Tomb Raider: Lara Croft In Wet Suit Statue by Playmates

It’s another slow week for acquisitions, folks, so I’m going to be digging into the FigureFan Toy Closet for content this week. Last week I checked out NECA’s 1:6 scale Lara Croft, so I thought it only fitting I take a look back to a much earlier Tomb Raider piece: This statue and diorama by Playmates.

The packaging is a standard window box with a tomb motif. It’s technically collector friendly, but mine has been a bit mangled over the years. The entire statue with base and backdrop is about eleven inches tall. The Lara figure itself is about nine inches. The entire piece is cast in plastic.
Starting off with the base and backdrop, I have to say Playmates did a nice job here. The platform is a rustic looking floating dock with some coiled rope, and the whole thing is supported by two half barrels. The backdrop is a badly weathered wall with cracked stucco and some brickwork showing through underneath. The Tomb Raider logo appears sculpted into the back wall just over Lara’s left shoulder. Most statues these days appear with pretty minimalist environments or just small detailed bases, but Playmates went uncharacteristically out of there way here to produce a very nicely designed and excellently sculpted environment for Lara. The small section of side wall is a nice bonus too.
Unlike NECA’s modern Lara, Playmates’ version has roots deep into the earlier games and to me that makes this statue a whole lot more iconic in appearance. Without hunting down dates, I’m pretty sure this statue was out around the time the second or third game was released. I seem to recall her spending a lot of time in her wetsuit in Tomb Raider 2. Either way, this is a Lara that we old timers are more familiar with, even if she isn’t wearing her more standard outfit. The wetsuit itself is more or less painted onto her body sculpt, although there are sculpted lines where the sleeves and shorts end. Other sculpted details include her huge belt buckle, holsters with removable pistols, and her bare feet. I’m particularly fond of the execution of Lara’s head sculpt here. Again, its simple but instantly recognizeable. She’s flashing a smile and her sunglasses are worn down on her nose to show off her eyes. Her iconic ponytail hangs down over her right shoulder. All in all, it’s a nice tough and sexy look for Lara.
Lara’s weapons include the two aforementioned pistols and a harpoon gun. You’ll note the tip of the harpoon appears to have snapped off my statue, so there’s something to watch out for. Although, in fairness I’ve had this thing a long time and it’s gotten kicked around a fair share. The harpoon gun is actually sculpted onto her right arm, but her left arm is capable of holding one of her pistols.

While there’s no doubt this is a statue and not an action figure, Lara does have three points of articulation. Her arms swivel at the shoulders and her head rotates at the neck.
As many of you are aware, I’m generally not a big cheerleader for Playmates. They’ve done their share of shoddy stuff, but this statue shines above a lot of their usual crap. Make no mistake, it’s still a low end piece, particularly in the collectible statue market, but for what it is it’s a well designed display piece with a fine sculpt and great paintwork. I picked Lara up at an indie video game store many years ago and paid next to nothing for her. You can still find this statue on Ebay fairly regularly and she often sells for around $15-20. It’s not a bad little collectible if you still have a soft spot for Ms. Croft.

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