I picked up some Tim Mee stuff after drooling at it for years - even bought some on eBay. I just got the Shadow Ops Black Helicopter Strikeforce Figure and Vehicle Set in the mail as of my writing this (last month, there's a bit of lead time here.) In it, you'll get two sizable choppers and six black plastic figures - they're sturdy and go well with the other figures these guys put out. Really, the only knock I can make against them is they aren't weird space dudes, dinosaurs, or weirdly normcore American families.
The helicopters are big - not huge, but big for Tim Mee wares. According to my meager research, the molds originally came out in the 1990s but this is their debut in black plastic. The longer one is close to 9-inches, while the other is just over 8-inches long. They're light, airy, and won't hurt too much when your kids throw them at your head. While merely black plastic without paint, they're eerily gorgeous - the black plastic finish is reflective and shiny, making me wonder what a vac metal finish might look like on these things.
The blades pop in and can be moved, but don't particularly spin - they do feel pretty decent, although the one with the larger seating area and bigger windows has some balance issues - it's a little back-heavy, so it tends to be lifted off the ground a bit unless you toss a small rock in there. The other one is totally fine - wings, guns, landing gear, the works. The wheels don't actually turn, but given that these are meant to be simpler toys means that certain niceties like action features are a little lacking.
Now the figures deliver the kind of experience you're used to from Tim Mee. Good detail, sturdy finish, and the all-black S.W.A.T. police figures continue the mysterious conspiracy-driven possibilities hinted at by the black flying machines. They're coming in the night... but why?
While they're all basically black plastic figures of white dudes, it's impossible to ignore the level of detail on each one. You'll find handcuffs and billy clubs attached to their belts, complete with outfits that have a little more weight and a lot more in the way of folds and wrinkles. For example. the two crouching figures have padded armor and rifles popping out of their holsters - they didn't skimp here. Another figure is running with his rifle, which I'm pretty sure is dangerous. Because the sculptors of 40 years ago were paying attention, his holster is empty.
The other three figures continue with the same level of detail - you'll see ear protection and taller poses. One figure carries a walkie-talkie, while another is shouting through a bullhorn - with a walkie-talkie attached firmly to his vest. They're joined by a man with a pistol drawn, whose face reminds me a lot of the security robots of THX-1138. There's a certain stylized facial expression that just plain works for these guys - they're not so clearly defined that you can point to them all necessarily being in a specific mood, but they look like they're going to shoot you or club you. Or both! I think they have a license to do that thanks to their giant helicopters.
G.I. Joe was invented to kill the non-poseable army man, and now Joe is busy being dead. With increasing prices on all toys, sets like this are a little more expensive than the sack of soldiers at the dollar store - of course, these are gorgeous, crisp examples of the format with top-notch sculpting and no plastic chunks hanging off of them. It's a high-end cheap figure, and they look really awesome for what they aspire to be. It's antithetical to the "bag o' junk for cheap" ethos that tends to carry this format, and unfortunately it negates the instant-army we usually get in Tim Mee toy purchases. One each of six figures feels like we're getting less for our money, even though there's a lot of plastic here courtesy of the sizable helicopters. The HDPE plastic (I think) used here absolutely puts other figures to shame, I've got a decent collection of the Star Wars Command line and while those are nifty, these are glossy, sturdy, and just feel amazing. Those are no slouch - but here it seems like someone put in a few extra pennies to ensure the Shadow Ops sets turned out particularly well. I'd still steer you toward the Atomic Family or Galaxy Laser Team first - or the fantasy-driven Legendary Battle set, that's really impressive and imaginatively weird given its Marvel roots. This is a set that feels totally amazing in your hands, and it's going to look great on a shelf - but Tim Mee's other sets let you give away extras to your buddies to spread the word of this figure format. I guess what really counts is that nothing here is disappointing, but it'd be nice if the bag was more full.
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