X-Men Come to Play

Have you seen the new X-Men toys? Joseph Szadkowski thinks you should as Toy Biz hits a homer.

Mutant mania is spreading from the movie screen to the toy aisles with the launch of The X-Men figures sets by Toy Biz.

Already on the shelves, long before the movie's debut on July 14, the first wave includes 11 new figures sculpted in the likeness of the star-studded cast that includes Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Halle Berry (Storm), Anna Paquin (Rogue), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Ray Park (Toad), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (Mystique).

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Prof. X. Courtesy of Bender/Helper Impact. © Toy Biz. Wolverine. Courtesy of Bender/Helper Impact. © Toy Biz. Storm. Courtesy of Bender/Helper Impact. © Toy Biz.

Twentieth Century Fox's decision to speed up the opening date from November to July of 2000, had Toy Biz representatives and sculptors rushing to Canada to meet the actors on the set.

"We went to the sets to take pictures of the actors in their costumes, many of which were not even finalized yet," says Joanne McLaughlin, spokesperson for Toy Biz. "The sets were amazing and the actors really put a lot of energy into their characters. I got to watch Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine, practice on the side and actually do a scene and it was amazing to watch him change his voice and attitude and literally become Wolverine."

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As the Toy Biz team took photos and notes, they ran back to the hotel where product manager Damon Nee and the sculptors set to work with computers and wax melters to create the following figures and vehicles:

* Eleven 6" fully poseable figures of each character -- Logan, Storm, Magneto, Rogue, Professor X, Toad, Wolverine, Sabretooth, Cyclops, Jean Grey and Mystique -- with dedicated action feature that mimics their fantastic mutant power and packages with a character specific accessory. For example, Storm is equipped with a lightning base; Professor X has a motorized wheel chair and cerebro accessory; and Cyclops has a light up optic blast and slime trapped Jean Grey. ($5.99 suggested retail for individual figures.)

* A trio of battle ready twin packs will spotlight three of the most thrilling confrontations in the movie: Wolverine vs. Sabretooth, Logan vs. Magneto and Logan vs. Rogue. Each twin pack includes two intricately sculpted action figures with battle action features and accessories. ($12.99 suggested retail per twin packs.)

X-Men Jet. Courtesy of Bender/Helper Impact. © Toy Biz.

X-Men Jet. Courtesy of Bender/Helper Impact. © Toy Biz.

* The X-Men's fantastic vehicles and movie action come to life with six different vehicles and play accessories including:

  • The Electronic X-Men X-Jet is an authentic replica of the one in the movie and provides control of the action with an automatic opening cockpit designed to fit a 6" figure, operable landing gear, a firing light-up glowing optic missile and retractable claw to pick up evil mutants. ($24.99 suggested retail.)
  • Wolverine's Infrared Motorcycle come with a permanently attached 8" Wolverine figure and joystick that makes the bike move and turn realistically while controlling working headlights, turn signals, brake lights and sound effects. ($19.99 suggested retail.)
  • Power Bashers feature Toy Biz Power Sense technology and feature Wolverine and Sabretooth in a battle complete with battle sounds and the voices of the actors from the movie. Wolverine will recognize when his claws are extended and make slashing sound effects, while Sabretooth recognizes when his fingers are opened and makes hand-swiping noises. ($24.99 suggested retail for the pair.)
  • The X-Men X-Cycle comes packaged with an exclusive 6" Wolverine figure. The cycle shoots projectiles when pushed. ($9.99 suggested retail.)
  • The Lady Liberty Playset allows children to re-enact the final battle between the X-Men and Magnet at the Statue of Liberty. The replica of Lady Liberty's head opens up to reveal a playset filled with action features. ($9.99 suggested retail.)
  • Magneto's Mutant Machine Playset features the Statue of Liberty's torch holding hand that spins to reveal a hidden figure. ($9.99 suggested retail.)
Magneto. Courtesy of Bender/Helper Impact. © Toy Biz.

Magneto. Courtesy of Bender/Helper Impact. © Toy Biz.

Wolverine as Logan. Courtesy of Bender/Helper Impact. © Toy Biz.

Wolverine as Logan. Courtesy of Bender/Helper Impact. © Toy Biz.

All of the actors were able to approve their action figure sculpts, a first time thrill for most of them as Patrick Stewart has been sculpted for the Star Trek franchise and Ray Park for Phantom Menace.

"The actors were extremely excited, helpful and pleased with the final outcome of their figures," says McLaughlin. "My personal favorite though is Storm. Halle Berry is amazingly beautiful and from the pose of the body, to the face, to the hair, her action figure is amazing from appearance to function."

Fans can look forward to a third assortment of figures featuring scenes from the movie, like Sabretooth in a snow scene fight with Wolverine, this September.

Joseph Szadkowski writes on various aspects of popular culture and is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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