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Lara Croft (South Pacific)

Tomb Raider: Adventures of Lara Croft
by yo go re

If I'd known Rogers and Hammerstein musicals were like this, I'd have gone to the theatre a lot more!

Knowing the dangers of an action-packed adventure all too well, Lara has come to expect the unexpected. As she deftly treks past a secluded South Pacific waterfall in search of a long-lost treasure, she stops dead as she spots a monstrous crocodile in her path. Unaccustomed to letting any obstacle get in the way of a big payoff, she raises her trusty M-16 assault rifle. Locked-and-loaded, she lets fly a flurry of firepower - and the scaly creature disappears back into his murky hideaway.

Series 1 of Playmates Toys' Tomb Raider: Adventures of Lara Croft adventure dioramas mostly played things safe - three out of four figures gave us Lara in her normal "blue tank top and brown shorts" outfit (even if two of them put a jacket over top of it). Series 2, once it was saved from cancellation by Palisades, got a little more adventurous.

Some corners were cut, though: this is the first figure to re-use an existing head, rather than molding a new one. They've all looked vastly similar (because they all represent the same woman and are all based on the same art), but the way the braid on this one curves around to the side reveals that this is the same mold as the Jungle Lara.

Lara is wearing less clothing than usual, which is quite an accomplishment for her! She's still dropped herself into a pair of booty shorts - green this time, rather than brown - but instead of a full shirt, she's wearing a crop top. Or maybe just a white sports bra? It's hard to tell, they're the same size (which appears to be at least one size too small for her chest). Either way, it means the torso is a new mold, because the seam of her shirt is a sculpted edge. And her legs are a new mold, because she's twisting weirdly to the side. Or at least, her legs are - both her feet are pointing in the same direction, which might not be so weird, if that direction weren't clearly "to the right." Her left foot points across her body, for some reason.

She's armed with an M-16 and her two pistols, though she can only use one at a time: her right arm is bent and has the hand ready to hold a gun, but the left hand is completely wide open, and will never hold anything at all. Her articulation is the same as the rest of the line, with swivel joints at the neck, shoulders, waist, and hips. A few figures got extra joints in the biceps, but this clearly isn't one of them.

The "Adventure Diorama" included in this set is a small waterfall. Or, maybe it's not small; maybe it's just far away. If this is supposed to be some kind of crazy forced perspective thing, that would certainly explain why a permanent cascade of water dead-ends in a puddle you could jump over. The dirt section is an irregularly shaped 8⅝" x 6⅜", while the waterfall is 8" tall and, since it leans back, adds another two inches or so to the depth. The stones are detailed well, with tan roots twisting through them and several leafy green plants sprouting forth. The only downside is that the water looks more like melted wax - maybe if it were cast from translucent plastic, rather than painted, it would look better? It worked for the Deep Sea set.

This time Lara's little animal adversary is a crocodile, because there aren't a lot of alligators in the South Pacific. Unlike Sydney Savage's wee croc, this one is a complete body, not just a partial - though obviously the detail on this one isn't nearly as good as McFarlane's. Compared to that one, this one's scales are smooth and indistinct. Crocky is about 6" long, but would be longer if he weren't curled to the side and raising his head to hiss.

The second series of Tomb Raider figures was much harder to find than the first, which is a shame - this Lara may have reused pieces and be unable to hold more than one gun at a time, but she adds some variety to a lineup that otherwise looked very much the same.

-- 05/11/17

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