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Wave Rider Nemo

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
by yo go re

Last year for Old Toys Month, we reviewed one of Mezco's first independent offerings, Cabin Control Nemo. This year we're reviewing his linemate, Wave Rider Nemo.

If you recall that last review, you'll know that I'd owned the set for years, but had never played with any of it other than the actual figure. Well, I've also owned this set for nearly as long, and until now I'd never even opened the box.

Control Cabin Cabin Control Nemo was dressed in his normal, everyday wear: jacket, shirt, cravat... all perfectly average daily clothes for a man like him. And that made sense, since he was working inside the Nautilus; this version, though, is dressed for extra-vehicular activity. He's wearing a tight, one-armed shirt that looks like it's been assembled from various thick strips of cloth - probably a watertight material to protect him while diving (though why, then, does it leave one arm exposed?).

He's wearing thigh-high boots that appear to be made out of the same waterproof material as his shirt. There are fancy fins on the calves, and the soles seem to be rubberized. His stylized N logo is present on the feet, and it's repeated on the belt, as well. The oddest feature overall, though, has to be the large fur collar - what the heck is that about?

Though this figure clearly represents the same individual as the previous Nemo figure, it's not the same sculpt. Yes, there are the major changes - the funky goggles he's wearing, for instance, or the lack of a bandana - but subtler changes have occured as well. If we had to guess, we'd say this Nemo is older than the other: both his hair and his beard are noticably longer.

Another change is Nemo's mechanical hand. Before, it was rather refined and genteel, as far as homemade steampunk prostheses go. This one is more raw, more of a weapon. It has exposed joints (sculpted, not functional), sharpened fingers and spikes on the knuckles. There's a clear gem on the arm, and a black hose near the wrist. The implication is that Nemo has several different hands, modified for different purposes. Greeting dinner guests? Break out the fancy glove. Going out in the sea to fight a giant squid? Well, that calls for the Swiss Army Glove.

Wave Rider Nemo is about 6¼" tall, and has 20 points of articulation: a swivel neck, swivel/hinge shoulders (which swivel at an odd angle - the peg goes into the torso at an up angle, not horizontally), swivel biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, V-crotch, swivel thighs (hidden by the boots), hinged knees and hinged ankles. One upper arm swivel and one thigh were stuck pretty well, but putting him in the freezer fixed that. Considering this figure has been in the same pose for a decade, that's not bad!

This figure doesn't get a big fancy diorama like the other - instead he gets a humongous accessory/vehicle thing. The "Wave Rider" part of the name refers to the massive techno-organic manta ray he rides. It's 11" across, 7" long (not counting the curved 8" tail) and about 3" at its thickest point. The rough texture on its surface makes it look like an Alien, but it's unmistakably a machine: there are pistons, turbins, guns, and something that's probably a gas cap. Several hoses run over the top, and there's a single handlebar for Nemo to hold onto. There are four footpegs, so you can decide how you want him to stand.

Since the bottom of the Wave Rider isn't flat, it would make for a terrible display piece. To remedy that, Mezco included a base to hold it aloft. This isn't some clear plastic stand meant to be unseen: rather, it's a foaming wave, rising from the waters and cresting above the back of a racing dolphin. It's done about as well as can be expected: turning a dynamic liquid into a static solid is never an easy task, so we're not going to judge that too harshly. The large point on the bottom of the Rider fits into the whitecap, but the dark paint transfers too easily, so you're going to get blatant smudges in there. Fun bonus, though? The Wave Rider actually floats! Even with the figure standing on it, it bobs nicely on the surface of the water.

Nemo has a lot of accessories, and they can be divided loosely into two groups. For instance, ones meant to be used above the water. He has a pair of golden binoculars with an octopus motif, a broad dagger with a seashell pommel, a sheath for the dagger, and a large four-bladed glaive. There are three removable pouches on his belt, held in place by large square pegs; the binoculars, sheath and glaive have similar pegs, so you can attach them instead.

So those will all work best above the surface. How about some things for below the water? We start with a pair of flippers. They're marked inside with a tiny L and R to make sure you get them on the correct feet. There's a black and gold mesh bag, which looks like a net in the package, and it can be used to hold the included tools: a hammer, a wrench, a screwdriver and a functioning pair of pliers. There's also a handheld light, so you can imagine he's using these things to make repairs to the Nautilus' outer hull. Since he can't be expected to hold his breath, he has an airtank on a harness that fits (very, very tightly) over his torso and has a mouthpiece designed to actually plug into the figure's mouth.

We're not done yet - Nemo needs more weapons! There's a large harpoon that seems like it should plug into something. The wooden post that the harpoon is attached to has two small pegs on one side. Actually, they're intended to help Nemo hold it: they're just wide enough to fit on either side of the metal hand. He also has a baroque speargun with a removable spear made from a shark's tooth.

Wave Rider Nemo wasn't the must-get that Cabin Control Nemo was, but he's still pretty darn awesome. The Rider itself will be a nice accessory for Namor or Black Manta, if you like, and all the accessories would go nicely with the Control Cabin set. The 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea toys were released in 2001, a full decade ago, but even today they can be the highlight of your collection.

-- 02/10/11

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