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by yo go re

Get ready to "squash" the competition.


Not every Fortnite skin can have an epic history and backstory - sometimes it's just about selling seasonal designs when the season is upon us. You know, Rabbit Raider comes back to the Item Shop at Easter, Crackshot returns at Giftsmas, etc. Unsurprisingly, today's subject, Punk, first appeared on October 30, 2020, along with his female counterpart, Patch. That's right: "Punk 'n Patch." Cute. The Carving Crew set has made an appearance every October since, and although this review is being written on April 30, 2023, we're predicting that the set is available for digital purchase today as the review is being publicly posted six months later.

Punk does not dress like a punk. He's got a track jacket, then some sort of orange... apron underneath? Something with flaps and straps hanging from it, at any rate. His sweatpants are the style with narrow legs and a super baggy crotch, which would normally just make him look like a dumbass, but the way Hasbro opted to deal with that is by making the figure's waist be about an inch lower than it should be, leaving us with a toy that has a strangely long torso and stumpy legs. The clothes are sculpted with their own textures (stronger on the hoodie than on the pants), but the way the figure is constructed never stops feeling weird.

Although he's got a human-shaped body and visible skin on the fingertips, we know Punk isn't actually a person because of his head. This isn't just a pumpkin mask he's wearing, because the eyes inside are flaming embers. (They're sculpted on the toy, but in the game you can tell they're just mystically floating inside there in a way a human wouldn't be able to accommodate.) So think of him like a modern Headless Horseman - instead of dressing like a soldier, he dresses like a white Spotify rapper with access to his affluent parents' credit card.

Punk is black and orange, with a bit of white for the upper part of the zipper on his coat, and green for the stem growing out of his head. Oh, and pink fingers. He wears socks with orange spots on them that are probably supposed to be tiny pumpkins, but not on this toy. On the game model, his eyes and the orange soles of his shoes light up when he's in the dark, but that wouldn't work on an action figure. If Hasbro wanted to, they could re-release this figure in shiny silver instead of orange, representing Punk's brother, Chrome Punk.

Hasbro's Fortnite toys move well, but the lowered waist on this one makes everything awkward. Like, he has hips, but they're not where the hips should be, making it look like he's bending mid-thigh. The weird apron thing helps hide it, but not enough. The other joints include swivel/hinge ankles, swivel shins at the sock, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, balljointed waist, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps hidden by the change from black to orange on the sleeves, swivel/hinge shoulders, pec hinges that don't move enough to really add any range, a balljointed chest, and a plain balljoint for the head.

He's armed with the same Assault Rifle as Mancake, just in orange and black - if this supposed to represent the Punkin' wrap that's part of his set, it's not very good: that has a triangle to match his logo, and touches of green, neither of which are present here. We still like it better than plain colors, though. His Back Bling is the "Squash Bats" backpack, a black piece with orange trim and an angry pumpkin logo in the center, and two bats strapped to its sides: an orange one on his left side, and a black one on his right. The black one is actually his Bash Burner Harvesting Tool, a Pumpkin powered bat-o'-lantern carved straight from the patch and here to spice things up. It has a few twigs still growing from it, and a candle of flame burning on one of them. The in-game skin has Back Flair, meaning you actually pull the Bash Burner out of the Squash Bats pack, which you can theoretically do here, as well; the problem is the little twig in the middle has to be physically bent over and forced past the straps, which could cause breakage if you're not careful. The orange bat isn't removable in the game, but since it's a separate piece here, you're free to do what you want with it.

As I write this in May (it passed midnight between that paragraph up above at the start and this one), the Victory Royale Collection seems to be on shaky legs: a lot of figures that were previously listed have missed their ship date, and others have had preorders cancelled. We're just seeing a lot of empty pegs in the stores, suggesting either that Hasbro's having trouble producing the toys or stores aren't ordering them, not that no buyers want them. It had been months since I found Potassius Peels when Punk finally showed up. I'd been waiting for the cool pumpkin-man since he was announced, but the final execution feels lacking. Hopefully by the time you read this the line's health has turned for the better.

-- 10/27/23

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