because he operates underwater, he also has a breathing mask connected to an air tank that plugs into his chest rather than his back. That's the one that costs us articulation: the tubes are too thick to allow the head to turn once the mask is slipped onto his face and the tank is plugged in.

Like Torn, Riptide has a play feature. The front of the card promises "3 color changing pieces," which refers to the small green gems on his wrists and air tank. You'll want to be careful with those: they're separate pieces, no glued in or anything, and if they fall out the odds of you ever seeing them again are slim. By which I mean: by the time I looked for them, my figure only had one left; whether that means I bought one that was accidentally incomplete or I simply lost them, I couldn't say; all I know is they're not anywhere around here where I opened the toy, neither on the desk nor the floor. And thus we recommend caution. But hey, it's only a buck, so a quick run out to Dollar Tree and I can finish writing the review. The stones are a dark, cloudy green, fitting with the colorscheme of the figure, but being distinct enough to stand out if you're looking for them. When exposed to warm water, however, they become much brighter, almost like they're glowing. This isn't some Hot Wheels instant color-change - you'll need to let them sit in the water for a little bit - but there is a distinct difference between states.

Riptide seemed like he was just going to be an average Final Faction release, but between the color-changing parts and the removable spears, he turned out to be one of the best in the line, period. And that's even before we get to the dedicated Weapons Pack the card promises will be released sometime in the future.

-- 11/11/22

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