It is not a secret at all that I am a fan of the Street Fighter franchise. In fact, most of you Tomopop readers know that for a fact. So when I heard Kidrobot was going to be making a series of vinyl blind-boxed figures based on the Street Fighter franchise ... I was interested.
Now, there's no Cammy in this series, sadly. I know, I know, it's a tragedy, but I'll be OK. On the other hand, the 3" vinyl figures follow The Simpsons and Family Guy as popular franchises that Kidrobot has done blind-box vinyl series for, and those seemed to be received pretty well by fans of those franchises. But just how do these tiny vinyl World Warriors stack up? Are they a good low-cost alternative to starting your collection? Hit the jump and find out!
Figure Name: Kidrobot x Street Fighter blind-boxed vinyl figures
Let's begin, as always, with the box. The outside is pretty eye-catching, featuring a few of the characters on the front (Ryu, Ken and Chun-Li) in their illustrated forms. The Kidrobot x Street Fighter logo is there as well, and the box's design reminds me just a little bit of the Street Fighter IV box art.
On the back, of course, is the checklist of figures in the series. There are 20 designs total spanning the original 12 World Warriors; the four rarest are the Shadowloo quartet of Sagat, Balrog, Vega and M. Bison, while not surprisingly, the two most common are the player one versions of Ryu and Ken. So, let's open up our boxes and see what's inside!
The first box brings us the master of the Hundred Hand Slap, E. Honda! As you can see, each box has both a figure and a card packaged in the wrapping, with the card being just the illustration of the figure you got.
The actual sculpt of the figure isn't bad, though all the figures' bodies are the same. The face clearly looks like E. Honda does in the game, including his defining features like his bushy eyebrows, his squared-off jaw and the traditional chonmage worn by sumo wrestlers. For a 3" figure, the lines are pretty smoothly painted on and there's little bleeding of the paint over the lines. His kabuki-inspired face paint has been recreated here, though it looks a little bigger over his left eye than it does his right eye. As for the body, it doesn't have his normal heft, but the arms are poseable at the joints with a third joint at the neck, like a Dunny or Munny.
On the bottom of each figure are the Capcom and Kidrobot logos. Nothing fancy here.
... Oh. I guess I should have expected this. Now, I'm not too much of a fan of good old Ryu at all; I hate playing against people who play as him because of the Hadouken spam and I find his backstory to be a bit too cliche, but in 3" vinyl form, he doesn't look too bad at all. Again, some nice paintwork here with minimal issues on the paint (there's a little splotch missing up along his collar) and the sculptwork is superb for a 3" figure. I especially like some of the details, including that his headband is sculpted above his forehead and that the hair pops out over the headband as well.
Here, you can see the backside of Ryu, with his headband's knot and ends sculpted as well. It's a little odd that they both kind of come down straight, but that may have been done for reasons we'll get to later on in another figure. I also love that the sculpting for the hair goes all the way around the figure's head; props to Kidrobot for that.
Next up, everyone's favorite bear-wrestling, piledriver-giving hairy Russian, Zangief! Again, some nice work on the design and the sculpt here. I love that his face has that angry, aggressive look to it, and you can actually see the cheekbones on his face, the furrowing of his brow and lines under his eyes. Makes him look big and strong and pissed off!
DAT FACE. Here, you can see some of the sculpting a little better up close to appreciate it ... but you can also see where some of the paint didn't quite get filled in all the way (left eyeball) or where there might be a little bit of smudging (lower lip). Both, I can deal with since they don't really affect how the figure looks unless you are as zoomed in as I was.
For Zangief, I like how they've also remembered to include the scars on his body and made sure to paint them on, though maybe a different, fleshier tone could have been used that didn't look so much like the color of his wristbands. Speaking of those, they're painted on as well, but you can kind of tell how they did it (red as the base and then the yellow stripes over the top) because the yellow lines look a little ragged on the edges.
And oh, what do we have here? It's one of the four rarer pulls, a 1/40-ratio Balrog! The guy who looks quite like Mike Tyson (but isn't, we swear!) has a fairly simple design to him, but they've done a nice job with his unique, pointy hairstyle and putting a scowl upon his face. The paint here is very clean, too, with no splotching visible.
Again, the back looks rather nice and smooth save for the black stripes on his uniform because you can tell where they started and stopped. It didn't quite line-up perfectly but at least it is a solid line all the way around.
F*** YEAH! Vega's in the house! The design for this piece is one of my favorites in the series (behind only M. Bison and Sagat), so I was extremely happy to have pulled him. At first glance, the sculpt work here is very nice, and his mask, braided ponytail and snake tattoo have been translated well down to scale.
Now, the disappointment sets in. His claw hand is an absolute mess. Paint running over the lines and onto the actual metal claw pieces itself really looks bad and it is rather noticeable. I'm not sure if anyone else ran into this problem or I just got a lemon, but it's sad to see.
The other problem I ran into were with his eyes. One of them looks a little bit off of where it should be. You can also see a tiny bit of bleed onto the mask right where it meets the blonde hair that isn't normally visible to the eye (because the hair is blocking it).
And then we have Chun-Li. She's the only one who comes in a package like this, at least as far as I know, and it's almost certainly because of how her hair ribbons hang down off the rest of her body. Basically, the package is supposed to keep her safe and keep those pieces from snapping off in transport.
Oddly enough, while everyone else is wearing their Street Fighter II attire, Chun-Li is in her Street Fighter Alpha jumpsuit. The easy and simple answer for this decision is because the sculpt of putting her in her qipao would have been a total nightmare. She's still got her trademark buns, though!
Chun-Li's face is maybe the one I was the most disappointed in, because it seems to be lacking something. The sculpt isn't bad for what's there, of course, but it seems a little too long, not quite as rounded as it is in her original illustration:
Here's the original illustration, for comparison. You can also see that her eyes were to be brown, but they're just jet black on the actual figure, with a totally different eye shape. And while that might be me being picky, this isn't:
Yikes. The yellow paint that is the bottom line of her vest looks like it has rubbed right off and onto part of the vest. Judging by the marks, it almost seems like this would have been caused by the paint rubbing up against something ... perhaps some plastic packaging?
The ribbons around her buns have paint issues, too, mostly caused by paint getting outside the lines. It's kind of a shame, as I really want to like this Chun-Li, but the issues with her paint in particular kind of make me feel the opposite.
And finally, we have Dhalsim, shown here in his player two colors. As he is bald, there's no fancy hair sculpting, but they did sculpt out his earrings properly, and his face looks proper as well, including that very distinct eyebrow line. The rest of his outfit is rather simple as well, and though I'm not usually a big fan of the character, I think Dhalsim comes off as one of the best pieces in the series.
Even the skull necklace Dhalsim wears has gotten a shrunken-down version! But you might notice that his lips are pursed and mouth has an opening. Why could that be?
Yoga Fireball. That's why. The fireball is an accessory that slides into Dhalsim's mouth and actually looks pretty cool. It's also a nice touch that makes Dhalsim stand out as well!
Closing thoughts? Well, the designs are certainly cute, and I do love the fact that these little fellows have a bit of spunk to them. But on the other hand, the paint job flat out sucks on some of these pieces, notably the more complex Chun-Li and Vega figures. Being happy with five out of seven figures is not bad, but I would have rather it been all seven. While I will suggest Street Fighter fans look into the series, just beware that there could be inconsistencies paint-wise on your piece!
[Thanks to Kidrobot for supplying review samples!]
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