FLASH GORDON (PLAYMATES)
Each new iteration of Flash Gordon brings its own unique characters to the table. The 90s cartoon was no exception. In some cases, characters were created wholesale, and in others, they were amalgamations or approximations of previously existing characters. Presumably, after the unforgettable performances of Brian Blessed and Timothy Dalton as Prince Vultan and Prince Barin, respectively, in the 1980 Flash Gordon movie, the makers of the cartoon felt replacing them might be difficult, and instead gave us Prince Talon, who was one of the Hawkmen, just like Vultan, but also was far less antagonistic, and served as a foil to Flash, much like Barin (who would later appear in the cartoon, albeit in a much smaller role). Today, I’ll be looking at Talon’s one and only action figure.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Talon was one of the basic assortment figures from Playmates’ Flash Gordon line. The figure is about 5 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation, counting his wings. After reviewing Ming, Talon feels like quite a step down in terms of movement. The one pose you see him in for the pictures? That’s pretty much the only pose you’ll be getting out of him. Talon is ostensibly based on his cartoon design (well, the second one, since he had a different look in the pilot), but he doesn’t really translate as well as the others in the line did. On the show he was very angular, classically heroic in built, and had a very rigid stance. On the figure, he’s round, a little pudgy, and permanently in a weird sort of mid-lunging pose. Most of the cool details from his costume are just painted on, despite many of them having dimension on the original design, and the others in the set getting all the appropriate details on their sculpts. And for some reason, they’ve given him a pair of sunglasses. I guess all black guys in the ‘90s had to have cool shades? They just end up looking rather hokey, though, since their shape doesn’t fit with anything else about the design. It feels like the sculptor just got too lazy to actually sculpt his eyes, and did this as a time saver. The wings can be removed if you so desire (because it was easier to fit him in the package with them off). They’re rather basic and uninspiring, and once again seem to miss the coolness of his design from the show. The paint on Talon is also some of the worst the line had to offer. His colors are rather drab, and don’t really match up with his show design. The pale green has been replaced by a warm yellow, which just looks even more dorky. His details are all kind of fuzzy around the edges, and he’s painfully shiny in hue. He just looks rather fake and cheap. Talon included a weird bird-shaped blade-gun thing, which has an extending feature, as well as another AirSled, this time in light blue.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Talon is one of the last figures I got from the line. He came from the lot of 8 I picked up at a convention last summer. He was actually one of my main reasons for picking up the set, because Talon was one of my favorite parts of the show. Unfortunately, the Talon figure takes a look at the bar set by yesterday’s Ming figure and just sort of face plants just in front of it. Somehow, they managed to take the coolest of the show’s designs and turn it into the lamest of the 8 figures released. It’s a real shame.