Last year, Storm Collectibles showed debuted figures based on one of my all-time favorite games on the SEGA Genesis, and I just about lost my damn mind. I was quick to pre-order Axe Battler and when I got the set it was everything I dreamed it could be. But was that going to be it? Just a one-off curiosity? Happily, the answer to that question is a big NOPE! Soon the Skeleton Soldier 2-pack reared its boney heads, and then variants of it, and then Death Adder, and then the rest of the playable characters. Holy smokes, Storm was going all in on this franchise, and I was beside myself with glee. But, as things tend to happen around here, new arrivals get buried and reviews get delayed. This past weekend Death Adder arrived and while I was itching to review him, I decided it was only right to swing back to that Skeleton two-pack and have a look at it first!
The packaging is pretty simple. The gruesome twosome come in a window box that shows off the figures and their accessories. I do love that there’s an illustration behind the tray showing the character select screen. I only had the thrill of playing the original Golden Axe a couple of times in the arcades, but I’ve spent countless hours with the home versions of Golden Axe 1 and 2. I still have my original copies, and now thanks to compilations and emulation, I can even play the arcade versions whenever I damn well please. But no matter what version you may have cut your teeth on, one thing remains the same… Skeletons are bastards!
With the first Skeleton out of the box, there are a few things that strike me. First, they’re pretty light, but they don’t feel at all fragile. Now, I’m not saying you should be reckless with your new skinless friends, but considering their just thin bones, they don’t make me feel afraid to handle them. Secondly, there’s no rubbery, gummy, or frail joints to deal with. Everything feels solid and strong. And with those handling impressions out of the way, they just look fantastic! The aesthetics haven’t been sacrificed in favor of articulation, and while I am no certified boneologist, I think they look pretty close to being anatomically correct. They are fairly clean Skeletons, without much in the way of rot, which is in line with their appearances in the game. Still, there’s some wash and overall, these fellas have a somewhat chalky finish that makes them look and feel more like bone than plastic.
The skull sculpt is excellent. I really dig the furled brows that give these guys some evil personality. The fact that the jaws are articulated is a happy surprise. You get more of that chalky finish on the skull, which does look a bit like there’s some left over flesh peeling off, and the eye sockets are painted in black to make them look like dark pools of evil.
As near as I can tell, there’s no differences in sculpt between the two Skeletons, but my sets have some slight variations in paint that keep them from looking too uniform when displayed together. Still, if I named them, I doubt I’d be able to tell them apart. As far as articulation goes, you get lots and lots of rotating hinges in all the expected places. Some sweet bonuses include hinges in the feet, and a rotating hinge in the spine, just below the ribcage. These boney bros are also extremely well balanced, and I’ve had a lot less difficulty getting them to stand than a lot of other fully fleshed out figures.
Each Skeleton comes with a total of five pairs of hands, which is pretty crazy! Hell, I just reviewed a Hot Toys figure that didn’t have this many hands, and they’re like the Kings of giving out too many hands! Anyway, these guys come with fists attached, but you also get your choice of accessory holding hands, relaxed hands, clawing hands, and pointing hands, which are my favorite as I call them the “I’ve got a bone to pick with you” hands.
Each Skeleton also comes with a sword and shield, and these are identical for each figure, with one exceptions. The skulls on the shields are oriented so that one shield is left handed and the other is right handed. The shields have gold faces and on the reverse they each have an arm strap and a grab bar. The swords have golden guards and pommels and silver blades. Despite having no meat on their hands, these guys can hold their gear very well.
One thing I was curious about was how well these would work with my beloved Mythic Legions figures, and I’m happy to report that they look great together. Many of the Mythic Legions Skeletons have a little more color going on, but I would have no problem integrating these two lines. In truth, I’m surprised The Four Horsemen didn’t think of putting out something like this a while back.
These Skeleton packs seem to have been pretty popular, as they were regularly selling out at all of my usual e-tailers. I had one set pre-ordered and picked up a second when they came back into stock. I would imagine that even people who aren’t as passionate about Golden Axe as myself will be buying these for their fantasy figure collections. Indeed, I highly recommend them. They’re great figures that look like they could have just as easily stepped out of the screen of Jason and the Argonauts as a Golden Axe cabinet.