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Skull Trooper

by yo go re

Calling all boneheads!

Skull Trooper is here to haunt your shelves and elevate your premium collection.

It's weird when these bios (which we're snagging off the McFarlane Toys website, because there's not a word of it on the packaging) reference the toys as toys. As a game, Fortnite doesn't take itself too seriously, so there's no shame in the figures doing the same - it would be wildly different if the super dour and self-important Call of Duty tried the same thing, while for a purposely goofball thing like Fortnite, it works - but that doesn't mean it can't be weird at the same time. Toys that acknowledge that they're toys are usually reserved for the Toy Story movies, though if Fortnite can partner with Disney to promote Infinity War and Endgame, then surely Buzz and Woody can soon show up in the game as well. And then get comedically murdered! "You've got a friend in me, but I've got a gigantic axe in my spleen."

The Skull Trooper is dressed like one of the bullies from The Karate Kid: all-black clothes with white bones painted all over them. And it's clear they really are just painted on, not a printed design, because not only do they continue onto his shin armor and belt, but also over the strap around his chest and the bandana tied around his bicep. Technically he's wearing the same clothes as Rex, they've just been dyed a different color - something quite convenient for McToys, because they can reuse those molds. Well, technically his left trigger finger is extended, and a pair of dog tags stick out from under his scarf, but it's at least mostly similar.

To make the most of the skeleton theme (and also to better complete the Karate Kid homage), the Skull Trooper is wearing a white hood - not a "Make America Great Again" white hood, a smaller, thinner one that sticks close to the head and pushes down the hair. He's wearing facepaint to suggest a skull (duh), and in a great attention to detail, the white of the hood is a different shade from the white of the face paint. Who would even have noticed if they'd been the same!

The Fortnite figures all come with a melee weapon, a ranged weapon, and a backpack. Or, in the parlance of the game, a Harvesting Tool, a gun (okay, those don't get a silly name) and a Back Bling. Since the Skull Trooper was sold as part of the "Skull Squad" set, which also included a thematic Back Bling and Harvesting Tool, you'd expect him to come with those, right? Well, you'd be wrong! On his back, he's wearing the Precision pack, a tactical (and practical) backpack that came in Season 3's spy-themed "Black Vector" set, so at least its colorscheme matches. Similarly, the Death Valley pickaxe kind of fits with his design, since its handle is a long bone, and there's a cow skull strapped to the top. The gun is an Epic Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle, which was one of the first guns available in the game, though it's since been sent to the vault.

The most surprising thing about McFarlane Toys' Fortnite figs is the articulation: they have some. Skull Trooper has hinged toes, Revoltech-style swivel/hinge/swivel ankles, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, a balljointed waist, a balljointed chest, Revoltech wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, balljointed and swivel/hinge shoulders, and balljoints at the top and bottom of the neck. The thigh swivels on the male figures don't work as well as they did on the solitary female we have so far, thanks to the shape of the legs, but there's at least some motion there. Beats the old days when Todd refused to listen to his fans. If you want to get into really wild poses, the figure does include a display base to keep him standing.

As we learned last time, the silly costumes are better than the serious ones. Skull Trooper walks the line between the two, and it's up to you whether he falls more on the "plain" or "inventive" side of things.

-- 06/06/19

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