TRON: Tron and Sark by Diamond Select Toys

In the past few weeks, I’ve taken a spin through the various figures based on the failed franchises that Diamond Select has raided from Disney’s dumpster. We saw figures from The Black Hole, we saw a figure of The Rocketeer, and now I’m checking out their figures from the original TRON. And yeah, TRON may have been a failed franchise, but I have an unending reservoir of love for it and it’s sequel. I can remember my poor parents hunting everywhere for those Tomy TRON figures and Lightcycles when I was a kid, and while I was beside myself with joy when I finally got them… Getting these DST figures as a kid would have been like a dream come true.

Here they are in their collector friendly window boxes, and like most of DST’s figures these Programs are about seven inches tall. The history and distribution behind these figures is a bit convoluted. I’m pretty sure that these are the same figures DST released as part of their Kingdom Hearts line, but I’ve never been a fan of those games, and so those passed me by. The pair I’m looking at today were available in different versions of this assortment. I found these at Walgreens, but there are other versions that include some effect parts. There was also a third figure, Flynn included in this assortment, and a red Infiltrator variant included with the others. Regular Flynn is supposed to be hard to find, but I managed to find one online just yesterday and I’ll probably review him to at some point. For now, let’s start with Tron.

He fights for the Users! I am still so smitten with the aesthetics of the original TRON, but I think it’s one of those things where you had to be there for it. The suits, which were lit up in post-production, are something that isn’t easy to translate into action figures. That’s probably why Tomy went with translucent colored plastic when they made their figures. It was a neat effect, but it didn’t really look like the characters on the screen. Here, DST has done a pretty fine job embracing the actual character designs. Tron features a body cast in pale gray with the piping and circuit patterns printed on in light blue. Sure, it lacks the vibrant lighting effect the Programs had on the screen, but it otherwise looks great. Some of the blue effects are part of the sculpt, but overall Tron’s body utilizes sculpted details sparingly. You get some rumpling and definition in the boots, he has his tubular arm bracers, which extend over the backs of his hands. and finally the armor pieces on his shoulders and biceps.

The portrait is a pretty solid likeness for Bruce Boxleitner. It’s a little over simplified, but I can definitely recognize him in there. I like the gray paint they used for his “skin,” although in some shots from the film it’s not much different from the pale gray of the suit. This is a case where it may not be 100% accurate, but it looks good on the figure. The helmet looks like it might be sculpted from a separate piece, which gives the whole head sculpt some appreciated depth, and it has more of those great blue piping and circuit patterns printed on it.

The articulation here is quite good, and I’m particularly pleased to see DST went with ball joints in the hips, rather than those weird lateral hinge and T-crotch they often favor. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, there are swivels in the biceps, and the elbows have double-hinges capable of very tight bends. The legs have swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint just under the chest and another in the neck. The joints are all strong and serviceable, making Tron lots of fun to pose and play with.

Tron comes with two accessories: His Identity Disc and a plain black stand. The Disc has a peg which allows it to be stored on his back, like in the film. He can sort of hold the disc by sticking the edge between his thumb and index finger, but it’s certainly not a tight grasp. I had to make use of some blue-tack to keep it in place for many of these pictures. Let’s move on to Sark…

Sadly, I don’t have as much to say about Sark because I’ve already covered it all with Tron. But don’t let the fool you into thinking that I don’t love this guy. General to The Master Control Program, Sark was a great villain and a pretty damn cool character design. Pretty much everything I said about Tron’s body rings true for Sark, only he features a darker gray plastic and red piping and circuit patterns. His suit is also a little more bulky than Tron’s, which makes him look a little more imposing. Despite the different suit, the articulation remains identical.

While Tron’s portrait was solid, I think Sark’s is spectacular. David Warner is my boi. He just makes everything he appears in better, and the folks at DST did a wonderful job with his likeness on this figure. I’m also a big fan of Sark’s elaborate helmet. It’s like a hood with extra bits added to protect his noggin when he’s engaging in those crazy games. I really can’t say enough good things about how well this head sculpt turned out.

And like Tron, Sark comes with his Identity Disc, which can be pegged into his back for storage or sort of held in his hands if you have a little patience and don’t jostle the table he’s standing on too hard. He also has a plain black figure stand, which really isn’t necessary since these guys stand great on their own.

If you can’t tell, I absolutely love these figures. Maybe some of that comes from the fact that these are fulfilling a wish that I’ve had since I was a little kid, but I think a lot of credit has to go to Diamond Select for the work. These feel like a labor of love, because why else would they release them? I doubt these are going to be best sellers for them, because despite the big-budget sequel, I feel like TRON continues to languish in a sort of cult status. Sure there are other middle aged nerds like me who remember it and appreciate it and will want to own the toys, but I don’t think that will translate to big sales. And as I write this, I’m kind of talking myself into buying the other versions, if not just for the extra effect parts, but also just to show DST how much I appreciate these and how badly I want a second wave with Ram, Yori, and a Warrior. Oh man, I can’t imagine how good a Warrior would look in this line.

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