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The Bobby

We Happy Few
by yo go re

Oi! Wot's all this then?

Patrolling the streets of Wellington Wells, Bobby is always dressed in his constable outfit topped off with his distinct "Happy Face." Always on the look out for potential "downers," residents of Wellington Wells should always have some "joy" at the ready when they see Bobby nearby.

Like Jim Sterling says, "thank God for me," because if it weren't for him, I wouldn't know anything at all about We Happy Few beyond "McFarlane Toys made a toy from it." I saw this figure at GameStop one day and had no clue what it was. As the official blurb puts it, "We Happy Few is the tale of a spirited bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial. Set in a drug-fueled, retro-futuristic city in an alternative 1960s England, you'll have to blend in with its other inhabitants, who have their own set of not-so-normal rules." Sure, okay. The game itself seems disappointing, but that doesn't mean the toy will be.

So in the alternate world of the game, WWII took a different path, with Germany invading and conquering England. The residents of Wellington Wells did... something? Something they're ashamed of and don't want to remember, so they take a pill called Joy, the side effects of which include near-total memory loss. Anyone who doesn't take their pills is in for some trouble, both from the other residents of the town and from the bobbies. For the most part, the Bobby looks like a normal police officer: smart blue uniform, rows and rows of brass buttons, the works. The sculpt is nicely understated, not going overboard with the wrinkles or textures. The 15 buttons on his chest are raised slightly, as is his badge, and his belt has a single small pouch on the right side. He wears white gloves and pointy black shoes with a raised heel.

The Bobbies, like all the socially acceptable residents of Wellington Wells, wear creepy white masks that call to mind the Guy Fawkes masks from V for Vendetta, except that here they represent oppression and conformity rather than resistance. With his long, narrow face and curling grin, he ends up looking like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. That has to be intentional! Apparently the masks aren't just molded with smiles, but display the expressions of the face beneath, meaning he really is smiling this sinisterly.

The figure includes a second head, featuring the Bobby's gas mask. They mainly wear them at night, though they'll randomly spawn with them during the day, too. But what's really important here is that the alternate head isn't molded wearing the Bobby's custodian helmet: for some reason, that's a separate piece that you have to swap between the heads. That's a strange choice, but on the plus side, it means you can make almost any figure you want be a British bobby! The blue dot in the center of the Brunswick star on the forehead serves as a flashlight in the game, though clearly it doesn't light up for this toy.

The Bobby is tall and lean, and tends to look a bit gangly when you start playing with the articulation. He has a balljointed head and neck, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, balljointed wrists, a plain sivel waist, H-crotch, swivel/hinge knees, and balljointed ankles. The joints are the style with the notches visible on the insides, but better that than nothing, right? And remember, this is McFarlane Toys: "nothing" is exactly the sort of thing they would once have given us. Plus, the choice to go with this style of hip rather than the balljoints the Borderlands or Attack on Titan figures had makes for more poseability.

His accessories include two alternate hands. His normal ones just sort of hang down at his side, with the fingers bent in a threatening manner. The alternates, meanwhile, are meant to hold his baton (the right hand) and a bottle of scotch (the left). Like the other Color Tops figures, he's also got a display base with a footpeg on top and the game's name on the front - the texture on this one represents a cobblestone street.

We Happy Few began as a Kickstarter game, with a cool BioShock-esque vibe to it, but turned out to be a survival game. Yeah, scavenge for those resources! Woo! Then the game got picked up for publication by a major studio, who immediately doubled the price and began throwing in all the typical extras major studios use to get fiscal blood from gamers' stones. Because nothing suits a game about breaking free from conformity like doing things exactly the same as everything else. The expanded game was due to be released earlier this month, but it keeps getting pushed back - which might ultimately be good news for McToys, because it gives this toy a chance for people to buy it because it looks cool, before they try the game and find out what it's really like.

-- 04/28/18

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