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Winter Warrior

by yo go re

The last thing I need is more blind-bagged toys to worry about. Keeping up with the Lego Minifigures is hard enough without getting into Knex or Playmobil or Imaginext or whatever other companies get in on the act. There are figures I'd love to have, but who's got the time or money to fool with that kind of shenannigans? Well, Rustin does, and using his codes for Imaginext Series 3, I picked up... this guy.

Like Lego Minifigs, Imaginext figures are more archetypes than characters. You know, "vampire," not "Dracula." But unlike Lego, Imaginext does give official names for the toys, so fans aren't left to guess or make up their own. Granted, you have to go to Mattel's customer service site and dig around to find them, but they do exist - that's how we know this guy isn't a cossack, isn't just a heavy metal Santa Claus, he's the "Winter Warrior."

But even Santa is not just Santa - he's been many things over the years. Heck, Image Comics' Krampus series has an entire Secret Society of Santa Clauses, a mystical, festive UN of seasonal avatars, all distinct different incarnations of the same guy. This one, with his barbarian influence, seems to owe a lot of Nicholas St. North, the Santa seen in Rise of the Guardians.

To set them apart from Lego Minifigs and Playmobil Klickies, Imaginext figures get a sculpted nose in the middle of their face. Cossack Santa (or "Cossanta," as we will never be calling him again) gets that, plus a fully sculpted mustache and beard that reaches all the way down to the center of his chest. His other facial details are just paint, but they're crisp.

The "cossack" confusion comes in thanks to Santa's garb - he's wearing a dark grey ushanka (you know, the furry hat) and a dark blue coat with white fur trim. It really only covers his front, though, leaving the back exposed - that hardly seems very warm. Of course, he's also completely sleeveless, exposing his bare arms to those cold winter climes. He's wearing furry gloves, but that won't keep his elbows warm, nossir! Interestingly, since the hat and coat are connected, it also serves to give him a thicker, fuller head of hair than he would otherwise sport.

The hat-coat is removable, giving us a Santa who looks like he's ready to get in an impromptu wrestling match (an impression that is not at all lessened by the big, golden, "circle-i" Imaginext logo buckle on his belt - he may have suspenders, by that still looks like a heavyweight championship). His shirt has yellow buttons running all the way up behind his beard, while his pants have vertical lines etched in that make them look insulated. The boots are sculpted as though he has extra wraps around the upper part, for warmth.

Imaginext figures move at the hips (both legs swivel up as one), swivel wrists, swivel/hinge shoulders, and swivel neck. Santa doesn't get that last one, because his beard is obtrusive. The shoulder and wrist joints make a lot of difference in his playability, especially once his accessories come into play.

The Winter Warrior is armed with two Christmas swords. They're molded in blue plastic, but the hilts are candy canes, and the blades have holly/​mistletoe patterns on the sides. A coat of paint would go a long way in making these weapons even more Christmasy than they already are, but they can be held in Santa's hands or stored on the back of his coat.

I'm trying not to fall down the slippery slope of Imaginext blind-bags - I just wanted this Winter Warrior for my Christmas collection. He's a weird little guy, but he's still recognizably a Santa Claus (whatever his origin).

-- 12/25/14

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