Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WWE Elite RSC Exclusive, "Hardcore" Kane - Review

Well, it's about damn time! This one's been stewing for over a month now, so I think it's giving me enough time to really appreciate this figure.

Whether or not you think Kane is a great in-ring talent, you have to admit he's a great WWE Superstar. That means the character transcends his wrestling ability and even his achievements in the squared circle and is popular enough to push merchandise. And if there is one Superstar that makes for fantastic action figures it's Kane. His popularity is evidenced in this, his second Mattel WWE exclusive for Ringside Collectibles.

A lot of fans have been quick to judge this release and point out the inaccuracies, but after several weeks with him in hand, I have to tell you some of those issues aren't as bad as they'd lead you to believe. In fact, in a couple of cases, the design choices are for the better.

Take a look!

WWE Elite Collection - Flashback
$27.99 (Ringside Collectibles)

Regarding the sculpt, there's nothing new here. "Hardcore" Kane is copletely composed of parts from either the Undertaker or Elite 12 Kane, but you may be surprised to know most of his pieces come from the former. In fact the only Kane-specific parts are the head, wrist bracers and hands. The torso is a bit thin for Kane, but if that didn't bother you on the last RSC Kane, then it shouldn't bother you here.

Because of the slimmer torso he gets smaller arms, too. That doesn't bother me as much, even though Kevin Nash had the same torso and ended up with the bigger arms. To avoid tooling a new glove piece, MDT reused the E12 figure's glove. The only issue with that is that the piece has studs at both ends and to be accurate it should be smooth where it meets the hand.

Aside from those minor issues, the sculpt on the figure is fine. Paint seems to be another area of contention and I for one don't really understand the criticism. This attire, like Kane's "unmasking" outfit, featured mesh fabric woven into the costume. There's no way they could reproduce it with soft goods, so paint was the only choice.

Now how do you mimic the mesh look in paint? The only option is to use a slightly-darker-than-skin-tone paint to make it look like there is a thin layer of netting over the skin on those spots. I feel the finished product looks fine.

The bigger paint issue are the colors on the mask. This version of Kane sported a mostly black mask with dark red spikes running across. The red on the figure's mask is just way too bright. It's not a dealbreaker for me, but some fans have repainted the mask to look more accurate. I may consider doing that myself eventuallly.

What bothers me more is the belt in that there is none. Since they reused the Taker torso, sculpting a belt on to the figure was out of the question, but I wish they could have created a separate, overlaying piece instead of just painting it on. The way it turned out it sits ridiculously low on his waist, making it look like something Julie Newmar would wear.

MDT also decided to add "KANE" on his right glove, which as far as I remember (and could see in recent image searches) wasn't on his glove back then. In fact, I only remember seeing it on the replica glove WWE sold on their website at the time. I don't know what the official story is and will just assume it was a design choice for this release.

Another inconsistency that was pointed out was the lack of a glossy finish on the boots, however I think it was omitted for the better. My other RSC Kane's boots have become sticky over time. I don't remember it being that way when I first received it, leading me to believe it's deteriorated over time. One boot actually stuck the peg and I think I may have torn it slightly while trying to work it free. That's partially due to my impatience, because what I should have done is leave it in the freezer for awhile before trying to move it. So considering that problem, I'm okay with the matte black boots.

When it comes to accessories HC Kane only has one, but it's a doozy. The Hardcore Championship (close up here)! Finally. The belt is unique in that it's design features broken medallions duct-taped on to a classic title belt's strap. But the accessory is unique for a different reason.

Unlike Mattel's other title belts the HC belt is molded in one piece. Strap, plates, duct tape, everything. Obviously that automatically negates the possibility of having vac-metal plates. But don't be quick to scoff at it, I actually think this works a lot better for title belts.

Well... not really. But it's not as bad as you think. Since it doesn't have any tabs poking through the strap from the plates, it fits around figures a lot better than the other belts do. So it's a single piece with the plates painted a dull gold color, grey paint used for the "duct tape" and black lettering for the main plate. Yes, it's missing the red and blue paint splotches the actual belt had, but that doesn't bother me enough to skip on it.

So this is my fifth Elite Kane (after E4, RSC1, E12 and E19) and I have to admit he's a lot nicer than I anticipated. Is he flawless? No, but what figure is. He's based on one of Kane's coolest ring attires and includes a long-awaited accessory. The best part is he's still readily available at RSC, so if you want him what are you waiting for?!

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