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Ancient Wyrm

Ultima Online
by yo go re

This is a figure that has been a long time coming.

Oldest, wisest and by far the most powerful, Ancient Wyrms represent the most deadly members of the dragon species. Their magical nature makes them highly skilled in casting spells of great devastation, although some prefer to use their claws and razor-sharp teeth to dismember their prey. Although they usually guard huge hordes of treasure, very few adventurers become wealthy hunting Ancient Wyrms. Most join the piles of bones that litter these monsters' caves.


click to see full-sized

First unveiled at Toy Fair 2000, the figures are finally on shelves more than two years later. Of course, Ultima Online 2 was originally scheduled for release in the last quarter of 2000, so it's not like the delay is McFarlane's fault; the molds just stayed on the back burner until the development company was ready for rollout.

Was the final product worth the wait? In the Wyrm's case, yes; this is a great figure. Over 10½" long, the detail on this creature is above even McFarlane's normally high standards. For example, look at that picture to the left, there (taken from Spawn.com and used with the company's permission). That's one intricate dragon!

The first thing you'll notice upon opening the Wyrm (other than the nigh-hallucinogenic levels of "new toy smell" that will come pouring out of the clamshell once you take a buzzsaw to its heat-sealed edges to get them open) is how hard he is to remove from his packaging. Not because of twist-ties or rubberbands, but because he's as sharp as the devil himself! All those little spikes and ridges are hard plastic, and serve as quite the formidable defense.

Once you've freed him from his plastic tomb and excused yourself to the medicine cabinet to fetch some bandaids, you'll still need to attach the included wings. A bit of simple pressing will lock them in place, but again you might be stymied by his inherent sharp-itude.

Actually, those wings are what really make the figure; cast in translucent crimson plastic and measuring nearly 7" long, the wings jut forth from the dragon's front legs, rather than sticking out of his back somewhere.

The figure's articulation consists of seven points: head, neck, shoulders, hips, and a strange peg joint in the tail. That's pretty much par for the course with McFarlane Toys, but it doesn't suit the character. This is an animated beast, taken from a videogame! How can it be so static?

There is a simulated-dirt base included with this figure, but the articulation doesn't even provide enough range for the feet to line up with the sculpted footprints. Additionally, the sculptors must have changed their mind about the tail at the last minute, because there's a depression in the base where it would fit, but it actually curls in the exact opposite direction.

The base also doesn't stop the Ancient Wyrm from participating in another fine McToys tradition: falling over. There is space for three feet on the base, leaving the fourth claw dangling daintily in mid-air. The dragon's own weight pulls it toward that raised foot, so it will be bent against the ground in no time! I must say, however, that despite being my perhaps poor choice to keep him on a fairly high level, the Ancient Wyrm has suffered no damage during any of its falls.

The Wyrm's got a wonderful sculpt, but that's not enough to make a top-notch action figure anymore. I don't recommend you buy him, but I really do like this figure - quite a lot, in fact. Had he been given better articulation, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him. He'll be great for a collector, but for a casual fan? Not so much.

If you collect dragons or other mythical beasts, this will be a great display piece. If you're looking for something with a bit more action in its figure, look elsewhere.

-- 05/27/02


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