I haven’t been all that into Amazon Prime’s original content lately, but I gave Legend of Vox Machina a try and I wound up really loving it. And that surprised the hell out of me, because I had sampled Critical Role a short while prior to seeing the show, and boy was that not for me! Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised by LoVM’s ability to blend the snappy quips and action with some pretty solid character studies, and it only took a couple episodes for me to be completely invested in this crazy gang of mercenaries. And then figures were announced and I was all… Oh, YAY! And then I saw who was making them and I was all like, Oh, NO! But seeing as how I thought McFarlane’s Witcher figures were pretty OK, I decided to give these a try. Four figures have been released so far, with an initial wave consisting of Vex’Ahlia and Percy and the wave that just shipped populated by Vax’Ildan and Keyleth. I decided to mix things up by checking out one figure from each wave and pairing up the twins, Vax and Vex.
The figures come in your standard McFarlane window box, which do a nice job of showing off the figure inside, but are otherwise unremarkable. You do get some decent character art on the side panels, and I like that the purple box is adorned with a D&D dice pattern. These boxes are mostly collector friendly, but you will have to tear open the bubble that secures the figure stands if you want to get at them. McFarlane stands are nothing special, so I usually leave them attached to the tray if I’m going to save the boxes. I prefer to use the larger, clear NECA stands anyway. Let’s take a look at Vax first!
Turning 2D stylized animated character designs into 3D plastic action figures isn’t always easy or successful, but I think McFarlane did a very nice job here. Granted, both Vax and Vex’s Elven physiques aren’t too far out there when it comes to their body types. Vax here is a little gangly in the limbs, but otherwise he conforms to normal human proportions. His costume, by design, is on the drab side, mostly black with gray trim, some brown belts and straps, and a green belt providing the only splash of color in the ensemble. There isn’t much in the way of texturing here, in keeping with the more simple animated look, although you do get some nice sculpted fur on his shoulders, at the top of the cape. The cape is sculpted so as not to hinder Vax’s range of motion too badly, and it conceals the two sheathed daggers he wears across his lower back. The cape does, however, make him pretty back-heavy and I had some difficulty keeping him upright.
I do like the portrait here quite a bit. Again, it’s simple in keeping with the animation style, and I think it captures the character very well. The hair is sculpted separately from the rest of the head, giving him a sharp hairline, both across his forehead and around his pointed ears. His eyes, eyebrows, and lip coloring are all executed with halftone printing, which can look a little blurry when you punch in close with the camera, but looks fine with the naked eye. With that having been said, the eyebrows on my figure could have used a bit more paint.
Articulation here is rather standard stuff for McFarlane’s modern figures. Highlights include double-hinges in both the knees and the elbows, rotating hinges in the shoulders, wrists, and hips, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. He even has hinges in the middle of his feet, and there’s a ball joint in the waist. I don’t know what it is with McFarlane’s figures, but even with all that articulation they tend to feel a little stiff to me, but on paper everything here is pretty solid. You only get the one set of hands, and those are designed to hold his three daggers. Well, two at a time anyway! The daggers are simple sculpts and cast in gray plastic. Let’s turn our attention to Vex!
It may not be a fair comparison, but it only took a moment for me to realize that Vex was going to be my favorite of the two. But to be fair to her brother, and McFarlane’s efforts, she’s just a much more interesting looking character to me. The bright blue tabard certainly helps catch the eye, especially since the rest of her outfit is mostly brown and more brown. I like the network of belts that cinch her waist, the high V-neck collar looks sharp, and the one tuft of gray fur on her right shoulder is quite chic. What’s especially impressive is that her top appears to be sculpted separately and actually worn over the figure buck! There’s just a lot more going on here to please the eye!
And sure, some of that may have to do with the fact that she’s one pretty Elf lady, and boy did the team at McFarlane do a wonderful job on this portrait! Now, it’s worth pointing out that McFarlane takes some well justified heat for overusing the side-eye, that is painting the eyes of figures looking off to the right or left. It’s fine for a statue, but I’m not usually a fan of it on action figures, but I just think it looks so damn good here, I have to allow it. When paired with Vex’s flashing eyes and crooked, naughty smirk, I think it connects with the character all the more. Also worth pointing out is the wonderfully complex hair sculpting. The bangs over her forehead, the licks of strands in front of her ears, and the strategically placed blue feather all make for a wonderfully kinetic coif!
Vex’s articulation is identical to that of her brother, so kudos to McFarlane for not skimping on the ladies’ arm articulation like Hasbro does. She’s a little more fun to pose than Vax, mainly because she can balance a lot better, even with the quiver on her back. And yes… you observant readers may have noticed that Vex comes packaged with her quiver angled to the wrong side, even if the way she wears it on the show doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Her animated counterpart angles the quiver over her left shoulder, but holds the bow with her left hand and draws with her right, which means she has to reach across her body to pull an arrow from the quiver. Here, the figure’s right hand is sculpted to hold the bow, which means her quiver should be angled over the opposite shoulder for her off-hand to pluck arrows from it. Fortunately, the quiver is attached via a peg, so you can easily adjust it to angle over the opposite shoulder, but the figure will always be holding the bow in the wrong hand.
Obviously, Vex’s acessories include her bow, which is a decent piece, but I really wish they had gone with actual string instead of sculpted string. It just looks so thick and unrealistic. You also get a cluster of silver arrows, which slide into the quiver, but no single arrow for Vex to knock in her bow. I suppose you can consider the quiver an accessory, since it can be removed from her back.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with these figures, and while I clearly liked Vex more, Vax certainly gets the job done. The sculpts are very faithful to the show and while the accessories aren’t mind-blowing, they aren’t really lacking either. Still, I would have liked to get an extra pair of hands with each figure, particularly with Vex to allow her to hold the bow in her left hand and knock with her right. And while I do like this pair a lot, I’d really like to see the twins get the Figma treatment, because I think that would be something really special. I have two more figures in this line to check out, and I’m hoping that McFarlane sees it through to give us all of Vox Machina, because I’d be on board for the rest.