in Toy Posts

An Out-of-This-World Experience

Typically, I have focused on older toys, but when a new fun action figure comes along, I am happy to discuss it.

In May of 2017, Disney opened an “Avitar” land in the “Animal Kingdom Park” of “Walt Disney World” in Florida.  The new land is pretty amazing at making you feel like you are in another world.  It is populated by a stunning array of really weird, but real plants, in amoung replica alien lifeforms making the whole scene feel real. They manage to create convincing flying islands above your head.  There are two different rides, “Avatar Flight of Passage” and “Na’vi River Journey,” besides performers, fun shops, and interesting eateries. Do not miss “Avatar Flight of Passage,” which is a single rider cross between “Soaring” and “Star Tours.” The River ride… needs work and a storyline. It should have spent a little more time on the drawing board.

As with many of the top-notch Disney rides, the exit is strategically enhanced with a shop to entice you to buy things like pirate gear, or “Star Wars” memorabilia.  In this case, you walk out into the “Windtraders” shop, filled entirely with merchandise inspired by the film “Avatar.”  It is a fun shop with lots of fun things.  If you plan on going, you might want to hand your wallet to the most responsible person in your party.

There are some incredible Banchee figures you can attach to your shoulder and make come alive with a puppet controller on a long line.  But, to no big surprise, it was the 10 3/8” figure that caught my attention.  But Disney is all about the experience.  You do not just buy these figures; they have to be made to match you.

Step one – pay for the figure – it is NOT cheap.  Keep remembering; you are buying the experience.

Step two – the delightful trained shop staff scans you, and provides choices of options to help make the best figure for you.  These options include a male adult figure, a female adult figure, or a unisex youth figure.  From there, you pick the eye color out of many choices.  The eyes are made of very detailed plastic, and not just standard Barbie or GI Joe painted eyes.

Next, you pick a hairstyle from several options and face markings.

After they scan your face, to match it to the right Avatar head, they show you a computer rendering of what your figure will look like.  This way, you can experiment with options until you get it just how you want it. 

All of your choices are embedded (or tagged to a number) on a special ID card. You are then given a specific time to return (about thirty minutes) before you get your figure in a big reveal.  Once you deliver your ID card, they have you place your palm for another verifying hand scan before you figure is revealed in the machine.

Avatar Maker code card

Avatar Maker machine

Avatar Maker male figure

The packaging is pretty slick.  The designers used a molded polypropylene base and top with a see-through mylar column window.  The top piece has a living hinge molded in its top so you can open the box. Then the figure is attached to a card that slides into the box.  This construction is similar to how many high-end Barbies and other collector figures are presented.

Part of what sold me was the fine articulation.  You can see the universal joints in the package for shoulder, elbow, wrist, thigh, knee, and ankle.  They also have a few dioramas set up showing good poses.  I wish the hands were softer, but for some reason, most toy makers do not see that as an important feature.  Only the Marx action figures and the GI Joe Kung Fu Grip did it really well without articulating the hands.

The clothing (loincloth) is sewn fabric for a more deluxe quality.  The painting, colors, and sculpting quality is well done.

Avatar Maker female figure

It was interesting that they molded the feather necklace on the female figure, so the naughty-bits would be properly covered without looking odd.

Avatar Maker youth figure

The youth figure does not have anything molded on its chest, but one of the accessory sets available can be used to cover the chest if you want to pretend you bought a girl figure.

But wait – there’s more; the accessory packs for your figure.  They come in three styles.

Avatar Warrior accessory set

This set is your basic weapons pack with a bow, arrows, quiver, spear and two bladed weapons.  Note that the bow will fire the arrows in the same way that the Marx Geronimo arrows shoot.  Do not pull back too far, or you will break the molded bowstring.  To no big surprise, that was the set I bought.

Avatar Explorer accessory set

For those wanting their figures a little more humanly dressed, there is the Avatar Explorer set consisting of T-shirt, long pants, boots, binoculars and I think a backpack.  This set provides a human scientist/naturalist look for the figure.

Avatar Banshee Rider accessory set

The last set is a little odd. It has printed pants, necklace, armbands, a baby  banshee and a yellow piece of molded clothing to be used for a halter top or belt decoration (this one could have spent some more time on the drawing boards also.)

The figures are fun, though pricy. You can use them with your other 1/6th scale figures, but if you want to play out scenes from the film with shorter humans dressed in military gear, you will want to get some Mattel Big Jim figures or maybe even shorter Mego action figures like Action Jackson.

What is your favorite 1/6th scale alien action figure?