Series: Play Arts Kai
Model: Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid)
Release Date: Mid-March (Japan), June 2012 (U.S.)
Retail Price: ¥5,800 / $59.99
1998 was a pretty good year for console gaming. Two consoles, Nintendo 64 and Playstation, were the main competitors at the time, and both consoles released notable games that year as well. Amongst the titles released in 1998, one little game called Metal Gear Solid caused a stir since this was Hideo Kojima's latest installment in the series since the last Metal Gear games on the MSX. Metal Gear Solid is one of those games that truly felt like a masterpiece, and I even found myself playing it today, just as I did all those years ago feeling all the moments of suspense, action, and twists in the game were masterfully executed. In celebration of Metal Gear's 25th Anniversary, Square Enix has released the series' unforgettable hero under the Play Arts Kai line. I've been looking forward for a release of Metal Gear Solid figures since Mcfarlane toys released their editions back in 1999, and now we'll take a look at the latest edition of Solid Snake in plastic form.
Solid Snake is packaged in a Metal Gear Solid themed box, resembling the original Playstation case for the game. The Metal Gear Solid logo is nicely printed in red on the front over a white box, with some cool looking printed gray streaks on the box. A logo on the front also signifies that this release commemorates the 25th anniversary of Metal Gear. The back shows some more pictures of the Snake figure in different action poses.
The Snake figure itself is simply stunning to look at and stands at a very tall height of 8 1/2 to 9 inches tall. The figure is not quite the size of 1/6 scale Hot Toys figures, but the height is the most significant feature of this toy line. Yoji Shinkawa, the designer of Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid's character designs, personally oversaw the production of this figure, thus the figure has been designed meticulously, with lots of sculpted textures throughout the figure. The textured features are especially noticeable on Snake's face, his armor, and all of his tactical gear pouches throughout the figure. This figure's just screams high-quality. The fine details really make this look almost like a statue than an actual action figure. Snake's paint apps are clean for the most part, with very few inconsistencies. Snake's sneaking suit is accurately painted in different shades of gray, and is nicely airbrushed on some parts for the figure to have nice highlights and shadow effects. As far as the whole sculpt goes, Snake's sculpt is spot on for the most part, minus the thighs. I mean, it has some Chun-Li looking thighs, but aside from that that, it's fairly well proportioned.
Right out of the box, this figures joints are actually very stiff, so you'll have to take some time to slowly bend each joint while avoiding stressing the joints. I will give a warning though. The figure I received came with some strangely glued hip joints, specifically Snake's left leg. I had to slowly bend the joint without stressing the plastic or snapping the ball and socket connection. If you get this figure and end up with this small nuissance, DO NOT force it. You may end up breaking the ball joint which is very hard to repair. If you find this problem, another solution may be to get some debonder from hobby stores or tool shops to loosen up the joint. Better to be safe than sorry.
Anyways, this figure has a total of 26 points of articulation, allowing Snake to be positioned in several action poses due to the durable and flexible PVC parts. Snake's Bandana is removable from the back of his head and can be swiveled from side to side to allow the bandana to look like its flowing in the wind or just calm. Snake's knee joints are double jointed, allowing a full 180 degree bend, while his arms allow a bend over 90 degrees. Snake's abdomen and chest section have complete movement all around and can rotate 360 degrees, and his upper and lower neck are on two separate ball joints allowing snake to look down angrily or look up in shock. The lower neck joint is covered by a collar cover which is also free-moving so that Snake's head can have more movement. The figure also has swivel joints found on the biceps and thighs, along with smaller rotating ball and swivel joints on the wrists and ankles. The strangest joint on the figure is toe joints which only swivel left or right and sort of look unnatural.
Posing Solid Snake is a blast. He practically looks badass in any pose. He's also one of the few figures I have that can execute a very natural kneeling pose, which is a very hard feat to pull off for most figures. Some slight adjusting with the wrists is required to hold some of the guns with both hands, and Snake looks realistic holding his weapons. If you want, you can even pose Snake in crawling mode for sneaking into vents or whatever. Although Snake has superb poseablity, the same posing options often make the figure hard to stand by itself and can fall over due to the weight of the figure. A display base for stability is suggested. Overall, the build quality of this figure is pretty durable.
Considering the massive details found on this figure, it is a must have for Metal Gear and Metal Gear Solid fans. You can order this now at Square Enix's site for $59.99 and online Japanese retailers for about $70+, but most physical stores and domestic online stores won't have Solid Snake until late May or early June. I have heard recently that there are some sellers on eBay selling fake versions of this figure however, so be careful if you order from those sites. Your safest bet is to order from Japanese sites like amiami.com, Hobby Search, or domestic preorder at bigbadtoystore.com.
Perhaps the weakest part of this release is the extras. This figure only comes with two extra hands which allow Snake to hold his guns, a SOCOM mk. 23 pistol with detachable suppressor, and a FAMAS rifle. Yep, thats about it. Now, personally, I don't have a problem with the lack of extras since the figure is already worth the price, but for some people interested in this figure, this might prove to be slight letdown given its 60 dollar price tag. If we compare this release to Mcfarlane's 1999 Solid Snake figure release, Mcfarlane's edition came with a pair of Night Vision Goggles, A Nikita/Stinger Missile Launcher (that also shoots an included missile), a SOCOM pistol with laser/suppressor attachment, the FAMAS rifle, a Gas Mask, and a tiny C4 pack. However, this figure is much more poseable and at a larger scale, so I think the Play Arts Kai version trumps the 1999 version by a good margin. Perhaps quality is better than quantity in this case. A stand for this figure would have strengthened this release, but Square Enix decided to release that separately on their site and at their booth at conventions.
Like I mentioned, the SOCOM pistol has a detachable suppressor and can also be holstered onto his thigh with the suppressor attached. However, I found that holstering the SOCOM pistol is easier when you insert the gun first then attaching the suppressor in the small slit on the holster. The FAMAS rifle has a neat, flexible PVC strap that can be put around Snake's neck or arm so that he can carry it around.
Having this figure makes me very nostalgic of earlier days when I played Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation for many hours on end. I was very excited to see this since I haven't seen a Metal Gear Solid figure since 1999. This figure is a worthy release and has superb quality and Snake's likeness is captured flawlessly in this figure. Although there are some slight nuisances, they don't really detract from the novelty of this figure. Seeing how great Solid Snake ended up being, Cyborg Ninja (aka Gray Fox) is also a considerable purchase, and Square Enix has just announced that Meryl will be released later this year. If you're a fan of the series, I can't see why you wouldn't want to get this figure.
9 out of 10
Review by: Chris Cayabyab
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