Saturday, April 16, 2011

McFarlane Toys' Metal Gear Solid Figure Line

A 'Solid' action figure line
Back in 1998, Konami released Metal Gear Solid for the Sony Playstation. Created by video game maestro, Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid followed the exploits of Solid Snake, a veteran super-soldier, as he covertly infiltrated a government facility that had been overrun by terrorists. Combining stealth gameplay (that rewarded players for not killing enemies) and a hefty dose of cinematic cutscenes, Metal Gear Solid proved to be a bestseller for Konami and became a force-to-be-reckoned with in the video game industry. The venerable Metal Gear Solid franchise has endured the test of time, with titles appearing on the Gameboy Color, Gamecube, PS2, PS3, PSP, and the Xbox. Even now, a new Metal Gear game is in the works, titled, Metal Gear Solid: Rising - which follows the progression of Raiden, (the main character from MGS 2: Sons Of Liberty) as he adopts his new 'cyborg' body. Let's not forget that a remake of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is also in the works for the Nintendo 3DS.

With any successful video game franchise, merchandising plays a factor and Metal Gear Solid is no exception. In 1998, the year of the original game's release, McFarlane Toys (yes, the same Todd McFarlane who worked on the Spider-Man comics in the '80s, created Venom, and was the driving force behind Spawn) brought the first line of Metal Gear action figures to the public. 
The original '98 figure line, which will be the primary focus of this article, consisted of eight 6" action figures, featuring the main characters from Kojma's Metal Gear Solid.

First and foremost, Solid Snake, was the centerpiece of the toy line. 

A master of on-site procurement
The Darpa Chief is around here somewhere...
The McFarlane Solid Snake figure featured excellent detailing and a wild assortment of weapons, including: his faithful SOCOM pistol with attachable silencer and laser sight, a FAMAS machine gun, a gas mask, C4 explosive, night vision goggles, and a missile launcher w/ missile. As with most McFarlane figures, attention is paid to the slightest detail, and Snake is no exception. Out of all the Metal Gear figures he certainly came with the most accessories. 

She doesn't like to be called a 'rookie'
Can love bloom on a battlefield?
Meryl Silverburgh served as one of Solid Snake's few allies while on Shadow Moses Island, until he met up with Otacon - and while Otacon mostly worked behind-the-scenes, Meryl was a capable solider, albeit a rookie. 

McFarlane's Meryl figure came with nearly every weapon she used in the game and then some. Her machine gun and Desert Eagle are included, as well as a grappling hook and a survival knife. 

"A cornered fox is more dangerous than a jackal!"

Ninjas. A staple of the Metal Gear Solid series.
The Cyborg Ninja (Gray Fox) proved to be both an enemy and later an ally to Solid Snake, saving him from Metal Gear Rex's initial assault.

McFarlane's Cyborg Ninja figure is surely one of the highlights of the toy line with accessories that include an alternate closed-visor head, sword with power cable, and alternate 'gun hand' from the aforementioned battle with Metal Gear Rex. The sculpting and detailing on the armor, right down to the 'Caution' label on the Cyborg Ninja's helmet, is nothing short of remarkable.

The evil twin syndrome applies here.

"Have at you, Snake!"
Evil twin, mastermind behind the Shadow Moses uprising, and rogue Foxhound Unit leader: Liquid Snake was a force to behold. His plans nearly came to fruition in the original Metal Gear Solid, even going as far as to activate the nuclear equipped Metal Gear Rex, with the intention of launching a nuke. 

McFarlane's Liquid Snake figure featured the indomitable villain with his 'Big Boss'-style overcoat (bare chest exposed as in the game), pistol with optional silencer & laser sight attachment, machine gun, and night vision goggles. Unlike many of McFarlane's Metal Gear figures, Liquid Snake came complete with a base, which was certainly a nice addition. 

Ocelot -- complete with both arms
Expert with the Colt Single Action Army
Revolver Ocelot has possibly appeared in the most Metal Gear Solid games out of any character, always turning up where he's least expected. 

Ocelot receives justice from McFarlane toys. His figure is finely detailed, right down to the bullets in his belt. For accessories, he includes two Colt Single Action Army revolvers, guns which Ocelot himself touted as being the 'finest guns ever made'. McFarlane also included Revolver Ocelot's torture table device which makes a great add-on to this stunning figure. 

Born on the battlefield...rockets, gunfire, screams were her lullabies...

"It's hard to miss when you're this close."
Foxhound's female sniper, Sniper Wolf, was one of the more sympathetic enemies that Snake confronted in the game. 

McFarlane's expert detail on Sniper Wolf went right down to the Foxhound patch on her right arm! She came with her signature sniper rifle and a wolf. 

He'll read your mind like Suikoden?
Few who have played either Metal Gear Solid or Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes can ever forget their first encounter with Psycho Mantis. What's often considered one of the best 'boss levels' in video game history, Psycho Mantis didn't just hurl pyschokinetic energy balls at you -- he actually read your mind (or rather, your memory card). 

McFarlane spared no talent in bringing Psycho Mantis to life in action figure form. Not only did he come with his gas mask (removable), he came with an energy ball, a jar, podium, and bust. 

His spirit will be watching you!
The raven on his head thirsts for blood
A formidable opponent in every sense. Vulcan Raven was no pushover, either while driving an M1-Abrams Tank or while confronting Solid Snake one-on-one. 

McFarlane's Vulcan Raven included an ammo backpack, his large gattling gun, and a bullet strip. Also, like Liquid Snake, Vulcan Raven came with a base. 

McFarlane would go on to follow up their first series of Metal Gear Solid figures with a figure line from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty, which included Solid Snake, Raiden, Revolver Ocelot, Fortune, Solidus Snake, and Olga.

Evil clone 2.0

Eye patches. Another recurring theme in MGS
Later on, to support both Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots, yet another series of figure were released, though not manufactured by McFarlane. This line included Cyborg Raiden, Old Snake, Vamp, Naked Snake, and The Boss.

Characters from MGS3 and MGS4
These figures were released by Medicom, as were a series of larger figures to coincide with Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. To date, Metal Gear figures have also expanded into the realm of 'Real Action Hero' 12" series figures, which consist of Old Snake, Cyborg Raiden, and Naked Snake. Kubrick has even dealt their hand with a line of MGS-themed figures. 

Tactical Espionage Action comes in all sizes
Another notable Metal Gear toy line was that of Toycom and Yamato's 2002 12" Konami Doll Collection venture. The series included Solid Snake, Liquid Snake, Meryl Silverburgh, and Sniper Wolf

Beauty has never been this deadly
Accurate down to the smallest detail
With the advent of Metal Gear Solid: Rising and the MGS3 remake for the 3DS, one can only assume that many more Metal Gear figures loom on the horizon.

"Neither enemy nor friend..."

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