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The Medic

Team Fortress 2
by yo go re

"Prepare for your examination."

What he lacks in compassion for the sick, respect for human dignity, and any sort of verifiable formal training in medicine, the Medic more than makes up for with a bottomless supply of giant needles and a trembling enthusiasm for plunging them into exposed flesh. Raised during an era when the Hippocratic oath had been downgraded to an optional Hippocratic suggestion, the Medic considers healing a generally unintended side effect of satisfying his own morbid curiosity.

If Team Fortress 2 takes place in the late 1960s, and the Medic is (probably) in his 50s, then he would have been raised during the Great Depression and the years immediately prior to World War 2 - so yeah, definitely a time when medical standards were a little more lax. Especially in his native Stuttgart, Germany. Or is it Rottenburg?

Unlike the Scout, the Medic's head sculpt looks pretty much like the game renders - though for some reason, the head seems ridiculously small. And narrow. His noggin is smaller than the palms of his hands. I haven't pulled the BLUs out of storage to compare yet, but next to Scout, he looks like his skull shrunk in the wash.

It seems like they sculpted this based on his main menu pose... where he's leaning back and shot from below to look more dramatic. (It's the same art that ends up on the front of the packaging, if you're unfamiliar.) You know, when Michelangelo sculpted David, he made the forehead and hair exaggerated, because it was meant to be seen (from ground level) on top of a building, and he understood how perspective would skew that. If I had to guess, I'd say Thomas Gwynn was just given a static shot with no context. And then maybe something went wrong in the molding process, too.

As outsized as the body is, it's still sculpted well. TF2 is like a hyper-violent Pixar cartoon, so the shapes are smoother than they'd be on a "real" character: big, chunky wrinkles, perfectly crisp edges on his collar and chest flap, etc. He wears a white (tinted toward his team color, so red in this case) lab coat, large red gloves, and brown trousers that are tucked into his tall black boots. He wears a harness that carries his Medipack and therefore, by necesssity, his Medi Gun. The backpack looks like simple medical equipment, a smooth gray box with a canister on one side, bellows on top, and a large red cross in a circle in the center. You could easily imagine it being one of those emergency AED units you can find hanging on public walls.

The backpack and its harness are separate from the chest, so they don't get in the way of the articulation. The Medic has swivel/hinge ankles, knees, hips, elbows (both top and bottom), and shoulders; swivel gloves, thighs, and boots; and a balljointed chest and head. The double elbows should in theory help him hold his gun better, but... eh. He'd need some actual wrist joints to make that happen. Can you get him into his taunt poses? Sure, some of them. Can he run around healing teammates (or Spies)? Absolutely. You have to remember, this was designed, what, five-plus years ago? Valve was just slow to approve the release, so we don't get modern styling on it.

We already mentioned the fact that Dr. Ludwig's got his Medi gun. It's permanently attached to the backpack, which is permanently attached to the figure, so it'll always be there. There's no way to hang it out of the way or anything. (It just kind of disappears when you switch weapons in the actual game; too bad we can't just unplug the hose from the pack or something.) He also includes his other two starting weapons, the Syringe Gun and the Bonesaw. The Syringe Gun, as its name implies, fires needles at your enemies; the Bonesaw is a on old-fashioned bonesaw. The needler looks pretty cool, with a translucent chamber that all the syringes are held in. The big handle on top of the Medi gun is actually hinged, so you can tip it forward or back as though he's activating his Ubercharge - and though it's a bit late for this suggestion at this point, how did we never get a two-pack of Medic and Heavy in solid red, maybe with light-up packaging? It would have been a perfect SDCC exclusive.

The set also includes a card (reproducing the Medic poster art) that has a special code you can redeem for a free in-game item. Yes, everybody gets the same item. And since this is Team Fortress 2, the item is a hat. Specifically, the Otolaryngologist's Mirror, that thing doctors always always wore in old cartoons. The BLU figure would have come with a different one if it had ever been released.

I'm still annoyed that I wasn't able to build a full team in just one color - having started with the Builders League United, it sucks to have to switch to Reliable Excavation Demolition now. But that said, having played hundreds of hours of Team Fortress 2, I can say with some authority that teams of six vs. three isn't that unusual. The only weird thing about such a set-up will be that somebody actually agreed to play Medic.

-- 10/07/21

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