2012 is a new beast feast, and Vorin is the appetizer! In the 1980s, there was a Battle Beasts figure named "Bighorn Sheep." and this is where I should make a joke about "upgrading your ram" but that would be corny. The new figure's sculpt is a hybrid of a traditional Minimates figure and a typical action figure. You get a classic Minimate torso with Minimate arms and Minimate thighs. From the knees on down the legs are new, the hands and gauntlets cover the Minimates arms, two new armor pieces cover the upper and lower torso, and the classic Minimates head-wearing-a-hat of the Alligator design has been replaced by a less-bulky single molded head which pops right on the neck peg. Easily, an improvement.
While it's hard to photograph in clear red plastic (and much easier to see in the grey), the figure has a ton of sculpted details. There's a little fire pin on his cape, a small knife stowed on his back, and a bunch of little vents. His hooves are very nicely done, and the hands are more Minimate-like than the Gator-- meaning they can grip things, and so far Vorin hasn't dropped any of his accessories. I'm pretty happy to see Diamond made them a little more grip-friendly, because while most of the Minimates Beasts figures could hold their weapons fairly well, my black Alligator just doesn't like his gun very much. Vorin, on the other hand, seems to really dig his sword and shield and won't let go-- the hand plastic is flexible enough to be better at "gripping."
The sword can be stored on the figure's back in a removable sheath when not in use. I should also note, the sword is quite rubbery, but retains its shape fairly well for being so flexible. (The grey sword is still flexible, but not as much-- so for kids, the red one might be better. Or better yet, don't give it to your kids. We're collectors, dagnabbit.) Vorin's little red sword might actually be impossible to snap it in half, which, as someone with more than a few snapped lightsabers can tell you, is a change of pace. The biggest surprise to me was the inclusion of a ram shield, which is particularly awesome. I'm stoked they actually sculpted it and didn't just do a flat shield and painted or sticker design like LEGO, Playmobil, or the vintage Laser Beasts. As with other Minimates figures, the feet are still sculpted with a large hole in the bottom so you can plug them into LEGO or LEGO-compatible sets. If Diamond doesn't crank out their own vehicles, at least they've opened the door to show you what you should use to make your own.
The super-deformed aesthetic is gone, and Vorin looks pretty close to his comic book counterpart. As the arms, head, and armor are all easily removed this should be a great line for customizers, plus you can steal from existing Minimates to make your own new ones. As my data shows there could be as many as 17 fans of the original line, I look forward to seeing how it resonates in what is beginning to feel like a post-action figure toy world. If you've got the scratch, get the red or grey Vorin. (I like the grey one a smidgen more, if you have to pick one of the two.) I bet the painted one is going to look fantastic, and looking at the current secondary market prices for the C2E2 figures, may be your best shot if you're looking to buy a Vorin of your own. If you have to collect them all (like I do), I don't think you'll be sorry you picked up a red Vorin. Unless you hate clear things. In which case, why did you read this far? I look forward to seeing the fully painted Vorin later, until then I'll be futzing around with this one. Kudos to Diamond for sticking with the notion of free promo figures, and here's hoping the line sells well enough to grow into an army. Or at least, they do enough clear promo figures to set up a display which looks like a box of crayons. (Don't judge me, I'm doing it with Outer Space Men.)
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