What is this? A non-Nintendo figure review? For me anyway, there has been a lull in Nintendo figures outside of the Link Nendoroid I reviewed recently since I can’t find any of the new World of Nintendo figures near me. While I could continue to review older things like I did with Luigi, I’ve actually been thinking for a couple of months of expanding the site beyond just Nintendo figures to try and broaden its appeal. So for today’s review, we’re going to expand our coverage to a video game figure review. Don’t worry that the focus of the site is shifting or that I won’t continue to review lots of Nintendo figures, that will always come first on this site and is the main focus, but if I can expand the coverage even further when there is the time then I’m happy to do so.
Chances are good you’ve at least heard of the Bioshock series. It is revolutionary in quite a few ways including its deep story which explores both failed utopia and philosophical ideas. Bioshock also has tinges of horror and has some pretty twisted characters in it. Bioshock Infinite is a failed utopia based on American history and set in the sky on massive floating cities. While I don’t want to get more in-depth on the description, needless to say, the Founding Fathers play a big role in the story and there is a mechanical enemy that is basically a Terminator-style robot in the guise of either Ben Franklin or George Washington. I will be reviewing the Ben Franklin version, but these figures are very similar overall While they are large and lumbering enemies, the Motorized Patriots take a huge amount of damage to kill and are one of the more fearsome enemies in Bioshock Infinite. Fortunately, Neca, a company who is into both horror movie licenses and video game licenses (among other things) has made a number of Bioshock figures. They are known for being high quality for their price and targeting adult collectors with their products. So with this in mind, let’s investigate this figure and see how high quality it is or isn’t.
The Figure and Packaging – One of the nice things about Neca is they seem to have a good relationship with Toys R Us and you can usually find their newest figures there. At the time of writing, that is actually the cheapest place to find this figure. The Motorized Patriot originally was priced at $30 retail and I was able to get mine on Toys R Us for about $28. The figure came out in 2014 so it is relatively old now and probably will disappear from store shelves soon. Online prices in places like Ebay tend to run higher and are closer $35-$40. Based on other Bioshock figures that are older, once the supply goes down, the price could go up a bit higher even though there seems to be a good supply of these out there. The Motorized Patriot comes in both George Washington (which is how most of the enemies appear in Bioshock Infinite) and Ben Franklin versions which appears less frequently in the main game and a bit more in the DLC if I remember correctly. I suspect that the Ben Franklin version is the less desirable and more common of the two since George Washington is sold out on Toys R Us’s website.
One thing you notice right away with this figure is that it is huge! Standing nearly 9 inches tall, this is a lot of figure for the price. I compared it to both a 4″ inch scale figure and a 7″ inch scale figure to help you see what I mean. The packaging overall is not a strongpoint of this figure. I’m not a huge fan of the clamshell package because it is harder to open then a cardboard box and it is also harder to open in a way that makes you want to keep or use the packaging again. I tried to preserve the packaging while opening it and failed completely. Neca has started to move away from this style of packaging and I think it would be much better for collectors when they get rid of it altogether.
Paint and Figure Design – One of the things that Neca got right with this figure is the balance between the mechanical design and the creepiness of the Motorized Patriot. For example, the cracked face of Ben Franklin both looks nice and relatively accurate to the real person, but also is completely emotionless and robotic. There are plenty of other hints of the mechanical limbs like the exposed legs and arms where the fabric of the Motorized Patriot’s clothes has been worn down. I’ve heard other reviewers say it has a steampunk look and while I can see that, to me, it looks exactly like early machinery in the 1600-1800’s which fits the alternate world of Bioshock Infinite perfectly.
Along with the head, the scarf and jacket both have excellent paintwork. The jacket is weathered really well and continues the worn down look. The scarf has really nice shading and looks 3D as a result. On the back of the figure, the belts on the gears look dirty and worn like a real belt looks. Neca does a lot of figures with aged or weathered clothes and I think that is one of the real strengths of this figure. It looks great on display and is interesting to look at from every angle. If Neca wanted this to be a piece of art, I think they succeeded. My only complaint with the paint is on the back shoulder, some of mine has chipped off and it looks bad. I don’t know how this happened since I bought the figure brand new, but it is certainly disappointing that with all of the other paint applications that mine came out with blatant damage.
Accessories – The accessories are pretty impressive with this figure though I suspect most people will automatically want to use most of them when they display the Motorized Patriot. The most obvious and important accessory is the Peppermill Gatling Gun. This is the only weapon the Motorized Patriot carries and it is huge both in the game and with the figure. The paint and sculpting detail on the gun is very nice and Neca was ambitious with its design. You can actually turn the handle and the gun barrels rotate like a real Gatling Gun fires. Unfortunately, there are some serious issues with the Peppermill and the design of the character, but I’ll discuss that more in the Articulation section.
The Motorized Patriot also comes with an alternate head that you see in the game after you damage the Motorized Patriot enough. The head is creepy (which fits the tone of the game) and also shows the engineering prowess that exists in the game. The problem is that the head does not fit well at all on this version of the Motorized Patriot. The back mechanical pieces on the head which look awesome simply do not fit neatly against the back of his neck/jacket. Even in the pictures which look fairly nice, the head is not all the way in the socket where it should be (and the head often fell over or off of the head entirely) and if I pushed the head down into the socket any harder, it would start breaking pieces off the back and the side. This is pretty disappointing and makes this head both scary to use and way less useful then it should be. It looks nice, but if you can’t use it easily or regularly, the accessory is missed potential.
The final accessory is perhaps the most well done and that are the two Columbia flags that go on the back of the figure. These things not only fill out the figure, but they just look awesome. The weathering on the flag fits these well-used machines perfectly and the flags make the Motorized Patriot look intimidating too. You can display the figure with the flags loose or they can be inserted into the back to make them take up a bit less space. In Bioshock Infinite, the flags were usually tucked in behind to help the figure walk, but honestly, it looks fantastic either way.
Articulation – While I’ve mostly praised the Motorized Patriot so far, the articulation is not great and presents some problems. The first thing to keep in mind is that this figure has articulation but is meant to be shown as you see it on the front of the box. You can mess around with the accessories, but you aren’t really going to get any interesting poses out of this figure. Ben Franklin’s head has a decent range of movement and can swivel a fair amount. His legs have a decent range of movement and the one leg can actually bend. It isn’t particularly useful as the figure won’t balance with a more dynamic pose, but it was impressive that Neca articulated it anyway. The trouble is with the hands and the arms. They’re fairly standard for Neca with a shoulder that rotates and can move in and out. The elbow also bends and the wrists will swivel 360 degrees. This sounds pretty good, but the problem is that only one arm moves in towards the chest and it is a pain to work with. The tattered cloth that keeps the cuff connected to the figure is hard to maneuver and even after playing with this figure a pretty good amount, I still don’t feel like I fully understand what I’m supposed to do with it.
If that wasn’t bad enough, getting the Peppermill into the Motorized Patriot’s hands is really hard. The arms are not that flexible and the hands are either too tight on one side and too loose for the handles on the other. The crank handle is really loose and feels like it could break easily too. So that makes it nerve wracking to even get the gun set up. Once you finally get the arms in place and jam the gun handles in the hands well enough for the figure to hold the gun, the Peppermill often falls down due to its own weight. That makes the figure very finicky to pose and display. You probably have to bring it to wherever you want to display the figure, set it up, and leave it alone and hope the gun holds. I could see this figure becoming undesirable if the gun is damaged or can no longer be held by the figure so I see this as a pretty big negative and is definitely the one aspect of the figure that leaves me disappointed and frustrated if I spent very much time trying to mess with the figure.
Closing Thoughts – The Motorized Patriot gets a lot right. The paint and weathering are excellent and this figure’s size make it really easy to admire. For its price, the Motorized Patriot has an excellent paint job and will appeal to any Bioshock fan. The finicky nature of posing and displaying the figure does give me serious pause. I can foresee problems with this figure down the road and I will never look forward to trying to display it since it is so finicky. The fact that one of the swappable heads is nearly impossible to use is also disappointing. As a result, I would recommend anyone thinking about buying it to think about the negative aspects of it first and make sure they don’t mind these issues and try to shop around and get a good deal on it. I don’t regret buying the Motorized Patriot, but I can’t help but think that will a little better design/engineering, this figure could have been easier to pose and display and would have been a truly excellent figure.