As you can probably tell from the Scoundrel Round-Up, I’m a huge fan of Firefly. The series was excellent, Serenity was great even if I still haven’t fully recovered from a certain character’s death, and even some of the comics I’ve dabbled in that have fleshed out the universe were well done. The only thing that was missing was that I couldn’t pair my love of Firefly with my love of action figures…until now. A relatively new toy company named Funko, who got their start in making cute pop culture bobbleheads, decided to start making a move into the action figure market with their various Legacy Collections. The Legacy Collection started with A Game of Thrones, but has since moved on to include properties like Magic: The Gathering, the video game Evolve, and even Firefly. I’ll admit, I haven’t committed fully to the Firefly Legacy Collection yet, but when I saw an exclusive version of Jayne Cobb at my comic store, I figured he’d be a good way to start. I’ve come close to buying other characters, but Jayne is good enough for now. There are a few flaws in this line that need to be addressed before I’m willing to drop more of my toy collecting budget on Funko Legacy products.
I figure I’ll start with the flaws first because, honestly, the flaws are pretty universal across the various Legacy Collections. The biggest issue is the plastic Funko chose to use for most of their figures’ joints. The plastic is clear and while it does make the joint look pretty seamless and leaves you without oddly colored circles on your figures, the plastic is extremely weak. I’ve read reviews of various Legacy Collection figures breaking as people were trying to remove them from their box. That’s a bad way to introduce the action figure collecting community to your product. I’ll admit, I was quite nervous Jayne’s left elbow was going to break because it looks as though some extra plastic on the forearm didn’t get cut away at the factory and as such has forced the clear plastic (poorly painted with skintone paint) into a weird alignment. That joint has held, however, Jayne right wrist snapped off right below the glove shortly after I took pictures of him for this review. Mercifully, it was a peg joint so it was pretty simple for me to fix using a small drill bit, a piece of paper clip and some superglue. What boggles my mind about this joint breaking is that the day before it broke, it was moving just fine because I needed to twist his wrist a little to position it better to hold one of his accessories. The next day I noticed it was still in that position so I turned it back the other way and then Jayne’s hand was in my hand. From what I’ve read on other toy blogs, Funko has finally started moving away from this clear plastic, but considering A Game of Thrones Legacy Collection has been going for two years, and Firefly has only been around for one, you’d think all the replacement figures Funko had to dish out to the A Game of Thrones fans would have made them rethink their figure construction sooner than this. I bought Jayne knowing he could break on me and I got lucky that my broken joint was a pretty easy fix. However, anyone interested in buying any Funko Legacy Collection figures should do so knowing going in that the figures are pretty fragile.
My other issue with the Funko Legacy Collection lines has been in the face sculpts. Again, this is something A Game of Thrones fans have complained about, and it’s continuing into the Firefly Legacy Collection. Part of why I haven’t committed to the rest of the Firefly Legacy Collection is that the actor likenesses are pretty soft. Jayne Cobb looks like Jayne, but having seen the Kaylee, Wash, and Zoe figures in person, the likenesses aren’t what I’d like for a mid-range figure based on a property I love. If I’m buying Kaylee, I want her to look like Kaylee and not some generic female character. The variant Jayne’s likeness is quite solid, but honestly, I’ve seen non-variant Jayne at Barnes & Noble a couple of times and was kind of surprised at how comparatively weak the likeness on that figure was. I know it’s just my personal preference, but if I’m shelling out more than $20 dollars on a figure and it’s in six-inch scale, I really do want the likenesses to be solid because there’s plenty of space to work with to get the likeness right. I’m forgiving of weak likenesses in smaller scales, but working in a larger scale means, to me, that there’s no excuse for a figure not to look like the character/actor they’re supposed to represent.
Okay, now that I’ve got the really rough stuff out of the way, let’s actually look at the figure himself. The folks at Funko designed every figure from this series so far (I’ve heard talk online of figures of Inara, Simon and River coming but who knows if those will materialize) using the initial pre-release publicity stills Fox put out. For some characters, most notably Zoe, this means the figure looks just a little off-model because the character never actually wore that specific outfit in the series. However, for Jayne, the publicity still comes close enough to Jayne’s look throughout the entire show that it’s not a big deal. At his most basic, Jayne’s wearing a pair of military-style pants, with combat boots, a belt and a t-shirt. From the waist down, the overall figure design does have a few problems. First of all, Jayne has a ridiculously obvious articulation cut about three-quarters of the way up his left thigh. On the right thigh, the designers were able to use the lower holster strap to obscure the cut, but on the left leg, there’s nothing like that. It’s honestly kind of distracting. Plus, the extreme gap also throws off the balance of that leg a little bit. I’ve tried to push the peg in deeper to the leg, but that’s all the further it goes and it leaves Jayne with slightly uneven legs. From what I’ve seen of photos online, this is unfortunately a uniform problem across all Jayne figures. The ankles are quite poseable, with a hybrid rocker and hinge. It has a lot of range of motion, but with that twitchy left leg, it makes it a little harder to find a good pose for him. The design of his hips is a little odd. The articulation is good, but the overall design is just a little off aesthetically speaking. It leaves Jayne with an odd looking groin area because his hips joints don’t look quite natural. Around the figure’s waist, Jayne’s got a belt with a function holster for his pistol and a sheath for his knife. While we didn’t see him use the knife much beyond the series premiere, it’s nice that the Funko folks included this. Up top, Jayne’s got a nice basic t-shirt. There’s articulation right below the pectoral muscles and that’s it. I do wish he had a waist joint just because you get a lot more range of motion when you have both of those joints instead of one or the other. The arms look appropriately strong, though the left arm does have that disconcerting warp in his elbow joint. Jayne’s hands a quite well designed and aside from the breakage, they have some good poseability. The wrist can turn and there’s also a built-in hinge. The gloves he wore on the show are recreated very well and it helps finish off the look of a more combat-ready Jayne. Up top, though, is the main reason I bought Jayne. The standard version of Jayne Cobb is hatless, but this exclusive (which was first available at Comic Con last year and then available from the comic/toy catalog Previews) has Jayne wearing the hat he received from his mother in “The Message.” As someone who owns a Jayne hat that was knitted for him by a good friend who’s also a sci-fi nut, I’m a sucker for the Jayne hat and any time Jayne shows up with it, I’ll buy it quickly. The face sculpt looks like Adam Baldwin and the hat is extremely well detailed. It’s got some nice texture that makes it look like it’s knitted and I’m impressed that Funko went to the trouble of doing that and making sure it had two little ties coming off the bottom. Since the standard release figure is just a simple head-swap, you can get a good idea of what that figure is like from this review even though the standard release doesn’t have the hatted head.
Like Jayne’s actual costume, the figure’s paint work is pretty simple. He’s wearing pretty simple clothes so it makes sense. The paint job also comes straight from the publicity stills and while I get why Funko did that, I do kind of wish Jayne was wearing the Blue Sun shirt that became so synonymous with the character by the end of the series. As it stands, the figure is wearing a greenish-brown shirt with a camouflaged Chinese symbol on his chest. The color is quite similar to the Blue Sun shirt, but the symbol is not. I do kind of wonder what that symbol means in Chinese. If any readers know, please, let us know in the forums. The pants look decent in the very light tan that Funko chose, but if they wanted to bring the pants more in line with the publicity still, they should be a little darker. As it stands, Jayne looks more like he’s wearing light khakis like you see businessmen wearing than military-style pants. The boots have some nice paint details on them. The placement of the olive drab reminds me of the military surplus jungle boots I wore back in the day. They were cheap but they were solidly-built boots and that makes sense for Jayne. The hat looks great on this figure and the colors are solidly applied. The skin tone is a little heavily applied but it still looks natural and not waxy. The paint also really helps sell this figure as Jayne Cobb to me. The paint folks did an excellent job painting this figure’s face and I like having a little angry Adam Baldwin staring at me from my desk, looking at me like I owe him money. (Seriously, Funko, a statue Jayne variant would be a pretty awesome exclusive.)
I’m a firm believer that an action figure, even if it’s high end, should have at least one accessory and it looks like the folks at Funko agree. All the Firefly Legacy Collection figures have some great accessories and Jayne’s are very fitting. Jayne’s got the knife we saw him use to threaten the Alliance agent that snuck aboard the ship during the series premiere. It’s a decent piece, though it looks awfully small in his hands and neither hand really holds it all that well. I think had they made the knife itself a little bigger, it would look better and fit in his hand better. On his right side, Jayne’s got the slightly futuristic LeMat pistol he carried in the show. That was his primary weapon on the show so it makes sense for Funko to use it, though much like the knife, it looks just a tad undersized. However, that’s not really going to matter much because Jayne also comes with Vera. If you’ve got a Jayne figure and don’t arm him with Vera, I’m sorry, but you’re doing something wrong. When I used my Jayne hat and Blue Sun shirt to create a Jayne costume for a nerdy Halloween party, I made sure to get myself a Vera in the form of a modern Nerf assault rifle I repurposed. Vera may have only shown up in one episode, but much like the hat, it was such a memorable moment it’s nice to see Vera here. The rifle is extremely well-detailed and looks like it was pulled from the screen and shrunk down and put into tiny-Jayne’s hands. The accessories are all great choices and while I have to fault Funko for their construction issues, I also have to give them credit across their lines for doing such great work with their figures’ accessories. Vera looks perfect in Jayne’s hand and it really helps complete the figure.
Despite the fact that his wrist broke a few months after I bought him, I still have to admit that the variant Jayne is a great figure. I want Funko to figure out how to built figures without clear plastic joints because these are very well-designed figures. I just don’t want to have to worry about my adult collector-oriented figure breaking from what should be a minor pose change. I get that not all toys are designed to stand up to kids playing with them anymore, but Jayne’s wrist broke during a normal action and that’s a problem. I knew going in that Funko figures are fragile, but I shouldn’t have to make peace with the fact that my action figure could break taking him out of the box when I buy him. I want to support the various Funko Legacy collections, but as of now, I’m still a little gunshy because of very well-documented quality control issues. If you’re willing to roll the dice on your figures, the Funko Legacy Collection is worth your money, though you will want to make sure you get the figure in a pose you like quickly to minimize your chances of breaking something.