Time To Play With The Game…
by Matthew Damascus
WWE Off The Ropes
Off The Ropes, at first look, seems to be just another one of those endless WWE-inspired quickie cash-in lines that toymaker Jakks Pacific regularly thrusts upon the megaconsumer chains (Wal Mart, Target) and their ever more hapless customers. Indicative of many of the recent lines, it included yet another generic Booker T repaint (even though the Booker T mold is, in itself, a relative triumph of sculpture), and ho-hum reproductions of Edge, Chris Jericho, and, my fucking god, a Triple H figure. Now Triple H, aside from the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin, is one of the most-issued and watered down figures out there; constantly suffering from the “repackage me, pay me” syndrome that has left legions of miniature wrestlers warming the pegs for eternity. ANOTHER Triple H figure? Spare me…
But all is not lost, rare for a set as nondescript and temporary as Off The Ropes, the Triple H figure has a new head sculpt and a modified paint job. Wow! Now there’s a good turn. Fuck it, I’ll plunk down my 6 bucks. Let’s see what you’ve got for me. Time to play with the Game! Dude, I’m still clever…
1. Head Sculpt: It’s a new one! This, of course, was the big reason why I bought the fucking thing. I’m a sucker for new Triple H head sculpts. I’ve got, I think, every one since they started doing the Real Scan headscanning technique (cool stuff). My favorite sculpt so far would be the “biker likes it rough” look from the recent R3 Blue Bloods set, but this one is definitely up there. If you want a Triple H figure that reflects where his current snobby, arrogant dick heel character is at today. At the moment this is your best bet. It’s current and VERY photo realistic! The hair is pulled back into a tight ponytail, and the detail on the hairline and hair is superb, the beard is gone, and the expression is focused rage. This is a marked improvement over the last ponytailed Triple H figure, which sported a bemused smirk that looked way out of place on a killer badass. I dig this new sculpt big-time, and I verily dig how it makes him look like a clockwork murderer. Intense!
2. TTL Body: The body sculpt is from the old Titan Tron Live run, Jakks has since moved on to the sublime and totally underrated R3 body sculpts and the jury’s-still-out Ruthless Aggression style. See, um, when Jakks is throwing together “bargain” lines together for the big chains, they must pull out old leftover bodies to throw the whole package together. So, yeah, this here is an old assortment of body parts from TTL, where every wrestler ended up with a kinda freakish, but STILL within the realm of believability, musculature. Of course, for a jacked-up fella like Triple H, this actually lends a touch of hyper-realism to the final product. He’s wearing his usual black workout pants and a tank top with his Iron Cross logo on it. A small twist on the usual. Thumbs up.
3. Paint Job: Totally a mixed bag here. On the one hand, I love the colors used for that garish “wrestler tan.” You know what I mean! Burnt orange skin, baby! And Jakks found the proper color in their palette for it. I salute them. So besides the awesome skin tones, I also like the ever-so-slight 5 o’clock shadow on the face. Just a touch of dirt grey, as if to say, “Yeah I, Triple H, have cleaned up my image a bit, ditched the goatee. But I’m still a punk at heart, still like a bit of rough, so maybe I won’t shave this afternoon. What? What?” Ah, but then there’s the matter of the fucking shirt. Goddamnit, they fucked up a tank top. How do you fuck up a tank top? One point I’m willing to award is that they got the “HHH Iron Cross” transfer pattern (Fascist chic, how Bowie! Extra points!) dead on, the detail is fabulous. BUT, instead of actually tweaking the torso sculpt to make it look like Triple H actually has a shirt on, they fucking well just painted the bare torso white where a damn tank top should be! Bah! So not only do you have the problems of unnatural looking seams and absent collars, but the nipples from the bare torso are now totally weirdly emphasized, so it looks like he’s in a permanent state of “excitement!” Fuck, that’s stupid looking. That’s my biggest gripe about the figure. Nipplegate.
4. Articulation: Par for the course for the TTL body mold. My boy bends at the knees, shoulders, hips, and elbows. You can turn the head, but it looks waaaaaay weird. His left hand is a clenched fist for maximum violence and the right hand looks as though it should be holding a gun or an iron bar. Perhaps it’s meant to be holding…
5. Accessories: … a fucking ambulance door!?!? Interesting choice, though I would have gone for the old reliable of, um, a championship belt. Perhaps this is a Dope, Guns, And Fucking In The Street! concept. Fine and dandy. (Now why would anyone want to rip the door off an ambulance…)
Final Verdict: Besides those goddamn stupid nipples poking through (it’s seriously annoying, fuck!) I’d give this figure a workmanlike thumbs up. Definitely this is the only figure from the Off The Ropes assortment that I recommend. It captures where Triple H, the character, is at this moment of WWE storylines. It’s a pretty good fucking figure. And who doesn’t want that? Realism, I say! Realism!
Update: We Get Spam!
No sooner had we opened up our lowly little mailbox, email@example.com, than we discovered our first piece of noteworthy spam, an invitation to join the Christian Music Association. Only if you guys can get the original lineup of Stryper back together! Heavy!