Plan-B Toys is one of the undersung heroes of the action figure industry. Formed by former employees of the once-great company Resaurus, Plan-B took one of Resaurus's last successful lines - Special Forces - and has been continuing to produce excellent figures ever since. While Special Forces is their flagship line, they also do a lot of sculpting work for other companies.
The first Special Forces line, which came out under the Resaurus banner, was available at retailers like Toys 'R Us. Since Resaurus went under, however, the line, in its various incarnations, has had trouble finding a home. Even the Red State-friendly Emergency Forces line, which featured firefighters and police officers, could be found only through online retailers and some specialty shops. Despite these distribution problems, the good people at Plan-B continue to plug away, using the money from their contract projects to finance their own line.
The figure I'll be reviewing today is
the SWAT Team from their Emergency Forces line. This is an excellent, generic figure, good for fighting Marvel Legends figures or "saving" your Elian Gonzalez figures.
The special weapons and tactics: SWAT team is a rapid response unit for emergency and hostage situations. SWAT teams also serve high-risk warrants and narcotics seizures.
The figure features the usual impressive Plan-B sculpting. While it's not as flashily detailed as the work of McFarlane, it's very solid work, and just about right for this kind of action figure. He's built on the same uniformed body as the first three Special Forces lines, so if you have any of those, you'll recognize his sculpt.
The accessories, as always, are where Plan-B really shines. The SWAT soldier includes a pistol, a riot shield, a battering ram, a removable bulletproof vest, and an MP5 machine gun. The helmet and mask, unfortunately, are not removable, but the head can be swapped, as usual, with any other removable Plan-B head.
There are two versions of the SWAT figure: one in black, one in blue. The accessories are all the same, but the black was packed one per case, half as often as the blue uniform.
As always, I have mixed feelings about Plan-B's articulation. The company has improved slightly in this department, adding an inner balljoint to the hips of newer, but the SWAT body is too old for that. The pin-joint elbows and knees, (rather than a double-joint a la Marvel Legends), the peg-joint head, and the lack of a swivel joint at the top of the boot are probably what most prohibits these figures from really dynamic poses. You can't get them in a good kneeling pose, and forget about trying to get the figure in a sniping pose. It should be noted, however, that Plan-B intends to correct most of these problems with the release of their super-articulated Special Forces Generation 2 body (if the line ever gets off the ground).
Plan-B is one of the most underrated, overlooked companies in the industry. The Emergency Forces line should have put them on the map, particularly in the wake of 9/11, but due to some recent troubles, Plan-B may be in a more precarious position than ever. But it would be a shame to lose such an excellent company; they deserve our support.
Why can't Plan-B get any respect? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.