Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Falco (Revoltech – Fist of the North Star)

Falco-VsKen

This figure is a few years old but not quite at the five-year mark yet – it came out about three to fourish years ago. So it’s sort of a retro review!

“Revoltech” is the catch-all name for a variety of lines produced by Kaiyodo that use a specific kind of ball-joint articulation. a Revoltech Joint, is essentially a ratcheted ball-and-socket male-to-male adapter, with the main draws being great range of motion, ratchets that can hold their position, and great interchangeability and customization options. The downside is that sometimes the articulation can become a little too visible. I own a reasonable amount of Revoltech figures, all following their Fist of the North Star license. If you do a search on MWC Toys for Fist of the North Star, you can even find a bunch of reviews written before I knew how to photograph well!

Falco-GoldenLight

Fist of the North Star is one of those series that should be terrible, but turned out extremely well. Essentially, if you take Mad Max and give the hero a crazy head-exploding magical martial art, you’ve got the show in a nutshell. What started out as a b-grade splatterfest soon turned into an epic martial arts drama, and it is one of my favorite anime series ever made. And manga. The comic matters, too.  Falco came from the latter half of the series – basically, the first part of Fist of the North Star built up to a gigantic battle with the main character’s brother, while the latter half was more scattered and is not as well-remembered. But Falco was awesome.

addictedtoludus-com_falco

Falco is the master of Gento Ko-Ken, a martial art that manipulates ki energy to burn or freeze opponents, destroying them on a mollecular level. Gento was the point where fights began to become more range and projectile-focused, though they never reached the point of Dragon Ball Z – the hero, Kenshiro, still fougth up close and personally. Falco’s sworn duty is to protect the “Celestial Emperor,” which means that when a bad guy kidnaps and ransoms the emperor, Falco is forced to serve him, too. This places him in direct conflict with Ken, despite his own noble nature. Falco puts up a tremendous fight, witht he two combatants nearly on equal footing despite his handicap (Falco has a prosthetic leg – he sacrificed one of his legs to save his village), with the end solution being to save the Emperor (empress!), thus freeing Falco to burn the bad guy to a crisp.

Falco-FlatHands

Falco remained Kenshiro’s ally after that, though he tragically died in the next plot arc – he was ambushed by a ninja character who really resembles Street Fighter’s Vega (Vega was probably based on him). The ninja knocked out Falco’s false leg and beat him nearly to death, though Falco managed to live long enough to cut the ninja in half during the rematch. he expired from his wounds later. The death was sad and meaningless, even for Fist of the North Star. So of course, I have dramatized it in photos.

Falco-GentoKoKen

“Falco of the Golden Light” specialized in a lot of power attacks, but also with a surprising amount of speed. He could focus his ki into ring-shaped blasts, razor-sharp lightsaber blades, high-speed flurries of kicks, aura-like explosions around his body, and even a freezing blast over the ground. Even his normal punches had some Gento enhancement, so he really “hits” several inches in front of his fists. In the few video games that have Falco (there are a lot of FotNS games, but few that cover the second half of the series), he is usually a ranged powerhouse.

Kens-Rage-2-Falco_strong_attack

I picked up the Revoltech Falco figure relatively recently – around September, actually – and kept it in reserve for a good filler review. I plan to move to some of the more prominent or flashy characters in time. But for now, let’s take a look at this one, because yes, He Must Break You.

Falco-Packaged

PACKAGING: ****

Like all Revoltech figures, Falco is packed in a huge, padded window box. Trust me on this – it protects the figure. NOTHING will harm the stuff inside. It is also easy to re-pack and reseal, if you wish to do so.

Falco

SCULPT: **1/2

Most of the Revoltech Fist of the North Star figures have excellent likenesses. Look at Kenshiro, or Raoh, or Jagi, or Uighur. Falco is not one of them. On a technical level, the figure is sculpted well, but it has almost zero resemblance to the character himself. To put it plainly, Falco looks like Dolph Lundgren. He was drawn to resemble a burlier and more muscular Dolph circa Rocky III. This guy? He’s way too skinny.  In fact, look at this image from the manga!

Falco_(Tetsuo_Hara)

Or this screenshot from the TV series!

falco

Granted, aside from the skinniness, he does have enough of a likeness that you can tell who it is. It’s just Falco if he stopped working out and went on a Slim-Fast diet. He has the right hairstyle, and the facial sculpt certainly reflects Falco’s trademark scowl, but the proportions are too narrow. The total package makes him look young – maybe it’s Falco in his early ’20s? I’m not sure.

Falco-Face

Thankfully, his costume is pretty good. It matches his garb in the series, from the banded shoulder pads to the bracelet to the triple belt. These did look different on a bulkier guy. The figure lacks Falco’s trademark cape, which kind of makes those shoulder guards look out of place – he had a big white high-collared cape with the Holy imperial Army insignia on the back. Because he lacks it, his shoulder guards just sort of float there.

Falco-GentoBlast

On the positive side, the texturing is all great. His pants are appropriately wrinkled. His boots are appropriately shiny. His muscles are appropriately muscular (if a little scrawny). Falco may be oddly off-model, but that does not mean he isn’t well-sculpted.

One more thing. Revoltech figures are in 6″ scale – but literally 6″ tall. Most American figures in the 6″ scale border on 7″. So Falco will look short next to a lot of other toys.

Falco-OpenHands

PAINT: ****

Falco’s paint is fantastic – standard for Revoltech figures, but this is the first one I am reviewing on the site. His flesh tone is the sculpted color of the plastic for his body parts, with a light wash over it to bring out the details – but not so strong that he looks sunburned. His face paint is pretty standard, but clean, crisp, and functional. His outfit is also great, with a wash over his off-white pants, appropriate brown for the leather, and bright gold on his boots, gauntlets, and chest piece. Remember, this is “Falco of the Golden Light,” so it makes sense that he would gleam on the battlefield.

Falco-DestroysBandit

ARTICULATION: ****

Falco has Revoltech joints on his shoulders, elbows, wrists, head, shoulder pads, and ankles. He has revoltech-style double joints on his knees. He has another similar joint on his upper torso. He also has a swivel waist, hips, upper thighs, and right lower thigh, as well as an ab crunch. His alternate arm only swivels at the shoulder, although it looks like it has Revoltech joints.

Falco-CoruscatingKicks

Revoltech articulation varies – generally, it’s firm and has a great range as well as opportunities to pull out and swap limbs or even repair loose joints. However, it can sometimes become too garish or ugly, particularly once the joints begin to loosen. But overall? You can put Falco in pretty much any pose you want, including most of his iconic poses from the series.

Falco-Leg

His right leg has an extra swivel just above the knee. Now, why is that? It’s because of Falco’s prosthetic leg – you can take it off or swivel it to match the series. You can even put him in the proper “Coruscating Kicks” pose, which is kind of like the Karate Kid crane stance, only he uses his false leg to support himself and kicks like a maniac.  And since the peg is Revoltech-size, it fits in the hand of any figure who can hold accessories! Amputees have never been so much fun!

Falco-CelestialFlyingDance

ACCESSORIES: ***

I have mixed feeling about Falco’s accessories, because he DOES have something awesome. It does, however, preclude getting the right accessoris. Falco comes with three alternate sets of hands, one alternate “Gento” arm, a Revoltech stand and base, an orange Revoltech coin, and a little orange box to store everything. Alternate hands and often heads are standard for this line, as are the base, box, and coin. The coin is part of a sweepstakes promotion that you cannot take advantage of unless you live in Japan. He can stand on the base, and the black post plugs into a hole in his back for high-flying moves! The flight stand is also articulated, and you wouldn’t believe the number of aerial poses I have managed to put my Revoltech figures in. Considering how often characters in Fist of the North Star took to the air, this is great!

Falco-GoldenHand

The spare arm is Revoltech’s attempt to give him some Gento power. It is one stiff piece, although it LOOKS like it has Revoltech joints so it does not clash with his other arm. The hand is translucent yellow, and there is an LED light inside – the arm unscrews to allow for battery replacement, and you also turn the light on or off based on how tightly it is screwed on. The LED itself is pretty weak, though it does the job of lighting Falco’s hand. The hand is in the right pose, too, as he would often pull the palm-out position before blasting somebody. However, an actual energy blast effect would have served much better. The ones I use in these photos came from other toys. See, a lot of Revoltech FotNS figures come with small energy effects – or, in the case of Kenshiro, huge ones. And Falco’s attacks are really distinct, especially those energy rings. I couldn’t find anything to match, so I simply did not. The fire-in-the-hand that I found is halfway decent, but just not good enough. We got a cool and functional gimmick arm, but we missed out on the items he really needs.

FalcoVsShura01

VALUE: *1/2

Revoltech figures tend to start at the $30 range and climb from there. Falco can often be bought for $40, which just hurts. But oh, he could be worse – plenty of them reach three-digit levels! if you are really curious about the line, he is one of the cheapest to try out. Interestingly, many of the figures I bought for $30-$40 now go for $100+, so if I review them… I dunno.

FalcoVsShura02

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

Revoltech joints can be tricky. They can get stuck, or become lose. If they are loose, you can usually squeeze them together and tighten them again. Overall, though, these toys are really durable.

FalcoVsShura03

WHERE TO BUY:

eBay. You might find some Japan import shops that carry them, but its a crapshoot.

FalcoVsShura04

OVERALL: **1/2

You know, this was not the best Revoltech figure to start with. The likeness is all wrong, and his accessories are weird. But it does give a taste for the general quality of the line, and Falco IS more affordable than most. If I review Jagi or Souther… I dunno. But the character was awesome, at least.

FalcoVsShura05

Random Trivia – you know that mohawked punk toy with all the blood and guts I use in a lot of photos? That’s from this line, too.

FalcoVsShura06

6 responses to “Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Falco (Revoltech – Fist of the North Star)

    • Yeah, there is likely a link between them, though if I remember correctly Guile has some Polnareff in him, too. Tetsuo Hara, the artist from FotNS, did a lot of work on Street Fighter. Zangief looks almost EXACTLY like one of the minor bad guys in the series, too.

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