To say these have been a pain in the arse to find for sale is an understatement. I ordered them from Forbidden Planet way back in march (along with the 12" statue, which is actually now in stock over at Play-Asia if you're willing to pay the shipping fees) and just today I finally got a set of the First4Figures Classic Sonic vinyl toys, and they do not disappoint.
Here they are in the packaging, which is luckily that kind that lets you place it back in the box if and when you please rather than some sodding blister pack that needs to be slaughtered to open up.
Here's the back of the box. It says 'Series 1' so hopefully one day we'll get more of these. I'd be all up for a set of Metal Sonic, Amy Rose and Robotnik myself. Considering how long it took these ones to fruition I doubt we'll see a series two, though. Please prove me wrong, First4Figures!
More often than not with figures the photo on the box looks a darn sight better than the figure you get in the box itself, but in this case that's not the case. They really do look just as good as they did in the early promo photos. The quality of these toys is up there with the Japanese Mario figures that have been floating about for the last few years, they're simply brilliant.
Sonic is the odd one of the bunch in that he's not in a standing pose, rather a mid run which makes sense as running is what he's known for. For the toy to stand upright the little black stand has littles in dents for the feet to sit inside which work nicely (unlike so many figure stands I've had before that are far too fiddly).
He hasn't got much of an expression going on so this is probably the figure with the least character of the three, but that's not saying much as it's still a whole lot better than 90% of previous Sonic toys. The pose looks great, especially from the side.
The Tails figure is, lets be honest here.. the best Tails shaped lump of plastic to ever be molded. Tails in particular has been a character that companies have rarely got right in toy form: normally he ends up with a smashed-in-the-face-with-a-shovel look. Just compare this new toy to this rather wonky Sonic Adventure one from 1999:
I really cannot fault this one, they've nailed it. My favorite of the three, which is also what I said about the Classic Sonic range plush toys that came out last year. Basing his design on the far cuter Japanese artwork was a very smart move. The proportions are just right, and he has such a joyous smile on his face. What's not to like.
The Knuckles figure is also excellently designed. Again the proportions are as close to the old Japanese artwork as you're going to get. The pose is nice and despite his fits covering up a lot of his chest they haven't forgotten his collar/birthmark//whatever that thing is supposed to be. Even his tail goes wonky at the end like it should. It's the simplicity yet attention to detail that makes these such a brilliant set.
If you can hunt these down I would defiantly recommended buying them. These are quite possible the nicest Sonic figures to have ever been produced, they really are that good. The bar has been raised by First4Figures for quality after years of mostly wonky Sonic merchandise and I hope their 12" Sonic statue is as high quality as these are, though unlike the statue these are a measly £10-15 each so they're also a bargain for how well designed they are (you'd never get a Mickey Mouse Vinyl toy for this kind of price, for example).