I’m back!! My movie review yesterday was just a prelude, boys and girls, for I have not covered the travesty that is the Wal-Mart Exclusive How To Train Your Dragon line. If you want Toothless underoos, you can buy ’em. A hooded towel? No problem. T-shirts? Backpacks? Viking Helmets? Easter themed Dragon gummies and eggs? All available. But if you want action figures of the girl characters or even just a Toothless figure that is more cute dragon than vicious man-eater, well, that’s going to be a problem.
I have to admit, from the selection of figures (available only at Wal-Mart), I wasn’t very enthused with the direction of the line. For the Vikings assortment, I only picked up Hiccup which may have been a mistake. I wanted Hiccup in his riding gear, but the only way to get Hiccup in his riding gear is to get the $15 catapult playset. Same if you want the Hiccup in his apron. This figure only his 4 points of articulation: head, arms, and waist. Nothing below that. And Hiccup commits the ultimate sin of a figure with no hips, knees, or ankles articulation. He can’t stand. His head is ball-jointed, but has little range of motion. His shoulders are also ball-jointed, but they can’t hold up his giant crossbow (it’s almost as tall as he is). But the biggest fault with the figure is the aforementioned lack of leg articulation. You see, he can’t ride his dragon. I feel like my $5 would have been better spent on a Happy Meal toy.
There are four dragons in the action dragon assortment, the Zippleback (a two headed dragon that zips it’s two necks together), the Gronkle (which shoot fire), the Deadly Nadder (which has a lunging action feature), and the Night Fury. I chose the Night Fury which is at least the same breed of dragon as Toothless.
I didn’t find much to like when I got it home. The figure is molded in a single color of plastic with painted details. The body, back legs, and the wings are made of a harder plastic while the tail and front legs are softer. The tail and wings come detached in the box and you have to attach them to the figure. The figure itself is kind of a useless statue which would be fine if it were cuter. And it only features a whopping 3 points of articulation, the two wings and the jaw, which are incorporated as an action feature. Squeezing the back legs causes the wings to slide back and the dragon’s mouth to open. Supposedly,this is “dive-bombing”. The sculpt is pretty accurate for the beginning of the movie, but essentially this “action dragon” is mostly just a chunk of plastic.
All the drawbacks didn’t go away, but were lessened considerably when I took this thing out for the photo shoot. I had some fun pretending he was flying and trying to get shots of him sneaking through the grass to stalk the Hiccup figure which was constantly in a state of “about to fall over” or “fallen over”. I eventually gave up trying to keep Hiccup in the pictures and just had some fun with the Night Fury.
It was more fun to play with outside and would probably be even better if I had other dragons for him to fight. But it’s just fun to throw him up into the air multiple times. On impact with the ground, on occasion, the wings will come off. It’s helpful to have them breakaway, as it keeps them from actually breaking, and they’re put back on easily enough. This was on grass, though. And Toothless got a little bit muddy during his outdoor adventure so I had to give him a bath, too. He cleans up easily (with gentle washing) and without damage to the painted areas.
Overall, the Night Fury may not be best for fans of the movie to try and collect, but any child that has seen the movie will enjoy it and it’s sturdy enough to keep up with them. Having said that, I would skip the $5 viking figures unless your kids just really love one of the characters.