WARRIORS OF THE ZODIAC
I've never been one who needs articulation to complete a figure. It's great when it's there, but a figure with less articulation (or none at all) is still not without it's charm. Certain statue-esque toys have been called "stand-there-and-look-good-figures" instead of "action figures" by some, and the vast majority of figures by McFarlane Toys fall into that category. Thoughts on articulation aside, I'm not really one for displaying my figures, so I usually stay from McFarlane's stuff. But when Warriors of the Zodiac came out back in 2008 I was pretty excited. Here was a line of good looking toys that should have a nice, limited number of characters (12) that wouldn't distract too much from my other more regular lines. A complete set would be great for displaying. There wasn't even a movie, comic, or TV show tie-in to bog them down; they were all basically blank slates as far as backstory went, and I could feel free to let my imagination do what it does best. The figures would be released in waves of four, so I wouldn't even need to spend a lot of time hunting them down. I could get them when they came out and then wait patiently till the next four were released, and after three releases my collection would be complete. So when I finally did see the first four figures in the toy aisle, I grabbed them right away.
And what cool toys they were! Sure they lacked any useful articulation, they were "stand-there-and-look-good-figures, but they did it well! Aries looked like a true god of war, with his large ram horns protruding from a fearsome flaming skull for a head. His large, curly-bladed spear posed thrusting at an unseen fallen foe, his armor adorned with blood-red jewels.
Freaky Cancer had deep red, cerated crustacean armor covering pale, bumpy skin. Rows of teeth filled his slack-jawed mouth while he carried a double edged hook in one hand, and giant crab-claw for the other.
Taurus was built like a tank, with spike-studded armor, scary fang-like teeth, a removable mask to cover his beastly bull face, and a giant war hammer/meat tenderizer to do some serious smashing. He had a real chain connecting his shoulder armor, and tiny arrows sticking from his back. Like those would slow him down...
Gemini was the weirdest of them all. The Twins are represented as a four-legged, leech-like monster with two heads. Their leathery armor is covered with razor sharp blades, and hooks pull the skin back around the horrifying gaping maws at each end of the body. Whether this creature is coming or going, you're probably screwed.
Not long after I found the first four figures, the next four were revealed at a toy show (Toy Fair or SDCC, probably). This wave had my own sign represented (Scorpio). Not only was he not the beast I figured he'd be, he actually looked like a hero. Leo looked great as a warrior-lion, Virgo hardly looked virginal (but still very nice), and Libra was an awesome Egyptian-themed skeleton with a giant sword and his trademark scales.
(picture from Figures.com)
I was pumped. I could only imagine what the final four figures would look like. And THEN... McFarlane announced that they would no longer be doing original toy lines. They would only be focusing on licensed properties. That meant that the first wave of Warriors of the Zodiac would also be the LAST wave of Warriors of the Zodiac. My complete set of twelve would be a complete set of four, and the Scorpio figure I had been so excited about would never see the light of day.
It was like a TV show getting cancelled just as it was getting good. Sometimes it's hard being a toy collector.
Oh, what could have been!
At least the four that came out should fit in with many an other fantasy toy line...