Setting a Foundation:
Before we can actually get started, we have to set some basic understandings of the lines we are going to compare. Most of the American lines resemble the same sort of construction and range of movement. Acid Rain World is not an American line and the difference is noticeable.
Build-n-Brawl (BnB) is a 1:18 scale action figure by Jakks Pacific based on professional wrestlers. They came out a few years ago and their construction enables for great wrestling poses. Concerning this review, the head/neck uses a barbell system where two spheres are joined with a rod. One sphere goes into a socket at the base of the head, and the other sphere into a socket in the neck.
GI Joe by Hasbro most likely doesn't need much description. The way a GI Joe figure is constructed is duplicated throughout the 1:18 scale action figure market. For this review the neck is a single piece connected to the upper torso. The end of the neck ends with a sphere which fits into a socket at the base of the head. The torso is divided between an upper and lower sections for body swivel. The swivel actually has some pivot for enabling the figure to bend forward, but the range of pivot is extremely restrictive. For some Joes, the wrist have a pivot for horizontal hand movement and a pivot for vertical hand movement, one pivot direction per hand. Some Joe figures have "rocker" ankles, others do not.
Marauder Task Force (MTF) by Marauder Gun Runners (MGR) uses figures designed by Boss Fight Studio. The head and neck resemble those of the GI Joe line with a ball and socket for the neck and head. The torso swivel is actually at the waist of the figure and is actually a ball and socket. Hands have the same pivot for horizontal or vertical movement as the GI Joe line.
Acid Rain World (ARW) by Ori Toy is another action figure line that recently hit the market (just months before MTF) boasts the most articulation of a 1:18 scale figure (possibly with the exception of Microman by Takara-Tomy.) Ball and socket head/neck construction, torso divided into an upper and lower half, and hand pivots similar to GI Joe and Marauder Task Force. But ARW figure design is quite different that even though there are similarities, there are differences within those similarities that it's like comparing a different class of figure.
For the basics, The BFS HACKS lives up to the HACKS acronym: Highly Articulated Character Kit System. The figures are designed with customizability in mind. Hands and feet are easy to remove and replace. Additional hands are included with the figure. One set of hands have a horizontal pivot, the other set has a vertical pivot. The head and neck are sockets connected by a barbell-like connector. The torso is divided into an upper and lower torso.
Overall, the construction and aesthetics of the BFS HACKS resemble those of GI Joe and MTF. The range of motion is similar and the HACKS will look at home next to a shelf full of Joes or MTF.
What you should be aware of is that the HACKS matches the expected de-facto standard of a modern era GI Joe figure at its height. The BFS Spartan will have the same range of motion as Snake Eyes or Duke. The exceptions are the Gorgons and Medusa. Counting the number of points, articulation for these are duplicated for the snake tail section. The humanoid half of a Gorgon/medusa have the same articulation as the rest of the humans in the toy line.
The neck for the HACKS is particularly more poseable than GI Joe or MTF as the neck and head are mounted on a barbell. The range of motion for the head is like that of a Build-n-Brawl: good head pivot for looking up or down. The barbell itself is interesting as unlike a BnB barbell, the HACKS has spheres of two different diameters. The smaller diameter fits into the socket at the neck, the larger into a socket at the base of the head. The two different sizes enables some compatibility with other toy lines: a BnB head could be mounted onto a HACKS neck, or a Joe head could be mounted onto a HACKS. Likewise a HACKS head could be swapped to a GI Joe or MTF body. The compatibility might not be seamless -- there will be some looseness or tightness issues -- but a customiser can easily overcome those things.
Compared to Acid Rain World, the socket at the base of the head is not compatible with HACKS unless some serious work is done. Can not simply LBC an ARW head onto a HACKS.
Legs and feet with HACKS are standard and are like what one comes to expect from a typical American line. The legs are connected to the hips through a ball-and-socket. One can not simply pull the legs off of a HACKS, though. MTF can be pulled off, ARW, but not Joes, and although we haven't tried it, it looks like the HACKS needs to be disassembled to separate the legs.
HACKS only have the standard up/down and rotation for the feet. This is similar to MTF and most GI Joes. Some Joes have rocker feet, and all ARW have both rocker feet and the standard articulation -- the feet pivots up/down, rotates, and rocks side-to-side. HACKS do not.
The armor on the HACKS tend to be a soft, rubbery plastic. Some of the gold/bronze armor we received felt a little sticky or tacky, but after a few hours out of the package the sticky feeling went away. DioWarriors hasn't tried painting (yet) this rubbery plastic, but the armor is well formed to the figure and fits tightly, not loose like many GI Joe armor or gear, and not super tight like some of those from Acid Rain World. MTF gear fits very well onto an MTF figure, but some gear the buckle might be challenging to keep secure. No such issue thus far with HACKS. Spartan and Gorgon armor opens over a figure like a clam, and secures at the waist through pegs. Once secured the pegs do not come undone without some effort.
MTF vests and armor fit well with HACKS. Also many GI Joe vests fit well with HACKS. Helmets from ARW did not fit on the standard Spartan. Mixing and swapping armor between MTF and Joes will provide the HACKS with a huge range of possible customs.
Weapons are made of both a hard and soft plastic. Some weapons are hard, like the sword of a Spartan or Gorgon, and some weapons are soft and flexible, like the dagger and whip from a medusa. Shields are made from a hard plastic, and the interior seems to be made of a flexible plastic, but not so soft as the plastic used with the armor.
Details are everywhere with the HACKS. Armor has a lot of detail which are crisp and clear. The Medusa has a unique black with silver trim armor. Belts are brown with separately painted buckles. The snakes as the hair of the Medusa are crisp and have details of the scales as cross hatch patterns. The scales and "skin" of the snake component of the medusa and gorgon are a soft plastic, and the detail and the painting are applied and are well done.
The HACKS live up to the name: they are highly customizable. They are also extremely compatible with other American figure lines. Gear and weapons can be swapped and held with a HACKS, and the extra hands with alternative pivots and the ease to swap the hands means mixing and posing a HACKS with the gear from other toy lines is simple and quick and a customizer doesn't have to spend too much time disassembling a figure just to see if the swapping might work. The HACKS are aesthetically compatible also with the other American lines. Having a HACKS figure standing next to an MTF, or even a BnB, will not look out-of-place. The compatibility of the neck barbell also helps blend the HACKS with the other toy lines.
All-in-all, the HACKS offers a lot of potential for customisers and non-customisers. For customisers the potential should be obvious. For non-customisers, the ease of swapping parts with HACKS is a great way to introduce customizing. For diorama enthusiasts, the HACKS system extends the imagination and storytelling potential. Simply put, the HACKS system by Boss Fight Studio is a winner in multiple ways.
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