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Sky Shooter Trixie & Snake Oiler

Speed Racer
by Artemis

Look out standards of action figure manufacturing, here comes Speed Racer!

Speed Racer. The movie. The roads are treacherous and evil lurks around every corner as Speed Racer battles for ultimate victory!

Informative bio, there - Mattel's really gone all out on this one. I like the imitation-half-assed-illegal-copy packaging graphics, too. Anyway, for those of us curious about who these little plastic people we buy are, Wikipedia helpfully informs us that Trixie is Speed Racer's chaste girlfriend, a spoiled rich girl originally sent to spy on him by her father - head of a rival company to Racer's - but who fell in love with him, and now spends her time zipping about in her helicopter acting as Racer's eyes in the sky.

"Chaste girlfriend?" Well, fine, whatever they want to pretend, but with the movie pouring Christina Ricci into the come-get-some grid girl get-up this figure's sporting, "chaste" probably won't be the first thing to come to people's minds.

Trixie is a 3¾" figure, like GI Joe, though for reasons that will shortly become obvious (if they haven't already just from the first photo), comparing this line to a good one is a bad move. She's decked out in a sleeveless zip-up top and matching short shorts (or possibly it's a short-leg bodysuit) elbow-length gloves, and kneehigh f&$#-me boots - standard fare for a "family film" that's desperately trying to sucker adult males into watching. The bodysuit, or whatever it is, is painted/cast glossy black, while the boots and gloves have a matte finish, and everything besides the boots is sporting a pink checker pattern, to make her appear a) racy, and b) girly. Because the tits aren't enough of a clue, I guess. She has a belt - checkered - with a silver clasp, but no silver paint to pick out the tag on her chest zipper, which is a bit of a shame since they used the colour anyway.

Credit where credit's due: if you know you're looking for Christina Ricci, you can see a bit of her facial shape in the face sculpt. I didn't say a lot of credit was due. The face is quite plain, with the bare minimum in terms of detail and paint apps: lips, eyes, eyebrows, which are slightly wonky. The colour separation at the hairline is pretty shoddy - I had three Trixies to pick from when I bought her, and this was the best available. Look at that woeful paint coverage, and consider that. While we're on the head, it's interesting if annoying to note that her neck doesn't quite fit into its socket on her shoulders - it can be pushed down flush with the torso piece, but on its own the tight collar causes it to sit up a bit, leaving a thin but visible gap.

Trixie's articulation is above the Big Five, but only just. She has a swivel neck - 90° each side, then the collar blocks her chin - swivel shoulders, limited balljoint hips, and pin knees. Since they just had to give her a full ass sculpt, her legs can't hinge backwards at all at the hips, so the poses you can get out of her are extremely limited. For what it's worth, the hips are true ball and socket joints (you can easily pop them off to check - by accident, even), so if you really want to tilt her legs inwards and outwards the few degrees that the socket will allow, you can.

Trixie comes packaged with some guy called Snake Oiler, who looks like the result of a Cobra trooper entering a Village People karaoke contest. He's sporting a garish red and grey ensemble, plus brown (gold, possibly) accessories, and a red and yellow helmet with sculpted snakes slithering all over it. There's some detail on the chest/shoulder padding, but it's not sharp enough to tell what it's supposed to be; his belt is decorated by ropes, and the buckle sports yet more snaked, so it's fair to assume whatever that chest detail is, it's not tasteful. The shades and handlebar 'stache complete the look of someone who... well, put it this way. If I were Trixie, I wouldn't feel safe around him. Annoyingly, he's better articulated than her, with wider-ranging balljoint hips, plus ball joint shoulders and peg elbows.

Besides a convenient suspect should the police ever have to investigate Trixie's abduction and murder, she also has her own helicopter, the Sky Shooter - if Brad Turner ever comes out of the closet (oh admit it), this is what he'll be flying to Mardi Gras. It's aggressively pink, with a silver fishtail, black stripes and checker patterns, and a magenta windshield and seat. The rotors swivel independently, ratcheting in place closed (together) or opposite one another, but sadly they don't turn freely when deployed - there's something a bit too tight in the axle, which stops them from spinning after a couple of turns. Mind you, probably just as well - with no tail rotor it'd be a bitch to fly. Aptly enough it's got three wheels set into the bottom so it can scoot along, and a flexible seat belt to secure Trixie in place after she's awkwardly wedged into the seat, whereupon she stares blankly into the sky. You could loosen the seatbelt and sit her upright, of course, but I wouldn't want to have to explain to Speed Racer why the top of his chaste girlfriend's head is splattered all over the main rotor.

The Sky Shooter is armed with what the packaging calls a "Dual Mode Rocket Launcher," which is of course the obligatory put-your-eye-out spring loaded weapon. Not that there's much chance of doing anyone much harm with the weak little spring in this thing. Dual Mode refers to the fact that you can pop it off the side of the 'copter and have Trixie wield it herself, if you want her to fall over a lot due to how enormously disproportionate it is. It's cast in magenta plastic, fires a dull grey "missile," and that's really all there is to say about it.

Venerable toy lines like GI Joe and Star Wars have been showing the world for years what you can do with small-scale action figures if you put a bit of effort in. Now Mattel's reminded us of what you can do when you don't. There's nothing even remotely impressive about this set - Trixie, Snake Oiler, and the Sky Shooter are cheap and forgettable.


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