Forces of Valor: 82nd Airborne (With Medic) and 1st Marines
As we continue looking at toys purchased for custom projects, we turn our attention to somewhat more realistic toys than I typically review. "Forces of Valor" is a line of figures and vehicles for collectors of military toys. Since I'm more of a super-hero and SF fan myself, I've never needed to pick up any of these before.
But I've certainly noticed them on the shelves. The vehicles, in particular, have caught my eye: they've got some beautiful toys at very reasonable prices. Again, I don't really have much need for a tank or plane, but if I ever do, I know where to look.
Today we're looking at two box sets of soldiers in 1/32nd scale: the "US 82nd Airborne (with Medic)" and the "US 1st Marine Division." The 82nd is pictured to the left; you'll find a shot of the Marines in the next section.
82nd Airborne: 7/10
1st Marine: 6/10
Before you start complaining that I'm being too harsh, let me explain. These sets contain figures, bases, destroyed walls, and more accessories than you can shake a stick at. If I was scoring the appearance based on the appearance of the entire set, this would be two or three points higher. Of course, then I'd have to leave out any points in the 'extras' section, and that's just ridiculous.
So, this score is based on the appearance of the figures only. Both sets come with five figures each, and every one has their own sculpt and pose. The 82 Airborne contains a medic and wounded soldier, which look a little better than the rest (though you'll probably want to choose a different set if you want 5 fighting soldiers instead of 3 fighting and two others).
The appearance of the figures is good, but not great. Actually, the sculpt work is phenomenal at this scale, while the paint work just can't keep up. This isn't really a big deal: they're small enough that detail isn't entirely essential.
If you do want them perfect, then you'll want to pick up some paint and work on them yourself. And there's good reason to consider this: the sculpts on these guys are great. With a little paint work, you can put together some fine looking collectibles at bargain prices.
But, as they come out of the box, I have to peel away the points. I'm scoring the Airborne figures at 7 and the Marines a little harsher at 6. The Marines are just a bit less interesting in appearance than the others: though they make up the difference later.
Packaging and Extras:
82nd Airborne: +2
1st Marine: +3
I actually like the packaging a lot. The printed "bullet holes" are a nice touch, and the open display shows you what you're buying:
The extras are really where these guys shine, especially the marines, who come loaded with accessories. There's a little bit of repetition, but even then you won't mind. There's no good way to do this, so lets just break it down in a list:
US 82nd Airborne (With Medic):
US 1st Marine Division: 1 artillery gun, 1 sandbag barricade, 1 wall corner, 1 wall chunk, 2 ammo cases (one big, one small: both open with nothing inside), 1 metal barricade, 4 gas cans (2 red, 2 green), 1... black... thing (not entirely sure what this is), 5 bases.
Almost everything is exceptionally well made. The walls in particular are quite stunning, and can add a lot to the display. In fact, the walls can add a lot to just about any display - there's no reason you need to use them here rather than elsewhere.
The bases are a tiny bit disappointing, only because they're so simple. I'd like to have seen some paint on them or - at the very least - a variety of shapes. Still, it's a minor complaint in the scheme of things.
If these had cost more money, I'd have expected a "floor display" instead of individual bases, but at this price, I feel like I'm getting more than I paid for already.
I'm giving the 82nd Airborne two bonus points for an exceptional selection of accessories. The 1st Marines go beyond even that: they're getting three extra points.
Play and Display: +1
The figures have no articulation, nor do most of the accessories (the artillery gun coming with the marines swivels and some of the cases open). Still, there's a lot you can do with these. The piles of accessories basically give you an unlimited number of options for display.
I'm giving both sets a bonus point here, because there's a lot you can do with these on the shelf.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 10/10
When all's said and done, both of these sets score a 10. Any problems I have with the paint are buried beneath the piles of accessories these guys come with. In fact, the accessories feel like they're worth a lot more than the figures themselves.
I paid between twelve and fourteen bucks each for these, and I'd say they're worth the money. This is assuming, of course, that you're collecting 1/32 scale military figures or you're looking for something customizable.
And that's where these become really cool. If you're willing to put some work into painting these guys, they step up into a whole other class. In fact, that's why we got to begin with.
We picked these up at K-Mart, but Toys R Us has similar sets for cheaper (we couldn't find the ones we needed at Toys R Us, so we had to pay a little more). If you've got the time, though, you can almost certainly find a better deal by shopping around.
Like I said, we picked these up for use in a custom project my wife was working on. And, now that you've seen what these were like before, hop on over to The Blue Fairy's Workshop and take a gander at how they look now. Here's something to wet your appetite:
Like the review? Really? Oh, in that case, head on over to The Middle Room, my blog for geeks everywhere.