Quake II: Strogg Tank by Resaurus

I know! I haven’t been doing a lot of Saturday features lately, but the truth is I’m getting really behind on the stuff I need to cover, so I decided to stake out a couple of Saturdays for some of the older stuff I’ve got sitting in the hopper. I even heard a rumor that Vintage Vault may be returning next month!

Today we’re revisiting one of the little companies that spearheaded the partnership between video game and collectible action figures: Resaurus! I’m also celebrating the fact that I have finally completed my Quake II collection. Or is that re-completed? Because more than three years ago I reclaimed my Quake II figures from a storage tote to feature them here on FFZ only to have the Strogg Tank take a nose dive off the table and shatter at one of the joints. Holy shit, I was pissed! I took all the care in the world to lovingly pack these figures away where they rested safely in storage for years. Then, the one day I take them out the best piece out of the collection bites the dust. It’s taken me a while to finally replace him, but I got a great deal on him last week from a fellow collector.

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And yes, he was still in the package! Granted, the package has seen better days. The bubble is dented, the card is bent, but I don’t care because this guy is coming out. Part of the damage is because he got shipped to me in a mailer bag, but to be fair, this guy is so freaking heavy that it’s hard to find him on a card that isn’t heavily shopworn. The front of the card lets the toy speak for itself, whereas the back shows off some of the other figures in the line. Resaurus’ packaging was never their strong suit, but their figures kicked ass, so let’s get this guy out and ready for action…

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The Strogg Tank lives up to his name as he is an absolute beast of a figure, which is fitting because he was an absolute f’cker in the game. He stands about a head taller than Iron Maiden and he’s one bulky hunk of plastic. But as heavy as he is, I think his most impressive feature is the attention to detail that Resaurus poured into him. Unlike the other Stroggs, there aren’t a lot of organics left to this guy. I’m not sure how much of the body is suit or just robot, but the only exposed living tissue is his squishy lump of flesh that passes for his head. And even that has seen better days as he’s missing one of his eyes. It’s no surprise that he looks pissed and the only way he knows how to express his emotions is by firing rockets at people. Luckily he happens to have a rocket launcher mounted on his right shoulder.

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From the neck down this guy is mostly comprised of gears, pistons, cables, and killing hardware. It’s a very busy sculpt that takes every opportunity to show off weathering and damage. One of my favorite examples of this is the prominent crater blown into the left part of his chest armor. It shows exposed wires and mechanics and it contrasts so well with the intact right portion that proudly bares his Strogg emblem. I also love the real springs in the pistons that attach his feet to his legs. That looks amazing, but as we’ll see in a moment, it wasn’t the most clever of design choices. Luckily the paintwork here has the chops to back up such a detailed sculpt. The military matte looks like real metal and the silver dry brushing that shows scraped paint and distress looks phenominal. I think the reason this guy looks so formidable is because he’s taken such a beating and is still standing there trying to kill you. The Strogg Tank just doesn’t give a shit!

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Another very cool detail on the Tank is the set of exposed gears, which can be seen through the holes blown into his left leg armor. Even better, you can remove the panel and get a better look. And I’ll go you one further… the gears actually turn when you articulate the leg. So cool!

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The Tank features fairly basic articulation, but it works for a guy who generally needs to just stomp around and shoot at you. His arms rotate at the shoulders and are hinged at the elbows. His legs rotate at the hips, are hinged at the knees, and hinged again at the ankles. His head turns and when it does the rocket launcher turns with it, so he can aim it just by looking. The launcher does fire, but the three rockets are all molded as one piece. Also, the head snaps back to the front whenever you let it go. I presume that’s a result of the mechanism that ties in with the launcher.

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So, here’s the huge design flaw in this figure. Each of the ankles is attached to the legs by two relatively small cylinders. They’re the ones with the springs around them. These four cylinders are the only things holding that massive figure up. These are load bearing cylinders and they are in no way up to the task. Not only are they not thick enough to support this figure’s weight, but they are made of pretty brittle plastic that isn’t getting any stronger with age. These are what broke on my initial Tank when he fell off the shelf and the ones on this figure are already getting stress marks like they’re going to pop. There’s just no way this design was ever going to stand the test of time and I fully expect to have to replace this figure yet again sooner or later.

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And that wraps up my look at Resaurus’ Quake II line. It was long overdue, as I featured the rest of this line all the way back in April of 2010. If you like what you’ve seen, be sure and check out my features on the rest of the figures. I absolutely adore this line, not only because they’re so much fun, but because they take me back to that really cool time when Resaurus had built up a little community of collectors around their website and the worlds of video games and toys seemed to intersect so seamlessly. Like most of the Quake II line, the Strogg Tank is not a difficult figure to find. The asking price tends to be all over the place, but if you’re in the market for one you should be able to nab a carded example for between $20-30. When you consider the age of the figure as well as the craftsmanship that is not a bad deal at all. I tend to think if he were on the pegs today he’d end up being in the $40-50 range, but then these days the only company that comes to mind that would be capable of turning out a figure like this would be NECA. Just watch out for those damn pistons and try to keep him from taking a shelf dive.

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Duke Nukem: Pig Cop by Resaurus

One of the coolest things I picked up at the Toy Show from a bunch of weeks back was this carded Duke Nukem Pig Cop figure from the now defunct Ohio based company, Resaurus. I ordered the entire lot of these from Resaurus back in the day and alas, only one of them survived the ensuing years, so when I saw this guy sitting there on a dealer table for ten bucks, I couldn’t resist.

I know I’ve waxed nostalgic about Resaurus before, but it’s been a while and seeing this packaging again after 15 years really takes me back. Ok, so their product wasn’t exactly durable. Case in point: Only one of my Duke Nukem figures, the Duke himself, still survives intact. One by one, my Duke figures broke or shattered in some horrible way. But, fragility aside, I really liked what Resaurus did as a company. They grabbed some really solid video game licenses (including Quake, Street Fighter, Sonic the Hedgehog and Crash Bandicoot) and created a destination website that really brought gamers and collectors together. They had lively forums and involved the consumer in the development and production process. It was all very cool.

Anyway, the figure comes on a huge bubble and a generic card. There’s an insert in the bubble with the figure’s name and some character artwork. The back of the card shows all the figures available in the line, plus screencaps of them in the game. I’ll concede the presentation here is a little dated, but considering we’re talking about toys based on a mid-90’s highly pixelated First Person Shooter, I think the packaging has some charm. Since I’ve already owned this figure and I know what he’s all about, I really hemmed and hawed over whether or not to open this guy or just hang him on my wall. In the end, I decided to tear him open. Probably no big surprise there!

Oh, I get it! It’s a cop and it’s a pig! I’ll take this opportunity to point out that FigureFan Zero supports the efforts and sacrifices of our local police force and in no way condones using the “pig” epithet toward police officers. Only filthy hippies do that! Disclaimer aside, yes, Duke’s main cannon fodder in the game were pig cops and this is one of them in figure form. Let’s bust him open and see what we’ve got…

There’s no doubt about it, Pig Cop features a really nice sculpt. Even after 15 years of advancements in toy design, this figure still exhibits a beautiful array of detail and texture work. Piggy’s head is amazing, with all the hair sculpted onto his face and a great prominent brow to frame his evil red eyes. The portrait is nicely rounded out with his trademark mohawk, drooping ears and big flat nose. And then there’s the mouth. One of my favorite things about this figure, and there’s a lot to love, is his hinged mouth. Open it up and you get a great look at the texturing on his tongue and his big bottom tusks. For a character that is basically a mindless grunt, Resaurus poured a lot of love and attention into Pig Cop’s portrait.

Pig Cop’s hunched half-pig, half-man body is made up of a sculpted uniform with a separate rubbery plastic flak jacket over the body. He’s got little bent pig legs that end in hooves, a set of burly arms with claws and an adorable little piggy tail. The flak jacket is removable, but I’m content to leave it on to avoid any tearing. The jacket is packed with great little touches including lots of texturing and “LARD” (har, har) printed on the front and back. It’s also loaded with battle damage from scrapes to bullet holes and an array of ammo pouches across the front.

For a figure of this vintage, Pig Cop has solid articulation. Out of the package, I had to force just about every one of his joints to get them to move for the first time. I was pretty sure something was going to go wrong, but happily he survived the process. The head features the aforementioned articulated jaw, and will swivel at the neck side to side, and thanks to the break in the Mohawk sculpt, it can move without hindrance. The arms rotate at the shoulders and feature swivel cuts in both the biceps and the wrists. Sure, hinged elbows would have been cool, but what’s here works ok. Lastly, his legs feature “T” jointed hips and the figure can swivel at the waist.


Pig Cop comes with three accessories. You get a gas mask, a riot shotgun, and a PR-24 nightstick with a knife taped to the end of it. The gas mask features the best detail of all the accessories and is a cool piece as it simply fits right over the figure’s snout and stays on remarkably well. The shotgun is pretty generic and features a soft sculpt. The weathered metal paint helps it along a little bit, but it’s nothing special. The figure can hold it in his left hand remarkably well. Last up is the PR-24, which has a little peg in the side so you can peg it into the figure’s left claw. The combat knife taped to the end of it gives it a little more character than the shotgun, but it still feels like just a placeholder.

 


Ultimately, Resaurus took a wonderfully unique approach to this figure. The Pig Cops in Duke Nukem 3D were goofy, cartoony cannon fodder, but what Resaurus produced here is a very cool, sinister looking bastard. In fact, the level of detail here makes him look more akin to modern video game creature designs, including those found in the unbelievably shitty ill-fated sequel so many years later. I can happily display him alongside the original Resaurus Duke, but I honestly think he looks better standing beside NECA’s recent Duke Nukem Forever offering. That says a lot for how the figure’s design has held up over the last decade and a half. I’ll also admit that having him has made me more anxious to hunt down a new Battle Lord and Octabrain. But for the time being, hopefully I can hang on to this guy for a while without him falling to pieces.

Quake II: Strogg Iron Maiden and Strogg Technician by Resaurus

Last time, we looked at the two human figures, and their monster pack-ins, from Resaurus’ Quake II line. This time, let’s check out the Strogg Iron Maiden and her pack-in figure, the Strogg Technician. Honestly, this is a case where its hard to tell which figure is the pack-in and which is the main attraction. They are both big and cool and would probably have been totally acceptable on separate cards. The Iron Maiden is more of a conventional action figure and while I don’t have the original packaging anymore, I seem to recall that the card gave her top billing so we’re going to start with her.

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Iron Maiden is my least favorite figure of the bunch, mainly because of her pose and lack of articulation. But that’s like saying I like regular chocolate ice cream less than rocky road, because this is still a nice looking figure with an absolutely fantastic sculpt. The thing that impresses me most about the Quake II figures is how much detail Resaurus packed into them. There is not one tiny part of this figure that isn’t covered with some kind of love and attention. And that’s not surprising because how could you not love this beauty? The Iron Maiden is a hellish mix of gnarled flesh and mechanical parts. Her torso looks like a reanimated corpse. Her right leg is entirely mechanical, while her left leg is a fusion of stapled skin and a robotic boot. Her right arm is withered and her left arm is a giant gun. You just don’t see detail like this on most figures, even ten years later.

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Now the not so good stuff. Iron Maiden’s head does not turn. My guess is Resaurus nixed the joint because of the hoses running from her head to her body. Her arms rotate at the shoulders. She will theoretically rotate at the waist, but the skin hanging down from her torso makes it difficult. The real downside, however, is the articulation from the waist down. Her legs rotate at the groin and her legs are hinged at the knees and ankles. The problem is with the way her feet are positioned. Her left foot is turned outward, which makes her stance very uneasy. This figure is begging for swivel joints in her legs to correct the awkward stance, but there are none. So, besides being difficult to stand, the articulation that is in her legs serves almost no purpose at all.

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The Iron Maiden only has one accessory and that’s her swappable left arm. The replacement arm is a nasty looking bloodied blade that looks like it would be perfect for skewering those nosey marines. The arm pops on and off really easily although with the blade installed you do lose the point of articulation that was in the gun arm’s elbow. One of these days I still plan on picking up a second Iron Maiden just so I can display her both ways. Now granted, with just the extra arm this lovely lady comes up pretty short in the accessories department, but considering the size of her pack-in figure, I think we can forgive that.

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The Technician is a most interesting figure, if you can call it that. Its really just a hidious alien head flying around in a metal box. The outer shell is wonderfully detailed with an insane amount of sculpted rivets, hoses, welded panels, etc. Even the coloring of the plastic and the paintwork conspire brilliantly to give this thing a realistic and weathered metal finish. There are red tinted windows on the front and back, both of which open to reveal the head inside. The front is hinged, whereas the back one just pops right off.

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The head is blue-green with yellow eyes and a series of black plates covering the mouth. I can’t vouch that this is what they actually looked like because I never got close enough to one in the game to peek inside, but I know that Resaurus worked closely with the concept art so there’s no reason to doubt them on this one. There’s a chaingun molded onto the side of the figure’s bottom, near its levitating thrusters. On the downside, this guy doesn’t stand very well. I’m thinking maybe it would have been worthwhile to release him on his own and include a clear flight stand of some kind to help him out and give him a levitating effect. Some day I may try to repurpose one of my DCUC stands to do the trick.

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As expected, the Technician doesn’t offer much articulation, just a claw arm on the front that rotates and two smaller arms on the back sides that rotate. All three of which can be removed. One of the smaller arms on the side is pretty tough to get pegged in properly as it bumps up against part of the mold.

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Like the Marines, The Iron Maiden is still available if you know where to look. She pops up on Ebay frequently and can even still be found in the forgotten corners of some web dealers’ online catalogs. She’s also argueably the most common of the whole Quake II assortment. You shouldn’t have to pay much more then $15 for her, and that’s a pretty good deal for two very well executed figures and a whole lot of plastic for your money. And that wraps up the Quake II line. As I said in the previous post, I would have loved to show off the Strogg Tank. He was a magnificent figure, and definitely the showpiece for the whole line. Ah, but like most of my Duke Nukem figures, he wasn’t built to last. Despite surviving in storage for about six years, I had him out once and posed him on my shelf and after just a few minutes he tottered over, hit the carpet and broke into at least a half dozen pieces. As much as I loved him, there’s no chance of me replacing him any time soon as he goes for quite a lot of money these days.

My box from Matty arrived yesterday, so I should get around to posting Evil Lyn, Hordak and Peter Venkman tomorrow.

Quake II: Marine Major and Jungle Marine Athena by Resaurus

So, last time we looked at the tragic tale of upstart toy company, Resaurus and their Duke Nukem figure. But Resaurus’ Duke line was far from a one shot deal. This was a company that delivered on some really good video game action figures from Street Fighter to Crash Bandicoot and some of those can be damn pricey these days. But for my money, their best looking line of figures came out of the Quake II franchise. It’s a fitting situation since at the time Quake II was everywhere. If you were even slightly into PC gaming you were absolutely saturated by it. In addition to doing a few figures based on the game’s horde of baddies, Resaurus also made two good guys: A male and female Marine, each packaged with a monster. Let’s turn the camera around on this First Person Shooter and see who’s holding the guns!

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The male Marine is just called Marine Major (if he had a name, I don’t remember it) and he comes packaged with a Barracuda monster. The Major is big and buff and one hell of a fantastic sculpt. The amount of detail on this figure really is impressive. He has a flattop buzz cut and a vicious sneer with a well placed trickle of blood coming out the corner of his grimace. His arms are bulging with muscles and veins and he’s got a bloody bandage wrapped around his left arm and a strap of grenades around his right. His combat outfit is a messy hodgepodge of plates, exposed electrical components and hoses. Its pretty worn and there are several bullet impacts situated about. There’s even sculpted treads on the bottom of his boots. The sculpt and paintwork here is just oozing with love for the project. It’s like the designers didn’t know when to stop, and I mean that in every possible good way.

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Marine Major is slightly pre-posed and intended to be holding out both his weapons, but he still has good, serviceable articulation. His head rotates, his arms rotate at the shoulders and have swivels in the biceps arms. There are no hinges in the elbows and they are molded in a slightly bent position. His legs rotate at the hips and he does have hinged knees. No, he’s not super articulated, but there’s enough here to make him a solid and fun action figure rather than just a collectible statue trying to pass for a figure.

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Of course, Quake II is all about the guns, and that idea wasn’t lost on Resaurus as The Major comes with two massive weapons: The missile launcher, with a removable missile clip, and a minigun-style rifle. The detail on these weapons is as impressive as the figure itself. In fact, I’d dare say these are some of the best weapon sculpts for a figure in this scale that I’ve ever seen. You can count all the rivets and there’s textured plating sculpted right in. He can easily hold both weapons at once, although how he could remain standing while firing them is beyond me… and yet he does! Clearly this guy is ready to murder him some Strogg.

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Of course, The Major needs someone to shoot with those big damn guns and so he comes with the Baraccuda pack-in figure, which apart from being another really nice sculpt, doesn’t really do anything. Nope, this is just a hefty piece of nicely sculpted rubbery plastic. I’m not complaining as it’s still a wonderful looking piece, but considering the size of the Marine and his two weapons, its a very nice bonus for an already well rounded package. You rarely get this much stuff in a carded figure. Poor Baraccuda… I don’t think he really has a chance against those guns.

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The femme fatale of the line actually has a name, Athena, although she was also known as the Jungle Marine. She comes with the more substatial of the two monster pack-ins, the Strogg Dog, but that’s probably because she and her weapons are much less bulkier than the Major and use less plastic. Athena is a really nice figure, but the sculpt isn’t quite as impressive as the Major. I think the main problem I have with her is the thin head and the vacant stare. Her face just doesn’t have the same expressive character as the Major, although she is fairly attractive and sports a decent bit of clevage and a pony tail. Too bad she’s almost wall-eyed. Her combat outfit isn’t as complex as the Major’s either, but it still has loads of detail and the same awesome little bullet notches and battlewear. As her title implies, the cloth parts of her outfit are camoed green for a jungle environment. Oh, and that Quake I tattoo on her arm? That’s like a big wet kiss straight from the designers. Athena has the same basic articulation as the Major. She has a rotating head, rotating shoulders, and swivels in her upper arms. Her legs rotate at the hips and she has hinged knees.

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So as not to discriminate against the fairer sex, Athena also comes with two weapons. Sure, they’re both a little smaller than The Major’s guns, but she’s got to be able to hold them so fair is fair. She has a combat shotgun, and what I think is an assault rifle, although it looks more like a really bulky pistol. Its been a long time since I played Quake II, so the weapon inventory is escaping me. They both have great detail, but overall they are not nearly as impressive as the Major’s arsenal.

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Of course, to make up for her smaller size and smaller weapons, she comes with a much bigger pack-in monster, the Strogg Dog. Rather than just a sculpted piece of PVC, this Strogg pooch is more like a second action figure as he has rotating joints on all four of his legs in addition to a big bendy tenticle-arm that comes out of his back and over his head. The sculpting on this figure is just amazing and I love the way the soft quishy organic bits contrast with the harsh metal cyborg components. The fact that this is just a pack-in piece and not really the main attraction just goes to show how much work Resaurus put into this line. You just wouldn’t see this kind of stuff on the pegs nowadays.

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From my experience the Quake II figures are easier to find than most of Resaurus’ Duke Nukem toys. You can still scare up carded examples of both these figures for under $20 each if you look hard enough and that’s really not a bad price for figures of this size and quality. Also worth noting, these figures are much, much better made than the self-destructing Duke Nukem figures, so you don’t have to worry about breakage. Alas, the same can’t be said for the enormous Strogg Tank, as mine broke into so many places that I won’t be able to review him here. But next time I’ll round out the rest of the series by lookng at the Iron Maiden and Strogg Technician.

 

Duke Nukem by Resaurus

Let’s keep the video game figure ball rolling with another treasure reclaimed from my closet of totes. Ever heard of Resaurus? If you’ve been an action figure collector for a while, you probably have. While I distinctly remember seeing some of their products on the pegs in Toys R Us and the KB Toys Outlet, most of their wares seemed to be peddled online or at indie comic shops. Nonetheless, there was a time when it looked like this upstart little toy company was going to go places. They had an awesome website that I used to have loads of fun perusing, which featured all sorts of cool video game related figures from Street Fighter to Quake to Sonic the Hedgehog and Crash Bandicoot. They also involved the fans in their process by showing off prototypes and talking up future waves and generally encouraging fan input at a time before the now established Internet Q&A sessions. Then Resaurus closed down, never to be heard from again. Seriously, it seemed to happen overnight, and a lot of their planned figures sadly never saw production.

It seems almost morbidly fitting that one of the game franchises Resaurus got hold of was Duke Nukem, another name that fell on hard times and disappeared into the past. The story behind Duke Nukem’s decline from video game icon to washed up has-been as far more tortured than I can go into here, but feel free to insert your favorite double entendre using the title of his last planned game, Duke Nukem Forever. Either way, just keep in mind, these figures came out back when Duke was still a big name in video games. He had conquered the computer, going from shareware sidescroller to king of the First Person Shooter, and was in the process of invading the game consoles. It was a time when the king and queen of video games was Duke Nukem and Lara Croft. But this was before the poor guy went out with a wimper. Death by eternal release delays of Duke Nukem Forever.

Anywho, I ordered the entire initial assortment of Duke Nukem figures when they were first available. They were delicate as all hell, and sadly, few of them survived unscathed to this day. Keep in mind these figures spent their lives standing on display shelves or wrapped in plastic in a secure roughneck tote. They haven’t exactly been stressed with the rigors of play and yet when I unwrapped Duke today to talk about him, the trigger guard on one of his guns promptly crumbled to dust in my hand. No shit. Imagine if kids actually played with these things! The other figures didn’t fare much better. Long ago, both arms fell off my Pig Cop, and my Battlelord figure took a swan dive off the shelf onto a carpeted floor and literally shattered. In retrospect, I wish I had just glued them back together, but in a fit of rage I tossed them. I didn’t even save their weapons. I had the Octabrain too, but I have no idea what happened to it. I suspect it might have vaporized while in storage.

But Duke survived, and he is a pretty decent figure, so long as you don’t plan on rough housing with him in the sandbox. The sculpt is pretty good. The detail isn’t overwhelming, but his muscles are well defined and you can even see the tendons bulging in his manly arms. His outfit is a simple sculpt and mainly detailed with paint apps for his blue trousers and black boots. He has a soft plastic harness and belt combo, which I’m surprised has lasted this long without crumbling away. The harness straps have molded shotgun shells and ammo pouches and his trademark Nuke symbol beltbuckle. His head sculpt is pretty much spot on, complete with trademark sneer, sculpted on shades and blonde flattop buzzcut. Its definitely Duke, alright.

The articulation isn’t the best, but it is an older figure and it doesn’t reflect the vast improvements that the industry has since seen. Duke’s head turns, his arms rotate at the shoulders and his legs rotate at the hips. He has swivel cuts in his forearms and wrists and his knees are hinged. He’s nowhere near as bad as some of the statues that pass for video game figures, even today.

Duke does come with a number of accessories. He has a large double barreled weapon called The Devastator. He holds it in each hand and it can be pegged to his back like a backpack. He has two smaller SMG’s, one of which, as noted above, is now missing a trigger guard. He’s also got a blood splattered combat knife. The SMG’s and the combat knife are all pegged and can clip onto holes on the sides of his legs, which is admittedly a really nice touch.

Like I said, I really wish I had attempted to save the other figures. Even if glueing them meant nullifying their articulation, I still would have liked to have had them for display as they were all really great looking figures. I can’t really recommend hunting these figures down, because they’re surprisingly scarce on Ebay, probably because they were so prone to breakage. The Duke figures are actually easiest and cheapest to scrounge up, especially the repaint variant, Night Strike Duke, but the aliens will require some pretty signifcant wallet diving for figures that tend to break if you look at them funny. If you do hunt them down, my recommendation would be to leave them mint on card.