Encouraged by the (mixed) success of three series of "Spawn Reborn" repaints, McFarlane Toys has brought the idea into the main line. But rather than just half-assed repaints, Series 28 takes things even further, completely redesigning and resculpting the characters from the ground up to create "Spawn Regenerated."
One of the most popular Spawn figures has been Series 14's Mandarin Spawn, so he was a natural choice to get Regenerated. Of course, the original figure was a marvel of sculpting and paint design; other than adding articulation (haw!) how could they possibly improve the figure? Was there room to go up?
No, probably not, until McToys raised the standard.
The most obvious difference is that this time, Mandy Spawn actually has a pose. Originally, he was rather staid and reserved: he looked more like he should be standing guard at a door than fighting emenies. Now, however, he's definitely in mid-battle. Or, if you take away his weapon, in mid-boogie. Bust a move, Mandarin Spawn!
He's moving backwards, having just shifted his weight onto his right foot and leaving his left leg sticking out in the direction of his enemy. It seems the guy's a lefty, because that's the hand he's using to brandish his blade. His right hand is sculpted with one finger beckoning his foe to attack.
Mandarin Spawn's face has the same vague diamond shape as before, though this time it is built from smaller, more numerous plates. He kinda looks like the Phurba dagger from The Shadow. He's got his predecessor's fangs, and his pupil-less orange eyes glare menacingly. A few spots on his skin have a distinct scale pattern, and his armor... oh, his armor!
Though quite different in many ways, the new Mandarin Spawn still manages to cover many of the same design points as his predecessor: the draconic feet, the faces on his knees, the big spike on his shoulder... it's all here, but it's just been taken to a new level. The feet have unique loops and whirls on the soles, the knees are dragons rather than oni masks, and the spike (now a soft, rubbery piece - ah, progress) erupts from a dragon's head shoulder pad. This is a thing of beauty.
all that detail wouldn't be worth squat if the paint apps were bad. Thankfully, Mandarin Spawn 2 bucks the trend of recent Spawn figures, which were either formless masses of brown or suffered under garrishly designed apps that seemed to have little-to-nothing to do with the figure to which they were applied. His color scheme seems to be a cross between the original Scarlet Edge and the variant Japanese repaint: while he has some bright red highlights on his legs, his body is black and his armor is mostly golden.
The only real complaint with the first Mandy Spawn was the lack of articulation. Things are better now, but what's so infuriating is how close to perfect it is. He moves at the neck, shoulders, right elbow, glove tops, chest, waist, knees and ankles. You notice anything missing fron that list? Yeah, you got it, hips. Why waste time with balljointed ankles if you've only get peg joints at the knees and nothing at the hips? He's even got details on either side of his knees that look like the caps to a pin joint, but they're not! It used to be that Todd worried about making joints that didn't look like joints - now he's making things that look like joints but aren't? Yeesh. The crazyass pose would be fine, if you could get him out of it, but for that you'd need hips and real knees, and he has neither.
Mandarin Spawn has just one weapon, a bladed dealie with a dragon etched upon it. There's no update of that huge shield of his, nor of the two swords that hung on his hips. Still, what we got is nice enough, and he looks good holding it. The ends pop off so you can fit it in his hand or, if you buy two of him, combine them in a parody of the original's giant double sword.
Overall, Mandarin Spawn was a great choice to be Regenerated, as an already-beautiful figure is now even more stunning than before. If not for a few glaring oversights in the articulation category, this could have been the best figure McToys had yet produced. But no, Todd proved to be too chicken to go all the way, leaving us with a toy that comes close to perfect, but falls so very short.
Do the Regenerated figures float your boat? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.