Life In Plastic: Retro Review: Final Battle (Spawn: The Movie)

FinalBattle

Hey guys, let’s take a look at my big rubber Violator! And you can watch me play with it, too!

…okay, that came out wrong. But it is a big rubber Violator, and I did record the action feature and put it up on YouTube. Link here, and again down in the Articulation section.

FinalBattle-Ambush

The Final Battle Playset recreates part of the – guess what? – final battle in Spawn: The Movie. To recap: Big Bad Guy Jason Wynne had hooked his heart monitor up to a big mega-plague bomb, and Violator tried to convince Spawn to kill him and doom the world. The fight ended up in Spawn’s widow’s living room, Spawn shut off the bomb, and then he and Cogliostro (the Obi-Wan) had to fight Violator, who pulled them into Hell for the final battle. The fight was a little CGI-heavy, but they defeated Violator, and then Spawn faced the WORST SPECIAL EFFECT EVER, i.e. The Devil. Spawn took out all the other millions of hellspawn in Malebolgia’s army, and then he and Cogliostro came back to Wanda’s living room, secure that all was well. Then Violator suddenly emerged from the wall and attacked, and Spawn almost got his head bitten off before he realized that hey, he has super powers, so he used his chains to decapitate Violator and presumably kill him (though he didn’t sound that upset. He did get resurrected in the comics, at least).

FinalBattle-Unboxed

This playset commemorates precisely two seconds out of that sequence, when Violator first burst out from the wall. That’s it. He got the whole way into the living room for the fight, so it’s really just a brief moment. There is an action feature that pays lip service to an earlier part, though – Spawn and Cogliostro went to Hell when Violator reached out from the fireplace and yanked them in, but that feature doesn’t quite work with the big rubber Violator set piece. But despite its surprisingly limited nature (and why this is the most obscure of the sets), its action feature is way fun! So, let’s go on!

FinalBattle-Packaged

PACKAGING: ***1/2

The Final Battle is an old-school McFarlane toy, so it’s in a typical plastic blister on cardboard backing. It displays and protects everything in the set, and shows off the whole line in back. The huge blister doesn’t age well, though, and has a tendency to just fall off after a few years. Also, one of the little lamps slipped out of its tray, but that happened only just before I opened it up. And finally, there is a twisty-tie holding the living room set in, but it’s easy to thread out. Still, this is not a toy for a MOC collector.

FinalBattle-Books

SCULPT: Living Room: **** Spawn: ***

Each one of the three sets focuses on Spawn Versus Violator, so this one really isn’t any surprise. Before I talk about the big demonphant in the room, the living room itself looks excellent – incredible, even. The books on the shelf seem real enough to pick up, the rug is just a little wrinkled from all the fighting, and it all just comes together so well. Honestly, I would have been at my maximum happiness if they had a way to swap out the Violator parts, like extra panels or something. Then this thing would have become my default Living Room set for photos. But… big rubber violator.

FinalBattle-Violator

And Violator is huge! His head is roughly the size of the big Deluxe Violator’s head, and dwarfs the version we got in Spawn Alley. It’s also a soft, hollow rubber because of the huge action feature, which I will discuss in Articulation. Violator’s right arm, which is sprouting from just above the fireplace, is also soft rubber, but his left arm is hard plastic. The demon’s features are really, really good – not just scaled up from the smaller figure, but absolutely textured better to account for the larger size. His lower jaw is extended more than on the other figure, matching how he distorted himself to try to bite Spawn’s head off. The horns are harder and glued in, but also prone to falling out – I had to reglue one, myself. I kind of love how this horrific monster just emerges from a nice, classy living room – so despite the fact that I absolutely cannot use this set for ordinary picture-taking… I like it a lot. It’s good enough to make up for my reservations!

FinalBattle-SpikySpawn

Spawn is also pretty scene-specific: when Violator started nomming on his head, he sprouted a bunch of spikes to get away (just like Beetlejuice!), and then used his chains to saw off Violator’s head (also like Beetlejuice!). So this is Prickly Spawn, and he looks… all right. Except for the chains, none of the pieces are reused from Spawn Alley Spawn, despite how easily they could have recycled that torso – but no, under close inspection, they are different pieces. The spikes are big and round and not very sharp, and the arms and head don’t look like they attach very well to his torso, but he seems all right overall. The chains are the same as in Spawn Alley, and aren’t long enough to really wrap around Violator’s neck. I’ve gotta say, though, this set needed at least one other figure to match the other playsets. It could have used Cogliostro, or even Jason Wynne, especially since we never got any of those guys in this 3″ scale. Ah, well.

FinalBattle-Fireplace

PAINT: Living Room: ****, Spawn: ****

The living room is cleanly-painted to resemble a pretty nice home – cream-colored bricks, matching bookshelves and stoneworks, a nice wooden floor, and cream for the gold-fringed throw rug. The books come in red, green, or blue, and all of the lines are clean, crisp, and just fine. Violator, by comparison, is a monstrous beast, with a dark wash bringing out all the sculptural details. He’s also got some good paint on his tongue and teeth, showing off how nasty the inside of his mouth is. There is some transition paint at the base of his neck and arms, which works great except for the base of his left arm, which is cream when it should be the green of his neck. But it’s fine, and barely noticeable.

FinalBattle-Grabbed

Spiky Spawn is less glossy than his Spawn Alley counterpart, and thus the detailing is much, much better. All the colors are where they should be, and he’s got a light gray wash to bring out the details on the black parts of his costume. I have no real complaints, it just seems underwhelming when compared to the awesomeness that is the Living Room.

FinalBattle-Chomp

ARTICULATION: Living Room: ***, Spawn: ***

This set has a WEIRD action feature! Understand, it’s not perfect, not remotely, but the action feature itself is awesome enough to earn four stars… except for the quality control. I had to cut off a star for quality control. By manipulating some levers in the back, you can move Violator’s head and right arm like a puppet. It’s also got an action feature in the fireplace – push on the fire, and a “secret passageway” springs open! To see both of these in action, watch this YouTube clip of me playing with my big rubber Violator.

It’s HERE.

Okay? Anyway, moving on… assembly for this set is a little complicated, as you need to insert three separate pieces – two scissor-like prongs in Violator’s head, and one stick up his arm. You can anchor them in, but the little black peg meant to hold the scissors together is just too small. It’s also too small to plug into the slots in the back of the set, which is kind of the reason why I erased a star (though they do supply you with an extra peg). Half of the system just doesn’t work – and last I checked, when you make toys you design pegs and holes to fit properly together. It still works, though, and you can make the head look side-to-side, or up and down, and even make his mouth open and close a little bit! The arm is manipulated with a stick, and can grab and twist at will. His left arm is supposed to swivel, but mine seems glued in, so I’m guessing it does not. I personally would have made the Violator bits removable, with “regular’ wall sections that can be put in their place, and left the openings big enough to puppet them with your fingers. But this solution is just so creative that I love it!

FinalBattle-SecretPassage

The other action feature is a call back to Violator grabbing Spawn and Cogliostro through the fireplace and pulling them into hell. The fire is like a lever, and if you push back on it, the fireplace panels swing open! It’s a little tricky to get right at first – the mechanism slides back, not down, so you have to get the hang of the mechanism, but it works all right. You can manually open the fireplace if you want, too. Just plug in the fire, close the passage, and you’re good to go!

FinalBattle-ChainAttack

Horny Spawn is articulated at the Big Five – swivel head, shoulders, and hips. He doesn’t need anything else, and he’s posed a little better than the other two spawns in that he just doesn’t look all that awkward. So he’s fine.

FinalBattle-Implements

ACCESSORIES: ****

Aside from Spiny Spawn, this set comes with the levers for Violator, the fire, an open book that fell out of the case, two lamps, three fireplace tools, and a coal scuttle to hold them all. That’s a lot of random stuff, and I am so going to use them in my diorama photos!

FinalBattle-Lamps

The lamps are small and skinny, and fit on the mantle surrounding Violator’s right arm. They are a little precarious and prone to fall, but look just fine.  The fireplace tools are an awesome touch, with a shovel, brush, and poker, that all fit into a scuttle. I love these little things, and the brush is even painted properly! The coal scuttle is black, and just big enough to fit the three tools inside. Unfortunately, Spawn can’t hold any of them – in direct contradiction with the included instructions! That’s kind of minor, though, since they are good props.

FinalBattle-ReadABook

And of course, there’s the book. You can put it cover down or up, and it looks great. Open, you can see some lines of text, a picture, and a dog-eared page. The cover says A, meaning that this is an encyclopedia volume. It’s also not sized right for Spawn to hold (or maybe his hands are just wrong), but the book is a really nice little prop, and a cool touch.

FinalBattle-Side

VALUE: ****

This set used to retail for $10, and it has maintained its value. $10. Shop around, and you won’t even have to worry too much about shipping!

FinalBattle-Fire

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Be careful not to tear Violator’s rubber or peel off its paint, and the levers don’t quite fit together right, but otherwise this set seems fine. Just watch out for those engineering issues.

FinalBattle-GrabSpawn

WHERE TO BUY:

For a toy this old, you’ve got two choices – eBay, Amazon, or toy conventions/vintage toy sellers. I’d suggest the latter if you see them anywhere nearby, as they usually have better prices. But eBay shouldn’t sting too badly! And more importantly, the playset is the most obscure and apparently poorest-selling of the movie sets, so you’ll find packaged ones FLOODING eBay, desperate for a buyer. I got mine for under $10.

FinalBattle-Ride

OVERALL: ****

Bahahahahaha! It’s funny, I should be disappointed in this. The awesome scenery is wasted for regular photography, the big Violator is only his head and hand, Spawn can’t hold the accessories, the set needs another figure, and the action features don’t quite work properly. But it’s just So. Much. Fun. So very. Much. Fun. And isn’t that what toys are about? Spawn Alley is still my favorite of the sets, and I will likely use the Graveyard a lot more in my photography, but I can’t deny that this toy is just plain fun.

FinalBattle-Firelight

3 responses to “Life In Plastic: Retro Review: Final Battle (Spawn: The Movie)

  1. Pingback: Life In Plastic: Why Retro Reviews? | Nerditis·

  2. I never had any of these small-scale toys, although I have considered buying them for… well, for seventeen years, I guess. Geez, seventeen years! When this toy came out, a toy that was seventeen years old came out in 1980! God, I feel old.

    Anyhoo, your big rubber Violator is mesmerizing. Seriously, though, I always assumed the Violator was hard plastic. I want this set now! It’d be fun to photograph Hellboy inside it.

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