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Plastic Patroller

by yo go re

Us? Reviewing a soldier toy on a Friday? It'll never catch on!

Toy with the competition.

Toy soldiers have existed pretty much as long as toys and soldiers have existed - originally handmade, then in greater numbers as mass-production was developed. Tin soldiers were popular in 18th century Germany, and hollow versions cropped up in Britain in 1893. Some companies made their figurines from a mix of glue and sawdust, but by the 50s, plastic was more popular (because it was less likely to break in transit before the shops could sell it). Plastic was so affordable, unpainted figures could be sold in bulk bags for about a penny apiece, making little green army men a cultural icon. And far be it from Fortnite to not grab any icons they can.

Plastic Patroller is one of the Jonesy skins - that's quite recognizably his face beneath this Vietnam-era "steel pot" helmet. There are three bullets tucked into the band around the helmet, because we've all seen the Full Metal Jacket film poster, and a strap runs beneath the chin to make sure it stays on the head. Not that it's actually removable - it's glued on pretty firmly for the toy.

Most of the Plastic Patroller's molds are shared with another Jonesy skin: the Skull Trooper! At first I thought Rex, but that one doesn't have dog tags hanging out from beneath his scarf. It's a fine choice, being vaguely military enough to suit the design concept. And speaking of, the figure gets new feet, molded with large pads attached to the soles of his shoes, like the tiny toys that inspired it. Normally that would be one large base, but that would preclude him from running.

The new feet mean the articulation here isn't as extensive as it is on other Fortnite figures, because he doesn't have the toe hinges. Yep, that's the only change. So Plastic Patroller gets a balljointed head, balljointed and swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, Revoltech-style swivel/hinge/swivel wrists, a balljointed chest, a balljointed waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and Revoltech ankles. The right hip on my figure wasn't properly attached, so the leg would come off whenever you tried to move it forward. That required a little bit of finagling to get it on right.

Originally, the Plastic Patroller was the bright, plasticky green seen on the actual army men, but that blended into the scenery too well and gave anyone using it an unfair advantage; so Epic, not wanting to have a "pay to win" skin in their game, made the green more olive and added some tan splotches to accentuate the silhouette - we'd have preferred Todd did the old style, because looking as much as possible like a toy is the entire appeal of this outfit. It also would have been cheaper for them, since they wouldn't have to pay for any paint apps.

The accessories include an Assault Rifle in a matching "Green Toy" wrap, the same Knockwurst The Brat carried, and the Response Unit back bling, which was originally a reward for people who bought a new graphics card (seriously), but soon showed up in the Item Shop, which pissed off the people who bought a card to get the exclusive. Whoops!

Around the turn of the century, 3DO had a videogame series called Army Men, and Playing Mantis made a line of six action figures based on it. The idea was the same: upscaling the little disposeable toys of our youth and making something more of them. Those didn't move much, but at least they had the advantage of being solid green.

-- 05/14/21

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