Joss Whedon’s Firefly is one of the most recent true cult classics, a series whose fan base has only become increasingly rabid after its short-lived single season on TV. It holds up as a pretty awesome show, so as far as I’m concerned it has earned both its diehard fanbase and their collective pain over the abrupt ending. This also means the crew of the Serenity is tailor made for all sorts of collectibles and tributes, but we’ve seen a weirdly limited amount of toys based on this fairly toyetic property.
Funko landed the toy license for Firefly, and they are turning that trend around. We already saw a wave of ReAction figures released last year, and now Firefly has been given the Legacy treatment, with a series of highly detailed, articulated, and screen accurate 6″ action figures based on the core cast of the TV show. While we don’t get the whole Serenity crew, they’re fairly well represented with Mal Reynolds, Jayne Cobb, Zoe and Hoban Washburne, and Kaylee Frye.
If you’ve checked out Funko’s Game of Thrones Legacy figures, the design and engineering of the Firefly figures will come as no surprise– they feature all the same strengths and shortcomings as previous Legacy Collection releases. Across the board, the sculpts here are pretty excellent. Each character is depicted in their most iconic outfit, and they share a great sense of scale as a group. Each figure’s portrait is at least a fair representation of the actor… I think Alan Tudyk’s Wash is the most accurate sculpt, but there’s enough Gina Torres and Nathan Fillion in Zoe and Mal that it would be a challenge to not recognize who they’re supposed to be toys of. Poor Kaylee is the only bad portrait; it appears there was some kind of pinching during the molding process which left Jewel Staite’s likeness too narrow (which is further accentuated by her semi-crossed eyes). Overall, though, the sculpts are quite good, and I do absolutely love how great these figure look on display all together.
The articulation in and of itself is ample and offers a good range of motion. Each figure includes a ball neck, ball shoulders, abs and hips, half-ball elbows, double knees, thigh cuts and ball socket wrists and ankles. Here’s the catch, though– one issue which came up on early Game of Thrones figures has once more reared its ugly head with the Firefly Legacy toys. These figures are painted fairly heavily, and the joints Funko used in the articulation is the super hard yet annoyingly brittle clear plastic which tends to snap clean in half under pressure. This and the thick paint tends to leave the figures with some frozen joints, which must be freed as delicately as possible in order to not break off arms and legs all over the place. Each one of my figures had at least one completely stuck joint (mostly the wrists, thighs and ankles), and I had to leave them under the heat lamp for a few minutes to take apart and re-assemble the frozen pieces. It worked well– I had zero casualties with this set after the aforementioned “surgery”– but I can’t emphasize the importance of not forcing anything and taking care in how you free up the articulation. If you force the joint, it WILL break apart.
Like I said, the paint on these figures is on the heavy side. The color work is great, with a lot of nice washes which add to the lived-in effect that made the show so refreshingly organic. But the heft of the paint does cover over some of the intricate details of the sculpt, and some levels of gloss don’t make sense. Mal’s coat is particularly problematic, as it sports a very glossy finish, as well as appearing to short. Funko’s design team claims they measured the coat on the character design, but this version falls way north of Mal’s knee, which gives it an awkward appearance, whether it’s screen accurate or not. What I will give the coat is that it’s pliable enough to not inhibit the figure’s articulation in any major way, so that’s one positive.
Each Firefly figure includes at least one accessory, all of which can be held quite well. This opens up a bunch of cool action poses, which is good, because some figures look a bit odd when posed neutrally. Mal’s legs can’t stand fully straight, nor can Wash put his arms at his sides… but if each figure is posed dynamically, they look fantastic. The Legacy Collection follows the recent trend of window box packaging, which I love, and these particular packages are quite nice, with key art from the show and great character portraits on the back of the package.
We’ve been waiting a long time for great action figures based on Firefly, and Funko’s Legacy figures come damn close to being exactly what we’ve been craving. The sculpts are awesome, and the scale is amazing– it’s so cool to have Mal and Jayne square off against Darth Vader and Boba Fett– but the figures are still compromised by some of the production issues which Funko apparently still does not have in check. It’s a shame, because there’s so much to love in their Legacy Collection… if they could improve the materials used, and get a little less heavy handed on the paint apps, their figures could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best mass production toys in this scale. As time advances, it gets harder to grant Funko a learning curve, but I am still hopeful that future releases will see them continuing to improve their engineering, to create action figures as sturdy and fun to play with as they are great to look at.
The Firefly Legacy Collection is in stock now at Mike’s Comics N Stuff. Click Here to order yours today.