I’ve written before about the great strides McFarlane Toys has taken in their more recent Walking Dead action figures, which have seen a huge step up both in sculpt detail, likenesses and articulation. So it makes sense that one of the most popular characters on the AMC show, Daryl Dixon, would get an upgrade to fit in with the new, better figures.
But McFarlane took things a step farther– not only is the new Daryl a dramatic step up from the awkward Series One figure, but he has been released as the first deluxe figure in the toy line, in a box set along with his motorcycle. Clocking in at around $35, this set is worth every penny.
The new Daryl is awesome. Depicting the tracker in his more current outfit with ripped jeans, a sleeveless shirt and his angle wing vest, this figure fits in to the overall Walking Dead collection much better than the previous figure. He sports a great sense of scale, and a painstaking attention to detail, from the wrinkles of his shirt to his worn shoes and the sculpted wing pattern on his back.
Daryl is the most articulated Walking Dead figure we’ve seen so far, adding hinged hips and a brilliantly hidden ab crunch to the wide range of moving parts seen on most of the modern toys in this series. The added joints help Daryl to fit very well on his brother Merle’s bike, and he can strike any number of great poses either riding or mounting/ dismounting the chopper.
The paint work is solid on both the figure and the bike. The highlights and subtle washes add a layer of lived-in grime to Daryl’s appearance, while also helping to highlight the great details of the sculpt. The bike– another great piece– gets a grungy wash on the engine and a small amount of dirt detailing caked onto the wheels, leading to a remarkably realistic final result.
I love all the tiny details that make the chopper really shine– there’s two clips on the front which can store Daryl’s signature crossbow, removable saddle bags, all the custom markings like he skull and crossbones (although McFarlane left off the SS tag, probably for the better). Even the seat is wonderfully detailed, with tiny tears across the leather covered fabric. While the kickstand functions, the bike also includes a small stand which plugs into the back wheel. This means the chopper can stand upright with or without its rider on board, and I was impressed that such a small circular stand can easily bear the weight of the bike and figure, balancing perfectly while on display.
While the set is great, the likeness of Norman Reedus isn’t perfect. I think the portrait still reads Daryl– and it should, since this sculpt was based on a full body scan of the actor– the figure is just slightly off target in its resemblance. I think this Daryl figure looks more like Charles Bronson, personally, but as I said it’s not so far off as to miss the point– if you see this guy on the shelf you’ll still know it’s Daryl Dixon.
I’ve been a huge fan of the current model McFarlane has been using for their Walking Dead toys, and Daryl is one of the best yet. The improved articulation works incredibly well, both for posing this guy on his bike or by himself, and you can strike virtually any of the hunting/ tracking crossbow shots you would want to thanks to the figure’s great range of motion. Daryl is a cool figure, he fits in well with the rest of the survivor figures, and I’m happy to see McFarlane opening up this series to include things like this awesome bike.
Daryl is available now on many etailers and specialty shops, and he’s started hitting Toy R Us as well. If you’re a fan of the show– particularly of Daryl himself– I’d highly recommend this great new set.