When American McGee created his vision for Alice in Wonderland with his first game in 2000, it quickly became a cult hit amongst gamers. The sequel was highly anticipated amongst fans, and features a lot of character design changes, since Wonderland is meant to represent Alice’s state of mind, and in the second game, Alice: Madness Returns, it’s deteriorated even more. I recently reviewed the Diamond Select Toys Alice: Madness Returns action figure. That was not the only figure made in that line though, and today I’ll be taking a look at the Alice: Madness Returns Card Guard action figure. So join me as I see if this figure is worthy of a spot on your toy shelf.
|PACKAGING– Diamond Select Toys has been utilizing the same style of packaging for years, first in their Marvel Select line, and has been adopted into pretty much all of their other lines as well. It’s a giant blister pack, with a bookend type cardboard piece on the left, in case MOC collectors want to set their figures up like books on the shelf.
It’s nice to see this type of consistency, however this size of packaging just isn’t right for every figure. It’s almost cartoonishly big, and there’s so much empty space inside that it feels like a waste of resources. Still, it’s nicely decorated with the appropriate logos letting you know what character is inside and where it comes from. The back features a bio for the Card Guard, as well as a large photo of it as well. And at the bottom it lets you know about the other figures in the line.
SCULPT – There’s no denying the design for the Card Guard is funky, to say the least. It’s an incredible representation of the game design, and is basically a giant anthropomorphic playing card. The torso is more or less a rectangle with some hints at human musculature underneath.
This particular Card Guard represents the 7 of Clubs and has that detail sculpted into him. The giant club in the middle of his torso is actually a hole straight through him, which is just very cool. He also has some more playing card detail sculpted into his back, with some gashes and cuts randomly placed on his body. The arms and legs are wiry, but with that same hint at human muscle. The feet only have two toes, and the hands have long, claw-like fingers.
The head is just awesome. It’s meant to be a skull, but it incorporates that Club symbol into his face, with parts of the club acting as his eye sockets, and the bottom stem acting as his nose. The entire body also has a sort of burlap texture sculpted all over it, which just adds to the level of detail in the figure. The design for this guy is insane, and I absolutely love it. It’s creepy, and the sculpt was incredibly executed.
PAINT – The paint for the Card Guard is excellent and really helps to add to the creep factor of him. Most of the figure is base coated in white, with a black wash all over him. Thanks to that sculpted texture, it catches the wash beautifully to give him the perfect amount of grittiness. The same wash is applied to his head, and it looks great.
The cuts on his body are painted in such a way that they actually look like they’re really gushing blood. He has blood dripping from each cut, and even random splotches here and there. His shoulders and hips are painted completely red with blood staining the surrounding areas. He’s definitely been through some stuff, and the paint job lets us know this very well. The detail on his back is painted in nicely as well, adding to the playing card motif.
There really isn’t any slop on him that isn’t intentional, and the washes applied to him aren’t overdone, and neither is the blood. It’s hard not to overdo paint washes sometimes, so it’s nice to see it done well.
ARTICULATION – The Card Guard has a ball jointed neck, hinged jaw, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, single elbows, forearm rotators, ball jointed hips, thigh swivels, single knees, shin rotators, and hinged/pivoted rocker ankles.
It would have been incredibly easy to give this guy as little articulation as possible, given his unusual design. DST really outdid themslves though, with giving him a really good amount of articulation. All of the joints are nice and tight, and he surprisingly has an easy time standing him. There could be some balancing issues depending on what pose you put him in, but I haven’t had any big problems with him. He doesn’t have an ab crunch or waist swivel at all, because duh, and it really isn’t missed to be honest. His arms and legs have a great amount of movement to put him in many action poses.
ACCESSORIES – Sadly, the Card Guard only comes with one accessory: a display stand. It does help with some poses, but it would have been really awesome to get some kind of weapon for him. One of his hands is sculpted to hold a weapon, and in the game these guys do use weapons to fight Alice, so he does seem kinda bare without something for him to wield.
FUN – He’s a lot of fun to play with, that’s for sure. I’m a big fan of mixing horror aspects with things like fairy tales (when done well), and in this case it’s a great amalgam. Getting to put him in all kinds of creepy poses is a lot of fun, as well as just generally getting to handle him. Of course it helps if you have Alice from the line, as then you can set them up to fight each other, but even by itself the Card Guard is very cool, and very fun.
QUALITY CONTROL/THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR – No QC problems. The only thing to watch out for might be the poses you put him in. He is top heavy, and his legs are pretty thin. I haven’t really had too many problems with balance, but you just want to be wary of the poses you put him in.
Don’t be afraid to use his display stand, because using that is a lot better than him taking a shelf dive from being off balance. Also be wary of his feet, because they can easily be slipped off of the peg they’re place on.
OVERALL – This is a great action figure. It’s a great representation of the game design, and the sculpt is phenomenal. I’m a very tactile individual, as I suspect most action figure collectors are, and it’s awesome to get to feel the texture sculpted into the body.
The paint job is incredibly well done, and in way feels “too much” with the paint washes and blood spatter. He has a surprisingly large amount of articulation considering his unsual design, and it all works very well to provide you with a number of posing options. The Card Guard is a lot of fun to handle and pose alongside the Alice figure from this line, and they definitely feel like they go together.
But I think more so than anything else, it should be noted that he’s a GIANT ZOMBIE ANTHROPOMORPHIC PLAYING CARD! I never thought I’d have to write out that phrase in my entire life, but it sure makes for a well put together action figure that’s sure to fit in with any American McGee fan’s collection, or a horror collection in general.
FINAL SCORE: 4 / 5
Where to buy:
If you missed it, be sure to check out my review of Alice from the Alice: Madness Returns line.
Be sure to check out these extra photos below that couldn’t fit in the review.