Golden Axe: Tyris Flare and Blue Dragon Mount by Storm Collectibles

If you’ve been hanging around here the last year or so, then you know how much I’ve been digging Storm Collectibles’ line of figures based on the SEGA Golden Axe arcade brawler. I’ll refer you back my look at the first release, Axe Battler, but there have also been an assortment of Skeletons, as well as Death Adder and his clones. Yessir, I love me some Golden Axe, even if it is singularly responsible for me still misspelling the word Ax just about every damn time. When Axe Battler was first revealed, I remember crying about how I would happily shell out the money to buy a repaint of the Red Dragon Mount if it meant getting us Tyris Flare, and happily Storm Collectibles has obliged!

Of course, Tyris Flare being one of the three playable characters in Golden Axe. She has stronger magical abilities, seems to move and attack a bit faster, but lacks the tank-like constitution of the burly Axe Battler. The packaging here is quite similar to that previous release, although the art and quality of the box feel slightly more polished. This box didn’t immediately tear when I opened it! You still get the cool artwork from the character select screen on an insert in the back of the box. Tyris comes on a tray with all her extras spread out around her, while the her Dragon Mount is secured in a tray under that one, and requiring his tail to be popped on before display. Let’s start with a look at Tyris!

Definitely one of the hottest pixelated babes to grace my SEGA Genesis, Tyris shows up to the fight wearing a skimpy bikini, white with red borders, as well as a pair of matching arm bracers, and high buccaneer-style boots. The bikini is sculpted as part of the figure, and Storm did some clever stuff, like using the straps on the back to help conceal the seams in the rather copious amount of jointing found here. I say “help conceal”, because it really doesn’t succeed completely. For a figure that shows this much skin, the jointing here can be pretty noticeable. It’s nothing worse than we saw with Axe Battler, and this is definitely a case where the added articulation is worth the sacrifice. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing TBLeague take a crack at this line with their Phicen Seamless bodies. With all that having been said, I think she looks great, and they did an especially nice job sculpting the musculature in her abs.

As with Axe Battler, you get two different heads: One with a fairly neutral expression, and one showing her battle face. I think both are excellent and reflect the beauty of the character. I can’t decide on a favorite so I’ll likely switch off depending on what kind of poses I use for displaying her. The hair is sculpted separately from the head, and that adds a lot of nice depth to it, especially the way her bangs fall over her forehead. This piece can actually be removed, similar to a Figma or Figuart, but I’m not sure why, since we aren’t swapping faces here, but rather the entire head.

I do like how her fierce expression head has more going on with her hair. It’s splayed out down near her shoulders, as if her coif is whipping around from the action of the battle.

In addition to the two heads, Tyris comes with a whole passel of different hands. You get Fists, sword-holding hands, relaxed hands, grapple hands, and finger-pointing hands. Some of these really add some nice options while posing her.

And posing her sure is fun. Her articulation consists of a lot of rotating joints, double-hinges, and double-sided ball joints. It’s also worth mentioning that, like Axe Battler, the balance on this figure is quite impressive. She’s even capable of standing on her tip-toes without the assist of a stand! Axe Battler spent a long time on my desk so that I could grab him and fiddle about with him on my downtime, and I imagine that will be the case with Ms. Flare as well. She’s just lots of fun to play around with and damn hard to put down!

Apart from a whole bunch of hands, Tyris comes with her trusty sword, and it’s an absolutely gorgeous little weapon. The blade has a bright silver finish, with raised gold decorations running nearly half the length of the blade. The hilt has a dark iron finish, with a down-turned crossguard, and an extended grip so the sword can be wielded single or double-handed. It’s easy to get the grip into either or both of her hands, and she holds it just firmly enough to keep it from slipping. Let’s move on to the Dragon Mount!

I won’t spend a whole lot of time on this glorious blue beast, because he really is a straight repaint of Axe Battler’s Red Mount. It was a strikingly beautiful toy then, and it’s every bit as beautiful with its new coat of paint. The blue looks really nice, although the pea-soup green used for the claws, belly, reins, and saddle makes the figure not as flashy as it could have been. The pixel art in the game utilized a bit brighter shade for these parts, but I can’t say I dislike what we got.

The head is an amazing sculp, featuring some exceptional detail in the fins, horns, and the texturing of the skin. You get a little gradient to the shade of blue at the tips of the horns and fins, as well as the beak. The individual teeth are painted white, and the tongue a very bright red.

As with Axe Battler and his Mount, Tyris fits perfectly on the Blue Dragon, and looks damn good riding him. Her feet pass through the stirrups, and her sword-hands can be used to grip the reins and lead the dragon into battle! As I mentioned in the Red Dragon review, I would have liked to have a little more lateral movement in the legs to give him a wider stance, but they really just rotate where they meet the body. Nonetheless, the figure stands well, even with a rider on his back.

One nice surprise here is the change of dragon breath effect parts. In the game, the Red Dragon shot fireballs and the Blue Dragon had more of a flamethrower attack. That is conveyed here with this gigantic flame effect part. It simply rests on the ground with the other end fitting into the dragon’s mouth.

Wow… it’s so cool to finally have Tyris on my shelf! When Axe Battler first released, I could only hope that he wasn’t going to be a one-off release, but now it’s clear that Storm is continuing to play with extra credits! Yes, they have been milking some of the molds by giving us lots of two dragon mounts, skeleton variants and Death Adder clones, but if that’s what they have to do to make this line work, I’m still All-In! I’m still hoping we get some more rank-and-file enemies, like Heninger, Longmoan, and the Amazons. So far, the only brand new figure teased are The Bad Brothers, and I’m patiently waiting for that pre-order to drop!

Golden Axe: Death Adder by Storm Collectibles

YES! I love SEGA! And YES! I love Golden Axe! I won’t start verbally fapping about the franchise again here, but feel free to check out my reviews of Ax Battler and The Skeleton Soldiers, if you need a reminder! In fairness, most of my experience with the games isn’t in the coin-op form, but rather at home on my SEGA Genesis. I even recently picked up a custom cart of Golden Axe 3, which never released for the US Genesis, but now I can play it anyway! Suffice it to say, I’m very nearly all in on Storm Collectibles’ Golden Axe figures. There are a few Skeleton variants that I haven’t dropped money on yet… YET!!! But I’m just so happy to see these figures getting made.

And so, BEHOLD! DEATH ADDER!!! After Golden Axe is done wiping the floor with you with common enemies, you are rewarded with fighting Death Adder as the final boss! Or is he??? I have a feeling that he might have been taking orders… ah, but that’s just me being paranoid. The figure comes in a window box in the same style as the previous releases, with a lot of extra plastic wrap to make it had to really see the figure inside all that clearly. The illustrated backing for the tray also recreates the character select screen, just like the previous packages did.

And out of the box, Death Adder is quite the bruiser, standing more than head and shoulders above Ax Battler and the Skeletons. He’s also a relatively simple figure, albeit one that does a fabulous job bringing the sprite-based 16-bit villain into a more realistic action figure form! One of the things you may first notice about him is that he’s built with seamless elbow and knee joints, using flexible rubber plastic to cover the internal skeleton. It makes for a great effect, especially since the shoulder and hip joints are somewhat obscured by his armor. On the downside, he doesn’t have anywhere near the range of motion that we got in the Ax Battler body, so it’s a compromise. I dig it, and for a lumbering brute, I’m not sure I need Death Adder to be as nimble as our hero. But while we’re on the subject of articulation, my figure has a loose right ankle hinge. It isn’t broken, but the two halves of the hinged ball separate from time to time. It’s more annoying than a critical fault, but worth mentioning nonetheless!

Death Adder’s buff bod features some wonderfully sculpted muscles, something that Storm has gotten quite adept at delivering. His bulging arms are positively ripped with veins and tendons, making him look like he can tear The Player apart without any need of weapons. His armor is cast in soft plastic with a shiny red finish. The segmented plates look great and there’s a bit of a hammered finish to the shoulder armor. You also get a healthy assortment of different hands, including fists, relaxed, palm-smash, clutching, and weapon holding hands!

As far as the portrait goes, Death Adder comes with two heads, which can be swapped out under his rather epic helmet. Both are human-appearing head sculpts, painted black with yellow piercing eyes. I tend to like the regular one, because my imagination always suggested that Death Adder didn’t have a regular face under that helmet. I don’t know what I thought he had, but I guess I just expected it was something mysterious, similar to an Orko or Warduke. That having been said, I think the gritted teeth expression looks quite good!

Death Adder comes with one accessory, and that’s his giant golden axe! It’s big an imposing, but fairly light and easy for him to wield in either one hand, or both. I really like the gold finish on this weapon. It’s just so lush and satiny, with some silver for the edges.

I pre-ordered this big guy way back when and he’s been waiting for his time in the spotlight for a while now! I seem to recall dropping $115 on him, which isn’t so bad considering how big and chonky he is. And it looks like Storm is re-releasing all of their Golden Axe figures for people who missed out, as pre-orders have gone up again around all the usual places. I think he’s an excellent figure, although the seamless jointing may end up being a polarizing point among some collectors.

Golden Axe: Skeleton Soldiers by Storm Collectibles

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.

Golden Axe: Ax Battler and Red Dragon Mount by Storm Collectibles

To know me is to know that I was a SEGA kid. I reveled in my Master System when I was a teenager and the first purchase I made with my very first credit card when I was in college was a Genesis console. I drifted away from SEGA for a little while after that, but I was welcomed back home with my nearly fanatical love of the Dreamcast, which just celebrated it’s 21st birthday here in the US last week. 9.9.99 FOREVER!!! And yes, my love for SEGA still burns brightly today. So when a company like Storm Collectibles comes out of nowhere with an action figure set based on Golden Axe, you can be damn sure I’m going to be there to support them.

I don’t know how many of you toyhounds cross over into retro video gaming, so let me take a moment for some background. Golden Axe was a Sword-and-Sorcery themed beat-em-up, which I first played on the SEGA Genesis. Actually, it was the third cartridge that I bought for the console. And boy did I drop a lot of time into this game. Hell, I still play it fairly regularly on one of my many Genesis Collections. It’s pretty great to have it portable on Nintendo’s Switch too! Storm Collectibles is a company that has made its mark developing highly articulated, 6-inch scale action figures based on various video game properties, but most notably Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. I passed on the figures from both of those franchises, because I’ve been burned so many times by other companies which have started lines but don’t see them through, and I didn’t want to start over again. And so it took the most unlikely of franchises, Golden Axe, to finally give me an opportunity to see what their figures are all about. So let’s check out the Barbarian, Ax Battler, and his Red Dragon mount!

The packaging is… well, fairly subpar. The figure set comes in a window box, which is pretty flimsy. Mine was actually torn in two places, and it came from a retailer that prides themselves on careful packaging and catering to the picky nature of collectors. There’s some grainy artwork on the front and back, and the window isn’t very useful because the contents are wrapped in so much plastic, that I couldn’t see anything until opening it. The picture I snapped looks better than it did in person, because I have since removed all that interior wrapping. About the only props I’ll give the presentation is the illustrated cardboard tray is a mock up of the character select screen in the game. Granted, I’m usually looking for an excuse to get rid of packaging so none of this really phases me, but it would have been cool to get some background copy on the character… Naw! I’m kidding. Golden Axe franchise has had about a half dozen games and spin-offs in its catalog, but none of the characters are anything more than avatars to let you beat the shit out of medieval assholes.

Freed of his package, Ax Battler is a fairly non-descript character, but very faithful to his video game counterpart. He’s a muscle-bound Barbarian in a pair of blue underwear and blue boots. There are silver buttons on the front of the boots, a silver belt running around the tops of the undies, and silver wrist bracers, but otherwise this dude is just a slab of musclebound meat. But, like I said, very faithful to the character’s appearance in the game. And for what is a pretty minimalist design, Storm did a wonderful job with the sculpt. His musculature is all very well defined, you get some veins running through his arms, and they even sculpted him with a permanent wedgie, which is probably why he’s so angry all the time.

The figure comes with two heads, one neutral and one angry, and while both are pretty good, I think I prefer the neutral one the most. And here’s where Storm probably got to exercise some creative license, because I’m not sure what source material they used to model the portrait. You sure don’t get that great a look at him in the game, as his head is just a collection of tiny pixels, so I’d guess they used the cover art from the Genesis cartridge case. Either way, I’m not complaining, because what we got is pretty good, albeit generic. He has a strong nose, high cheekbones, a jutting chin, and a determined, pouty lip. The eyes that are set deep under his prominent brow are painted very well, giving him a pretty realistic spark of life. The long hair is sculpted separately from the head, complete with some unkept strands that cover his forehead. He doesn’t look overly bright, but I’ve never seen anything in the game that suggested otherwise. All in all, a damn fine portrait for a figure in this scale.

The heads are mounted on ball joints, so swapping them out is pretty easy. The angry portrait is pretty good, but I don’t think it quite conveys the ferocity that I would have liked. He’s gritting his teeth, but it looks more like he’s forcing a smile while posing for a SEGA promotional picture. Or just smiling in a wind tunnel. The rest of the face just needed some more evidence of fury here. Maybe squint the eyes a bit, furl the brow more, and put some wrinkles in the nose. It’s always nice to get the option of a second portrait, and what we got here isn’t bad, but could be better. I think I’ll likely stick to the neutral portrait for display.

Ax Battler has articulation in spades, and this is one of those examples of how all that extra articulation can sometimes affect the look of the figure. Some of the joints here are a little ugly, particularly the fronts of the elbows, the backs of the knees, and the wrists in general. Still, I wouldn’t change anything because this is a crazy fun figure to pose and play around with. In addition to double hinges in the elbows and knees, he has ball joints in the hips, hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles, and even hinges in his feet. The shoulders are ball jointed and have lateral crunches, he has swivels in the biceps, and his wrists are on rotating hinges. There’s a ball joint under his big muffiny chest and his neck is ball jointed. All the points work quite well and offer up a satisfying range of motion, which is pretty ironic because the character animations in the game were pretty stiff!

As you’ve already seen in the pictures, Battler comes with a surprising four sets of hands. You get fists, accessory holding hands, relaxed hands, and grabby hands. Honestly, I was not expecting this man hands! Like the head, they are extremely easy to swap out, but with those exposed joints in the wrists, they sure should be!

Besides the passel of hands and an extra noggin, Ax Battler also comes with his trusty sword. Wait, what? Why isn’t he called Sword Battler? Always wondered that. Anyway, this is a really nice accessory with a beautiful painted silver finish on the blade, crossguard, and pommel. The grip is painted gold, and there’s a gold decorative fixture rising up from the crossguard and extending up for about a third of the blade. I love how the blade swells a little before coming to a point. The sword can be held securely in either of the accessory holding hands, but the grip isn’t long enough for him to go two-handed with it. There’s no scabbard or anywhere for him to stow it, but then again, this guy has his sword out pretty much all the time. All in all, they did a nice job recreating this weapon from the game cartridge’s cover art. OK, I’ve gone on long enough about Ax Battler, let’s move on to his Dragon Mount!

And that’s this beautiful red-scaled sunovabitch! At various points in the game, Ax Battler (or whoever you are playing) can hop onto different types of mounts and use them to move more quickly and deliver heavier attacks. At least until you get knocked off of it too many times and it runs off screen. It was kind of a fun play mechanic because whenever there was an empty mount on the screen, the game turned into a power-struggle to claim it and stay on it, which was easier said than done. The first mount you can acquire in the game is a really weird two-legged pink parrot-salamander-looking thing and part of me wishes they had attempted that figure because the design is so goddamn bizarre and totally unique to the game. But then I cast my peepers on this beauty and I knew they made the right decision. I mean, holy hell just look at him!

This is an absolutely beautiful sculpt with a scaled texture over most of the body and a smooth, ribbed strip running from his neck, down his belly, and to his tail. The fingers and toes are armed with hooked claws, there’s a stripe of ridges running down his back, from head to tail, and there’s some nice attention to detail in the muscles, particularly in the legs. He actually requires one bit of assembly when he comes out of the box, and that’s attaching the tail to the double-ball joint. It goes in pretty easy and can be removed again if you want to return him to the box for storage. The body is packed with articulation, mostly in the form of ball joints and rotating hinges. The arms and legs each have three points, and he even has hinges in his toes. The only disappointing thing about his articulation is that the legs attach to the body with only the means to rotate. I would have loved to see ball joints up there to give him a wider stance. Still, the balance on this guy is pretty nice, and he stands quite well on his own.

The head sculpt is a work of art, and it’s pretty damn cool that Storm got this much detail out of some pixels and whatever promotional art was available. The dragon sports two segmented horns sweeping backwards and up at the tips, and I really dig how they flow into the ridges over his deep set eyes. The dragon’s mouth is punctuated at the snout by a beak and an smaller horn jutting upward, while the jaws are studded with some impressive teeth and a giant tongue. And yes, the jaw is indeed hinged. The portrait is rounded out by the two fin-like fans that protrude backwards from the sides of his head. The coloring is also worthy of note. The bulk of the dragon is a mix of red and orange, with the two colors blended beautifully throughout the various features of the head.

The dragon comes equipped with his riding tackle, which is cast in soft plastic, painted brown, and textured to look like leather. The gear includes a saddle with stirrups coming off the sides, and a harness for the head, with reins for the rider to hold onto. One of the coolest things about this figure is that all the tackle is sculpted separately from the dragon itself, so you could theoretically take it all off if you wanted to make him the kind of dragon that prefers to guard treasure hoards, and doesn’t like to be ridden. Whether it could be reattached is another matter, and while I’m not going to attempt it on this figure, I may just keep an eye out for the set to turn up on sale or clearance to pick up a second. So how does the Ax Battler figure work as a rider?

Pretty damn well! There aren’t any tricks to attach him to the beast. You just sit him in the saddle, put his feet through the stirrups, and he can hold the reins in his accessory holding hands. He fits perfectly and stays on pretty well too. At least until one of Death Adder’s assholes comes along and knocks him off of it.

The Dragon Mount comes with an effect part to recreate the fireballs that he can spit in the game. It’s cast in translucent yellow and orange plastic and it looks good! There’s no special trick to attaching it to him. You just kind of shove it in his mouth and tighten his jaw around it.

As someone who has been collecting toys pretty hardcore for the better part of 25 years, it’s amazing to still be both surprised and impressed by a release like this. I never in a million years would have imagined that someone would release an action figure set of this quality based off a thirty-one year old video game beat-em-up. And yet here we are. Life is good. It’s an amazing time to be alive and collecting toys. I think Storm did an amazing job here and I’ll even say that at $59.99, I don’t think the price is too bad either. Especially not for something as niche as this set. And even more surprising, this was not a one-off release, as they have also produced a Skeleton Warrior 2-pack from the series, and I’ll be checking that out within the next week or so. As to whether there will be any more, who can tell? I think the Skeleton 2-pack will get a lot of traction well beyond fans of the game, and I can even see people picking this set up to integrate the dragon into their Mythic Legions collections. I would love to see the another two-pack featuring Gillus the Dwarf and the super hawt amazon Tyris Flare. Or maybe repaint the dragon into the other flavor dragon mount in the series and give him the appropriate fire stream effect part.