Viperwolf Attack with Avatar Jake Sully

July 23, 2010 | By More

This time I’m reviewing my first boxed set from Mattel’s Avatar line. The Viperwolf Attack with Avatar Jake Sully set was released in 2010 as part of the DVD/BluRay launch tie-in for the James Cameron’s Avatar movie. The set contains a new version of Jake Sully in his Avatar body, two Viperwolves, a couple of accessories for Jake to use and a Level 3 iTag base plate.

Let’s start with the creatures this set is named after. The two Viperwolf figures are identical, molded from black plastic. The Viperwolves are very well sculpted and each displays details like muscles and indentations clearly visible under the skin.

There is very little paint applications on the creatures, limited to some light gray markings airbrushed over the snout, bright yellow eyes with black pupils and bright a red gradient applied to the tips of the neural appendages. The unpainted plastic surface on the bodies seems to have been treated in a way that gives the figures a matte/satin finish that is very pleasing to the eye and captures the sheen of an animal’s coat.

Like the majority of the fauna on Pandora, the Viperwolf is a hexapod creature, meaning it has six limbs (two pairs of front legs and one pair of hind legs). The front limbs have four fingers on each paw, while the rear paws have only three. For a fairly small creature, the Viperwolf mold is more articulated than I expected:

Swivel neck. The joint is placed at the base of the neck, and rotates freely.

Swivel shoulders. On all four front legs. Range is slightly limited due to the configuration of the creature, but it serves its purpose.

Peg & hinge elbows. Only on all four front limbs. Very decent bending range, but the peg part doesn’t seem to allow for sideways rotation.

Swivel hips. Range is again limited by the creature’s design, but there is some versatility to them.

That gives a total of 11 points of articulation for a figure that is half as bulky as the average 1:18 scale canid, which is actually quite impressive.

The Avatar Jake Sully included in the set is based on the RDA version with tan fatigues. While the head and legs are identical in terms of sculpture to the previous version, the torso and arms are all new, with Jake wearing a dark t-shirt sculpted with several cuts at the front and a big rent at the back, over the left shoulder.

An additional detail piece not present in the previous Avatar Jake Sully RDA figure is a utility belt, sculpted with a couple of pouches and an empty knife sheath. Sure, there is no knife included in this set for the figure and the sheath is sculpted to be non-functional, but I feel this piece only adds to the level of detail present, even further enhanced by the airbrushed dirt/grime marks applied to the legs.

Jake’s articulation is pretty much the same as the non-distressed version of the character and consists of:

Ball jointed neck. It actually works as a simple swivel because the ball rests too deep inside the head, but it rotates freely.

Peg & hinge shoulders. Excellent motion range.

Peg & hinge elbows. Very good 90° bend and 180° sideways rotation.

Swivel waist. Free 360° swivel.

Double hinged hips. These are designed after the same type of joint Mattel uses for their DC Super Heroes line, and allow the legs to extend sideways as well as rotate back and forth.

Peg & hinge knees. Very good bending range and sideways swiveling.

Peg & hinged ankles. Not a lot of movement up and down due to the pant cuffs, but sideways rotation compensates nicely.

Another, tiny difference between this version of Jake Sully and the basic carded RDA figure, is that while RDA Jake has peg holes on both feet, Viperwolf Jake has only one peg hole in his left foot.

Since this is something of a “Deluxe” pack, Jake comes with two useful accessories. One is a large RDA heavy machine gun molded in gray rubbery plastic, and the other is a lighted torch. While the gun I find increasingly less impressive each time I get it with a figure, the torch is possibly the best implementation I’ve seen of such an accessory.

It seems to be made of two pieces, the flame (made from translucent yellow/orange plastic), and the wooden shaft (painted in brown), which is inserted into the flame in a way that the tip is clearly visible inside the translucent plastic. It’s not quite a true-to-life effect, but still is the kind of thing that makes you stop to get a closer look.

Lastly, the Viperwolf Attack set includes a Level 3 iTag base plate. The iTag plate is molded out of translucent amber colored plastic and sculpted to resemble an ornate carving with a sticker on top displaying an image of a snarling Viperwolf.

Unsurprisingly, the CGI model this iTag produces (once logged on to Mattel’s Avatar website), is that of a Viperwolf. The CGI model is in fact the same as the one generated by the plate packaged with the RDA Avatar Jake sully figure, but since this is a Level 2 plate, the default resting animation is much more lively, with the beast moving side to side as if stalking prey.

Additionally, animations for defense and attack can be triggered by obscuring either one of the two extra icons printed on the sticker, imaginatively marked by a shield and a closed fist. All of the different animation cycles have distinctive sound bites associated to them.

Overall, this is a nice set to have due to the beasties and the new Jake figure, but I can’t help but feel it would have been a much better value set if it had an extra Viperwolf figure included inside the box. At least that way the contents would have matched better with the art at the front of the box.

Errex Score: 88/100

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Category: Avatar, Featured, Toy Reviews

About the Author ()

I've been collecting action figures since the original Kenner Star Wars days. Nowadays, I still collect pretty much anything that catches my eye.

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