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by yo go re

Well, look who's dropped in early! Somebody's aiming for that "First Landing" XP bonus!

Who needs nine lives when one is enough?

It seems we were right, and Blackheart is one of Jazwares' final Fortnite figures, because we're still two months from Hasbro officially taking over the license, and yet the toys have already appeared on store shelves. Considering how many things in 2021 (and 2020) have faced delays, these showing up early is quite the surprise! Target had the full first assortment (or at least we're left to assume they did, because none of the backs of the packages have any sort of cross-sell, confusingly - how are we supposed to number the series as they come out?) of four basic figures and two deluxes. Presented with this cornucopia of newness, and not needing to worry about buying the whole series for a Build-A-Figure or anything, I opted for the figure that would complete a set. Or more accurately, complete a family.

Lynx was introduced in Season 7, as the Tier 1 reward in the Battle Pass - buy the pass, unlock her immediately. Initially she was just a cute pop-punk girl wearing a hat with cat ears on it, but as the story progressed (ie, as you earned more XP), she built herself a technological cat suit. No one can ever accuse Lynx of not knowing what she likes.

This is the full Stage 4 version of the skin - like so many other skins, Lynx unlocked selectable styles as you leveled up. Originally she just wore the bodysuit under her normal jacket, then she added a feline helmet, and finally remembered that most cats have tails. The suit is an entirely new sculpt... which I'm just realizing is a redundant thing to say when we're looking at the first figure from a brand-new line. Better to say that the sculpt was clearly designed just for her, not as something that could be reused for any female character at all. Most of the details aren't just paint, they're sculpted - only the pattern on her forearms and shins is paint, and that's because it was flat in the game renders, as well. Animated, but flat.

In addition to the various unlockable styles, you also got your choice of colors to apply to them. This figure opts for the "Black" coloration - and there's probably a reason for that. The "Default" color is mostly the same as this, but one of the features of the skin is a shifting color palette. You can't tell in static photos, but if you watch video, you can see how the arms and panels on the Default legs change from red to blue. The same thing happens on the Black skin, but since the change is from gray to black, it's not as drastic, and thus less likely to annoy fans who didn't get their personal preference chosen. You can tell Hasbro made at least some effort to duplicate it, since the upper part of the body is lighter than the lower parts.

The articulation is what we expect from Hasbro: plentiful and well-made. After the way Jazwares impressed fans with their Legendary Series, anything less would be a mistake. Lynx has swivel/​hinge ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs hidden under the tops of her boots, balljointed hips, a balljoint for her tail, balljointed waist and chest, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and barbell joints for the neck and head. The pointed flares on her boots should really sit flush against the thigh, but that wouldn't allow for a full range of motion on the joints. Additionally, the little armored plates over the shoulders are separate bits held in place by the toy's arms, so they can move appropriately as you pose her.

The Jazwares figures came with lots of accessories. Maybe even too many, honestly. But Hasbro's Victory Royale series follows McFarlane's lead, only offering one gun, one melee weapon, and one backpack. The Scratchmark Harvesting Tool, a fancy techno-scythe, is part of the same set as Lynx, so that makes sense. The Back Bling, Stitches, a creepy black teddy bear with one eye and big human teeth in his mouth, is only available bundled with a different character; still looks pretty cool though. Finally, the gun is a compact SMG, something that looks appropriately techy and advanced to go along with the Lynx skin.

The packaging for this line is very eye-catching. It's a cardboard box, with just a very small window to allow the figure within to be seen - similar to the current Transformers packaging. And just like the Transformers, the Fortnite figures don't rest in a tray, but are tied to a piece of cardboard within. The accessories are even just wrapped up in tissue paper and dropped in the box! It's very environmentally friendly, and easy to recycle; if they'd go back to the paper twist-ties instead of plastic straps, it'd be perfect! The box is slightly angled on the right side (pro tip: open it from the bottom, because you can't slide the tray out the top), with that bent panel getting a yellow background and images of the accessories. The majority of the box is white, with a pink panel on the front behind the stylized art of the character and a purple logo at the bottom. Jazwares' Fortnite toys also had white packaging; think that's something Epic Games requests? Whatever the case, this looks real nice.

As explained in previous reviews, Lynx had a picture of Meowscles in her lab and he had her name tattooed on his arm, so it seems they're a couple; and given that Kit is Meowscles' son, the little guy is certainly in need of a mother, leaving the only logical conclusion to be that Lynx is it. Now, she's got a sister in the game (Alli), as well as an alternate-reality version of herself (Vix), but the release of this figure means the little family unit is complete! Getting a Stage 2 Lynx would have been a cooler toy, but the Stage 4 outfit shows up more often in trailers and such. Still, it's awesome to get confirmation that Hasbro's Fortnite toys are going to be just as cool as what we've been getting so far.

-- 11/12/21

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