Sometimes, you just can’t convince a licensor that their characters are NOT for kids. Case in point - the Simpsons. FOX never understood that their line of action figures were never going to be a big hit with kids, but had tremendous collector appeal. That’s a more common situation than you might believe.
Less common is the reverse, where a license is actually perfect for kids, and yet it ends up only in specialty market stores or in limited distribution, destined for collectors and adults. But here’s one of those times - Rayman Raving Rabbids. A spinoff of the Rayman video games, the Raving Rabbids games were developed for the Wii, and kids love it. While the ports to other machines like the PS3 or PSP have not been that successful, the Wii versions (which take advantage of the unique controllers, including the Wii board) are extremely popular. And as you’d expect, that means it’s the under 10 set playing these games.
Ubisoft gave the license for figures to NECA, and while these were released to Toys R Us, only three figures were done in the U.S. - a regular screaming white Rabbid, a black suit Splinter Cell style Rabbid, and an Assassin’s Creed style Altair version. Can you see the focus? Not too any 8 year old kids really care about either the Splinter Cell or Altair figures, but clearly UbiSoft thought that was the route to go.
They also released a five pack of figures, but only in the U.K. This pack contains those three figures, as well as another plain white Rabbid with a ‘relaxed’ expression, and an all white unpainted Rabbid that you can decorate yourself. The five pack is 30 GBPS, while the single figures in the U.S. are about $6 each.
To round things out, UbiSoft also has a small PVC style statue of Rayman riding on the back of a screaming Rabbid. This is a little out of scale with the other figures, but I picked it up (again, a U.K. only release as far as I know) to go with the rest. This slightly smaller PVC is 7 GBP. NECA originally showed several other versions but their fate is up in the air.
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Rayman’s Raving Rabbids!
The initial shipments of these guys sold quite well at Toys R Us - and they sold to kids too. My son loves his set, and this is a line that adults are far less likely to find interesting than kids. It’s too bad most of the true fans of the games are unlikely to ever get their hands on them.
Packaging - figures **1/2; boxed set **
The boxed set comes in as plain of a box as you can get, short of being straight white. It is collector friendly, since you can easily pull the Rabbids out and pop them back in, no problem, but it’s still mighty dull.
The figures come in a small blister card, which shows off the figure nicely, but is tough to find on the pegs.
Sculpting - ***
The figures are pretty basic, but that’s the beauty of the characters as well. They stand about 3 1/2 inches tall, making them seem in scale with 6″ figures, at least to me. I’d expect them to be about waist high.
The Altair version has the rubber head covering, which I couldn’t get off, at least not without trying to pop off the ears. Considering my recent luck with breakage, I figured I was better off leaving well enough alone.
The figures have sculpted hands that could hold little toilet plungers, and when they were shown at SDCC last summer, the regular screaming white version had said plunger. Unfortunately, they were not released with any accessories.
I also wish that the screaming mouth had been sculpted, similar to the additional PVC with Rayman. That would have gone a long way to giving him quite a bit of personality. Simply using paint for the mouths on the others works, since they are all closed mouth.
Paint - ***
The paint is pretty important here, since only the eyes and appendages are sculpted. It’s fairly clean, and the tempo style work is decent, but there are a few scratches and smudges here and there.
Of course, the completely unpainted white version has the most perfect paint of all. You get to do it yourself! It’s a pity that these blanks aren’t more readily available.
Articulation - *1/2
No, these aren’t articulated. There’s cut shoulders, and that’s it. I was surprised there wasn’t a cut neck joint, but that would be the only additional joint you could add to these stubby little bodies.
The PVC with Rayman riding the Rabbid doesn’t even have that - it’s merely a solid figure.
Accessories - Bupkis
Nope, no plungers here.
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Yep, they aren’t exactly great collectibles, but they are really fun little goofy figures. You can put them on your desk at work and amuse your friends, and your kids can have all kinds of awful fates befall them. Good times.
Things to Watch Out For -
The cut joints at the shoulders can be a bit sticky, and can tear if you go overboard trying to loosen them up. Use the old ‘freezer trick’ to avoid damaging the only joint they have.
Overall - ***
This is a line that I think could do well with kids, if kids could find them. They’ve been selling out at Toys R Us pretty consistently, and if they added a few more visually interesting figures to the mix, they could have a hit on their hands.
Where to Buy -
Toys R Us is your best bet in the States, and you can hit the UbiSoft site to pick up the U.K. exclusives.
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