We all know the story by now, how Mezco took a risk by launching the incredibly ambitious One:12 Collective– a series of premium 6″ action figures on par with the engineering, articulation, and quality mixed materials typically reserved for toys twice their scale– and really connected with the toy line when its execution wound up being just as great as its concept. And speaking of “execution,” the latest figure in the One:12 Collective is certainly familiar with the concept.
Judge Dredd has received a number of toys over the years, but the cult classic 2001 AD anti-hero has never been realized more perfectly than Mezco’s figure. Dredd shines as the perfect example of everything that makes the One:12 format great, from his vast range of useful articulation to the highly detailed sculpt that looks as if Carlos Ezquerra’s comic book character just stepped off the page into the real world. Mezco’s sculpt find the perfect balance between lived-in realism, like the subtle weathering and dents which adorn the Judge’s armor, and a fun sense of stylization, giving Dredd loads of personality, especially through his signature scowl.
As any fan of the character would expect, Dredd’s helmet is not removable, although to their credit, Mezco went as far as sculpting a full face beneath his dark, semi-transparent visor. It’s a really cool effect.
Even more than the One:12 Batman, Dredd truly shows off just how great a mixed material approach can be to making a great action figure. Mezco found the perfect faux leather material for Dredd’s black outfit, which has a heft and texture to it not seen in spandex-like fabrics. But despite the thicker material, Dredd’s articulation is not at all inhibited, allowing him to reach and hold lots of action poses with no real restrictions.
What also helps in this regard is the feature that might be Mezco’s most innovative design choice, the figure’s huge shoulder pads, held in place by magnets stitched into his costume. It’s an incredibly effective way to keep the bulky, unwieldy pieces securely in place, while allowing them to still move naturally with the figure, and the result is some of the best engineering I’ve seen in recent years.
Unless we’re talking Hot Toys it’s rare to bring up paints in regards to fabric clothed action figures, but the work on Dredd is so good it has to be mentioned. There’s a perfect, subtle black wash that adds an appropriate layer of grime and grit to Dredd’s armor, which is offset very nicely by his rich green gloves, boots and belt, and even more dramatically against the shiny finish of his gold armor and badge. Even the five o’clock shadow on Dredd’s lower face serves as a great example of how less is often more when it comes to paint shading. In that respect, Mezco’s figure, ironically, shows off much more control and subtlety than we see on the page in most of Dredd’s hyper-violent, over the top adventures.
Of course, the other big appeal of the One:12 Collective figures are the wide range of accessories and alternate pieces they include, and once again, Dredd is certainly well represented. In addition to his omnipresent Lawgiver– complete with boot holster– this figure includes a knife with boot sheath, a knightstick, grenade, extra magazine clip, and a pair of handcuffs. All the ordinance has a functional storage area on Dredd’s belt, except the cuffs… think of those as a teaser, because the upcoming Lawmaster Cycle will include a special compartment for this accessory!
Dredd also includes a total of three sets of hands in alternate poses, which can be interchanged with ease, and a really smart-looking gold base, adorned with a tampo print of the Judge’s badge. Like Batman, Dredd can be posed either standing on the base via a foot peg, or placed in a more dynamic (even aerial) pose using the included flight stand armature, another great asset to really open up the dramatic posing options this awesome figure is capable of.
The One:12 Collective figures include packaging as refined as the figures themselves, in the form of sleek and very eye catching fifth window boxes which do a great job of showcasing production photos of the figure, as well as the toy itself. Dredd’s subtle, stylized box art is mostly navy blue, save for a gold-foil stamped badge on the inner flap and the Judges’ eagle insignia on both sides. The package is completed with a slipcase that emulates Dredd’s helmet design, which offers both protection for the figure and box art, and adds another layer to the design itself. It’s as thoughtful and intricate a box as you’re likely to find, especially from a domestic action figure release, and the One:12 box art looks so good, they are among the only packages I display in my collection alongside the figures themselves.
2016 is promising to be an incredible year for Mezco’s premiere toy line, with many amazing releases on deck from Marvel and DC to Star Trek and the Batman vs Superman movie. I hope this line goes on for a long time, but with launch figures as excellent as the Dark Knight Batman and Judge Dredd, it should never be hard to remember where this amazing toy line all began.