I’ll admit I’m not always the first one to know of the latest figures coming out – at least outside of the 1/6 realm which is the main focus of my collecting. This is why I’m not on the News team here at Exclu! But I get around the community and I see the news and the new stuff being shot by my fellow photogs regularly and go out and grab what I like and what I think I’d enjoy shooting. That said, I totally missed the Mythic Legions train. I mean, by the time I got to the station it had not only left but had come back and left again.
You may or may not be familiar with these fantasy-inspired, D&D-ish figures but they have become a hot property for a toy line that lacks the backing of a comic book, cartoon or major motion picture. The Mythic Legions figures – an in-house line of toys designed and created by Four Horsemen Studios, whose founders started at McFarlane Toys and who have been designing and developing lines for the likes of Mattel – started on Kickstarter in 2015. Sixteen initial six-inch figures were offered with stretch goals that brought the total to around forty-four figures and some accessory packs. The $140k goal was well eclipsed and eventually garnered over $450,000. The Second wave, Advent of Decay, offered in early 2017 came in just shy of $1 million! This latest wave will have over forty-three new designs and characters; vampires, elves, boar-men, goblins, humans, more orcs and trolls, male and female characters – a huge release of figures for a company of this size, or any toy company for that matter!
The three figures I’ll be reviewing here are from the Coliseum line – the latest and third wave of ML figures – they are; Keltuss, Brontus the Troll, and an Orc Legion Builder.
Keltuss (Skelton Warrior):
- Figure with 30 points of articulation
- (1) standard skull and (1) helmeted yellow skull
- (1) sword and (1) dagger
- Three-piece staff/scepter with removable helmet headpiece (also usable as a head for the figure)
- Two removable shoulder armor plates
- 12″ Figure with approx. 12-14 points of articulation
- (1) three-piece club with skull clubhead
- (1) restraining chain
- Soft goods loincloth
Orc Legion Builder
- Figure with 30 points of articulation
- (1) standard helmeted Orc head, (1) full helmet with horns
- (1)sword, (1) hammer
There is a lot of great detail throughout these figures and the sculpts are no exception. I’ve seen some of the more human sculpts (though not in hand to be fair) that I might not feel 100% about, but these three are just about perfect.
My one quibble with the Orc sculpt is the rough seam on the chin, which is unfortunate but doesn’t detract too much. The paint on the standard blue skull sculpts is wonderful although I might fill in the eye sockets a bit more (for photography purposes mainly).
Keltuss is a direct tribute to Masters of the Universe’s Skeletor. Four Horsemen Studios had created MotU figures for Mattel in the past and this second sculpt is meant to be their take on He-Man’s nemesis. It follows the sickly yellow/lime-green color of the original’s boney visage, but this Skeletor’s hood is capped with an armored helmet.
The 12′ Troll, Brontus, is the only one of these three figures that come with just one head option. But what a head it is! The fine details in the bumpy skin, the subtly varied shades of burnt orange and especially that grimaced unibrow over his single baby blue eye all add up to a beast of a sculpt!
The paintwork on the much of the ML line of figures is quite detailed. The “Legion Builders”, of which the Orc here is one, are slightly less detailed than the standard figures, but even those are pretty nice.
This entire line strikes a balance between realism and “heroic” exaggeration. This goes for both the design and to some degree, the paint schemes. Keltuss, for example, along with a few of the other skeleton figures is brightly colored as opposed to being the usual bone white. Armor varies from the standard silvers, bronzes, and golds, to blood red, bright blue, green and the purple of Keltuss’s plate mail.
But none of it adds up to a “cartoonish” look – something you might find in the Masters of the Universe line for example. There is a dark wash present on some of the armor, giving it a nice aged look, and on the exposed bodies and limbs providing some emphasis and depth.
If I have one nit, it would be with the paint on the weapons. At least for these two figures, they have been painted a similar or complimentary color to the armor they’re wearing. This bothers me more with Keltuss – whose sword and dagger are a metallic purple – than it is with the Orc whose weapons are a solid bronze color. But again, “army builder” figures like this particular orc have a more basic paint application than do the unique character figures. Brontus the troll’s club, however, is nicely realistic. Of course, you can always paint them, and because of their mix-and-match parts, customizing has become a big part of collecting these figures.
With thirty points of articulation on the standard six-inch figures, they are very poseable. Shoulder joints revolve 360º, elbows and knees bend a bit over 90º, 180º thigh rotation, and hands and ankles are on rotating ball joints. These movements are only hindered by the design of certain armor parts which vary from figure to figure.
The upper leg armor is attached in four places to the waist piece/belt which is a flexible, rubbery plastic allowing for the legs to move freely. Shoulder armor hinders upward movement only a little due to the clever way they are only attached (very securely) to the back around the shoulder blade area. Gauntlets are separate from the forearms and hands. There is very little space between the shoulder muscle and chest which looks great but keeps the more muscular characters, like the Orc, from say, holding a sword with two hands in front of them (although the plastic is flexible enough that you could almost force this pose.)
Overall the articulation is very good and the joints are tight which allows for some great, dynamic poses even without a stand.
FHS sells Mythic Legions in limited quantities directly through their online store. Unless your favorite local or online toy retailer purchases directly from them, you won’t likely see them there and if you do, they will be marked up from the direct price. Purchasing during the pre-order period is definitely the way to go with these. Pricing for the six-inch figures averages in the $30-$35 range, with the larger Trolls rising to $100. Aftermarket and reseller prices trend around $50 and up.
For the quality and the number of accessories you get with each figure, the average $35 price point is very reasonable. It’s true that some of the pieces are reused from figure to figure; many share one of a few different variants of shoulder, gauntlet, and boot armor for instance. But the fact that the detachable parts can be mixed to create unique combinations of figures is part of the fun of this series. Customizing has become a big aspect of the ML collecting community and the reasonable price doesn’t make these so precious as, say the Bandai Samurai line at $70-90, that you feel wrong repainting them.
The Troll figures seem a bit on the high side – I’d love to see them closer to $75-$80, but unless you’re a completist (or a sadist who’s army-building Trolls!), having one representing on the shelf might satisfy you. They are super cool-looking though and like potato chips, having one makes you want more.
I love the design of these figures. They strike a balance between realism and heroic, stylized fantasy that is really appealing. The detail in the armor, the unique and beautiful sculpts, the varied body sizes and types, and the ability to customize with extra parts, all add up to a fun, cool line of medieval fantasy-inspired characters.
Trevor is a New York-based Creative Director and owner of The Brand Counselors. He has a growing collection of 150ish 1:6th scale stock and custom figures (and more and more Lego sets). Toy photography melds his childhood dreams of comic book illustration and film directing with his design talents and – in his mind – justifies the ridiculous money he spends on these things. When he’s not shooting, he enjoys kayaking, catching up on good TV and building seemingly endless custom figures.
Last modified: August 21, 2018