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Crackshot

Fortnite
by yo go re

Jazwares continues to impress with its Fortnite toys, welcoming in the Giftsmas season with some festive exclusives. Target has a 4" gift set featuring the Ginger Gunner and Merry Marauder, and Walmart has a 6" Crackshot.

Get out there and... crack some nuts.

Did you ever wonder how nutcrackers became so associated with Christmas? Or, specifically, The Nutcracker? The ballet. In 1816, German Romantic author ETA Hoffman wrote Nussknacker und Mausekönig; in 1844, Alexandre "I wrote The Three Musketeers" Dumas translated the novella into French, expanding the story's popularity. So popular, in fact, that the director of the Russian Imperial Theatre commissioned Tchaikovsky to create a ballet based on it in 1892... and critics haaaaaated it. The production was savaged in the press like a Michael Bay movie, and for many of the same reasons - everyone thought it was just mindless spectacle with no story, and a total embarrassment to its artform. But there have been six Transformers movies and two TMNTs, and when the ballet premiered in England and the US, it was a huge hit. San Fransico has been presenting it every year since 1944, George Balanchine staged it in New York a decade later, and by the '60s, the tradition of performing the ballet at Christmas spread throughout the country. It's such a staple that some dance companies get nearly half their yearly revenue just from performances of The Nutcracker. The cycle of "Christmas means Nutcracker"/"Nutcracker means Christmas" reinforces itself so now the two are seemingly intrinsically linked. And it doesn't hurt that the music is in the public domain, so it's free to put on.

It also probably helps that the Nutcracker is a fully secular symbol: he's neither a religious nor commercial icon, nor a pagan throwback, instead dressing like an old-fashioned soldier; bright uniform colors were favored because it allowed commanders to see their troops through the (literal) haze of war, and made it easier to tell who was on your side and who wasn't. Crackshot has the usual Fortnite pants and boots (straps on the right leg, a patch sewn on the left, and armor tied to the shins), but his coat is bright red with fancy gold buttons and black fasteners, and golden epaulettes sculpted on the shoulders. He also wears a tall black hat with a golden cord draped around it, completing the classic look. An inexplicable white patch on the front of the chest seems to be standing in for the nutcracker's beard - it's in the same place, even if it doesn't connect to the chin.

Since Crackshot is a Jazwares release, he comes with alternate faces. You can change his look by pulling one off and swapping in another, using the T-shaped slots and tabs. Unfortunately, there's not a lot to be done with a nutcracker head. He's got large round eyes, a triangular red nose, curly black mustache, and a long, vertical mouth with square teeth. He's even painted with rosy cheeks. But when it comes to the alternate heads, the only difference is the position of the eyebrows: one face is plain, one face is surprised, and one face is Dreamworksing; kind of a pointless effort that really feels like they did it because they felt obligated, not because they had any good ideas.

The Fortnite Legendary Series has good articulation. Crackshot moves at the head, pecs, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, fingers, chest, waist, hips, thighs, knees, shins, ankles, and toes. The waist is unecessary, since it's just a swivel and the chest is a balljoint, and Crackydacky's extra-long chin means that if you try to tilt his head down at all, the face gets pushed off the head. Plus, the pectoral hinges really only move a few millimeters, which isn't super useful for posing. Still, he's got enough articulation to dance, so start working on your ballet poses now.

He does have a fine assortment of accessories, though. For ranged attacks, he comes with the Hunting Rifle, a rather plain sniper rifle that's currently not available in the game; his harvesting tool is the Candy Axe, a modified candy cane wrapped with Christmas lights that's perfect for decking the walls with festive mayhem; there's a bundle of dynamite and a single red ballon (both also patched out of the game now); and for his back, the Birdshot back bling, a little cuckoo clock bird with eyes and a hat just like his owner, as seen in the Season 7 trailer.

Even if you're not interested in Fortnite, Crackshot will be a fun holiday decoration. And unlike some store-exclusives we could name, Walmart seems to be getting plenty of him to go around. But Jazwares needs to get to work on a Crackabella, like, yesterday.

-- 12/11/19


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