Sculpting, as an art form, is hard. Go ask any sculptor and they will tell you that capturing a lifelike portrait of a person is not something you just do on a whim, and even less so when it comes to the production of action figures tied to a movie release, where you have to deal with costs and deadlines.
For the new TRON Legacy movie, Spin Master managed to deliver a pretty decent line up of figures in the 4 inch scale range but even though most of the figures are actually pretty good, the characters with visible faces and/or clothes that are not skintight bodygloves did not came out all that well.
While on Sam Flynn they kind of dodged a bullet by covering the face of the figure with a thick (albeit transparent) faceplate, on Sam’s dad, Kevin, they plainly dropped the ball.
Kevin Flynn was the main character played by actor Jeff Bridges in the original TRON movie. In TRON Legacy, time has passed and Flynn got somehow lost in the inner computer world of the Grid.
The character design is not particularly complex, since Flynn is seen in the movie trailers as a barefoot, aging dude in a beard and loose garments. Problem is, the sculptors at Spin Master might have only received the exact same description on a memo with no pictures attached when they started work on this figure.
Limbs are sculpted as fairly loose garment pieces, but they lack texture and the shapes only barely suggest the folds or wrinkles one would expect. There are some lines etched on the otherwise smooth surfaces to convey seams, but overall detail is quite lackluster.
Then there is the robe cover at the torso. This piece of rubber is absolutely plain; it is bulky and lacks any detail indicating that the shape beneath is other than a pillow-chested mannequin. In sum, the level of sculpting shows this figure was rushed just to get figures to the stores on schedule. The most benign thing I can say about this figure, is that it would have looked just fine if it had been released back in 1983, but nowadays it is just lacking.
That said, I concede that the actual figure construction is sound, and even though the robe does get in the way of leg movement, Kevin Flynn still got the full articulation treatment with:
• Peg & hinge shoulders.
• Upper biceps swivel.
• Peg & hinge elbows.
• Swivel wrists. These tend to stick, so it’s a good thing the elbow peg can pick up the slack.
• Peg & hinge hips. Limited by the robe.
• Upper thigh swivels.
• Peg & hinge knees.
• Peg & hinge ankles.
The leg joints all suffer to some degree because of the robe, even though there are cuts in the material that do allow some freedom of movement.
Flynn’s torso is molded in a slightly translucent white plastic, with only the collar of the robe left unpainted for the light from the built-in action feature to shine through. The rest of the surface is painted in a creamy, off-white hue. As usual, pressing the button at Flynn’s back turns on the light inside the torso for about 5 seconds and then it switches off.
The accessories included with Flynn are an identity disc, a baton and a round display base. While the disc and the base are molded in the off-white hue of the costume pieces, the baton is actually molded in black and painted over with the same off-white color.
Overall, I can’t feel but disappointed by this figure. Even if I were to regard this as an animated style line, where more stylized depictions of the characters are the norm, the sheer lack of detail sculpted onto this figure compared to that on the other characters in the same series is jarring.
Purely as a plaything, this Kevin Flynn action figure delivers, and at some level I still want to like it because, well, I already paid for it, but truth is, unless you don’t care about detail or you are an obsessed completist there is no compelling reason to pick this one up.
In fact, the figure would not even fit in his own lightcycle due to the wide shoulders preventing it to fit right in, so not even that can be used an excuse to justify this purchase.