The Expendables has become a hit franchise, reigniting the careers of some of the greatest action stars of the last 30 years. When word hit that Diamond Select Toys got the license for the Expendables 2 and was releasing an action figure line, I was more than a little excited. I love the movies and am a huge Sylvester Stallone fan, so the more figures of characters from his movies, the better.
Of course I’ll try my best to stay objective in the review, but I may not be able to help but let my fanboy show once and a while. I already reviewed the Barney Ross figure for Toy News International, but today I’m taking a look Gunner Jensen, the character played by Dolph Lundgren in the movies. So join me as I take a closer look.
|PACKAGING – Gunner comes in a traditional action figure packaging. Diamond Select Toys is known for packaging their figures in these book-end style packages, but it’s definitely nice to see something different here. I’m not a fan of those packages anyway, because they’re rather cumbersome and seem like a gross waste of resources. Here, we get a simple, good looking packaging. The blister is a simple rectangle shape displaying the figure within. The character’s name is at the bottom of the blister.
Now, I’ve seen his character’s name spelled “Gunner” and “Gunnar” in several different places. IMDB has his character’s name spelled as “Gunnar”, however the credits from the actual movie spell it “GUNNER”, so that’s what I’m going with, and that’s what DST went with as well, so good on them. The Expendables 2 logo runs down the right side of the blister, and something I don’t like is that it completely covers his accessories. You have to remember to remove that to dig out his weapons before throwing away the packaging.
The back of the packaging gives us a look at the other figures in the line, as well as gives us bios for each character, which I think is really cool. I also dig the inclusion of the Expendables skull logo. I really like this classic style packaging. It seems to fit well with the theme of the characters and actors in the movie.
SCULPT – Gunner’s sculpt is a clever mix of new and old parts. The entire lower body (pelvis down to the feet) are 100% reused from DST’s old Stargate toy line. I have parts of a Stargate figure in my fodder bin and I compared it myself. This no doubt saved DST some money on tooling, and it does seem to work for these figures.
However, because the legs are the same on all the figures, they’re not all the heights they should be. Gunner should be taller than he is here. He does stand taller than the other three figures somewhat, but to do that they had to make his torso a bit longer. It doesn’t make the figure look weird, but I did notice it. His torso is very movie accurate though, down to the style of vest, the pouches on the vest, and even the scarf he wears. His arms are appropriately sized, and they’re not too big or have too much unrealistic muscle detail in them.
His head sculpt is a really good likeness of Dolph Lundgren from the movie. It’s just the tiniest bit stylized, but that’s to be expected when the faces are sculpted by hand. He has this great ugly mug that of course means it’s a perfect likeness (I kid, I kid). But it does look good. He has this stern expression on his face that shows he’s ready to do something bad to someone, and is perfect for any pose you can get him in. They even got his hair right to how it looked in the sequel, with the left side resting on his face. I really like it. And not only that, but they even sculpted that crescent shaped scar that Dolph sports as Gunner in the movie. I think that’s an amazing attention to detail.
PAINT – DST did a great job at making such a dark color scheme look dynamic. They employed various dry bushing on the figure to help bring the sculpt out, particularly on the pants. I really dig the dry brushed dirt looking paint on the bottom of the pant legs. It helps add some realism to it. His scarf is even painted to movie accuracy, which is nice.
The head has a great paint job as well, with realistic looking hair and a clean, smooth paint job all around. The eyes are painted on very nicely, and there’s really no flaws I could find from the existing paint job.
Of course, there is a problem. It’s not with the existing paint job, but with something they left out. In the movie, Gunner has a tattoo on his left arm that is absent here. It seems strange not to include it, but then again Gunner’s tattoo seemed to magically change from the first to the second movie, so perhaps something was lost in translation.
ARTICULATION – This figure has a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, bicep swivels, single elbows, wrist cuts, waist swivel, cut hips, thigh rotators, and single knees.
The articulation on this figure is really great on the upper body, and rather mediocre on the lower body. The head has a good range of motion, and the arms do as well. The shoulders are somewhat limited though, because they’re sitting on a true ball joint as opposed to being a ball and disc combo, but it’s not too bad.
There’s no ab crunch at all, but I’m ok with it when the character is wearing a flak vest like this, because in real life you’re not going to be able to bend your abs much, if at all, anyway. He’s able to hold his weapons realistically with the arm and upper body articulation he was given, which is very awesome.
Because his lower body is reused from an older series of figures, the articulation isn’t as good. He’s really missing two key articulation points that would add a tremendous amount of new posing options: hinges in the hips, and ankle joints. As it is, his leg articulation is mostly good for balancing the figure, and not much else.
Without hip hinges and ankle joints, you’re not going to get very many dynamic poses out of the legs. This is a shame, because even if it just had hip hinges, it would add a lot to the figure. Figures need great leg articulation to pull off several poses. Even still though, at least in his standing neutral position he looks good and looks like he’s battle ready.
ACCESSORIES – Gunner comes with three accessories: a pistol, a knife, and a grenade launcher. His pistol can be holster on his right hip, and his knife can be sheathed on his left. It’s always cool when figures can store their accessories on them.
The pistol he comes with appears to be an M1911, the same style that the characters carried in the movie. His grenade launcher is an MGL Mk 1L, and it too is movie accurate. Gunner is seen using it mostly in the opening scene, but in both movies he’s a fan of grenade launchers, and is even holding it in the movie’s promo posters. I’m very glad they included this with him. Mine came out a bit warped from the packaging, due to it being cast in soft resin, but it’s nothing a hair dryer and resetting won’t fix. It is worth mentioning though.
Now, in the movies Gunner is known for using a giant knife, and the figure does come with a knife, however it isn’t Gunner’s. I rewatched the movie last night to make sure, and sure enough the knife this figure comes with is actually the one carried by Barney Ross in the movies. It’s the same design and shape as Barney’s. So while it’s cool that he did include a knife, it would have been nice to get his. And while we’re on this, the Barney figure doesn’t even have a place to holster a knife at all. He can hold his guns just fine, but he does have trouble holding the knife due to both of his hands being open gun hands. He holds it much better in his left than in his right though.
In addition to those three accessories, you can also remove his knee pads and belt. The belt just unclips at the buckle, and the knee pads can be slid off. You can also unbuckle his leg strap if you wanted, but I didn’t want to deal with the frustration of buckling it back up so I didn’t. It slides off the leg just fine. It’s cool that you can remove this stuff if you wanted, and it helps hide the fact that his legs are not new. He also has a watch that’s a separate piece, but not removable unless you heat up the hand to soften it and pop it off.
FUN – I said something similar in my Barney Ross review, but these guys feel like big G.I. Joes to me. I’m a huge G.I. Joe fan, and I love the militaristic looks, and all the cool weapons accessories. Not only that, but Gunner is a character from a movie I love, so that just adds to the fun factor. He may not be able to take as many poses as I would like, but it’s still fun posing him with all his different weapons, or going up against my other figures.
QUALITY CONTROL/THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR – Nothing wrong with this figure in this department, though I will caution that when you’re looking for this figure, pay attention to the one you pick up. When I got him, there were several other Gunner figures there with horrid paint jobs on the face. Black smudges and other weird paint flaws. So just pay attention to the one you’re getting, and make sure to check them all for the best paint job.
OVERALL – Despite the flaws, this is still an ok figure. The sculpt is great, and very movie accurate despite the legs being reused. The paint job is good except for the absence of his tattoo on his left bicep. The articulation would be a lot better with hip hinges and ankle joints, but you can still make him look cool with what you’re given here. His accessories are awesome, though the knife he comes with is not actually the knife he uses in the movie. So the figure is a mixed bag.
It certainly could have been done better, and it seems weird that he has those previously mentioned inaccuracies, but it’s still pretty fun to play with and pose with the other Expendables. I think if you’re a fan of the movie, you may be able to get past the flaws and enjoy the figure, but of course that’s up to you to decide.
FINAL SCORE: 2.5 / 5
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Be sure to check out these extra photos below that couldn’t fit in the review.